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SHOWS OFFER EVERYTHING FROM INSIGHT TO HILARITY

The 1992-93 season is well under way and, this week, theatergoers who've had their fill of fluff will find some insightful, thought-provoking material on at least a couple of stages, as well as more musicals and comedies.

Two of the biggest openings are the regional premiere of "God's Country" at Salt Lake Acting Company (see separate story on Page E10) and the national touring production of the Tony Award-winning musical comedy, "City of Angels" at the Capitol Theatre.There's also the annual Classical Greek Theatre Festival production at the University of Utah (something new this year - a Greek comedy instead of a tragedy).

Here are the details:

- "CITY OF ANGELS," opening the fall season for the Theater League of Utah, will take audiences into the behind-the-scenes world of a Hollywood screenwriter during the 1940s.

Written by Larry Gelbart ("A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," co-writer of "Tootsie" and the first four seasons of "M*A*S*H"), with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by David Zippel, the show won six Tonys and eight Drama Desk Awards during its initial Broadway run - partly for its innovative staging, creative technical work and exciting script/score.

Frank Rich of the New York Times called it "Exhilarating - the funniest American musical in years."

The local production features former "Brady Bunch" actor Barry Williams in the leading role of Detective Stone.

Performances will be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 22-24, at 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25-26, at both 2 and 8 p.m. There is no Sunday performance.

Ticket prices range from $19 to $37, depending on location (orchestra, mezzanine or balcony) and performance time. Tickets are available in advance from the Capitol Theatre box office and ARTS-TIX by calling 355-2787.

- "THE FROGS," Aristophanes' comic journey into the depths of Hades, is the 20th annual Classical Greek Theatre festival production.

Directed by Adrian Giurgea from a translation by Richmond Lattimore, it will mark two firsts for the popular festival: its first comedy, and the first to be staged with a more modern look.

Giurgea, one of the area's most innovative directors, will have the play open in the manner (but not the language) of a minstrel or vaudeville show, with actors wearing colorful clown costumes as they perform the various roles of the chorus in Hades.

In the cast are Tobin Atkinson, Christopher Borg, Julie Broadbent-Smith, Candace Christensen, Robert C. Chynoweth, Shay Gines, Annie Kleczkowski, Dawn Livingston, Marie Rameriz and Theresa Raunikar.

Admission to the four regular Salt Lake performances at the Red Butte Gardens will be $4 for adults and $2 for students. As in previous years, these performances will be at 8:30 a.m. on the next two Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 3-4.

There will also be a special fund-raiser on Friday, Sept. 25, at 5 p.m. featuring a Greek banquet followed by an evening performance of "The Frogs." Admission for this performance will be $30 each or $50 per couple.

Tickets to all of the Salt Lake City performances may be reserved by calling the Pioneer Memorial Theatre box office at 581-6961.

"The Frogs" will also tour to four Utah campuses: Brigham Young University's deJong Concert Hall, Thursday, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Utah State University's Kent Concert Hall, Logan, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 8 p.m.; Snow College's Joseph Crane Theatre, Ephraim, Thursday, Oct. 8, 8 p.m., and Weber State University's Austad Auditorium, Ogden, Friday, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m. Admission prices will vary at each location.

In connection with the performances, dramaturg James Svendsen will present free lectures on the following dates/locations: Sept. 23, 7:30 p.m., Rowland Hall-St. Mark's Library, 843 Lincoln St., Salt Lake City; Oct. 1, 6:30 p.m., BYU deJong Music Hall, Provo; Oct. 7, 7 p.m., USU Fine Arts Auditorium, Logan; Oct. 8, 7 p.m., Crane Auditorium, Snow College, Ephraim, and Oct. 9, 6:30 p.m., Monson Theatre, WSU, Ogden.

- "OLIVER," Lionel Bart's musicalization of Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist," will be presented this week and next by the Draper Arts Council in the Draper Community Theatre, 12441 S. 900 East.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 24-26; Monday-Tuesday, Sept. 28-29, and Thursday-Friday, Oct. 1-3.

For tickets, contact Elaine Redd at 571-6626.

- "THE WIZARD OF OZ," a Missoula Children's Theatre production featuring the talents of two professional touring actors - augmented by some four dozen local performers (all polished into shape in barely a week), will be staged at 4:15 and 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the SCERA Shell outdoor theater in Orem. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children, 3-11 years of age. For further information, call 225-2569.

- "THE BABYSITTERS," Ruth and Nathan Hale's comedy about a pair of grandparents whose planned world cruise is thwarted by having their grandchildren dumped in their laps, will run from Sept. 25 through Nov. 21 at the Hale Center Theater in Orem.

Performances are Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m.

The Hales themselves will portray the grandparents, along with a cast of mostly HCT/Orem regulars.

For reservations, call226-8600.

- "DON'T DRINK THE WATER," Woody Allen's farce about a family of American tourists mistaken for spikes and held prisoner in a fictional communist country, opens Friday, Sept. 25, at the StageStop Theatre in Collinston (between Tremonton and Logan), where it continues through Nov. 7.

Performances will be Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m., with one matinee on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 3:30 p.m. For reservations, call 257-7330.

- "IT FLOATS," is a melodrama being presented by the Curtain Call Children's Theater Company on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 11:45 a.m. outdoors adjacent to the Murray Mansion (on 5th Avenue, one-half block west of State Street).

The free performance is part of the "Murray Vintage Days" celebration.

The company is directed by Carol Lasson, who teaches various age groups at The Winner School, 6120 S. 2075 East.

- TWO ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES have been announced for "Polly: A One-Woman Musical," a historical show written by Steven Kapp Perry (based on journals, letters and oral histories about his great-great-great grandmother) and performed by Johanne Frechette Perry.

The production, which previously was presented in Springville and Provo, moved to Murray this past week. Remaining performances at the Vine Street Theatre, 184 E. Vine St. (4950 South) will be Friday, Sept. 25 and Friday & Saturday, Oct. 2-3, at 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday, Sept. 26, at noon. The latter performance is being staged as part of Murray's Vintage Days celebration. Admission is $5 in advance, $6 at the door or $20 per immediate family. Tickets are available in advance from Day Murray Music, 266-3537.Compiled by Ivan M. Lincoln, Deseret News theater editor, 237-2150. FAX: 237-2121. Information on stage productions or audition notices should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the opening or audition date.