FRRUtah Extra: Thoughts On Utah Community Theater After Seeing The Addams Family

Yesterday I saw The Addams Family at the Capitol Theatre with my brother. I didn’t go to review it, but rather to enjoy it. And enjoy it I did! It was a well-crafted production with a very talented cast, immaculate sets, and nearly seamless technical execution. I laughed the whole way through and hummed the songs on my way home.

It was interesting to watch this professional production after having seen several community productions over the past few months, and being in one this summer. I couldn’t help drawing comparisons throughout, and I was happy to see that the community theater I’ve enjoyed does not suffer from the comparison. The areas where Addams Family clearly excelled beyond community theater levels are in the technical production and set design, but even this professional production had at least one glitch in the sound system (Pugsley’s mic was not on for his first lines), and I’ve seen some pretty impressive sets used in local community theater (Spanish Fork’s My Fair Lady comes to mind). So yes, in these areas professional theater is a notch above community theater, but the community theater I’ve seen is not horribly far behind–it seems limited resources foster creative solutions.

The one area where, in my opinion, our local community theaters are on par with this professional production is in the talent department. I was really impressed with the cast yesterday. Douglas Sills’ comedic timing as Gomez was perfect, Sara Gettelfinger’s body language as Morticia conveyed as much story as her dialogue, and Cortney Wolfson’s acting talent shined in her ability to convey Wednesday’s inner conflict between her family values and the love she has for her new boyfriend. But quite honestly, I have been no less impressed to hear Shannon Eden singing Eliza Doolittle’s songs, to see Steve Dunford transform from Jekyll to Hyde in Payson Theater’s Nightmare on Broadway, to laugh out loud at Miranda Duke’s and Emily McKinney’s portrayals of Calliope and Melpomene in Xanadu.

In short, The Addams Family at Capitol Theatre was wonderful. If you get a chance to see the play, particularly if you catch this same company performing it somewhere else (sadly yesterday was their last day in Utah), I highly recommend it. But at the same time, don’t forget that we have some pretty amazing productions happening here in Utah all the time, being put on by the very talented people in our community theaters.

Musings about a weekend filled with theater

Here at Front Row Reviewers Utah we not only want to share reviews of local theater with you, but give you a glimpse into different experiences we have with theater as well. In this post, Jennifer Mustoe reflects on a weekend full of theater.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been rehearsing for a 10-minute play called Hope as a Leak. It was a cute play. I played a nurse. Her name? Nurse. It was the story of man, Tom, a young woman, named Young Woman, and me. Nurse. It takes place in a hospital room, and there is comedy, drama, laughter, tenderness, me in pediatrician office scrubs, armed with a bedpan. Oh yes.
To read more about Jennifer Mustoe’s weekend filled with theater, click here!

 

The Art of Being, by Douglas Caputo

Douglas Caputo from St. George’s The Space Between Teaches

a Creativity Trouble-Shooting

On August 16th I took a shot in the dark. I had no idea who would be there or what was in store, but nevertheless, attended a group meeting at the Salt Lake Arts Hub located on West 10th South in Salt Lake City. Before I had arrived, I had only exchanged a couple of e-mails and a phone call with the facilitator.

The meeting was billed as a “Creativity Troubleshooting Session” with one of the founding members of a local St. George Utah theater, The Space Between. Douglas Caputo was generous enough to offer his time at no charge to us, even though he was in town preparing for a paid weekend acting intensive that began the next day. His “The Art of Being” workshop is based on the work of famed acting coach, Eric Morris. I was very interested in this workshop, but since I had other commitments that weekend, I decided I wanted to meet this man when the opportunity presented itself.

Not really a workshop, the evening was more of a discussion on the nature of creativity and what blocks may prevent us from getting where we want to go. By “us”, I don’t mean just the theater community. This wasn’t focused on acting so much as freeing up your thinking, recognizing obstacles and taking steps to move forward. Continue reading