SALT LAKE CITY — Women’s History Month has now come and gone, but that doesn’t mean the celebration has to stop. This month in the world of theater, Utah audiences can see multiple female characters shine onstage with their stories of tragedy, triumph, loss and love.
Although Jean Valjean is the central figure in “Les Miserables,” multiple female leads get their chance to light up the stage. From Fantine to Cosette to Eponine to Madame Thénardier, Victor Hugo’s French novel gives its female cast plenty of material to bring these interesting and diverse characters to life in musical form.
Alpine Community Theater's Performing Arts Academy brings “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Castle on a Cloud,” “On My Own” and “A Little Fall of Rain” from your favorite leading ladies April 11-15, dates and times vary, Valentine Theater, 839 N. 900 East, American Fork, $6-$8 for adults, $4-$6 for seniors, students and children (801-404-0736 or alpinecommunitytheater.org).
There’s no denying that the musical “Mamma Mia!” is a party. In fact, when the musical first opened on Broadway in 2001, New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley said the show is “drenched in an atmosphere of punchy spontaneity.” How can it be anything different when it has a plot “devised … expressly to string together more than 20 ABBA songs”?
Yes, “Mamma Mia!” may leave you wanting to don a pair of platform shoes and find a disco ball to boogie under, but underneath the catchy tunes is a story of a strong, independent single mother raising her daughter to be equally strong and independent.
Utah audiences can see Cache Theatre Company’s rendition of the jukebox musical at the Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 S. Main, Logan, April 11-16, dates and times vary, $17-$25 for adults, $14-$22 for students and youths (435-752-0026 or cachearts.org).
Another leading lady that's taken from the page to the stage is Anna Karenina, the title character of Leo Tolstoy’s 1877 serial-turned-novel. Anna’s journey is a complex one to say the least: “In a world of power and privilege, Anna Karenina is a woman who dares to obey her heart by leaving her scrupulous husband, Karenin, and traveling with her charming lover, Count Vronsky, across Europe in a scandalous affair,” as Utah State University’s website puts it.
The university’s Department of Theatre Arts will mount a production of playwright Helen Edmundson’s stage adaptation of the novel, bringing a story “saturated with deep colors and delicate patterns, with riveting motion and rich music, with memorable characters and powerful storytelling.”
Catch it April 12-20, dates and times vary, Morgan Theatre, 600 N. 1150 East, Logan, $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and youths, $8 for faculty and staff and free for USU students (435-797-8022 or theatre.usu.edu).
Nothing creates drama like a good love triangle, and Tony Award-winner “Aida” delivers.
Based on Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, the musical “Aida” delivers its love story through the vehicle of a pop/rock score by Elton John and Tim Rice. It tells the story of a Nubian princess and an Egyptian soldier — who happens to be engaged to Amneris, the princess of Egypt — as they find love through their differences.
Besides being two sides to the love triangle, Aida and Amneris are examples of two tenacious yet vulnerable leading ladies who learn lessons about love, loyalty, sacrifice and self-esteem.
You can see “Aida” at SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State, Orem, April 12-May 4, dates and times vary, $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and children ages 3-11 (801-225-2787 or scera.org).
Take a trip down the rabbit hole in U of U Youth Theatre production of “Alice.” Based on “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, “Alice” takes audiences on a whimsical adventure as a young girl falls down the rabbit hole into a “wild and wacky world” where she meets the likes of the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter.
What’s even better is seeing the production performed by young actors and actresses from the U of U Youth Theatre program — a program that believes “theatre must provide high-quality opportunities for exploration of the theatrical art form on both sides of the proscenium.”
See the show April 12, 7 p.m., or April 13, 11 a.m., Kingsbury Hall, U., $10 for adults, $5 for youths 18 and under, $5 for U. students (801-581-7100 or tickets.utah.edu).
Matilda from Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s book is known for being determined, fearless and wise beyond her years, and local audiences can see her story come to life at Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy starting this month.
In the midst of Dahl’s characteristic macabre, slightly dark and twisted tone, audiences can enjoy “the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny,” according to the show’s licensing company.
HCT’s production runs April 22-June 15, dates and times vary, HCT’s Centre Stage Theatre, 9900 S. Monroe St., Sandy, $44-$48 for adults, $22-$24 for children (801-984-9000 or hct.org).
With Disney’s live-action version of “Aladdin” slated to hit theaters in May, there’s been a lot of buzz about Agrabah, Genie, Aladdin and Jasmine.Comment on this story
But even before the live-action film brought renewed attention to Disney’s 1992 film, the Broadway musical adaptation brought the story to the stage in 2014.
Although much of the story is focused around Aladdin as the title character, Princess Jasmine — who was Disney’s first nonwhite princess — gets her time to shine, displaying a determined attitude to break tradition and find a marriage based on true love.
The production makes its way to the Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, April 25-May 12, dates and times vary, $30-$145 (801-355-2787 or broadway-at-the-eccles.com).