A word of advice to area theatergoers: Never see a show on "preview" night. It's basically a shakedown cruise and Thursday night's preview, essentially a dress rehearsal for families and friends of the cast, was pretty shaky, indeed.
The technical problems (murky sound and several malfunctioning microphones) are immediately fixable. But the show itself could use some more tinkering, as well. There was a lot of fidgeting going on during the way-too-long Act One and there are plenty of spots that could be trimmed back.I wasn't that impressed with efforts to bring the show "into the '90s," when Doug Stewart and Lex de Azevedo's original concept worked just fine.
This "Saturday's Warrior" still has some very moving moments and strong points, however. Some of Stewart and de Azevedo's best music is intact. "Line Upon Line," "Circle of Our Love," "Didn't We Love Him?" and the title song are as emotional and stirring as they were 25 years ago.
The leading players are also excellent - especially Mark Daniels as Todd Richards; Ashley Jepperson as Julie; Casey Reeves as rebellious Jimmy Flinders; Kiri Price as Pam Flinders, Jimmy's twin sister; LynDee Probst as little Emily; Brian McFadyn and Matthew Lewis as Elders Kestler and Green (probably not the most realistic LDS missionaries around, but they do a great job of providing the show's comic relief), and Davison Cheney and Kathryn Laycock Little as Mr. and Mrs. Flinders.
Agnes Broberg and Lesli Manning, as the senior and junior matron in the heavenly pre-existence segments, were also fun.
Clive Romney's new arrangements of de Azevedo's music gave the show a rich, full sound - but, as usual, there's an artistic trade-off when the score is pre-taped. The immediacy of a live orchestra is missing.
The choreography was clumsy at times and the segments of Jimmy with his sleazy friends ran on far too long.
Personally, I would have preferred seeing this in SLCC's Grand Theatre, which would have given it more of a "welcome home" feel. "Saturday's Warrior" just doesn't seem to fit in the Capitol Theatre.