One of the country's biggest theater festivals opens this week, along with a national Broadway tour, a new locally written parody, the revival of a lively musical revue, two Broadway classics and a Ruth Hale favorite (opening this summer's lineup on the Hale family ranch down by Capitol Reef National Park in Wayne County).
In addition, StageStop's Main Theatre is gearing up for two musicals in repertory in Smithfield, and an entertainment-filled "Old West Adventure" is being staged on weekends at Weston's Sherwood Hills Resort in Sardine Canyon.
- THE UTAH SHAKESPEAREAN FESTIVAL, embarking on its 35th season in Cedar City, has three Adams Shakespearean Theatre "preview" performances this week, to be followed by a brace of openings and previews the week of June 30-29, after which the regular six-plays-in-three-theaters routine begins.
We'll have more details, including a day-by-day chart, in our annual clip-and-save Shakespearean Festival guide (with all six reviews) in the Weekend section on Friday, July 5.
The three Shakespeare plays opening this week, all on the outdoor stage, are "The Comedy of Errors," directed by D. Scott Glasser, on Thursday, June 20; "Henry IV, Part One," directed by Paul Barnes (who directed "Henry VIII" last season), on Friday, June 21, and "Macbeth," directed by Robert Cohen, on Saturday, June 22.
Next week, they'll be followed by "The Winter's Tale," "The Three Musketeers" and Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado" in the Randall Jones Theatre.
For reservations, call 1-800-752-9849 or (in the Cedar City area) 586-7878.
- "CELEBRATING UTAH: OUR UNSPOKEN SONG," which premiered last summer at Promised Valley Playhouse, is back again for Utah's statehood centennial year.
It's been revised somewhat from last year, including some new music, but basically it's a song-and-dance revue spotlighting bits and pieces of Utah's history as seen through the eyes of ordinary, everyday citizens.
Conceived by Michael McLean and David Tinney (who directs), the show features a musical score written in collaboration with Emmy Award-winning composers Kurt Bestor and Sam Cardon.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays from June 20 through Aug. 31, with Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. throughout August. All seats are reserved with tickets ranging from $7 to $14. There are some discounts available for groups and senior citizens. For reservations, call 364-5696.
The historic Playhouse is at 132 S. State.
For parking, patrons have two options. One is to park in the ZCMI Center Mall, where parking is only $1 after 6 p.m. The other is to obtain an access card from the theater's box office for the Regent St. Parking Terrace (directly behind the theater and accessible from Orpheum Avenue). These "gobble cards" are used to activate the gate upon exiting the parking lot.
- "KUNG FOOEY: A CHOW MEIN WESTERN" is the Off Broadway Theatre's latest parody - this one poking fun at karate kitsch and martial arts Westerns.
Written by Eric Jensen (who's directing) and Bob Bedore, the spoof answers such compelling questions as: Will the half-Asian drifter ever snatch the pebble from his master's hand? Can he find love in the Old West? What's in the cave - gold, or a bear? What's the drifter's secret past and why does he have so many flashbacks? Will good triumph over evil? And - most of all - will the one good guy beat up the bad guys . . . in slow motion?
OBT patrons will see a cast of familiar faces, including Jensen as drifter John Cain Chain Smith; Russell Peacock as both show-off priest master Who and as Wong Lee; Eric's wife, Sandy Jensen, as the beautiful and mysterious Sara Lee; Alexis Owen as Catty, and newcomer Kaycee Raquel as seductive Miss Nadia Demeanor. Featured villains will be Bob Bedore as Marvin Mudley and Robert Bogue as Dogg.
Performances are Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. at the theater, 272 S. Main. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens and students and $5 for children 12 and under. All seats are reserved.
There will be no performance on July 4.
For reservations, call 355-4628.
- "THE WHO'S `TOMMY,' " the national touring version of the landmark rock musical, will play June 18-23 in Kingsbury Hall.
The rock group The Who first gave voice to "Tommy" in its 1969 "rock opera" concept album. The revised stage version took Broadway by storm when it opened on April 22, 1993, garnering praise from three of the Great White Way's biggest critics - Frank Rich of the New York Times, Clive Barnes of the New York Post and David Patrick Stearns of USA Today.
Composer/lyricist Pete Townsend collaborated with Tony Award-winning Des McAnuff on the book.
Opening the Theater League of Utah's 1996-97 season, "Tommy" is also the first full-scale Broadway production to play the newly renovated Kingsbury Hall. Tickets range from $17.50 to $37.50. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, June 18-21, at both 2 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, and at 2 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 23.
Tickets may be purchased in advance from all ArtTix outlets, including the Kingsbury Hall box office, the Capitol Theatre box office downtown and selected Albertsons stores or by calling 355-2787 or 355-5502.
- "FIDDLER ON THE ROOF," the classic Broadway musical, will be staged for four performances June 21-25 in the West Jordan Park Bowery, 8000 S. Redwood Road.
Directed by Jim Smith and choreographed by Margene Conde, the cast includes John Berg as Tevye and Joan Peterson as Golda, with Jennifer Jones, Jennifer Taylor and Tracee Conde as their marriageable daughters and Rob Christensen, Ryan Poole and Cade Evans as the anxious suitors.
Denise Gull will portray Yente, the matchmaker, with Steve Beckstead as Laze Wolf.
Tickets are $4 each or $20 per family. Group and senior citizens rates are also available. For reservations, contact Pat at 586-5586, Rosalie at 561-8866 or stop at the West Jordan City Offices. Tickets will also be available at the gate.
The show is being presented under the auspices of the West Jordan Arts Council.
- "DAMN YANKEES," the big Broadway hit based on "The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant," will alternate with "Man of LaMancha" through mid-August, to be followed by "The Secret Garden" and "The Sound of Music" in repertory from then until the end of September, at StageStop's Main Theatre in Smithfield.
"Damn Yankees" will open Friday, June 21, after which it will play Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m. through Aug. 2.
"Man of LaMancha" will play Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from June 29 through Aug. 10.
Tickets for both shows range from $5 to $8.
For reservations call the StageStop box office at 563-3922 or 1-800-248-2530.
- SHERWOOD HILLS, between Logan and Brigham City, which has been the site of such events as the long-running "Yahoo Revue" and several StageStop productions in its rustic amphitheater, is now the backdrop for "Haviland's Old West Adventure" cookout, wagon ride and entertainment.
Patrons hitch a ride aboard a covered wagon escorting a shipment of gold. (Are there bad guys waiting to hold up the shipment? Of course there are.)
But once the wagonload arrives - safely, we presume - a cowpoke-size dinner of baby back ribs and barbecue chicken is ready to be served, followed by what the spokesmen promise will be an evening of "foot-stompin' music and knee-slappin' comedy of the old West."
The fun starts about 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is $19.95 for adults and $9.95 for children (4 to 12 years of age). Kids 3 and under are free. Other weekday excursions can be reserved for large groups and private parties. For reservations, call 1-800-532-5006 or 245-5054. And bring a jacket to ward off the mountain chill.
The "Old West Adventure" is based across Highway 89 from Sherwood Hills Resort. (Haviland's also operates similar Old West Adventures in Fort McDowell, Ariz. (near Phoenix) and Mormon Lake, Ariz.
- "LOVE AND KISSES," a comedy by Ruth Hale, will play at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, June 21-22, at the Hale Summer Playhouse, located on the Hale family's ranch in Grover, Wayne County (west of Capitol Reef National Park).
For reservations, call 572-5050 in Salt Lake city or 425-3589 in Grover.