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WSU sending drama to competition

2 fund-raisers, plus Villa plays, open this week

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Three new stage productions are opening this week along the Wasatch Front:

WEBER STATE UNIVERSITY'S theater department is sending its recent production of Steven Dietz's drama, "God's Country," to Hayward, Calif., as part of the regional competition in the annual American College Theatre Festival. Two fund-raising performances are scheduled Thursday and Friday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Eccles Theatre of WSU's Browning Center, to help defray the cost of sending actors, technicians, scenery and costumes to the competition.

Three students from this year's production have been selected to compete for the annual Irene Ryan Scholarship, also conducted as part of the regional competition. They are Fancy Nancy Thacker, Arthur Lazalde and Travis Gauchay. This marks the third year in a row that WSU productions directed by Tracy Callahan have been selected for the regional ACTF competition.

All tickets for "God's Country" are $10 each. No "comp" tickets will be honored at these performances. For reservations, call the Dee Events Center box office at 626-8500 or, toll-free, at 1-800-978-8457.

THE VILLA PLAYHOUSE THEATRE, 254 S. Main, Springville, has scheduled a five-week run of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." It is directed by Kathleen Nutt; the cast includes Melissa Palmer as the Narrator and Forrest Foster as Joseph. Emily McFadyen is choreographing the show.

Performances will be 7:30 p.m., Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 1-March 9, with two Saturday matinees at 3 p.m. on Feb. 16 and 23. Tickets are $9 for adults, $8 for students and senior citizens and $7 for children, 11 and under. For reservations, call 489-3088. Tickets may also purchased online at www.VIP-Arts.com.

THE VILLA THEATRE'S nearby "black box" venue, the Little Brown Theatre, 239 S. Main, Springville, will host a two-week run of Jerome K. Jerome's long-lost drama "The Passing of the Third Floor Back," Jan. 31-Feb. 9, by a troupe of players from Brigham Young University. Director Ryan Peterson notes that the play, written in 1909, was a popular production until the mid-'30s, after which it mysteriously vanished.

The drama, which Peterson says contains strong, faith-based Christian themes, was recently staged in BYU's intimate Margetts Arena Theatre. The plot revolves around the embittered tenants of a London boarding house who make life difficult for each other. They believe that life offers little for them except what they can take from each other — until a dignified, refined old gentleman rents the last room in the house and helps them rediscover the goodness within themselves.

Performances will be 7:30 p.m., Jan. 31 and Feb. 1-2, 4 and 7-9, with one matinee at 2 p.m. on Feb. 2. General admission seating is $7 for adults, $6 for students and senior citizens and $5 for children, 12 and under. (Peterson notes this production is not recommended for children under 8, due to the complexity and depth of the story.) For reservations, call 489-3088.

E-mail: ivan@desnews.com