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MELODRAMA THEATER MAY OPEN FRIDAY

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If everything goes according to plan, the Desert Star Theatrics company, Utah's only year-round musical melodrama troupe, should open on Friday, Nov. 3, in its new and permanent home - the Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State.

Of course, in the best melodramatic tradition - the kind of suspense that comes from being shackled to the railroad tracks with the speeding locomotive approaching - DSP is cutting things precariously close to the edge.If you want to "boo and hiss," then direct your ire at the intricate maze of building codes - which are being scrutinized and adhered to in meticulous detail, especially on the heels of the disastrous San Francisco earthquake.

So, at the time this was written, producer Michael Todd and artistic director James Gooden, were hopeful that the theater would be in shape to open but were also considering the possibility that the opening might have to be postponed a few days.

We'll keep you posted.

They're taking the old Vista Theater, known years earlier as the Iris, and giving it a rustic "old West" look, with barnwood on the walls and calico tablecloths on the tables, where patrons will be able to munch on free popcorn while watching family oriented melodrama.

The company's premiere production will be "Flower of the South, or Nipped in the Bud," which we could describe as a sort of "Gone With the Wind" meets "The Sound of Music."

OK, so maybe it's not quite THAT spectacular, but it is a musical and takes place in the post-Civil War South, where a dashing young Yankee lieutenant becomes involved with the charming Charlotte Thibudaux, the aforementioned "Flower of the South," whose father, Col. Gus Thibudaux, has lost his mind.

He's also about to lose his beloved Bell Haven Plantation.

Gooden is directing the production, with musical direction by Val David Smithson.

Curtain time will be 8 p.m. every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Call 266-7600 for reservations. (Some holiday dates are already sold out.)

Pizza and a variety of ice cream treats may be added to the Desert Star Playhouse's menu by Christmas.

Admission will be $5 for adults or $3 for children 12 and under. Group rates are also available.