Three comedies, a classic musical, a student collaborative work and the reading of a new play are among new stage productions opening this week in the region.
- "THE FARLEY FAMILY REUNION" brings James Arrington's convoluted clan back to Wheeler Historic Farm for the summer.During his two-hour pastiche, Arrington (whose face seems to take on the ever-changing characteristics of human Silly Putty) plays 16 different roles, ranging in age from 6 to 99 - Grandpa Dean, Aunt Pearl, nasty little cousins Skipper, Bud and Cleetus, Aunt Viola and others.
New this year - and available to theatergoers - is Arrington's new Deseret Book publication, "Aunt Pearl's Personal Pointers on `How to Farley Up Your Family Reunion' Reunion Book." It's both humorous and informative, including recipes for dishes big enough to feed a large crowd.
Performances will be Mondays and Fridays-Saturdays, June 4-July 18 and July 30-Aug. 8, at 8 p.m. Seating is not reserved. Patrons sit on the sloping lawn (bring blankets and jackets or sweaters). Theatergoers may also bring their own lawn chairs, for those who find sitting on the lawn too uncomfortable. Some Thursday evenings may also become available later, depending on ticket sales. (Arrington has a previous, out-of-state commitment during the fourth week of July; the show will resume July 30).
Tickets range from $7 to $9. Group discounts are available.
Wheeler Historic Farm is at 5800 S. 900 East. For tickets, call 264-2241.
- "THE FOREIGNER," the second production of the late Larry Shue's acclaimed comedy along the Wasatch Front within one week, is playing June 5-6 and 12-13 in Wasatch Theatre Company's home, Jim's Soupers Deli, 2278 S. Redwood Road.
Evening performances begin at 8. There will also be matinees at 2 p.m. on June 6 and 13.
The cast, directed by Tracey Hall, includes Billy Tally, Ann Jensen, Dee Hill, Thomas Vick and Kristen Murphy.
For reservations, call 973-2051.
- "BOB AND MAY ARE GETTING MARRIED," a new play by Seattle playwright Carl Sander, will have its first staged reading on Monday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m., as the third in Salt Lake Acting Company's New Play Sounding Series.
Sander is attending the final rehearsal, and the reading itself, and will take part in the post-play discussion.
Directed by David Mong, the cast of readers will include Eric Robertson and Jeanette Puhich as the title characters, with Dan Larinaga as a stranger who enters their lives (and home), and Brenda Sue Cowley as the narrator.
The play is described as "part romance, part mystery, fully poetic and constantly surprising."
The reading and discussion are free of charge and open to the general public in SLAC's Upstairs Theatre, 168 W. 500 North.
- "A FATHER'S LOVE LETTERS," featuring Mike Hamill, also known as "The Bodybuilding Poet," will be performed on Saturday, June 6, at the Eccles Center in Park City.
The performance, also featuring the music of Rich Wyman, is free of charge, although there are tentative plans to accept donations on behalf of The Women's Shelter of Park City.
Hamill, a two-time Mr. Utah Masters Body-building Champion and full-time single father, says the material he's presenting will demonstrate that men have feelings, too, and that it doesn't take away from one's "manhood" to allow those feelings to show.
The show, beginning at 7 p.m., will be taped for later broadcast by Park City Television. For further information, call 1-435-649-2544.
- "OLIVER," the award-winning musical based on Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist," will play June 5-July 27 in the Terrace Plaza Playhouse, 99 E. 4700 South, Ogden (Washington Terrace).
"Oliver" replaces the previously announced "Forever Plaid" on the Terrace Plaza schedule. The final production in its 1997-98 season, "Paint Your Wagon," originally scheduled for July 31-Sept. 21, has also been postponed and will be replaced by a revival of "The Storm Testament."
The cast of "Oliver" includes Matthew Brown and Christian Thorpe alternating in the title role, Pam Higginson and Rebecca Grant Montgomery double-cast as Nancy, and Bill Turner playing the role of Fagin.
Performances are Mondays and Thursdays-Fridays at 7:30 p.m. There will also be one matinee at 3:30 p.m. on June 27.
Tickets are $7.50 for adults on weeknights ($8 on weekends), and $5 or $5.50 for children. There is a $1 discount for all senior citizens. Students (with valid activity cards) are admitted for $5.50.
Call 393-0070 for reservations.
- A COLLABORATIVE STUDIO PRODUCTION, involving students from both dance and theater classes at Weber State University, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, June 4 and 5, in the Dance Studio of WSU's Swenson Gymnasium.
One-act plays on Thursday include Beth Henley's "Am I Blue?" directed by Michelle Rounds, with actors Daniel T. Simons, Karih Gittens, Kirsten Gale Morgan, Robbi Wilson and LaNae Walth; Tennessee Williams' "Moony's Kid Don't Cry," with Jonathon Phipps and Jennilyn Brockbank, directed by Lynn Larsen, and David E. Rodriguez's "I'm Not Stupid," directed by Shilo Trionfi and acted by Josh Curtis, D. Alex Gunn and Marlee Brinton.
Friday evening's lineup of one-acts are Lanford Wilson's "Home Free," directed by Cheri Pratt and acted by Scott Howes and Molly Chappell; Ara Watson's "Final Placement," directed by Phaedra Donaldson and acted by Melissa Pond; and Melissa Backstrom, and Megan Terry's "Calm Down, Mother," directed by Mary Williams (cast to be announced).
Choreographers for both evenings' dance segments include Carrie Lee Turner, Amelia Shaner, Louise Hunt and Yuh Morimoto.
- TIME CHANGE: The Off Broadway Theatre's "Quick Wits" improvisational comedy revue, which recently added Wednesday night performances at the Murray Theatre, has switched to an earlier curtain time - 7:30 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. The troupe hopes that the earlier time will allow more families to attend the show. All tickets are $5 each.
Information on stage productions or auditions must be submitted at least two weeks in advance. Compiled by Ivan M. Lincoln, Deseret News theater editor, 1-801-236-6017. Fax: 1-801-237-2550. Please do not send items via e-mail.