SALT LAKE CITY — Suspense, murder, mystery, ghosts and even your favorite creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky family add up to lineup of theater offerings fitting for October.
We’ve gathered a list of 13 local theater productions to help you get into that eerie Halloween feeling. Just don’t let triskaidekaphobia — fear of the number 13 — stop you from seeing one of these theater productions opening across the state this month.
Musical theater and murder mystery converge in a literal sense in “Curtains.” When Boston’s Colonial Theatre should be celebrating a successful opening night, the theater is instead turned into a crime scene after the show’s leading lady mysteriously dies onstage — but have no fear, the detective assigned to the case is a musical theater fan.
A local production of the Tony-nominated musical opened at the Terrace Plaza Playhouse on Sept. 28, but you can catch the high jinks clear through Nov. 10, dates and times vary, 99 E. 4700 South, Ogden, $15-$17 for adults, $14-$16 for students and seniors, $10-$12 for children ages 12 and younger (801-393-0070 or terraceplayhouse.com).
‘Dracula vs. Henry Botter’
“If you’re a Harry Potter fan, get ready to be mesmerized! If you’re a Dracula fan, be prepared to be petrified. If you’re an OBT fan, get set to laugh your glasses off!” That’s the promise The Off Broadway Theatre touts about its most recent comedy, “Dracula vs. Henry Botter.”
Join Henry Botter and his friends as they seek to discover the mystery behind their new teacher and the mass of students winding up dead from their blood being drained. Performances run through Nov. 3, dates and times vary, The Off Broadway Theatre, 272 S. Main, $16 for adults, $12 for students, seniors and military, $10 for children 2-12 (801-355-4628 or theobt.org).
‘The Rocky Horror Show’
The Grand Theatre is bringing the stage version of “The Rocky Horror Show” this Halloween season, complete with audience participation prop bags. With book, music and lyrics by Richard O'Brien, the musical premiered in March 1975 with the film version, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” hitting theaters later that year. Featuring a rock ‘n’ roll score, the transvestite scientist Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter and plenty of misadventures, the film has since become a cult classic.
Audiences should note that the show contains objectionable language and a large amount of sexual references. The film version is R-rated.
“The Rocky Horror Show,” Oct. 4-27, dates and times vary, The Grand Theatre, 1575 South State, $14-$23 (801-957-3322 or grandtheatrecompany.com)
All is not as it seems in the play “Angel Street.”
Although the Manninghams appear to live a tranquil life, Mr. Manningham is actually driving his wife into insanity. While her husband is away, Mrs. Manningham is visited by a detective investigating her husband, who the detective believes is a homicidal maniac wanted in a 15-year-old murder case.
Playwright Patrick Hamilton’s Victorian thriller “Angel Street,” also known as “Gas Light,” first premiered in 1939 and is actually the origin of the psychological term “gaslighting,” which is “an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation,” according to Britannica.
The play will run at the Covey Center, Oct. 4-27, dates and times vary, 425 W. Center, Provo, $14-$16 (801-852-7007 or coveycenter.org).
‘The Addams Family’ (times two)
The Addams family: They're the creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and altogether ooky family we’ve come to know and love. The magazine cartoon turned TV show turned Saturday morning cartoon turned movie added Broadway musical to its resume in 2010.
Local audiences can see the whole crew — Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Lurch, Grandmama, Wednesday, Pugsley and Thing — in two different productions this month. While one is in Draper and the other is in Ogden, the story is the same: Wednesday is in love with a “normal” guy and tells her father, but asks him not to tell her mother. Things get even more complicated when the boy and his parents come for dinner.
Draper Theatre’s production runs Oct. 5-29, dates and times vary, 12366 S. 900 East, Draper, $12 for adults, $10 for students, seniors and military, $8 for children (801-572-4144 or drapertheatre.org).
The Ziegfeld Theater’s runs Oct. 12-Nov. 3, dates and times vary, 3934 S. Washington Blvd., Ogden, $17-$19 (855-944-2787 or theziegfeldtheater.com).
Mary Shelley’s 19th-century novel “Frankenstein” comes to life onstage in Utah this Halloween season courtesy of Sugar Factory Playhouse. According to the group’s website, “this thrilling stage adaptation by award-winning playwright Mark Scharf retains all the dread, anguish and heart of the original.” See it Oct. 5-15, dates and times vary, Pioneer Hall, 1140 W. 7800 S., West Jordan, $8 for general, $5 for children ages 12 and younger and seniors (801-294-1242 or sugarfactoryplayhouse.com).
‘Ghost the Musical’
Halloween is a time for ghosts and all things eerie, but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for a little love story too. For Utah audiences, that comes in the form of “Ghost the Musical” at the Empress Theatre.
Based on the 1990 film starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg, “Ghost” gets its title from its leading man, Sam — who stays behind as a spirit after he’s murdered in order to keep his girlfriend, Molly, safe.
Fun fact: Goldberg won her first and only Oscar for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Oda Mae Brown, the psychic through whom Sam tries to warn Molly.
“Ghost: The Musical,” Oct. 5-20, dates and times vary, Empress Theatre, 9104 W. 2700 South, Magna, $10-$12 (801-347-7373 or empresstheatre.com).
‘Little Shop of Horrors’
You may know its songs — try not to sing along as you read the title “Little Shop of Horrors,” I dare you — but what you might not know about this movie-turned-musical-turned-movie is that the music was written by Alan Menken — yes, that Alan Menken, the one behind Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.”
This story about a young floral shop assistant who accidentally discovers a carnivorous plant started out as a 1960 comedy/horror film, then made it’s off-Broadway debut as a musical in 1982 before heading back to the big screen in 1986, this time as a comedy/horror/musical.
See Seymour and his growing plant, Audrey II, in Sandy Arts Guild’s production Oct. 5-20, dates vary, 7:30 p.m., Mount Jordan Middle School, 300 E. 9400 South, Sandy, $12 for general, $10 for seniors and students, $8 for children (801-568-2787 or sandyarts.com).
‘Musical Comedy Murders of 1940’
The title “Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” is fairly self-explanatory, minus the musical part. While it does have a song or two, but “Musical Comedy Murders” is a play, not a musical, but it does have plenty of murder and comedy to go around.
A group of theater producers — whose last show ended in the murder of three of its showgirls — meet at the slightly creepy mansion of a wealthy potential backer, only to find that murder has followed them there. Add in a “dim-witted police inspector (who) does little to solve the mystery as the body count rises and adds oh-so-much levity to the gruesome scene” and you have what Heritage Theatre calls a show that is “part classic murder mystery and part irreverent comedy.”
See it at the Heritage Theatre, 2505 South Highway 89, Perry, Box Elder County, Oct. 5-27, dates and times vary, $10-$12 (435-723-8392 or heritagetheatreutah.com).
Agatha Christie (times two)
Could October be complete without a play or two by Queen of Mystery herself — Agatha Christie?
Lucky for you, there are two opening locally this month.
A honeymoon cruise down the Nile River turns into a murder mystery in Christie’s “Murder on the Nile.” Complete with “a multitude of memorable passengers, all with a reason to kill,” according to the production's website, the play is a true whodunit and will run at Brigham’s Playhouse from Oct. 11-Nov. 17, dates and times vary, 25 N. 300 West, Washington, $23 for adults, $21 for seniors, $17 for children ages 5-17 and students with ID, children under age 5 not admitted (435-251-8000 or brighamsplayhouse.com).
“The Moustrap” follows a similar vein, this time set in a boarding house during a snowstorm where a group of travelers discover they have a murderer in their midst. What results is “a tale of suspense and terror that ends as shockingly today as it did in 1952,” according to Brigham Young University, where the show will run Oct. 26-Nov. 10, dates and times vary, Harris Fine Arts Center, Pardoe Theatre, BYU, Provo, $12-$16 (801-422-2981 or arts.byu.edu).
‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’
The fact that Tim Burton directed and Johnny Depp starred in the film adaptation of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” betrays a lot about the musical.
With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Hugh Wheeler, the thriller musical premiered on Broadway in 1979 and won eight Tony Awards, including best musical. “Sweeney Todd” — a “tasty, thrilling, theatrical treat has simultaneously shocked, awed and delighted audiences across the world,” according to Music Theatre International, the musical’s licensing company — features a vengeful barber returning to civilization after years of being unjustly exiled. As he takes his bloody route to getting revenge on the judge who sentenced him, Sweeney Todd joins forces with the pie-maker Mrs. Lovett, who uses the barber’s blood lust to add a little something extra to her meat pies.
"Sweeney Todd" will make his way onto Pioneer Theatre Company’s stage Oct. 26-Nov. 10, dates and times vary, 300 S. 1400 East, $44-$66 (801-581-6961 or pioneertheatre.org).
PTC notes that while the movie version of "Sweeney Todd" was R-rated for graphic bloody violence, “the stage version will be somewhat milder and would likely receive a PG-13 rating.”