Sunday, October 27, 2013

Last Week's Fun

This last week, my wife and I were able to go down to Southern Utah to take in a couple of shows at Tuacahn. If you are unfamiliar with Tuacahn, it is a theatre and a center for the arts and art education. They are located in a small redrock box canyon, which allows for some fantastic staging.

In the time that we were there we were able to see “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Starlight Express.” One we knew very well from the Julie Andrews film, the other we had only heard of, but had no idea what we were in for.

“Millie” was wonderful, well staged, and very well acted. Laura Taylor, who played Millie Dillmount was a delight to watch and was a fantastic singer. Nicole Powell, who played Muzzy Van Hossmere was absolutely amazing. Unlike the goofy Carol Channing “Muzzy” from the movie, Powell’s Muzzy was respectable and serious. I didn’t mind much because Powell could sing the heck out of all of her songs.

Wednesday night we didn’t see a play, and so I took a 4 mile run through the streets of St. George. I ran through the historic district, past the old Tabernacle, then down to the St. George Temple, and finishing with a two mile uphill slog back to our Motel on St. George Blvd. When I was done, I finished with 3 laps of the pool, and realized that I really need to do more upper body work.

Thursday night, we returned to Tuacahn for “Starlight Express.” Never having seen or heard anything of this play by Sir. Andrew Lloyd Webber, we had no idea what to expect.

A storm had blown through earlier that day, and since the theatre is outside we were preparing for some rain, but by the time the play started the clouds blew away, the stars came out and it turned into a very nice night.

The stage was completely transformed from the play the other night, and now had “roads” that extended out into the audience, and the stage looked like a skate park. The reason being, all of the characters were train engines and cars, and all of the actors were on roller-skates.

“Starlight” was magical and strange. And while the costumes and makeup were incredible, the makeup artist in me began thinking of all the incredible things that you could do with this story.

The story centers around a First-Class passenger car named “Pearl” played by Delaney Westfall, who is torn between her love for a simple steam engine, and the flash and power of a diesel engine and an electric. Meanwhile, the steam engine, “Rusty” played by Steven Goldsmith, is trying to prove himself to “Pearl” and to find his worth in the world of trains. It sounds pretty goofy, but when you realize that it all takes place in the mind of a child named “Control,” it all seems to make sense.

There is one musical number that just sticks in my mind, “Pappa’s Blues” sung by an old steam engine named “Pappa” and played brilliantly by C. Mingo Long, who sings with a wonderfully powerful baritone voice.

I can’t say the “starlight” is one of my favorite plays, but it is definitely in the top 10.

So, it was a fun week, and was great to get away for just a little while with the wife.

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