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'Thrillers' to haunt area stages

'Forever Dead' and 'Nightmare Nuptials' among the offerings

Halloween-related productions opening this week include two musicals, a parody and one audience-participation mystery by a new troupe.

"FOREVER DEAD," written and directed by Eric Jensen, is having an encore presentation Friday through Oct. 29 at the Off Broadway Theatre, 272 S. Main. It's a sort of "Bella Lugosi Meets Forever Plaid" approach to the season's monster-oriented activities, as Frankenstein, Dracula, the Werewolf and the Mummy combine in a strange quartet.

The cast includes Jon Baty as Frankie, Brent Petersen as Bloods, Jim Hardwick as Sphynx and Eric Armstrong as Sparky.

Performances are Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with added shows on the last two Thursdays of the month and one Saturday matinee on Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for students, senior citizens and military and $6 for children, 12 and under (355-4628 or www.theobt.com).

"NIGHTMARE NUPTIALS," an audience-participation mystery by the Onstage Players, a new Wasatch Front troupe, will be staged nightly except Sundays from Friday through Oct. 29 at Gardner Village's Gathering Place, 1100 W. 7800 South, West Jordan.

The basic plot revolves around Skeletoni Jr., newly crowned prince of Halloween, who must choose between his duty and his heart.

Co-written, directed and choreographed by Scott Stone and Liz Edminston, the cast includes Eric Fillerup as Skeletoni Jr., Brandi Anderson as Mummy Dearest, Candice Beardall as Mevolent and Reese Cooper as Jack, with Edminston as Belle Spectre and Stone as Krank.

Stone said his company, based in Eagle Mountain, plans to eventually build a theater at Gardner Village for fully staged productions and possibly an outdoor venue as well. Next year they'll be doing free, 30-minute "mini-shows" during July and Halloween and Christmas productions in the fall and winter.

"We hope this is the start of an extended stay at Gardner Village," he said in a telephone interview.

All tickets are $25.99, plus tax, for the dinner and performance. Curtain is 7 p.m. (566-0197 or check the www.gardnervillage.com Web site for details).

On Fridays and Saturdays, 5-8 p.m., Oct. 7-20, Gardner Village will also have a "Ride With a Witch" activity — rides in horse-drawn wagonettes, with costumed witches in the driver's seat. Rides are $2 per person or $15 for families (up to eight).

"LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS," the musical stage version of the classic, campy Grade-B movie thriller, will play from Thursday through Oct. 29 at St. George Musical Theatre, 37 S. 100 West, St. George.

Directed by Kerry Waggoner, the cast includes Brodie Perry as Seymour and Terry Wlodarek as Mushnik, with Loni Stookey and Kristina Kessler sharing the role of Audrey, and Matt Dobson and Matt Boulton double-cast as Orin, the diabolical dentist.

Kiki Shakespeare Thompson provides the voice and Tim Belmont is the behind-the-scenes operator of the carnivorous, blood-thirsty plant, Audrey II.

The Utah Shakespearean Festival, which produced the show during the fall of 2003, assisted with the costuming.

Performances are Mondays and Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with one matinee scheduled for 2 p.m. on Oct. 15. Tickets range from $7 to $15 (435-628-8755).

Also, during the run of the show, St. George Musical Theatre is holding "Ghost Tours" — a narrated, walking tour of several alleged haunted sites within a two-block radius of the theater. Some actors along the route will portray local ghosts. The tours, which leave every half hour between 7 and 9 p.m., are conducted on Tuesdays

and Wednesdays, starting at the theater. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for children and $5 each for those in groups of six or more. Patrons are encouraged to dress warmly.

"PHANTOM," Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopitt's acclaimed musical version of the classic "Phantom of the Opera" tale, opens Friday and continues through Nov. 5 at the Alpine Playhouse, 81 S. 100 West, Alpine.

Cory Larsen is directing. This production, with music and lyrics by composer Yeston and script by Kopitt, is closer to Gaston Leroux's original novel than Andrew Lloyd Webber's version.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $10.50 for children (800-838-3006 or www.alpineplayhouse.com).


E-mail: ivan@desnews.com