Dance Your Way to Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse to Take in the Fun of “All Shook UP”

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By DeAnn Patterson

Walking into Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse in Ogden, my husband and I had no idea what kind of evening we were in for. We are relatively new to the area. We had never been to this theatre before, and we had never seen All Shook up before.

Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse has been providing entertainment to the community for 25 years.  It was easy to find and parking was plentiful. On driving up, the building was clearly transformed from an old grocery store.  You would never guess that from the inside. It was an older, but fun and cozy setting with a thrust stage. We were warmly welcomed and quickly assisted in finding our seats. We definitely felt like we were closer to the stage and more intimate with the cast than in many theatre settings. The one downside is that the seats are very close together. It would be somewhat uncomfortable if you are not at ease sitting in close proximity to your neighbors. Because of the closeness to the stage, the sound was better than many theatres. We had no problem hearing any of the speaking or singing.

All Shook Up is a jukebox musical set in 1955. It is a rendition of William Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night. It is full of fun, toe-tapping music of Elvis Presley, lots of dancing, and a collection of fun one-liners and comedy.  Set in a small Midwest town, an out-of-town roustabout, Chad (Dave Clegg) comes riding into town with a guitar and brings in a lot of excitement, much to the dismay of the uptight mayor, Matilda Hyde (Carla Zarate.)

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From the opening song “Jailhouse Rock”, to the closing “Burning Love,” the cast is full of energy. It will have you laughing out loud, tapping your toes, and clapping along.  Samantha Wursten does a fabulous job as Natalie, a young female mechanic who dreams of love and adventure. She portrays a sweet, innocent girl who is instantly smitten by Chad, who unfortunately is not interested in “grease-monkey” Natalie. He has his eyes set on the museum caretaker, Miss Sandra (Stephanie Petersen.) Dennis (Zack George) is an adorably awkward long-time friend of Natalie who secretly adores her, and . painfully watches Natalie pursue Chad. The musical becomes humorously tangled and convoluted as Chad brings his influence into town.  It feels as if the entire town becomes entwined in a spider web of people attempting to chase their romantic feelings. All actors did a wonderful job and I believed their characters completely

Costumes by Jacci Florence and Jamila Lowe were great. Very time appropriate and fun—down to the blue suede shoes. Set design by was by director Ferrin and was simple but fun and appropriate for the small space. Music Director Brittney Ann made sure all her rockin’ singers did a great job. The harmonies were lovely, though to my husband’s trained ear, he said some of the cast strained on the higher notes. To me, it all sounded just great.

This is the first time All Shook Up has been performed at Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse. It is directed by Shelby Ferrin and choreographed by Kylee Ogzewalla.  We found the performance to be light and full of energy. The dancing and choreography is strong and engaging to watch.  Every cast member brings energy and humor to the stage. My husband and I both agreed that our favorite performance was by George as Dennis. He did a spectacular job portraying his character. We enjoyed the performance and would love to bring our kids back to enjoy it as well.

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Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse presents All Shook Up, an American jukebox musical with Elvis Presley music and book by Joe DiPietro.                                   Beverly’s Terrace Plaza Playhouse, 99 E. 4700 S. Washington Terrace, UT 84405 August 4-September 16, Monday, Friday, and Saturday, 7:30 PM                             Tickets $9-14                                                                                                                     801-393-0070                                                                                                          Facebook Page      Facebook Event

 

 

 

The Empress Theatre’s “Jekyll and Hyde” Explores the Thin Line Between Good and Bad

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A Utah Theater Review by B.J. Wright

     Jekyll and Hyde is a heart-wrenching story about the good and evil that each man battles inside.  Dr. Jekyll has a noble ambition of separating the good from the evil, and getting rid of man’s evil tendencies. Though he is warned not to play God by many who care for him, Dr. Jekyll is convinced what he is doing is right. As forewarned, his experiments go wrong and the evil Mr. Hyde is released to terrorize London. In his struggle to regain control Dr. Jekyll Asks the question, “Am I a good man? Am I a mad man?” and realizes “It’s such a fine line between a good man and a bad.”

     I had the pleasure of driving to Magna to see this thought provoking musical put on by the Empress Theatre.  I had never been to the Empress before, but will definitely be back in the future. It is a small theater tucked at the end of a quaint street. I felt very at home as I entered the building. The staff greeted me with a friendly hello, and the foyer was filled with pictures of the cast in costume for the upcoming show. The energy in the atmosphere filled me with anticipation for a great show. Continue reading

You Must Go See the OBT’s Dr. U!

By Rachel Summerhalder

As I sit down to write a review of Dr. U, at the Off Broadway Theater in Salt Lake, I find my mind having a difficult time putting my thoughts into coherent sentences. My fingers want to type out all of the hysterical moments of this show, but I don’t want to ruin all of the fun for you. As a Doctor Who fan, I found this show to be so funny that I had tears streaming down my face on several occasions. The fact that I am a Doctor Who fan helped to make this show particularly funny, but even if you don’t watch the wildly popular television series, there are enough jokes that you will still enjoy it.

The Off Broadway Theatre (OBT) was founded in 1994 by Eric and Sandy Jensen, and has been bringing both well-known and original comedies to Utah ever since. Dr. U is an original play written by director Mike Brown and Logan Rogan, who stars as The Doctor. I hope that this show will come back repeatedly to The OBT, because it is a fabulous homage to an iconic and beloved television show.

The first character we meet is Karen, played by April Tritchler, one of The Doctor’s companions, who announces the show and gets the audience involved in the process. She had anyone celebrating a birthday come up so the audience could sing to them, and then proceeded to instruct us in how to properly cheer on the heroes, and boo and hiss the villains, melodrama style. The Doctor, played by Logan Rogan, and Billie, played by Kylee Ogzewalla, began the adventure on an alien planet that has never before been visited by humans. Unfortunately, they’ve actually just crashed the pre-show announcement and find themselves on a stage in Utah. Most of the show takes place in Utah, since The Doctor’s nemesis The Master, played by Clarence Strohn, has built his evil lair in Magna, but does take a few side trips to the planet Barro, and to Pennsylvania where Ben Franklin, played by Eric Jensen, joins the fun. The Master’s evil plan is to abolish daylight savings time (hence Ben Franklin) making it so that the Doctor always arrives one hour late, as opposed to his usual “just in time to save the day” arrivals. A twist of fate introduces us to the next Doctor, played by Zach Reynolds, and as we watch this zany cast of characters work to the save the day, you can’t help but cheer and boo in the appropriate places. The cast is rounded out by Captain Jack and The Harkness, played by Jake Miskimins, Justin Bradley, and Devin O’Donnell, and the ensemble, Jason Unruh, Amanda Gibson, and Chase Dickerson. Scene changes were accompanied by hysterical renditions of popular songs, and some not so popular ones, sung from the aisles, the stairs leading on and off stage, sometimes actually onstage by Captain Jack and The Harkness. There were times I wasn’t sure if the mistakes they made were intentional or not, but it made their interludes that much funnier. The ensemble was responsible for creating several different characters throughout the show, including some well-known time travelers that make appearances at various times. They really embraced the silliness of the characters they had to portray, and made the show fantastic.

The costuming (by Eric Jensen, CLint Lehmberg, Robert Reins, and Janice Jensen) fit the genre well for the most part. I did have a challenging time with the Master’s main costume. Although I eventually recognized it as supposedly a priest’s black robes, I still found myself wondering why the antagonist of the show was wandering around in a little black dress. All of the prolific resident Who aliens make a visit to the stage with their own Dr. U twists. My favorite costumes of the show had to be the Derelicts costume, which were a fabulous re-creation of Daleks, including the plunger and egg whisk.

 

The sets (by Eric Jensen, Clint Lehmberg and Robert Reins) were extremely well done, particularly the inside of the TARDY, which we get to see on a few occasions. The stage seems to be a bit on the smaller side, but the cast used the space well to move us through the different locations and keep us interested. I could tell that this cast got along well off-stage, as the chemistry onstage was really great. Several of the members of this cast are part of the OBT’s Laughing Stock Improv, and this camaraderie was definitely a plus in this show. There were many times that you could tell something wasn’t going quite the way it was supposed to (it was opening night, after all), but the actors all covered it well and simply incorporated the mishap into the action we were seeing and it worked well. I think this is the type of show that will be a bit different every time it’s performed, which really enhanced the show for me.

There are a few musical numbers in this show, and although the singing and dancing (choreography by Kylee Wood) could have been more polished, it didn’t detract from the show at all. In addition to the numbers we get from Captain Jack and The Harkness, there are few showstoppers performed by the whole cast, and a fun little ditty about going to the lobby at intermission. This show is clean and funny, and could be appropriate for pretty much any age. I don’t know if younger children would really get the humor, but it’s entertaining enough that they probably won’t get bored.

If you are a Doctor Who fan, do not miss this show. If you aren’t a Doctor Who fan, do not miss this show. If you are looking for a great time and a good laugh, do not miss this show. It’s been a very long time since I have laughed this hard, and not only will I be going back at least one more time to see this, my self-proclaimed Whovian teenage daughter is getting a group of friends together to go again as well. One of the other nice details is the OBT is right across from a Trax station, so driving isn’t an issue, either.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $12 for students (13+), seniors (65+), and military, and $10 for children (2-12), and all Monday and matinee shows are $10. You purchase tickets, find parking info, and much more at the theaters website, theobt.org.

The Off Broadway Theatre presents Dr. U by Mike Brown and Logan Rogan

Off Broadway Theatre, 272 South Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84101

February 8-March 16 on Friday, Saturday, and Monday at 7:30 PM and a matinee performance at 2:00 PM on March 2.

Tickets: $10, $12, and $16

Call: 801-355-4628

 theobt.org