The Hungry Games Leaves You “Full” of Laughter!

HungryGames

By Erin Orr

The Desert Star’s newest play, The Hungry Games, written by Bryan Dayley tells the story of our future after a worldwide famine, a world run by greedy fast food corporations.  Katnip Neverclean (Alexis Owen), her gothic little sister Grimrose Neverclean (Kaitlin Williams) and their “barely there” friend Pizza Malarky (Jason West) enter a contest set bythe evil Donald MacRonald (Matt Kohler), CEO of the MacRonald’s fast food chain.  The grand prize is 1 million dollars!  Little do the contestants know that the entire event is rigged.The evil clown has no intention of awarding the prize.  So he decides to send his own posh daughter Little Debbie (Kelly Knight-Clifton) into the games to take out the contestants, including Gail (Pronounced “Guy-el”, Bryan Dayley.)  With the help of Haymitch Hogan (Matt O’Malley), can they stop this evil?

                 The Desert Star Playhouse is a dinner theater set in an Olde Time-y Western Saloon and the waiters and waitresses dress accordingly.  The staff was very friendly and willing to help out wherever needed.  When we got to our table, there was a basket of popcorn waiting for us.  Our waitress was great at getting our drinks refilled and getting our food to us without much interruption of the show.  And the food was great!

Katnip

                 The show was introduced by the pianist, Jill Flanagan, who played all songs, hero chords and villain chords of the show.  She started to get the audience warmed up with a sing-a-long (Grand Ole Flag).   I was delighted by her ability to play and keep up with the actors, and the actors’ ability to keep up with her.   And she got in a few jokes of her own.

                 As a big fan of the novel The Hunger Games, I was a little nervous to see how this parody would play out.  But I was not disappointed.  You could not ask for a better cast if you tried, especially in the lead actors. Owen’s performance of Katnip was great fun to watch – she has wonderful stage presence and had excellent chemistry with everyone.  West’s comedic timing was spot on. He played his character with such ease and is very charming.  There were times where I found myself wanting to run up on stage to give him a hug because nobody notices him till the Hungry Games start.McKenzie Heaton as the role of ensemble, playing about 5-7 different characters through-out the entire show from the Hamburglar to Katnip’s mother to butter loving Paula Dean. Her cameos were very well executed and gave a great performance.Playing the villain is not easy, but Kohler as MacRonald was up for the task and nailed it.

                Co-Directors Scott Holman and Mary Parker Williams kept the their cast in high energy, and the fast scene changes, make this show enjoyable to watch.  The costumer, Lynn Funk, did a wonderful job dressing the actors.  And I must give props to the techs of the show (Lighting: Eric Jensen and Brian Tolman, Stage Mangers: Danny Jackman and Josh Manning) for adding the ambiance on the stage.

                 The only thing I feel I should address is the fact that the seating in the theater feels a bit cramped.  It’s a wonderful place for a first or second date, because you get nice and cozy with your neighbor.

                 This show was very fun for me, as well as the audience. There were many times I found myself laughing out loud. All in all, this is a show worth watching.

 Desert Star Playhouse

4861 S. State Street

Murray, Utah 84107

Box Office: 801-266-2600

Play from Aug 29 – Nov 8

Mon, Wed, Thur7 PM

Fri   6 & 8:30 PM

Sat11:30 AM, 2:30, 6 & 8:30 PM

Ticket Prices

Adult     $13.95 Matinees, $15.95 Mon-Thur Eve, $17.95 Fri-Sat Eve

Child      $9.95 11 and Under

Student    $15.95 (Mon-Thu)

Senior   $12.95 65+ (Sat Matinees)

http://www.desertstar.biz/

 

Orem Hale’s “The Curious Savage” is Nostalgically, Currently Marvelous

 

curious savage 1By Joel Applegate

There are string of whimsical or atmospheric plays from America’s mid-20th Century featuring eccentric families or slices from their poignant lives. They constitute a perennial canon of American plays… The Skin of Our Teeth, You Can’t take It With You, Harvey*, Our Town, Arsenic and Old Lace, etc….that are always popular with audiences and you can bet are being performed somewhere right now.

      Add to this wonderful lexicon, The Curious Savage, by John Patrick, now playing at the Hale Center Theater Orem through Sept 21st. I’m happy that such a modern classic is receiving a production that will win a new generation of hearts. The Hale’s cast is superb all around. Though the play turns on an inheritance plot, what it’s about is a whole lot of love; and that makes a family. But the ever cheerful Mrs. Ethel P. Savage doesn’t have a lot to be cheerful about when it comes to her grasping adult children, who have just succeeded in getting their mother into a sanatorium called “The Cloisters”.

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      Karen Baird in the leading role as Mrs. Savage embodies such an open honesty of character that she quite endeared me to her. She can keep a secret, she says, for “about ten minutes”. I was most impressed by Baird’s ability to bring poignancy and humor to simple moments like “wanting a hat like this since I was 16”, while generously focusing on a wonderful menagerie of characters, making sure to let their stories be told while her own tale unfolds. The greatest gem she gives her new friends in The Cloisters – and us in the audience – is this one: “Don’t discredit your audience before you give them a chance to be kind.”

     And what a sweet ensemble the residents make. They are wrangled in a relaxed poised performance by Bethany R. Woodruff as Miss Wilhelmina, the house nurse, who earnestly responds kindheartedly to the residents. I happen to know, also, that she does a perfect American accent. The reason that’s notable? Her own is Scottish. Her boss, Dr. Emmett, is played by local veteran actor Larson Holyoak in a seemingly effortless turn.

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     Bright as a penny, Fairy May (“stolen by gypsies”) is an overly-dramatic exaggerator too sweetly rendered by Heidi Smith Anderson to call it lying. “Competition exhausts me”. Her dramatics were tuned just right for the context of the play without distracting from the scene by going too much over the top. Anderson’s accomplishment is in giving us a balanced character that is both flighty and oddly touching.

     Daniel Hess as Hannibal earns our sympathy as a terrible violinist with an aching need to please. He welcomes Mrs. Savage to the group. In turn, Mrs. Savage cracks the shell that Jeffrey, subtly played by Nick Grossaint, constructed around himself.

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     Tracy Whitlock as Florence and Melanie Wilkins as Mrs. Paddy are not given a lot to do as characters, but both give us rounded portraits with some rich chuckles thrown in.

     As the greedy grown-ups, the Savage siblings provide the points by which the story advances. They storm into the sanatorium with unctuous smiles and black hearts. Reese Phillip Purser as Titus is blustery and bigger than life in his role as a senator with a sonorous voice, but reduced to tantrums by Mom’s intransigence. Alexis Boss, as Lily Belle, belies the sweetness of her name. Funny and frustrated, she is at least honest about her motives as she goes toe-to-toe with Mom. Beware of her teeth! And what is going on with Howard Fullmer as Samuel? His attitude alone is hilarious. I was sure he’d sneak off with pieces of the furniture.

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      Sure-footed, and well crafted, this cast doesn’t miss a beat. The director, Laurie Harrop-Purser, is to be congratulated for drawing steadied, assured performances all around from the actors in a well-paced series of scene arcs.

     Need any more reason to see this production? Gladly provided: This is a professional caliber, cleverly written comedy of modern manners and culture most apt to today – even though set in the mid-20th century. Hale Center Theater Orem definitely goes the extra mile, as I’ve seen them do in previous productions. The production doesn’t just look good – it looks great, costumes by Maryann Hill and set by Bobby Swenson included. Especially great work is beautifully rendered by Hill’s authentic looking costumes; in many cases, there are multiple costume changes for the same character. The set is detailed and appropriate, with Hale’s in-the-round seating giving every audience member a good look.

     I smiled all the way through The Curious Savage. Ultimately wise and winning, Mrs. Savage is a wonderful person to get to know! I’m grateful for this chance to update my own cultural literacy. You should get a proper introduction at the Hale Center Theater in Orem as soon as you can. You will be charmed with lovely performances and a memorable evening.

 The Curious Savage

 Hale Orem Center Theater
225 West 400 North, Orem, Utah 84057
Box Office: 801.226.8600
Online: www.haletheater.org
Aug 16 – Sept 21, 2013 Mondays through Saturdays
Evening performances at 7:30 PM
Saturday matinees at 3:00 PM

Shrek The Musical Shines in Payson

Shrek_386_580A Utah Theater Review by BJ Wright

I just returned from Payson Community Theater’s production of Shrek The Musical. It provided a very fun-filled evening for my daughter and me. As we walked in the theater at Payson High School, we were greeted by several smiling faces, and a rather full auditorium.  It was great to see an audience of all ages anticipating seeing their favorite large, green ogre on stage.

                The stage version of Shrek follows the basic story line of the popular DeamWorks movie. There are a few differences here and there to make it work as a live theater show, as well as an added scene or two that add additional background stories to the characters we have become familiar with over the years.

                 As I am sitting here reflecting on the show, there are several things that keep running through my head. First, the costumes were great! The smooth green velvet dress worn by Fiona was beautiful, and a great contrast to the rough rope-like clothes worn by Shrek. The costumes for Lord Farquaad were hilarious, and very effective in making him look short.  I could go on naming costumes that I enjoy looking at, but I will be brief and say this: The costumes looked beautiful, and did a good job of adding to the story being told on stage. The costumes could have easily been a distraction, but they were not. Kudos to Costume Supervisor Colleen Carrasco, and Costume Designers Kris Holley, Miranda Duke, Kristi Peck, Noelle Peck, and Jared Condor.

                 Another strength of this show was the chemistry on stage between the lead actors. I commend Artistic Director Michael Carrasco for casting such a cohesive group, and then staging the scenes in such a way that the chemistry between the actors can be felt.  This is especially true of the chemistry between Shrek (Steve Dunford) and Donkey (Nate Dunford)  and Shrek and Fiona (Chelsea Kennedy).

                 As Shrek, Steve Dunford was able to take us on a roller coaster of emotions, from angry to annoyed, and mischievous to falling in love for the first time. Pair that with a powerful voice to belt out the songs beautifully and I’d say you have a very effective Shrek. My favorite vocal of the night from Steve came during the song “Who I’d Be.” I really could feel torment of knowing who you’d want to be, but knowing because of what you look like, it would never happen.

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“Eric Jensen’s Charlie’s Aunt” at the OBT is Farce at its Best!

By Mary Brassard and Daniel Brassard

Eric Jensen’s Charlie’s Aunt tells the story of Jack Chesney (Patrick Harris) and Charlie Wykeham (Fred Lee), two Oxford graduates who are madly in love with Kitty Verdun (Clarissa Armstrong) and Amy Spettigue (Cylie Hall). Their wicked uncle and guardian Spettigue (Rob MacArthur) and Charlie gets word that his aunt, the millionaire widow Donna Lucia D’Alvadorez (Jennifer Mustoe) is coming for a surprise visit, so the boys use this a chance to invite their sweethearts for lunch and prepare to declare their love. Charlie’s aunt is newly widowed and rich, so the boys try and set up their friends with her. They turn to their friend Lord Fancourt Babberley aka Babbs (Rusty Bringhurst) to try and woo her, but he has a costume on (he has a bit part as an old lady in a play) that he wants to show off to the boys. Charlie finds out that his aunt isn’t coming and the girls have already arrived (she is to be their chaperone) and with Babbs preparing for his role as a female, he is unwillingly forced to stand in as Charlie’s Aunt!

Co-directors Rusty Bringhurst and Sunny Bringhurst keep the show fast-paced: wonderfully posh humor filled with acting from skilled comedy talent.  The camp humor, the quick comedic timing – you can’t help but laugh along. The story itself seems to be a bit all over the place and very hard to keep up with who’s supposed to be together or not, but any reservations here are down to personal taste rather than the production of the show itself.

The casting was perfect. The main three gentleman characters were thoroughly believable and very charming as an ensemble.  All three had excellent accents that were both realistic and comically pompous at the same time, quite a feat.  They all looked the part, and were each totally committed to their characters and the ridiculous scenarios they had to play out.  The additions of Taylor Fultz playing the lovable servant Brassett, and Chris Alderman playing Jack’s father Col. Francis give the show its finishing touches.  Fultz gave Brassett a great sense of irony, and played it just enough deadpan, with enough of a smirk to understand that he enjoyed watching his employers fumble and beg for his help.   Alisa Jean Rodgers’ Ella was so wonderfully bright-eyed and smiley it put a smile on my face every time she was on the stage.

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The standout in this play is the comic talent.Bringhurst was brilliantly goofy.  Playing the over the top aunt seemed to be something he enjoyed very much.  Occasionally, in the middle of a speech in the shrill voice of the “Aunt”, he would punctuate something with his manliest booming voice. This was very effective and never got old as it got a laugh every time.  Every actor found a way to stand out, Alderman’s giggle for example became such a staple, it started getting a laugh just when we heard it, and even Mustoe as Donna Lucia, a straight character in the midst of all the craziness, managed to make us really root for her to get her man.

Now, this show is goofy for sure, and this production was full of well-timed slapstick.  There were some sound effects to accompany a few hits, and it was so well-placed and well done, I feel like their sound techs (Zachari Michael Reynolds and Erin Orr) deserve a cut of ticket sales!The slapstick was also played out very nicely, and the use of props was brilliant, including break-apart items.The costumes were also very well done.  They all fit well and suited their characters, and complemented the equally well done set very nicely.

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I have a few tiny issues as they feel obligatory in a review (who came up with that precdeent, it stinks!).  I couldn’t hear a few characters very well (specifically Brassett and Donna Lucia), I am not sure if the rest were on microphones, or just better projectors, but the volume inconsistency was a little distracting.  Also, there are a few large plot holes. For example, I couldn’t figure out why they didn’t let the father Sir Chesney in on the whole ruse from the get go.  He seemed light-hearted, and to have a good relationship with his boys, and was in on another scheme, so why not tell him?  A few things like that, but then again, this is a major farce, and by nature, not very realistic.

 This script is advertised as Eric Jensen’s Charlie’s Aunt  so it was rewritten for the OBT specifically.  I have never read or seen another version, so I cannot comment on whether it was an improvement, but I can say that it felt fast-paced and relevant to a modern audience, so if that was the work of the rewrite (as I suspect) it was well done.

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The Off Broadway Theater is a delightful place to take in comic theater.  They are dedicated at what they do and as they specialize in comedy, I am rarely let down.  They have their own “flavor” they put on things, and I enjoyed that a lot in this production, especially the lead in to intermission!  It was clever and while it fit their tradition of an intermission song, it was also different, and fit the show we were seeing.  I would also like to say that the OBT has the best priced concessions in town!  Bring a few dollars and get some snacks!

This show was a delight for me, and for the audience I sat with that laughed all night long.  Come to the OBT and see these great comedians at work!  Do it!  You’ll like it.  You may even learn a little bit about other cultures.  I never knew the deep connection between Brazil and nuts!

Show times and run dates: Monday, Friday, and Saturday, August 16th through September 14th (No showing in Monday, August 19th) & Curtain time is at 7:30 PM & Saturday Matinee, at 2:00 PM; Date: August 31st.
Reserved tickets: Adult: $16, Students / Seniors: $12, Children 12 years and under: $10
Located at 272 S. Main St. SLC, UT 84101
Reservations can be made online at www.theOBT.org or go to www.LaughingStock.us to catch our late night showing of Laughing Stock Improv Comedy every Friday and Saturday @ 10 PM!

Sandy Hubble Jensen
Executive Director
OBT1994@hotmail.com
801-455-0954 cell
801-355-4628 office

Midvale Main Street Theater’s “Legally Blonde” is OMGreat!

By Briana Lindsay

Legally Blonde is the entertaining tale of Elle Woods (Amelia Rose Moore) and her quest to attend Harvard and win back the love of her life. Along the way, Elle finds her true self and surpasses the expectations of those who doubted her, all while wearing her signature shade of pink.

 Being a fan of the 2001 film of the same name, I came into the production with high expectations. The opening number, “Omigod You Guys” was energetic and immediately engrossed the audience. The exuberance of the actresses’ performance allowed them to overcome the lack of strong vocals in the ensemble. Their ability to be uniform as a sorority impressed me, especially since each girl was still capable of being an individual.

 Moore’s Elle was bubbly and charming, making for a fond heroine. Each number was sung beautifully and the comic timing of each line was precise. Elle was endearing to the crowd and kept the audience in tune with the story. The gentle serious side of Elle Woods is demonstrated perfectly in the number “Legally Blonde.” Moore fulfills her role in showing a realistic character experiencing outrageous events while always looking fabulous.

 Elle’s surprise love interest at Harvard is found in Emmett Forest, played by Michael Anthony Howell. I was amused by how relaxed and laid back Howell’s performance was. Howell was easy to watch and connect with, especially during Emmett’s duet with Elle, showing the course of their blossoming friendship over the semester. I found the subtly of the character to be refreshing in comparison to the many over-the-top performers in the production.

The leads gave brilliant performances in their roles, with help from their hilarious supporting actors.  Leah Jacobs as Paulette did a fantastic job as Elle’s friend and mentor. The performance of “Ireland” was a highlight of the production, as well as her adorable bulldog.  Nathan Reo’s portrayal of Kyle was completely over-the-top, but it absolutely worked. Grown women from the audience were squealing in excitement during his entrance. Kristina Rene Stone as Enid Hoopes was clever and made the line “you lesbians think you’re so tough,” that much more funny.

 I have to congratulate Megan Lyon in her ability to sing while having a vigorous workout at the same time in her performance as Brooke Wyndam, the fitness guru. The number was very physically demanding and the performers did an excellent job, with only a few slight hiccups with the jump ropes. 

 Russell Watters’ portrayal of Elle’s arrogant ex-lover Warner Huntington III, unfortunately fell flat. Watters fit the character description, however there was an obvious lack of connection between Watters and his romantic interests, particularly during the number “Serious” with Moore.  It was difficult to accept that there was any sort relationship among the characters. The lack of chemistry included Warner’s fiancée Vivienne Kensington, played by Tia Galannis.

 I was delighted by the execution of the production team. Sean McLaughlin designed the set, and its clever use of stairs and open floor plan was simple and served its purpose. I couldn’t get over the costume design by Jan Harris. Elle and her entourage looked beautiful in every scene, and the look of the ensemble complimented the production. I wanted to take home every pair of shoes the girls wore. The lighting worked well, besides the occasional spotlight mix-up. All the musical numbers had fun choreography that enhanced the show by Aaron Ford. There were slight issues with the mikes. During several scenes, the audience could hear whispering from actors offstage.

 Any fellow fans of the hit movie, or “newbies” to the story of Elle Woods will enjoy the production, especially the numbers “Whipped Into Shape”, “Bend and Snap”, and “Gay or European.” The production is bright, entertaining, and will have you wanting to come back again.  Congratulations to Aleksndr Arteaga for his amazing production. Now, I’m going to go put on something pink.

Midvale Main Street Theatre

Legally Blonde: The Musical

7711 South Main Street (700 West), Midvale, UT

August 15 – 31, 2013

$15 Regular Admission

$12 Children

$12 Student Rush tickets (available only night of show at the box office with valid student ID)

www.midvaletheatre.com

Come Take a Ride on Utah Rep’s “Carousel”!

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By Daniel Brassard

Ladies and Gentleman, children of all ages, step right up for your chance to see the Utah Repertory Theater Company present Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel at the Historic Murray Theater with a live orchestra! Carousel will be showing from August 9th through the 24th with tickets available online at UtahRep.org/tickets or at the door and is located at 4961 South State Street in the city of Murray.

I was struck hard by the talent in this production. Is it possible to be hit hard and not have it hurt? Carousel delivers the answer, “yes”. The show has several large numbers, from “You’ll Never Walk Alone” to “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and I would be reaching to find issues with the dancing, the singing or the acting from this amazing group. I’ll be honest, when it comes to musicals put on by community theater, it is not uncommon to have a few standout moments and many missed opportunities. To my surprise, Carousel had very strong vocal talent, dancing that could sell its own tickets and acting that caused a patron that I overheard say, “I don’t know why I’m crying, I never cry.” Director Johnny Hebda amassed an amazing group of talent for this production.

The show touts the message that it is an uplifting story of love and redemption, but should be seen with an understanding that there are additional themes at work. I’d hate to give the story away, but since it’s been available for 60 plus years, I’ll highlight some topics that might warrant discussion before and/or after the show. Carousel does have instances of domestic violence, suicide and celestial petty theft (that last one is just a joke about star stealing.) There is a distinction attempted by the original text between hitting a person once and beating them, I sensed a missing after school special type teaching moment here. Additionally, I question whether redemption is truly found after death by returning to this world, smacking someone and then urging them to pay attention. Now I know that ghosts are bad at both redemption and pottery. (That’s right, I’m coming at the movie Ghost for poor pottery technique. Oh wait, I don’t think that Patrick Swayze was a ghost in the film at that point. Let’s just say that we are uncertain about the average ghost’s pottery skills.)

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The opening of the show had an amazing display of ribbon dancing. Unfortunately, it was hidden behind a crowd of actors and an oddly undecorated set. I’ve seen acrobatic ribbon dancing like this on TV recently on an American Talent type show and the actor who performed this (Brandon Hansen) is very talented.

And now the first negative thing that I must mention about the show. I didn’t understand why the set (set designer Allen Stout) was so sparse. And I really don’t understand why the amazing ribbon dancing wasn’t front and center. The stage construction allowed for noise at every step of the actors on stage. The cast was mixed with microphoned and unmiked actors that had speaking and singing roles. Sound Designer Andy Keele had trouble getting the sound right in this production. This unfortunately led to scenes with very uneven volumes. The live orchestra (Music Director Melissa Thorne) was a selling point on the advertisements, but was more distracting than it was enhancing for me. Although you can get recorded music at home, a live orchestra is harder to come by, so this may still be a selling point for most ticket holders. I personally think the show’s sound issues could be solved by using no mics and recorded music.

The cast was led by Amber Lee Roberts (as Julie Jordan) and Samuel Ross West (as Billy Bigelow). Samuel Ross West was really good at brooding, amazing at making hitting on girls at a carnival look awesome, and bad at being employed. Amber Lee Roberts paired a wonderful singing voice with a very emotional and committed performance. Mimi West (as Carrie Pipperidge) and Scott Cluff (as Mr. Snow) did such an amazing job by not only supporting the story’s main love story but also shining through as the better and certainly more stable couple. Kyle Allen (as Jigger Craigin) had the hairstyle of a villain and a farmer tan that showed he would be willing to do the hard work to ruin lives. Valaura Arnold (as Nettie Fowler, also played by Serena Kanig Benish) was a serious power vocal. Eve Speer (as Mrs. Mullin) was the worst boss to have and a great choice if you want an actor with stage presence.

The Ensemble sounded REALLY good together, and that is a rare thing in productions. Either a lot of work or magic happened to create the pleasant vocals and harmonies at work with this cast. The Ensemble was without an audible weak link (Ian Baker, Nathan Baker, Peter Johnson, Dave Pedersen, Kevin Pope, Ilizibith Summerhalder, and Tyrone Svedin) The dancers were incredible. You could buy a ticket and get your mony’s worth from the dancing alone (Elsa Hodder, Johnny Wilson, Jed Brown, Allison Butler, Catherine Drake, Matt Drake, Maddy Forsyth, Brandon “the Bandon” Hansen, Luke Johnson, Peter Johnson, and Michelle Moore). Kudos to choreographer William Cooper Howell.

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I took my eight-year-old niece and she was fascinated by it all, but especially loved the dancing. Though the show is long (over two hours), she wasn’t bored or antsy. She was, however, a little frightened in the robbery scene (sorry for the spoiler) and turned her head. So, I would recommend this show for any musical theater-loving child, aged perhaps nine and older.

To summarize, seeing this show is a great idea based on the powerful vocals, dancing and dramatic performances. The set and stage could have seen better construction and the sound tech could have used more/or less microphones, but that is more reason for folks to buy tickets and further this company’s extreme potential. Great show.

SCERA’s The Scarlet Pimpernel is a Visual and Vocal Masterpiece

By Larisa Hicken

ScarletPimpernel+11x17+Poster_OL+1The Scarlet Pimpernel based on the work by Baroness Orczy, with music by Frank Wildhorn and book and lyrics by Nan Knighton, is Director Jerry Elison’s 28th show at the SCERA theater in Orem,  Utah.  It is also one of my all-time favorite shows, so I was eagerly anticipating seeing this production.

The Scarlet Pimpernel takes place during the French Revolution and is full of romance, intrigue, and humor.  On his wedding night, Sir Percy Blakeney discovers that his bride, actress Marguerite St. Just,  provided information that led to the capture and execution of St. Cyr so he turns away from her and together with his friends decides to save as many aristocrats from the guillotine as he can through disguise and trickery.  Percy becomes the Scarlet Pimpernel and he and his bounders rescue many nobles from the guillotine and Chauvelin, a leader in the French Republican guard.  Eventually Chauvelin captures the brother of Marguerite and threatens to kill him if Marguerite doesn’t help him capture the Scarlet Pimpernel, but she has no idea that the famous hero is her own husband.

I was worried that I would miss the performance due to storms that lasted most of the day.  Just in time the sky cleared up and the show went on.  Thank goodness it did because the set designed by Teri Griffin is truly something amazing that made the whole night truly unforgettable.  I was in awe of the genius and planning that must have gone into such a brilliant design.  If you get a chance to see the show, it’s worth every penny of the ticket price just to see the set.

Of course, the show would be nothing without the actors, particularly the three lead roles of Percy, Marguerite, and Chauvelin.  Sir Percy, played by Stephen Gashler, has excellent comedic timing and I really enjoyed the scenes with his bounders and the interaction between him and Chauvelin, played by Bryan Thacker.

marguerite-chauvelin-webThacker has an incredible voice and his singing was by far the best of the night.  Chauvelin’s song, “Falcon in the Dive,” is not traditionally one of my favorites, but it was one of the highlights of this particular show.

The role of Marguerite was played by the lovely Kelsey Mariner Thacker.  Her spunky portrayal of Marguerite was delightful and I really liked her character choices.  Her French accent was a little distracting at times – mostly because nobody else in the show had one, but her French during the reprise of the song “Storybook” was “incroyable.”

The music was very well done throughout the show, particularly by the very talented ensemble.  Martha Glissmeyer, the Music Director, did a nice job and the harmonies were spot-on in the chorus numbers.  The solos in “Madame Guillotine” were all very nicely done.

The most fun characters in this show are, of course, the Scarlet Pimpernel’s bounders and the actors Kristian Huff, Eric Glissmeyer, Justin Stockett, Duncan Johnson, Brodee Ripple, and Sawyer Griffin were highly entertaining.  They each had well developed character relationships and interactions.  My favorite bounder was Elton played by Stockett.  He had me laughing out loud several times throughout the night.

marguerite-percy-chauvelin-webThe most entertaining moment of the night was when Choreographer Penny Colvin and Costumer Kelsey Seaver showed off their style in the song “Creation of Man.”  The bounders truly looked hilarious in fringe-covered pastels and their dance was perfect!  Seaver also impressed me again with the costumes for the King’s Ball in Act II.  When Percy and Marguerite entered in their matching outfits, I was wishing for my camera.

I’m glad the weather cooperated and allowed me to see this well-done production of my favorite show.  If you get a chance to see it, bring a blanket or jacket and enjoy an evening of quality entertainment with stunning visual elements that make this show a true visual and vocal masterpiece.

Photos by Mark A. Philbrick

SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre
699 South State Street, Orem, UT 84058
In the middle of SCERA Park

General Admission: $10 Adult, $8 Child/Senior/Student
Reserved Section B: $12 Adult, $10 Child/Senior/Student
Reserved Section A: $14 Adult, $12 Child/Senior/Student

August 2-17 @ 8:00pm
Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Gates open @ 7:00pm