Hey everyone! I hope you are doing well and having a great Memorial Day. As usual I’ve been keeping myself very busy and had a wonderful month. I somehow have managed to keep my COVID free track record going despite having sat next to someone who got it the next day at the Top Gun Maverick premiere. Thank goodness for that!
I had a great time on my youtube channel doing my annual Muppet May.
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UTAH Theater Report
I was able to see 11 live events and theater in the month of May. Here is my thoughts on everything I saw:
Passing Strange (Salt Lake Acting Company)- This was my first time going to SLAC and they did an incredible job. I’m realizing seeing so many shows that I prefer musicals with more traditional songs I can belt in my car going home. That’s not Passing Strange. They are more bluesy and experimental. Still good but they all ran together with nothing standing out as a great bop. However, the performers were all exceptional including a live band on stage! 6 out of 10
The Light in the Piazza (Hale Center Theater Sandy)- I saw the original Broadway run of this show in 2006 and I loved it then so was excited to see it again. I love how haunting the music is, most of it in minor keys with really unusual arrangements. I also love the story of a Mother learning to let go of her special needs daughter. It was pretty spicy for Hale with the first bedroom scene I can recall coming from them. The singers were incredible especially pulling off difficult songs with Italian accents. I loved the costumes and production design. A real winner. 8 out of 10
Body Awareness (Black Box Theater Rose Wagner. Pygmalion Productions)- this play was my first review as an official writer for Utah Theater Bloggers Association. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it much as I find words like the R word to be quite triggering. You can read my review here.
Camelot (Hale Center Theater Orem)- I loved just about everything about this version of the Lerner and Loewe classic. It’s not even a show where I am crazy about the songs but it was all executed so well it won me over. I’ll be sad when HCTO moves to their big stage because I love how they use the small space to tell intimate stories. The leads were so good especially Kat Hawley Cook as Guinevere. This was Broadway level quality if you ask me. 9 out of 10
Catch Me if You Can (Scera Center for the Arts in Orem)- I ended up seeing the last production of this show because I’m honestly not the biggest fan of the movie (unpopular opinion). I personally found the musical to be a big upgrade and this was so well done! I loved all the ensemble numbers and the 2 leads were outstanding- Mark Gordon as Carl and AJ Nielsen as Frank- so good! Rebecca Boberg also crushed it at the ending singing “Fly, Fly Away”. 8 out of 10
The Scarlet Pimpernel (Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse, Ogden)- this was such a pleasant surprise! It was my first time at Beverly’s Terrace and I will definitely be back. The Scarlet Pimpernel is honestly not my favorite show. The songs are mostly forgettable but the story is fun and they did it so well here! The costumes and the wigs were exceptional! Jeremy Gross was a riot as Percy and Jessica Andrus has a beautiful voice and did the French accent very convincingly as Marguerite. I honestly can’t imagine this show being done better. They even had some terrific sword fighting action! 9 out of 10
Hello Dolly (Pioneer Theater Company, Salt Lake City)- PTC always has Broadway level quality productions and this was no exception. It was so much fun to see Paige Davis as Dolly and the entire cast was up to her level. They also had incredible sets and costumes (and headpieces!). Some parts of Hello Dolly are dated and sometimes I think I remember the songs more for being in WALLE than for being great songs but it was still a fun night of theater. 7 out of 10
Sense and Sensibility (Lehi Arts Council)- Most of you know I don’t go to many plays but I am a huge Jane Austen nut so when I saw LAC was doing this play I had to go and I’m so glad I did. I absolutely adored this play, and I wish I had time to have seen it a second time. It was that good. Given limited sets and props they brought the story of the Dashwoods to life with many of the actors playing 2-4 parts and I especially liked Hannah Hagues as Marianne. A small show like this doesn’t have the budget of PTC or Hale but I enjoyed it just as much. The spirit of the production would have made Jane Austen proud! 9 out of 10
Greg Gutfeld Live (Live at the Eccles)- With this I was trying something different. I enjoyed Greg on his old show Red Eye and was hoping for a night of comedy like I saw on that show. It ended up being more inside Fox News than I expected, which I don’t really watch, so I was disappointed. There were some chuckles but I think I just had the wrong expectations. 4 out of 10
Head Over Heels (The Grand Theater, Salt Lake Community College)- When Head Over Heels came out on Broadway it got pretty bad reviews, but I heard from friends who enjoyed it, so I was excited when it appeared on The Grand’s lineup. I’ve been to many movies for Sundance at The Grand but this was my first time seeing a show on the big stage (I saw Assassins on the Black Box there in April). In the end, I really enjoyed this show and they did an amazing job! It feels like a new Shakespearean play except for it is queer positive and full of songs by the Go-Gos. The costumes were beautiful in this production especially those for Pythio who is a non-binary God-like character that presides over everything. There’s maybe one too many ideas, but I was engaged throughout. 7 out of 10
Hairspray (Draper Amphitheater)- After my first review of UTBA was negative I was so relieved to cover this delightful production of Hairspray at my local Draper Amphitheater (Draper Arts Council). You can read my review here.
So there you have it! 11 shows in May! What an amazing month of theater for yours truly. Thanks to all the artists who gave of their time to entertain me. I am beyond blessed.
PS- I went to the cardiologist for my annual check up and got a full clean bill of health! My doctor said my echocardiogram looked boring it was so good. That’s one thing I don’t mind being boring LOL
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