SALT LAKE CITY — In the words of "Sesame Street," “the letter of the day is … O!” Or at least that’s the letter of the month in the world of Utah theater, with three “O shows” — “Oliver,” “Oslo” and “Oklahoma!” — making their way to local stages in September.
Add to that a new Utah Shakespeare Festival play, two shows opening at Hale Centre Theatre, a traveling Broadway production and a musical about 20th century American society and you have a month full of shows to keep any theater lover busy.
While their first letter is common, that’s about where the similarities between September’s O shows end.
“Oliver,” a musical based on Charles Dickens’ 1838 novel “Oliver Twist: The Parish Boy’s Progress,” follows a young orphan in Victorian England, resulting in a story that is “equal parts charming and somber,” according to the Egyptian Theatre’s website. The theater is hosting the Ziegfeld Theater Company’s production of the show in Park City Sept. 7-16, times vary, 328 Main, Park City, $19-$45 (435-649-9371 or egyptiantheatrecompany.org)
“Oslo,” the 2017 Tony Award-winner for best play, will have its regional première at Pioneer Theatre Company in September. Playwright J.T. Rogers’ story tells of a Norwegian academic who brings together Israeli and Palestinian representatives to negotiate the 1993 Oslo Peace Accords, which ultimately teaches that “sometimes the greatest act of heroism, in the face of a century of war and bloodshed, is the willingness to sit in a room and talk with your enemy,” according to PTC’s website. Catch it onstage Sept. 14-29, dates and times vary, Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, $30-$45 (801-335-4565 or pioneertheatre.org)
“Oklahoma!” by well-known writing duo Rodgers and Hammerstein, makes its way to Cache County, bringing all the familiar tunes — such as “Many a New Day,” “People Will Say We’re In Love,” “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’” and, of course, “Oklahoma” (“O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A”). Produced by Music Theatre West, the show runs Sept. 21-29, dates and times vary, Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 S. Main, Logan, $17-$25 (435-752-0026 or cachearts.org).
Utah Shakespeare Festival’s fall show
As four of the festival’s summer shows have their final curtain, Utah Shakespeare Festival opens another play, “The Liar,” which will run for just over a month.
Based on the French farce “Le Menteur” by Pierre Corneille and adapted by playwright David Ives, “The Liar” follows “a lover who can’t tell the truth and his servant who can’t tell a lie,” festival Artistic Director Brian Vaughn said in a previous Deseret News article. Add in “mistaken lovers, suspicious fathers, sparkling romance and frothy comedy” and you have what USF’s website calls “one of the Western world’s greatest comedies.”
The play runs Sept. 14-Oct. 13, dates and times vary, Randall L. Jones Theatre, SUU, Cedar City, $32-$71 Monday-Wednesday, $36-$75 Thursday-Friday (435-586-7878 or bard.org)
Hale Centre Theatre
Patrons at Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy have the chance to see two very different shows opening at the theater this month.
Opening in the Centre Stage Theatre is “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” the musical based on the early 20th-century novel by Baroness Orczy. Sir Percy Blakeney may appear to be nothing more than a fop, but he’s actually risking his life to save French aristocrats from being slaughtered during the French Revolution — a fact that even his wife doesn’t know. The musical runs Sept. 17-Nov. 24, dates and times vary, Hale Centre Theatre’s Centre Stage Theatre, 9900 S. Monroe St., Sandy, $40 for adults, $20 for youths ages 5-17 (801-984-9000 or hct.org)
Meanwhile, in HCT’s Jewel Box Theatre, audiences can see the suspenseful stage adaptation of a film that garnered Audrey Hepburn an Oscar nomination. “Wait Until Dark” follows a blind woman as she defends herself and her home against intruders and is a “classic thriller” coming right in time for fall, according to HCT’s website. The play runs Sept. 12-Nov. 17, Hale Centre Theatre’s Jewel Box Theatre, 9900 S. Monroe St., Sandy, $36-$44 for adults, $18-$20 for youths ages 5-17 (801-984-9000 or hct.org)
Based on the film from director/writer Adrienne Shelly that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007, “Waitress” the musical features music by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. It tells the story of a waitress named Jenna who wants nothing more than to get away from her small-town life and unhappy marriage. “A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start … but Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life,” according Broadway at the Eccles’ website. Audiences can see it at the Eccles Theatre, 131 S. Main, Sept. 25-30, times vary, $35-$150 (801-355-2787 or artsaltlake.org)
CenterPoint Legacy Theatre’s staging of “Ragtime” seeks to take audiences back to the turn of the 20th century and tell a story will still resonate with audiences today.1 comment on this story
The Tony Award-winning musical follows the interconnected lives of an African-American musician, an immigrant Jewish father and a wealthy suburban family, all living in New York City.
“With alluring music and compelling characters, audiences will be swept up in the story of the hopes and fears that live within all of us,” CPT’s website states.
The musical runs Sept. 28-Oct. 27, dates and times vary, at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre, 525 N. Main, Centerville, $21.50-$27 for adults, $17.50-$24.50 for seniors, students and children (801-298-1302 or centerpointtheatre.org)