Nine productions are opening this week in the region, including "Camelot" as the grand-opening show for the renovated auditorium at Salt Lake Community College's South City Campus (see today's cover story), and Hans Petersen's hilarious one-man performance adapted from humorist Dave Barry's book, "Dave Barry Slept Here, or A Sort of History of the United States" (reviewed in this section today by Susan Lyman-Whitney).
Other new productions include:- BRILLIANT TRACES, Cindy Lou Johnson's absurdist exploration into the nature of modern relationships, begins a monthlong run on Friday, May 24, at the Grand Hall Gallery Theatre, 721/2 W. 400 South.
The two-character allegory, presented by After the Overture Productions, features Missy Birdsong (last seen in "Eden Creek") and Blayne Wiley as Rosannah De Luce and Henry Harry.
The play, which is at once real and surreal, received considerable acclaim when it was staged by the Circle Repertory Company in New York City, starring Joan Cusack and Kevin Anderson.
The setting is a cabin in the middle of nowhere in the Alaska wilderness. A man is huddled asleep under a heap of blankets as a blizzard rages outside. Suddenly there is a frantic pounding at his door and the door bursts open - and in storms a young woman in full wedding regalia, soaking wet and chilled to the bone.
"Brilliant Traces" is being directed by Sharee Hughes. It will play on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. from May 24 through June 22. General admission seating in the intimate gallery is $8 each. Tickets may be purchased at the door or reserved in advance by calling 363-2215. Late-comers cannot not be seated once the play begins.
- THE VISIT, Friedrich Duerrenmatt's postwar classic, will open Thursday, May 23, in the Babcock Theatre on the University of Utah campus, continuing through June 2.
The "tragi-comedy" tells about the richest woman in the world (Claire Zachanassian - played by Lucy Wilkins Moreton) who returns to her impoverished hometown to seek revenge on another person by making an offer the townspeople can't refuse.
Translated into English by Maurice Valency, "The Visit" won the New York Drama Critics' Award as the best foreign play in 1958 and was heralded as "a devastating drama."
Although there is humor in the play, director Marilyn Holt notes that it also takes a serious look at the ancient tradition of scapegoats in society - how we create them and why.
The cast includes Matt Alex, Jim Allman, Matt Bohling, Jason Bowcutt, Jenniffer Buckalew, Len Childers, Robert Chynoweth, Stephanie Freeman, Rai French, Kent Gasser, Kent Hadfield, Kit Halliday, Angel Hayes, Pattie Johnson, Jeremy Jonsson, Tim Larimer, Kris Nelson, Jason Novak, Tom O'Leary, Scott Palmer, Lynn Peterson, Ryan Sales, Allan Versteeg and Trevor Williams.
Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m., with a matinee on June 1 at 2 p.m. For ticket information or reservations, call the Pioneer Memorial Theatre box office at 581-6961. Student and group rates are available.
- AGNES OF GOD, a drama dealing with questions of religion and psychology, will play from May 23-26 in the Lab Theatre of the University of Utah Performing Arts Building, adjacent to the campus bookstore.
Kenneth Harper, who is directing, believes John Pielmeier's play is a commentary on the human soul trapped by the temporal demands of this existence and it is the faith of young nun Agnes that imposes a test on court-appointed psychiatrist Martha Livingstone's agnosticism.
Dr. Livingstone has the task of determining the sanity of Agnes, who is accused of murdering her own baby, while Miriam Ruth, the mother superior, appears bent on protecting Agnes from the doctor.
In exploring solutions to the various mysteries of the case (Who fathered the child? Who killed the baby?), all three women are forced to face some harsh realities in their own lives and to re-examine the meaning and commitment of faith and love.
Harper's three-member cast is comprised of Laura Carr as Dr. Livingstone, Gloria Tice as the mother superior and Ja'Nelle Dixon as Agnes.
Performances will be Thursday through Saturday, May 23-25, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 26, at 7 p.m., with a matinee on Friday, May 24, at 5 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance from the Pioneer Memorial Theatre box office. For ticket information, call 581-6961.
- ART OF ACTS is an evening of one-act plays in the intimate Studio Stage Theatre (room 224) of the Chase Fine Arts Center at Utah State University, Logan.
Graduate students from the USU department of theater arts will present three one-act plays: Lanford Wilson's bittersweet drama, "The Great Nebula in Orion," directed by Shellie Harwood; Richard Greenberg's humorous "The Author's Voice," directed by Alyssa Hickman, and John M. Houston's intriguing "Strange Road," directed by Ron Bonanni.
The acting ensemble includes Melinda Anderson, Laura Lee Anglesey, Carey Blackerby, Jeb Branin, Joslin Christensen, Tamari West, JoAnn Wilson, John Woodhouse and Burton Yuen.
Graduate student Linda Pisano will provide narrative transitions between each play.
Performances will be Thursday through Saturday, May 23-25, at 8 p.m. Seating is general admission. Tickets are $3 each each and may be purchased from the USU Smith Spectrum Ticket Office (750-1657) or at the door.
- EXTREMITIES, an intense two-act drama by William Mastrosimone about one woman's search for justice in an unjust world, is being presented by the Associated Actors and Technicians of Weber State University, Tuesday through Saturday, May 21-25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Monson Theatre of the Val A. Browning Center for the Performing Arts.
Student director Brad Schroeder's cast includes Lisa Rebillot, A.J. D'Agostino, Jodi Longstroth and Darren Ewing.
Schroeder warns that "Extremities" contains explicit language and adult situations.
General admission is $2 for adults and $1 for students/senior citizens. Tickets are available in advance from the Dees Events Center box office or prior to performance time at the Browning Center ticket office. For ticket information call 626-8500.
- MY TURN ON EARTH, the Carol Lynn Pearson/Lex de Azevedo musical about pre-Earth life and the trials and rigors of life on Earth.
The family-oriented production includes Margie Hunsaker, a former Mrs. Utah, as the central character of Barbara, with Howard and Kathryn Little (also acting as co-directors); Kelly Kuhnen and Ron Jewett, in the five-character cast.
According to producers Valley Media, this will be the only performance scheduled in Salt Lake City this year.
The performance will be on Monday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the Highland High School auditorium, 2166 S. 1700 East.
Admission is $7 for adults and $4 for children 11 and under. Group discounts are available.
Tickets are available from Frost's book store, Foothill Village; Valley Media, 1061 E. 2100 South; Highland Music, 8635 S. 700 East, Sandy; Carr's Stationery, 185 S. Main, Bountiful, and Day-Murray Music, 4914 S. State St. For further information, call 487-3221.
- TIME AFTER TIME, a musical comedy about the 1950s, written by Valley Center Playhouse co-owner Jody Renstrom and directed by Jon Carter, has been brought back to the theater by popular demand.
Performances are Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7:30 p.m. through the end of June. Tickets are $5 for general admission, $4 for students, senior citizens and children, or $20 for a family pass. Group discount rates are available. For reservations, call 224-5310.