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Janet Thorpe, Murray Arts Council
Jeff Jensen and Emily Copier star in the Murray Arts Council production of the musical "Footloose."

Covering theater in Utah, I've noticed trends. Certain shows seem to have waves of popularity, and they'll be produced by many theaters almost at the same time.

That's what's happening with "Footloose" and "Honk!" two of the shows opening this week. Seems like every week someone does a production of these two musicals — which isn't a bad thing. It just means that they're pretty well-liked, worth seeing and fun for the whole family.

"Footloose," Friday through July 31, Murray Park Amphitheater, Murray, is the stage version of the popular Kevin Bacon movie. "Footloose" features many of the same great tunes, plus a few extra written for the stage. It centers on Ren McCormack, who is forced to move from Chicago to a small-size and small-minded town, and he's stunned to learn that dancing is illegal. Jeff Jensen, Emily Copier and Tim Frost star.

Shows are nightly, except Sunday, 8 p.m. Tickets are $6-$8 (801-571-3223).

"Honk!" Friday through Aug. 23, St. George Musical Theater 200 N. 1000 East, St. George. This is the musical retelling of the story of the Ugly Duckling. Imagine the wit of Dr. Suess, combined with the spirit of a Broadway musical, and you'll see how fun "Honk!" is for the family. Not to mention, the show has a great message about tolerance and acceptance. It stars Darrin Fry and Shaea Heaton.

Shows are Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m., with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8-$15 (435-628-8755 or www.sgmt.org).

"Flyin' West," Wednesday through Aug. 2, People Productions, Studio 115, Performing Arts Building, University of Utah.

On the Western plains in the late 19th century, four female African-American homesteaders form a sacred bond to ensure they will remain "free black women." Written by Pearl Cleage.

Shows are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $9-$12 (801-485-2497).

"The Rainmaker," Tuesday through Saturday, Hale Summer Playhouse, Grover.

Come enjoy the beauty next to Capitol Reef National Park in the rustic barn theater. Some folks know Richard Nash's wonderfully romantic comedy from the movie version, which starred Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster.

Shows are nightly at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 (435-425-2300 or 435-425-3226).


E-mail: ehansen@desnews.com