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Curtains rising on myriad shows

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The national touring version of a 74-year-old musical classic, a children's theater drama exploring the world of the deaf and a pair of Shakespearean works are among the region's new openings this week.

"SHOW BOAT," Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's 1927 musical adaptation of Edna Ferber's classic novel, will dock for eight performances at Kingsbury Hall, Feb. 27-March 4. (For details, see last Friday's Weekend entertainment section.)

Performances will be Tuesday-Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All seats are reserved. Tickets range from $25 to $45. Reservations can be made in advance at any ArtTix outlet, including the Capitol Theatre, Kingsbury Hall and Abravanel Hall or by calling 355-2787 or 1-888-451-2787. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.arttix.org. For group rates (20 or more), call the Theater League of Utah at 355-2200.

"THE TASTE OF SUNRISE," Suzan Zeder's dramatic exploration of the dilemma of education for the deaf, will play Feb. 28-March 10 in Brigham Young University's Nelke Experimental Theater. It's being directed by Harold Oaks, producing director of the Young Company, a Brigham Young University troupe that presents children's theater productions. "The power of the piece comes from its focus on a handicapped person's view of life," says Oaks.

Daniel Payne of Huntsville, Texas, will play the central role of Tuc, a young boy sent from the farm to a state school for the deaf. All performances will include American sign language interpretation.

Performances will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays with one matinee on Saturday, March 3, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $6 for the general public or $4 for those with BYU identification cards (students, faculty and staff). For reservations, call 378-4322.

DESERT STAR PLAYHOUSE will revive Peter Van Slyke's spoof, "Indiana Bones: The Lost City, or Safari So Good," playing March 1-April 12. (Originally, a brand new parody, "Hotel Utah: This Is the Right Place," had been announced for this time slot, but that production has been moved to April 26-June 9.)

Directed by Scott Holman, the cast includes Ed Farnsworth as professor Sydney, who has come up missing while searching for the Lost City; Holly Braithwaite as his daughter, Cynthia, who is searching for him; Jack Drayton as the daring and dashing Indiana Jones, who is leading her trek through the jungle; Matt Kohler as the villainous Herr Lipman; Christopher glade as his dim-witted comrade, Raboul; Arika Schockmel as the ambitious Ruby; and Holman as Cynthia's fiance, Oswald Banning III. The cast will also perform an "Under the Big Top" olio revue.

Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State, features cabaret-style seating and optional food service, including pizza (prepared and baked on the premises). All seating is reserved. Tickets range from $6-$12. There are student, senior-citizen and family discounts, and group rates for selected performances. Performances are 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Fridays, and 3, 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturdays. For reservations, call 266-7600.

BRUSH UP YOUR SHAKESPEARE with performances of "Twelfth Night" in the University of Utah's Lab Theatre or an abbreviated Utah Shakespearean Festival student edition of "Julius Caesar," scheduled for next Saturday in the Provo Tabernacle.

"Twelfth Night," directed by Adam Eisenstein, will be staged for five performances, March 1-4. Eisenstein, a second-year MFA directing student at the U., is setting this production in a modern-day seaside resort. While dress is contemporary, the language will be pure Shakespeare.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday, with one matinee at 4:30 p.m. Friday. The Lab Theatre is in the Performing Arts Building, directly west of the campus bookstore. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for all students. Tickets may be reserved in advance by calling 581-6961.

"Julius Caesar," a Utah Shakespearean Festival student-touring production, will be presented on Saturday, March 2, at 8 p.m., in the Provo Tabernacle as part of the Provo Arts Council's monthly First Fridays Downtown activities. The 75-minute adaptation, geared to elementary school performances, is visiting Provo as part of a 15-week statewide tour. A cast of seven players performs all of the play's essential roles.

The First Fridays event also includes a gallery stroll from 6 to 8 p.m. For further information, contact the arts council at 852-6646.

"BAREFOOT IN THE PARK," Neil Simons' 1963 comedy about a newlywed couple coping with life in a tiny, fifth-floor New York apartment, will play throughout March at the Little London Dinner Theatre, 20 S. Main, Pleasant Grove.

Director Rodney Elwood's cast includes Paul "Wally" Walstad Jr. as Paul, Amie Gottfredson as Corie and Lesli Manning as Mrs. Banks, the bride's mother.

Regular performances will be on Fridays and Saturdays, March 2-31, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m., dinner served at 6:45 and curtain at 7:15. Cost for both dinner and performance is $27.50 per person.

There will also be one $10 matinee (no meal served), on Saturday, March 24.

The theater is also continuing its special "student nights" on two Thursdays during the month (March 8 and 22), with students admitted for $15 each. There will also be two special Monday evening "family night" performances on March 5 and 26, when all children, 17 and under, are admitted for half price.

For reservations, call 785-0827.

"THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE," Gilbert and Sullivan's swashbuckling operetta, will be staged March 2-April 7 at the Applause Dinner Theater in Ogden City Mall. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. Advance reservations are required. Call 622-1722.

"THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS," Howard Ashman and Alan Menken's musical version of Roger Corman's 1961 science-fiction comedy, will be presented March 2-10 in the Allred Theatre of Weber State University's Browning Center for the Performing Arts.

Directed by Tracy Callahan, the cast includes Joey Khoury as Seymour, a nerdish flower shop clerk; Ginger Bess as Audrey, the girl he loves; Jeremy Flygare as Mr. Mushnik, their boss; Brett Palmer as Orin, a sadistic dentist; and Meredith Hinckley, Allison Holtkamp and Eliza Wren Payne as, respectively, Ronette, Chiffon and Crystal, the show's smart, hip Greek chorus. Robby Facer will provide the voice of Audrey II, a huge, sharklike pod with a nasty appetite for human flesh.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m., March 2, 3, 5 and 8-10. Tickets, priced at $5.50 for students and $8.50 for adults, are available in advance from the Dee Events Center box office, 1-800-WSU-TIKS. There will also be one free performance on Wednesday, March 7, for WSU students only. Tickets will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m. Each person with a valid, current WSU activity card will receive one ticket to this performance. No others will be admitted, and no other tickets will be sold.

THE MERMAID THEATER of Nova Scotia will present "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "The Very Quiet Cricket" at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 2 only, in Park City's Eccles Center. The touring company utilizes life-size puppets and a black-light show to tell the stories found in Eric Carle's books.

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" follows a caterpillar's metamorphosis into a spectacular butterfly, while an unofficial sequel to the story, "The Very Quiet Cricket," follows the quest of a little cricket who yearns to find his own voice.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children. Call 435-655-3114 for reservations. The theater is at 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City.

"FOREVER PLAID," one of the most popular off Broadway revues, gets yet another Wasatch Front production, this time March 2-24 at the Heritage Community Theatre in Perry, where it will run at 8 p.m. on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, with one matinee on March 10 at 2 p.m.

Paul Naylor is directing the tune-filled show, which features an array of popular "guy group" songs from the 1950s and early '60s, including "Catch a Falling Star," "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," "No, Not Much" and "Three Coins in the Fountain."

The cast includes Rob Christensen as Frankie, Roger Brunker as Sparky, John Richards as Jinx and Jack Christensen as Smudge.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for senior citizens (62 and over) and children (12 and under). For reservations, call 435-723-8392. All seats are reserved.

"I DO! I DO!" is being staged March 1-19 by the St. George Musical Theatre in that community's historic Opera House, 212 N. Main. Don and Dawna Kenworthy will be featured in the two-person show, Tom Jones' and Harvey Schmidt's acclaimed musical version of "The Fourposter," which follows one couple through 50 years of wedded bliss.

All tickets are $10 each. Performances are 7:30 p.m., Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays. For reservations, call 435-628-8755, or purchase tickets directly from Kenworthy Signs and Monuments, 735 E. Tabernacle, or R&K's Book Store, 36 E. Tabernacle.

Information on stage productions or auditions must be submitted at least three weeks in advance. Compiled by Ivan M. Lincoln, Deseret News theater editor, 236-6017. Send material to Deseret News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, UT 84110 (Attn: Ivan Lincoln), or send it via e-mail: ivan@desnews.com or Fax to 237-2550.