The Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State Street, has announced two major changes in its operation:
- the naming of Edward J. Gryska, one of the region's most respected stage directors, as the company's new full-time artistic director and associate producer.- the implementation of season subscription ticket sales.
Gryska has been involved in theater in Salt Lake City and Chicago for more than 25 years.
As founder and longtime producing artistic director for Salt Lake Acting Company, his directing credits have included the first Salt Lake productions of "Steel Magnolias," "M. Butterfly," "The Heidi Chronicles," "Pacific Overtures" and "The Little Shop of Horrors."
Some of Gryska's other notable productions included Frank and Barbara Layden in a fund-raising edition of "Love Letters" for the Utah Shakespearean Festival and several shows for Park City Performances, including `Picnic," "Daddy's Dying, Who's Got the Will" and "The Cardigans."
He also recently directed "Annie Get Your Gun" for Salt Lake Community College's Grand Theatre.
His Desert Star Playhouse directorial efforts over the past two years have included, among others, "The Three Musketeers," "Phantom of the Opera," "Dracula" and DSP's current production of "Star Wrek 1995: The Jokesters of Planet Tryanything."
"I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented actors, musicians, designers and technicians over the past two years and look forward to increasing the artistic excellence of the theater," said Gryska.
DSP operates year-round and plays to an average of 250 patrons at each performance, with two performances on many weekend evenings.
"It's a wonderful feeling to entertain so many people and see them enjoy the musical melodramas and parodies at the playhouse. Entertaining people and working with artists in a creative at-mos-phere are some of the reasons I'm in the theater business. Working with Michael and Alyce (Todd), who are the best executive producers around, is the best of worlds," Gryska said.
Mike Todd, who announced the changes at the playhouse, said Gryska will direct five of the six plays during the 1996 season and will assume responsibility for all artistic aspects of the theater.
Gryska, a native of Chicago, first came to Utah several years to to ski. He stayed long enough to complete his master's degree in English, taught part-time at Cottonwood High School and formed a small theater troupe that eventually evolved into Salt Lake Acting Company.
In 1990 he was one of the recipients of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce's "Honors in the Arts" awards.
He has also recieved the "best director award" from Utah Holiday Magazine and has served on the boards of Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah Citizens for the Arts, the Utah Arts Endowment and Park City Performances.
He is currently developing a Utah Centennial project.
- THE NEW SEASON PASSES for Desert Star Playhouse will allow patrons to pick and choose both dates and seating for all productions scheduled during the 1996 season, plus being able to purchase tickets to the 1995 holiday production of "A Christmas Carol Part Two or A Dickens of a Christmas" prior to when regular ticket sales begin Sept. 14.
A prime season pass is $45 for adults and $35 for children, with regular season passes priced at $35 for adults and $25 for children. (The "prime" passes include admission to the 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday performances. The regular passes do not.)
Dates and titles of 1996 Desert Star Playhouse productions are:
- Jan. 11-March 9: "Les Miserables, or - at DSP - A Whole Lot Less Miserable."
- March 14-May 11: "The Sword of Zorro or From Z to Shining Z."
- May 16-July 13: "Surfin' Safari: Wipe Out at Waimea Bay."
- July 18-Sept. 14: "Star Wrek 1996: Where No Melodrama Has Gone Before."
- Sept. 19-Nov. 16: "Frankenstein's Bride or The Girl of My Screams."
- Nov. 21-Jan. 4, 1997: "White Christmas: Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow."
For information on season tickets, contact the Desert Star Playhouse box office at 266-7600.