In addition to the national touring production of "The King and I" (see today's Arts Section cover), Wasatch Front theatergoers have a batch of Christmas productions to choose from, headed by Brigham Young University's world premiere of a musical version of the best-seller, "The Christmas Box."
- "THE CHRISTMAS BOX," based on former Salt Lake advertising executive Richard Paul Evans' phenomenal best-seller, has been transformed by playwright Eric Samuelsen and composer Murray Boren, both of the Brigham Young University faculty, into a fully staged musical.It will have its world premiere Nov. 19-Dec. 6 in the Pardoa Theatre of BYU's Harris Fine Arts Center.
Director Rodger Sorensen's cast includes David Warner as Richard, Andra Johnson as Keri and Crystal Heer as MaryAnne Parkin.
Also in the cast are Annalece Boothe, Norris Chappell Jr., Katie Wells, Marilee Lewis, Nancy Schofield, Richie Franklin and Kenneth Wright.
Performances on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 19 and 20, will be half-price previews. Regular performances begin Nov. 21. Curtain is 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays through Dec. 6, with one matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29. Admission is $10 for the general public and $8 for students, faculty and staff. For reservations, call 378- 4322.
- TWO PARODIES opening this week on Salt Lake area stages are Bob Bedore's new "The Three Wise Guys" at the Off Broadway Theatre and a revival of "It's A Wonderful Life or Winging in the Holidays" at Desert Star Playhouse.
- "The Three Wise Guys," written and directed by Bedore, is centered on three bumbling buffoons who discover an evil investment banker's plot to close down an orphanage in order to make way for a new clothing retailer. Bedore describes his latest entry in OBT's string of original comedies as "a loving look at the fun comedies of the 1930s and '40s."
The cast includes Cody K. Carlson, David Hunsaker and Kenny Owens as the three do-gooding Guys, and Russell Peacock and Bedore alternating as the villainous Wilfred Kennerfield. Double-cast as the sexy, sultry Stella Styles will be Elizabeth Gandy and Jennifer Anderton, two of OBT's recent "12 Dancing Princesses."
Also in the cast are Celesta Davis, making her OBT debut as orphanage owner Beth Lathem, with Josh and Briana Bedorek, Eric and Alex Phillips and Joie Ellis as orphaned children.
Performances will be Thursdays-Saturdays and MOndays at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 20-Jan. 3 at the Off Broadway Theatre, 272 S. Main. All seats are reserved. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students and senior citizens and $5 for children 12 and under. Reservations: 355-4628.
OBT's improv comedy show, "Quick Wits," is also continuing every Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m. All seats are $5.
- "It's A Wonderful Life, or Winging in the Holidays," brings down-on-his-luck George Bailey and Guardian Angel 2nd Class Clarrisa Oddbody back to Desert Star Playhouse.
Adapted and directed by Beth Bruner from Brent Todd's script, the show includes such DSP regulars as Norman E. Plate as the corrupt, conniving Mr. Potter; Kirt Bateman as George, R. Russell Durrant as Potter's dastardly son, JR.; Jack Drayton as George's hopelessly inept Uncle Billy; Kaycee Raquel as George's loyal wife, Mary; Jerry Rapier as Bert, the friendly cop; DeeLayna Carter as as vampish local beauty, Violet, and Melissa Rasmussen as Clarissa, the well-meaning but quirky guardian angel.
George and Mary's offspring will be played by Shilo Moulton and Caitlin Henriksen, alternating with Jeffery James Black and Julian Ontiveros.
The program will include a "Happy Holidays Olio."
Performances: Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 7 p.m., with 3 p.m. matinees on most Saturdays and additional 9:30 p.m. shows on Fridays and Saturdays.
Beginning Dec. 4, there will be two shows nightly except Sundays through the rest of the holiday season: 6 and 8:30 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 7 and 9:30 p.m. on weekends, plus Saturday matinees.
Admission ranges from $6 to $10, with a limited number of family passes available for $25 and $35 for selected performances. All seats are reserved. For reservations, call 266-7600. The theater is at 4861 S. State.
- "A TUNA CHRISTMAS," the long-awaited sequel to "Greater Tuna," will have its regional premiere Nov. 20-Dec. 29 at the Provo Theatre Company, where veteran actors Duane Stephens and Charles Lynn Frost, playing a total of 22 quirky residents of Tuna, Texas, are being directed by freelance director Edward J. Gryska.
Stephens and Frost played disc jockeys Arles Struvie and Thurston Wheel in Salt Lake Acting Company's critically acclaimed production of "Greater Tuna" in 1993.
All seats are reserved. For tickets, call the Provo Theatre Company box office at 379-0600. The theater is at 105 E. 100 North.
Two "Director's Forum" discussions will be held immediately following the performances on Thursday, Dec. 4, and Friday, Dec. 12. The discussions will be free of charge.
- "A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE," a landmark in American theater, will be staged by the Weber State University theater department on Nov. 19-22 in Peery's Egyptian Theatre, Ogden.
Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning drama will be directed by Tracy Callahan, with scenery by Van Tinkham. The cast includes Cheri Pratt as Blanche DuBois, Galen Rodgers as Stanley Kowalski, Shilo Trionfi as Stella, Loria Badali as Eunice, Jeremy R. Dabb as Mitch and Jonathan Philips as Steve.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. The theater is at 2415 Washington Blvd.
Tickets are $8.50 for adults and $5.50 for students and senior citizens. For reservations, call the Dee Events Center box office at 626-8500 or 1-800-978-8457.
- "PRINCESSES AND PEASANTS," an evening of "interpreter's theater," will open the Utah State University theater department's Conservatory Season at 8 p.m. Nov. 18-22 and 24 in the Chase Fine Arts Center's Studio Stage (Room 224).
Tickets are $5 for the general public. Admission is free for USU students with current activity cards. For reservations or further information, call 1-435-797-1500.
- "THE NUTCRACKER: THE MUSICAL" is back for a second go-around at the Villa Playhouse Theatre in Springville.
Directed by Marni Ashby and choreographed by Amber Booth, with musical direction by Christine Keddington, the double-cast ensemble will include Kathryn Ruzicka and Erica DeGaston alternating as Clara, Tracy Whitlock and Linda Robbins as her mother, and Bill Lowe and Lyle Mortimer as her father.
Also in the cast are Wylie Anderson and Jon Naseath as Uncle Harold, Diane Madsen and Sheila Mortimer as Sadie, Matt Rowley and Clay Elder as Peter, and Amber Booth and Meredith Fancom as Marietta, the maid.
Performances will be Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. at the theater, 254 S. Main. Tickets range from $5 to $8. For reservations, call the box office at 489-3088. Tickets may also be picked up in person from the Springville Chamber of Commerce, 262 S. Main.
- TWO MYSTERY DINNERS are scheduled this weekend, one at Snowbird Resort and the other at the Riverboat Restaurant.
- 'Til Death Do Us Part, produced by Chameleons: The Whodunit Company, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 21 in the Cliff Lodge Ballroom of Snowbird Resort. Reservations must be made in advance. Call 742-2222, Ext. 4080 or 1-800-453-3000)
- Deer Hunter's Widow, a comedy murder mystery, will be presented Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Riverboat by Hunt Mystery & Company. All tickets must be reserved in advance. The dinner theater, which costs $30 a person, includes a buffet dinner and the murder mystery entertainment. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the dinner and show begin at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, Isit or call The Riverboat at 4500 S. 800 West, 268-2628.