The emphasis in theater openings this week is fun and games - not surprising, considering that all six productions (plus three solve-it-yourself sleuthing events) will be tied into a variety of special New Year's Eve activities.- "THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE," Gilbert & Sullivan's rollicking operetta, will play Dec. 31-Feb. 18 at Pages Lane Theatre, Centerville.

Director Ralph Rodgers' cast of more than 40 singers and dancers includes Tony Porter as the Pirate King, with Kathy Pike and Laurel Aposhian Warr alternating as Maybelle, Alan Stoneman and Nick Cash as the Major General, David Marsden and Jeremy Harris as Fredrick, and Ruth Stoneman and Rebecca Rodgers-Hansen as Ruth.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays, including New Year's Eve. The holiday performance will be followed by Pages Lane's famous "10 Million Calorie Dessert Bar," dancing to the Ken Foster Combo and noisemakers to ring in the new year at midnight.

Tickets for the special New Year's Eve event are $18 per person (or $10 for season subscribers). Prices for regular performances range from $6 to $8. Group rates are available. Some performances are already sold out and reservations are suggested. Call 298-1302.

- "SEE HOW THEY RUN," a madcap parody of British mysteries, is being repeated by Hale Center Theater due to public demand.

Directed by Ron Jewett (who appeared in HCT's first production of the show), the double-cast ensemble includes David Weekes and Christopher Strong as Corporal Clive Winton, Randi Harrington-Weekes and Jennifer O'Haley as Penelope Toop, Jack Kenison and Bruce Bredeson as Rev. Lionel Toop, Mary Parker Williams and Debe Pitts as Ida, the Cockney maid; Kris Woodward and JaNae Gibbs Cottam as Miss Skillon, Leslie Warwood and Michael Canham as Humphrey, the overwhelmed priest; Ron Jewett and John Williams as Sgt. Towers, Steven Graham Wilkinson and Bryan P. Jacobs as the Russian intruder, and Doyle Jenkins in both casts as the Bishop of Lax.

Playdates are Mondays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. from Dec. 29 through Feb. 13, with Saturday matinees at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 14, 21 and 28 and Feb. 4 and 11. Tickets range from $7 to $10.

Performances on New Year's Eve will be at 6:30 and 10 p.m., with all seats priced at $13 for the early show and $15 for the latter one. These prices include preshow entertainment, light refreshments and noisemakers.

All seating at the Hale Center Theater is reserved. Call 484-9257. Season tickets for 1995 are still available at prices ranging from $25 to $54.

Hale Center Theater is located at 2801 S. Main, South Salt Lake.

- MURDER, INTRIGUE AND COMEDY are on the menu New Year's Eve as Hunt Mystery & Company presents a trio of comedy whodunits in which actors stage a mystery and then the guests question the "suspects," sleuth for clues and solve the crime.

"As the Machiavellis Turn," a soap opera spoof with a double cast, will unfold at both the Red Lion and Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, while "Godfather of the Bride," a Mafia wedding comedy written by Jesse Dolce, will be presented at the Holiday Inn.

The Red Lion cast features Andy and Giselle Airriess, Don Bright, Lenore Cambria (choreographer), Julie Carlson, John Diehl, Michelle and Vic Groves (director).

Snowbird performers are Kera Hill, Martin King, Phil Lindhardt, Rachel Lindhardt, JoDean Pond, Gary Thompson (director) and Tabitha Thompson.

"Godfather of the Bride" takes place at Don Donatello Giovani's Opera Lovers Convention Hall - a speakeasy - where Chicago's No. 1 crime boss is hosting a wedding reception for his soon-to-be No. 2 man, Fingers Vinerelli, and his bride, Bunny Beckenstein, the speakeasy's notorious dancer.

The "Godfather" cast features Bruce Craven, Mike Hardy, Alisson Jensen, Joan Johnson, Alan Mangum, Jean Ockey, Doug Seivers and Denise Smith. Sue Jarrard is director.

Snowbird's package, at $40 per person, includes prime rib dinner and show. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and dinner starts at 8 p.m. Call 521-6040 for reservations.

Doors at the Red Lion open at 7:30 p.m. for a social, and dinner begins at 8 p.m. Call 328-2000 for reservations.

The Red Lion package, at $110 per couple, includes show, prime rib dinner, dancing until 1 a.m., party favors, complimentary parking, coat checks and midnight toast. Red Lion also is offering a special overnight lodging rate in conjunction with the mystery dinner of $65 plus tax.

Doors for the Holiday Inn show open at 7:30 p.m., and the dinner begins at 8 p.m. The $78-per-couple package includes the mystery, steak and shrimp dinner, dancing until 1 a.m., midnight toast and party favors. The Inn is also offering a special overnight mystery-dinner and lodging rate of $155 per couple, which also includes breakfast for two. Call 359-8600 for reservations.

- QUICK WITS, the Off Broadway Theatre's popular "improv" troupe, is scheduling a special late-night performance on New Year's Eve immediately following that evening's performance of OBT's current comedy production, "Star Twek: The Search for Spoof."

Tickets to the Quick Wits performance will be $5 for those just coming into the theater or $2 for those who were attending the "Star Twek" presentation.

The improv comedy program, which has received critical and public acclaim, will end in time for patrons to watch the spectacular "First Night" fireworks across the street in the Gallivan Plaza.

For reservations, call 355-4628. The theater is located at 272 S. Main.

- TWO CLASSIC COMEDIES by the late Larry Shue - "The Nerd" and "The Foreigner" - are opening at opposite ends of the Wasatch Front.

- Hale Center Theater/Orem is playing "The Nerd," directed by Kurk Davidson, whose double-cast ensemble includes Kolby Blackham (a riot in HCT/SLC's recent production of "Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole") and Peter Brown as obnoxious houseguest Rick Steadman, and Peter Fisher and Jarrod Phillips as his patient host.

Others in the cast include Amy Westerby Swenson, Terra Allen, Will Swenson, Cody Swenson, Jim Gastelum, LaMarr Nielsen, Linda Hale, Linda Campbell, Nathan Alexander and Antonio Palacios.

Regular performances will be Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. from Dec. 29 through Feb. 13, with one matinee on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 3:30 p.m. For reservations, call 226-8600.

There will also be New Year's Eve performances at 6 and 10 p.m., both followed by light refreshment and traditional party favors. Ticket for these performances will be $10 for the first show and $11 for the later one.

- The StageStop Theatre in Collinston is opening "The Foreigner," directed by Kristina Barrus of Logan.

The cast includes Michael Don Bahr, Tremonton, as Charlie, a painfully shy visitor who pretends to speak no English as a way to avoid joining in conversations (but which also allows him to be privy to several enlightening discussions).

Other performers include Anne Barrus, Ken Merkley, Arik Krieg, Jake Thompson, Carolyn Abel, Samantha Anderson and Jodie Barrus.

Performances (except New Year's Eve) will be at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays, Dec. 30-Feb. 11, with one matinee on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 3:30 p.m.

Performances on New Year's Eve will be at 6 p.m., for those who wish to attend the show and then move on to other activities, and at 9 p.m., which will be followed immediately by the StageStop's second annual New Year's Eve party. Tickets for this performance are $10 each. Regular admission is $7 for adults and $6 for children.

Reservations: 1-800-248-2530.

- "AUNTIE MAME," the comedy version of Patrick Dennis' zany novel (not the musical), opens a six-week run on Friday, Dec. 30, at the Terrace Plaza Playhouse in Ogden.

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Director Susan Wilhelm's cast includes Jolene Zito and Betty Brogan double-cast in the title role of Mame Dennis, with Nancy Blackburn as Vera Charles, Mame's loopy friend; Tom Lindgren as Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside, the Southern gentleman who sweeps Mame off her feet (and back into solvency); Paul Wilhelm as young Patrick and Kael Harris as the grown-up Patrick.

Performances will be Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. through Feb. 13. Admission is $7.50 for adults and $5 for children.

The performance on New Year's Eve will be followed by a buffet and dancing. Tickets for the postshow party are an additional $10 per person, which will include a baked potato bar, soup bar, finger foods and a banana split bar.

Call 393-0070 for reservations.

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