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Valley Journals

Small cast brings high-energy comedic mystery to Midvale

Jun 02, 2017 11:17AM ● By Travis Barton

The cast of “Curtains” practices dance moves for the number “Show People” at West Jordan’s old library. (Natalie Conforto/City Journals)

By Natalie Conforto | natalie.c@mycityjournals.com
 
Comedy, romance, mystery, intrigue, a dance-off and murder most foul: these elements comprise West Jordan’s Sugar Factory Playhouse’s upcoming production of “Curtains” to be performed at the Midvale Performing Arts Center this June.
 
“Think ‘Clue’ meets ‘Oklahoma’ meets ‘42nd Street,’” Jen Crabb, a principal actress in “Curtains,” said, comparing the play to other well-known shows. “Our protagonist is a detective who is an amateur drama fan, who would rather be performing in the show than investigating the murder.”
 
Like “42nd Street”, the show contains a play-within-a-play, and includes large-scale dance numbers like “Oklahoma”. “Curtains” is also a period piece set in 1959.
 
“This musical is like Sherlock Holmes—if he were investigating a Broadway production,” said Alex Taylor, a young adult actor in the show.
 
Debuting on Broadway in 2008, “Curtains” is a relatively new show for a community theater to obtain. Most scripts they perform are decades old because newer scripts are too expensive.
 
While many scripts require actors to perform what’s written verbatim, Theatrical Rights Worldwide, or TRW, provides allowances for family-oriented communities like West Jordan.
 
When asked if “Curtains” would be appropriate for children to see, Gull said, “there are three murders in the show, but the nice thing about this company is that they give you substitute lines if your audience does not appreciate certain explicit language.” The West Jordan group will perform the milder version of “Curtains”.
 
Gull mentioned her hopes that West Jordan will have its own theater someday.
 
“I love Midvale, but it’s Midvale and not West Jordan,” she said.
 
Still, Gull’s group is grateful that the Midvale Performing Arts Center was willing to rent to them within their budget.  Gull said that the small theater is “much more reasonably priced than schools we try to rent. They know what it’s like. It’s such a charming place.” She described how the undersized auditorium will actually enhance the experience for viewers.
 
“The audience gets to feel like they’re part of it, and not just watching it, because of the kind of venue it is,” said Gull.
 
Gull said there will be “great visibility from every seat in the house” during “Curtains”, especially because she has planned for some scenes to be performed in the aisles.
 
The tight quarters of the theater limited the number of actors Gull was able to cast. The group’s 2015 production of “Joseph” comfortably fit 40+ actors on the Copper Hills High School stage, but “Curtains” will max out at 25 performers.
 
However, a smaller cast means fewer costumes to create, which is helpful to Gull because she is also this show’s costumer.  Many of the costumes are from her personal collection.
 
Although she lives in Orem, Gull considers the Sugar Factory Playhouse/West Jordan Theater Arts to be her “home theater.” She and her family have been consistently involved with the group—performing or directing—since its inception 22 years ago.
 
“This is my first love. I’m blessed to be able to do it,” she said. “My girls literally grew up in theater. Now they’re both choreographer-actresses. It truly is an addiction.”
 
Gull’s daughter, Kassi, is the choreographer for “Curtains”. The Gulls also volunteer their talents closer to home at Timpanogos High School, where they have directed and choreographed productions for the past several years.
 
“Curtains” is West Jordan actor Alex Taylor’s second show with this group.
 
“Community theatre allows me to create friendships and help bring our community together,” he said. “Sugar Factory Playhouse is unique for its ability to help all feel included and develop the performance level of each individual.”
 
Performances will be June 22, 23, 24, 26, 29, 30 and July 1 at 7:30 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on June 24 at the Midvale Performing Arts Center (695 W Center Street).
 
Tickets are $8 for general admission and $5 for children 12 and under, seniors 60 and over, students (with ID) and groups of 10 or more. Tickets will be available at Macey’s grocery store in West Jordan or at the door.