SALT LAKE CITY — Summer is nearly over but there’s still plenty to enjoy before fall rolls around. Before you send your kids back to school — or go back to school yourself — plan a night out for a few laughs at one of several comedies opening in theaters throughout Utah this month.
‘The Nerd’ at the Covey Center
Everyone knows what it’s like to have a guest you just can’t seem to shuffle out the door no matter how hard you try.
That relatable social situation is the basis of playwright Larry Shue’s two-act comedy “The Nerd,” which will be staged at Provo’s Covey Center for the Arts starting Aug. 2.
The play centers on Willum Cubbert, who, some years earlier, almost didn’t make it out of the Vietnam War alive. He owes his life to a stranger named Rick Steadman, whom he has only ever communicated with through letters. Willum repeatedly tells Rick he would do anything to show his appreciation, and Rick takes him up on that vow when he shows up at Willum’s 34th birthday party … and doesn’t leave. To make matters worse, Rick is “a hopeless ‘nerd’ — a bumbling oaf with no social sense, little intelligence and less tact,” according to the play’s licensing company.
Catch it at the Covey Center, 425 W. Center, Provo, Aug. 2-25, dates and times vary, $16 for adults, $14 for student, seniors and military (801-852-7007 or coveycenter.org)
‘H.M.S. Pinafore’ at the Off Broadway Theatre
Many recognize Salt Lake’s Off Broadway Theatre for its family-friendly parodies, but the OBT also offers more mainstream shows from time to time, including Gilbert and Sullivan’s “H.M.S. Pinafore,” which runs Aug. 3-Sept. 8.
Dramatist W.S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan — “the undisputed masters of comic operetta,” according to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s website — are perhaps best known for their work “The Pirates of Penzance,” but “H.M.S. Pinafore” offers a similar spirit of comedy.
“This comic operetta deals with the struggles between social classes when the captain of the Pinafore, who intends for his daughter to marry a man of high station, discovers she loves a lowly sailor,” theOBT.org states. “The story may be familiar to the world over, but you’ll never laugh as hard as you will at this portrayal!”
Head out to sea on the “H.M.S. Pinafore” Aug. 3-Sept. 8, Off Broadway Theatre, 272 S. Main, dates and times vary, $10-$16 (801-355-4628 or theobt.org)
‘The Pirates of Penzance’ at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre
Speaking of Gilbert and Sullivan and “The Pirates of Penzance,” audiences have a chance to see a local production of the comic opera at Centerville’s CenterPoint Legacy Theatre, also opening Aug. 3.
With the well-known — and often parodied — “I am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General” among its song list, Gilbert and Sullivan’s tale has long been a favorite among theater audiences. It tells the story of Frederic, an orphan mistakenly apprenticed to a band of pirates. On his 21st birthday, Frederic leaves the pirates to find his way in the world, falling in love along the way with Major-General Stanley's daughter, Mabel.
“What happens next is a riotous and charming fable of the classical kind,” according to CPT’s website.
Frederic and the other pirates will be on CenterPoint’s Barlow Main Stage, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville, Aug. 3-Sept. 1, dates and times vary, $19.50-$27 for adults, $17.50-$24.50 for seniors, students and children (801-298-1302 or centerpointheatre.org)
‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ at Sandy Amphitheater
It may not be an out-right comedy, but “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” has its fair share of humorous moments (think genre-switching songs, motorcycle riding Ishmaelites and an Elvis-type Pharaoh).
According to the Musical Company licensing group, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of bringing the biblical story of “Joseph, his father Jacob, eleven brothers and the coat of many colors” to stages around the world.
The musical is one of the earliest collaborations between composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice and started as a commissioned religious concert for a small preparatory school in London, according to bard.org. The 20-minute “pop-cantata” debuted in March 1968 and “got bigger and better” with each performance, the website states, until it became the two-hour stage production we know and love today.
Joseph and his dreamcoat take the stage at Sandy Amphitheater, 1245 E. 9400 South, Sandy, Aug. 3-11, 8:30 p.m., $8-$16 (801-568-2787 or sandyamp.com)
‘The Marvelous Wonderettes’ at the Grand Theatre
Think “Forever Plaid” with a feminine twist and you have “The Marvelous Wonderettes.”
The musical comedy takes audiences back to 1958 and features “four girls with voices as big as their bouffants and personalities as kooky as their crinoline skirts,” according to themarvelouswonderettes.com.
In addition to the “kookiness,” the show features over 30 hits from the ’50s and ’60s, including “Lollipop,” “Dream Lover,” “Stupid Cupid” and “Lipstick on Your Collar,” according the Grand Theatre’s website.
The catchy tunes will be at the Grand Theatre, 1575 S. State, Aug. 16-Sept. 8, dates and times vary, $20 for adults, $17 for seniors (801-957-3322 or grandtheatrecompany.com)
‘Twelfth Night’ at Utah Children’s Theatre
As part of its seventh annual Shakespeare Festival for Kids and Adults With Short Attention Spans, Utah Children’s Theatre will stage a 90-minute version of William Shakespeare’s comedy “Twelfth Night.” UTC’s version has the same people in disguise, tricks, confusion and happy ending, just in a shortened running time.
“Twelfth Night” and the rest of the Shakespeare Festival will run Saturdays, Aug. 18-Sept. 29, $25 for the festival bundle, $15 for “Twelfth Night” (801-532-6000 or uctheatre.org)
‘Beauty and the Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Him’ at Desert Star
Since 1989, Desert Star has been producing original musical comedy after musical comedy, and its upcoming show is sure to continue the tradition, with a title that suggests it is a mix between “Beauty and the Beast” and J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
Laugh along with Desert Star, 4861 S. State, Murray, Aug. 23-Nov. 3, dates and times vary, $24.95 for adults, $14.95 for children ages 11 and under (801-266-2600 or desertstar.biz)
‘Crazy for You’ at Heritage Theatre
According to Heritage Theatre, brothers George and Ira Gershwin’s “Crazy for You” is more than a “run-of-the-mill slapstick, romantic-comedy musical.” You may not know it, but the show features some of the Gershwins' most recognizable songs, including “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Embraceable You” and “I Got Rhythm.”
According to Tams-Witmark licensing, “Crazy for You” is an adaptation of the Gershwins’ 1930 musical “Girl Crazy” and won three Tony Awards in 1992 for best musical, choreographer and costume designer.
Watch as aspiring dancer Bobby goes to any lengths to win over Polly — including impersonation — as the cast sings and dances its way across Heritage Theatre’s stage, Aug. 24-Sept. 15, 2505 S. Highway 89, Perry, $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and children (435-723-8392 or heritagetheatreutah.com)
‘Urinetown the Musical’ at Empress Theatre
When you gotta go, you gotta go, but in “Urinetown the Musical,” that gets a little complicated.3 comments on this story
When a 20-year drought causes a water shortage, the “Gotham-like” city puts a ban on all private toilets and institutes government-controlled amenities “regulated by a single malevolent company that profits by charging admission for one of humanity's most basic needs,” according to Music Theatre International’s website. What results, the website states, is a “hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself.”
Empress Theatre will stage the show Aug. 31-Sept. 15, dates and times vary, 9104 W. 2700 South, Magna, $12 (empresstheatre.com or 801-347-7373)