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Karl Hugh
Katrina Kuntz is Katharina and Benjamin Brinton is Petruchio in "The Taming of the Shrew."

Not many communities can boast Tony Award-winning theater in their own backyard.

With Cedar City a short road-trip away, we're among the lucky few. And every spring, we get even luckier as the Utah Shakespearean Festival brings its shows to us.

The Shakespeare-in-the-Schools touring production has hit the road with a Wild West version of "The Taming of the Shrew." In the middle of a 12-week tour of four Western states, the Shakespeare comedy, led by South Jordan resident Benjamin Brinton, will be seen by more than 30,000 students and community members across Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Idaho.

This production will feature shootouts, chase scenes and old-fashioned melodrama.

Though the bulk of the performances are reserved for schools, there are some that are open to the public, and the best part is, the performances are free.

Here is a list of the public performances for the USF production:

March 26, 7 p.m., Alpine Community Theatre, 227 W. Canyon Crest Road, Alpine

March 29, 7 p.m., Olympus Junior High School, 2217 E. 4800 South, Holladay

April 7, 7 p.m., Roy Junior High School, 5400 S. 2100 West, Roy

April 8, 7:30 p.m., Mt. Ogden Junior High School, 3260 Harrison Blvd., Ogden

April 19, 7 p.m., Layton High School, 440 Wasatch Drive, Layton

Here are the rest of this week's openings:

"Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill," Pygmalion Theatre Company, March 25-April 10, Rose Wagner Center, 158 W. 300 South.

An illumination of the life of jazz great Billie Holiday, this play takes place in the sunset of her career. Set in a small bar, Holiday takes us on the journey of her life. Filled with humor, stories and her wonderful music. The show stars DeeDee Darby-Duffin and Trevor Jerome.

Shows are Thursdays through Sundays, times vary, matinees available. Tickets are $20 (801-355-2787 or www.arttix.org).

"H.M.S. Pinafore," March 26-April 24, Rodgers Memorial Theatre, 292 E. Pages Lane, Centerville.

A classic Gilbert and Sullivan tale about Captain Corcoran's daughter, Josephine, who is in love with a lower-class sailor, despite her father's intentions to have her wed the pompous Cabinet minister in charge of Britain's Royal Navy. Will true love prevail?

Shows are nightly, except Sundays, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12-$17 (801-298-1302 or www.rodgersmemorialtheatre.com).

"Les Miserables School Edition," March 26-April 3, SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State, Orem.

Adapted for students, the classic story of love, redemption and justice will be put on by members of Acting Up. It stars Jake Titensor, Amy Kesler, Andrew Scott James, Thad Nelson and Ashlyn Hirchak.

Shows are nightly except Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $6-$8 (801-225-2787 or www.scera.org).

"Dancing at Lughnasa," Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts, March 25-29, Clayton Middle School, 1470 S. 1900 East.

This is the story of five unmarried sisters living in a small village in Ireland in 1936. It's told through the memories of a son of one of the sisters as he recalls the five women who raised him.

Shows are Thursdays through Saturdays and Mondays, 7 p.m., matinees available. Tickets are $5-$7 and are available at the door.

"The Glass Menagerie," Second Chance Theater, March 26-27, Farmington Community Art Center, 120 S. Main, Farmington.

One of the great American plays by Tennessee Williams, this show stars Jana Dearden, Matt Krantz, Kirsten Smith and Paul Wuthrich.

Shows are nightly, 7 p.m., with a 1 p.m. Saturday matinee. Tickets are $6-$8 (www.secondchance.com).

e-mail: ehansen@desnews.com