Bug spray, a blanket, a picnic basket and paper plates are all things you can use at a barbecue. But as June continues bustin’ out all over, you may find items that need to be added to your barbecue checklist as amenities for seeing summer theater in Utah.
Just ask anyone in shorts who has shivered through a musical at Sundance Summer Theatre, or noticed how some audience members can be truly moved by the spirit(s) at a performance of Saturday’s Voyeur.
Summertime for a few Utah theaters can be made as enjoyable by what you take in, as by what you get out of each performance. (Just be sure to check with each theater to find out what is acceptable to bring.)
Just like Hollywood’s summer bill of fare, most theaters turn their attention to comedies and lighter works to fill out their summer seasons. In response to Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace, Desert Star Playhouse has lined up Space Wars ’99: May the New Farce be With You (June 17-July 31)—no doubt a family oriented parody of sci-fi films. And whether you consider the show a menace or not, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical juggernaut The Phantom of the Opera (now through July 31) has returned to haunt the Capitol Theatre with its syrupy score, sophisticated stagecraft and a ship-load of souvenirs to show off that you can afford up to $70 a piece for Phantom tickets.
Utah’s perennial state satire Saturday’s Voyeur (June 23-Aug. 29) returns to the Salt Lake Acting Company with plenty of ammunition to aim at Our Gang (this year’s subtitle) and their involvement with the Olympic scandal. And with all of the construction going on in anticipation of Olympic tourists, Ionesco’s absurdist The Chairs (now-June 26) starts welcoming all of Utah’s non-existent guests at Park City’s Egyptian Theatre, while The Teahouse of the August Moon (July 7-Aug. 7) at Hale Centre Theatre could possibly show how some IOC members were entertained during Salt Lake’s Olympic bid.
With Shakespeare’s recent proliferation on the silver screen, Salt Lake Shakespeare’s revival of The Compleat Works of Willm Shakspr (Abridged), through June 20, promises to be a bawdy take on the ubiquitous Bard. The Salt Lake Community College also offers a dose of Shakespearean humor with The Comedy of Errors (Aug. 5-14) in the Alder Amphitheater. The Off-Broadway Theatre turns away from parody to celebrate Neil Simon’s The Star Spangled Girl (July 15-Aug. 21) in all her beauty and redolence. Wasatch Theatre Company will show She Stoops to Conquer (July 9-17) from their West Valley deli, while StageRight Theatre Company compiles a musical revue in A Century of Song (June 12-July 10).
And since Utahns seemingly never tire of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Aug. 12-30), August Night Productions will pull Joseph and his rainbow-colored coat out of the closet once again for a run at Kingsbury Hall.
South of Salt Lake
Joseph will also appear this summer in the great outdoors of Tuacahn along with Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (June 18-Sept. 4). Tuacahn’s decision to present two sure-fire hits could possibly be so the creators of Utah! The Musical will have another chance to rework the show. Or the producers at Tuacahn may just want to raise desperately needed funds for their foundling charter school for performing arts.
And as the grand daddy of all Utah summer theater, the Utah Shakespearean Festival (June 14-Sept. 4) in Cedar City offers three Elizabethan classics and three 20th century works. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear and Troilus and Cressida will be performed in the Wooden-O replica Adams Theatre, while The Lion in Winter, You Never Can Tell and Damn Yankees fill the indoor Randall Theatre. This year the Utah Shakespearean Festival also includes a brief fall season (Sept. 16-Oct. 16) with guaranteed crowd-pleasers Forever Plaid and The Compleat Works of Willm Shakspr (Abridged).
Sundance Summer Theatre in Provo Canyon will present a variety of works this year, ranging from full-fledged musicals to workshop productions in their July Theatre Lab. Director Damian Gray, who nearly deconstructed Gypsy last year, is on tap to see that Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (June 30-July 13) goes to the ball while a rehearsal-concept rendition of Oliver! (Aug. 2-14) will feature Roger Daltry, formerly of The Who. Sundance also offers an English version of the 1964 French musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (July 16-29) starring Grammy-nominee Maureen McGovern. And the children’s matinee shows Cartoon Theatre (July 7-10) and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Aug. 4-21) round out the season.
Other southern summer offerings include: The Tributary Theatre in Moab with Spoon River Anthology (June 9-July 3) and Side by Side by Sondheim (Aug. 9-14); Hale Centre Theatre in Orem with George Washington Slept Here (July 9-Aug. 16) and Lucky Stiff (Aug. 20-Oct. 11); The Actor’s Repertory Theatre Ensemble in Provo at the Castle Amphitheater (Aug. 26-Sept. 18) with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Lion in Winter; Provo Theatre Company with I Do! I Do! (July 1-Aug. 14); and Orem’s SCERA Shell with State Fair (June 18-28) and Shenandoah (July 30-Aug. 14).
You can’t go wrong with repertory in Logan, so Utah Festival Opera and the Old Lyric Repertory Company will use variety as an enticing spice to lure theatergoers. Cash on Delivery, The Diary of Anne Frank, Sherlock’s Last Case and the Biblical musical Two by Two all are part of the Old Lyric Repertory Company’s season in its cozy Lyric Theatre, June 3-July 31.
And in the spacious Eccles Theatre, Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman, Sigmund Romberg’s The Student Prince and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel all rotate from July 15-Aug. 7.
Even more musicals can be found in Ogden, where the Utah Musical Theatre presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I (July 9-24), and Peery’s Egyptian Theatre shows Mary Rodger’s Once Upon a Mattress (July 30-Aug. 14). In Centerville, the Rodgers Memorial Theatre presents the Marx Brothers nostalgia musical A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (June 25-July 31) and Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls (Aug. 20-Sept. 25). Check City Weekly’s Entertainment Listings for more information on these and other summer shows.