The grand opening of the new Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley City is this week's (maybe even this year's) theatrical highlight. See the Weekend section for Sept. 25 for details.
Other openings include a revival of "The Trail of Dreams" as the first fully staged production in the new SCERA Showhouse II venue in Orem, the rarely staged "Rash-o-mon" at Utah Valley State College, several plays with Halloween season themes, plus "Little Women: Part Second" at Brigham Young University and yet another mounting of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."- "THANK YOU, PAPA," which tells of Ruth Hale's early days growing up in what used to be Granger - now encompassing the site of the new Hale Centre Theatre at 3333 S. Decker Lake Blvd., in West Valley City - will have a brief run as part of the theater's grand opening.
For this one production, almost the entire cast is composed of Hale relatives. The first three performances, including a by-invitation-only formal grand opening on Oct. 1, will be acted entirely by family members. The remaining seven performances will include a mix of family performers and others.
One of the few non-family actors in the double-cast ensemble is Gordon Johnson, portraying Ruth's father, Will Hudson. But Johnson says he's still related - through Adam.
The rest of the cast ranges from eldest grandson, Mark Dietlein, to a sizable contingent of in-laws and great-grandchildren.
Despite her long and productive career in theater, which began when she and Nathan started producing plays in the old Granger 1st Ward building in 1934, "Grandma Hale" says her greatest accomplishment is her family - now 116 strong.
Performances will be at 8 p.m. Oct. 2, 3 and 5-10, with one matinee at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 10. The theater's new box office number is 984-9000.
Ticket prices are $13 for adults and $10 for children, Monday-Thursday and the matinee, and $15 and $11 on Friday and Saturday evenings.
All performances will include a self-guided tour of the new facilities, preshow entertainment and light refreshments.
- "RASHOMON," a westernized stage version of recently deceased director Akira Kurosawa classic 1950 Japanese classic drama, will be presented Oct. 2-10 at Utah Valley State College, Orem
Kim Brewster is directing the production, which he says introduces audiences to "the meaning of truth and our responsibilities to tell the truth."
The drama itself is centered on four people who witness an assault and murder of a Samurai Warrior and his wife by a notorious bandit. Later, in the courtroom, the observers relate four dramatically different accounts of what they saw.
"It's a timely piece because, right now, we are trying to determine in our political arena what is truth, realizing what an effort it takes to find the truth and wondering whether we can ever come to a knowledge of the truth," said Brewster, adding that Kurosawa's death earlier this month gives the show another element of timeliness. The performances will be dedicated to his memory.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2-3 and 5-10 in the Ragan Theater, with one matinee at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Tickets are $5 for general public, $3 for children or high school students and $2 for UVSC students. For reservations, call 222-8982. Tickets will also be available at the door.
- "THE TRAIL OF DREAMS," being directed by coauthor Marvin Payne, will inaugurate the new SCERA Showhouse II venue for live theater Oct. 1-Nov. 16.
The musical drama, which premiered at UVSC and has extensive engagements elsewhere in the region, is based on incidents occurring in a number of wagon trains making the trek to Utah during the mid-1800s.
The show containes 17 original compositions by Steven Kapp Perry.
James Arrington was also a member of the team of collaborators.
The creators used material from more than 60 first-person pioneer diaries to write their script about the Mormon exodus and life on the trail.
Payne will also star as John Brown, who was Payne's great-great-grandfather - who made more than a dozen treks and served as the quintissential caption for the migration.
Other cast members include Johanne Perry, Clayune Robinson, Davison Cheney, Jan Felt, David Whitlock and four former BYU Young Ambassadors members.
The collaborators have been doing some additional fine-tuning, tightening and shortening with this new production, including recasting many of the roles and strengthening the plotline.
Performances will be Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $9 in advance and $11 on the day of performance. Group discounts are also available. For reservations, contact the SCERA Center box office, 745 S. State, Orem, at 225-2787 or 225-2569.
- THREE HALLOWEEN SEASON comedies include Rodgers Memorial Theatre's "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," the Off Broadway Theatre's revival of "Dracula vs. The Wolf-man" and the Terrace Plaza Playhouse's "Little Shop of Horrors."
- "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," an old English Music Hall style adaptation of a convoluted, unfinished Dickens novel - with the audience voting on several different endings - will play Oct. 1-Nov. 14 at the Rodgers Memorial Theatre, 292 E. Pages Lane, Centerville.
The RMT version of the play-within-a-play is being directed by John Williams and choreographed by Marilyn May Montgomery, with musical direction by Brent Fotheringham.
Only three of the production's 15 roles are single-cast (Brent Whitlock as Clive Pag-et/John Jasper, Tyrus Williams as Nick Cricker/Durdles and Craig Bowen as Cedric Moncrieffe/Rev. Mr. Crisparkle).
Others include Bret Wheadon and Hugh Hanson alternating as William Cart-wright/ Chairman; Jarom Rich and Eric Millward as James Throttle/Horace; Randi Weeks and Meghan Parrish as Alice Nut-ting/Edwin Drood; Angela Morgan Maloy and Amanda Evans Morgan ss Deirdre Peregrine/Rosa Bud; Barbara LaRue Rollier and Jen Adams as Isabel Yearsly/Wendy; Mindy Hepworth and Cori Cole as Florence Gill/Beatrice, and Brianne Flinders and Staci Turner as Janet Conover/Helena Landless.
Also in the cast are JaceSon Parker Barrus and Eric McGraw as Victor Gringstead/Neville Landless; Nancy Parsons and Camille VanWagoner as Angela Prysock/Princess Puffer; Justin Olsen and Joey Khory as Master Nick Cricker/Deputy; Joyce Elison and Kathleen Richardson as Florence Gill/Flo and Kevin J. Ellis and Chuck Gilmore as Philip Bax/Bazzard.
Performances are Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with one matinee at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7. All seats are reserved. Tickets are $10 for adults, $9 for students and senior citizens and $8 for children (although RMT advises that the comedy's themes may be too complex for those under the age of 12 to understand; they may find the play-within-a-play format confusing).
For reservations, call 298-1302.
- "Dracula vs. The Wolfman," pitting everyone's favorite pain-in-the-neck against a really furry foe, will play Oct. 1-31 at the Off Broadway Theatre, 272 S. Main.
The cast includes Eric Jensen as Dracula and Bob Bedore as the Wolfman. The setting is a Transylvanian bed-and-breakfast inn (formerly Frankenstein's Castle). Also in the cast: Alexis Owen, Russell Peacock, Amber Hutch-ings, David Hunsaker, Joan Johnson and Jeremy Thompson.
Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, with one matinee at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 31. All seats are reserved. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and students and $5 for children. For reservations, call 355-4628.
OBT's ongoing Quick Wits "improv" revue continues Mondays at 7:30 p.m. and Fridays & Saturdays at 10 p.m. All seats $5.
- "The Little Shop of Horrors," the musical version of a 1950s cult-favorite sci-fi movie, is playing Oct. 2-Nov. 23 at the Terrace Plaza Playhouse, 99 E. 4700 South, Ogden.
Featuring music and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, it's a campy show about a nerdish florist's carnivorous plant.
The cast includes Derrick Dean and Ryan Paskins alternating as Seymour, Leslie Richards and Anjenette Stevens as Audrey, Casey Clark and Lloyd Parry as Mr. Mushnik, and Adam Cheeney and Jeremy Dabb as Orin, the dentist.
The voice of Audrey II, the plant, will be provided by Clayton Barney and David Clegg.
Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, with one matinee at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $6 for students and $5.50 for children. Call 393-0070 for reservations. Group discounts are available.
- "SCHOOL HOUSE ROCK: LIVE!" is a stage version of a popular 1970s TV cartoon, with performances (appropriately) in Weber State University's campus TV studio.
The original TV show, aimed at Sesame Street graduates, was a romp through math, grammar, history and politics, all set to snappy tunes. In translating the TV show to the stage, there's a story of a nervous young elementary school teacher on his first day on the job. He's rescued by characters and songs from the educational cartoon show.
Performances will be Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 and Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m., plus a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m.
Jim Christian is directing the production, which will later tour several northern Utah elementary schools.
- "LITTLE WOMEN: PART SECOND" picks up where last year's Brigham Young University production of "Part First" left off.
Adapted by Alisha Watts Christiansen, a graduate student, the new production represents the second half of Louisa May Alcott's beloved tale.
"Part First" was set during the Civil War and "Part Second" moves ahead three years, when Marmee's husband has returned home from the war and they're adapting to maturing relationships and their four daughters, Amy, Beth, Jo and Meg, falling in and out of love.
The cast includes Elizabeth Gessel as Marmee, Krisha Muirbrook as Amy, Tara Tanner as Beth, Emmelyn Thayer as Jo and Alisa Anglesey as Meg, with Tim Slover, Cameron Hopkin, Ryan Rauzon and Jeff Roberts in other roles.
"Little Women: Part Second" is scheduled to play Sept. 30-Oct. 17 in the Margetts Arena Theatre of BYU's Harris Fine Arts Center. Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays (except for LDS Church general conference weekend, when it will play on Saturday, Oct. 3, at 8:30 p.m.). There will also be one matinee on Oct. 17 at 2 p.m. The Wednesday, Sept. 30, and Thursday, Oct. 1, performances are half-price previews. Regular admission is $9 for adults and $7 for BYU students and faculty. For reservations, call 378-4322.
- "JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT" will play Oct. 2-26 at the Draper Historic Theater, 12366 S. 900 East, Draper.
Directed by Keven McClelland and Robyn Bishop, the cast includes Jeffrey Whitehead as Joseph and Terri Purles, Angie Cassity, Natalie Morgan, Loren Lambert and Cliff Harris in other leading roles.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Reserved seats are $8 for adults and $5 for children ($6 and $4 for general admission seating). Call 572-4144 for reservations.
- "WOMEN OF TRACHIS," currently in the middle of two subsequent weekend runs in Salt Lake City (it just played Sept. 26-27 and will resume Oct. 3-4 at Red Butte Garden), will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 30, in the deJong Concert Hall of Brigham Young University's Harris Fine Arts Center. Call 378-4322 for tickets.
- "THE NERD," Larry Shue's comedy about a Purple Heart recipient being visited by the man he rescued, is playing Sept. 30 and Oct. 1-3 and 5 at Dixie College's Fine Arts Center. All performances are 8 p.m.
For reservations, call 1-435-652-7800.
- "THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS," Carlo Goldoni's classic, madcap farce, will play at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in the Geary Theatre at College of Eastern Utah, 451 E. 400 North, Price.
The slapstic, commedia dell'arte style production, features Misty Pyper, Ryan Lucas, Charlie Halford, Nathan Stevens, Mercedes Murdock, Jeff Mathews, Nick Nielsen, Elizabeth Douglas, Ted Cartwright, Anna Maureen Lewis, Marcie Hastings and Tracy Jones.
Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for students and senior citizens and $2 for CEU students. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the box office (1-435-637-6386) or at the door.