Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Steve's Greatest Role Yet...

OK, I'm going to try posting this video again. If it doesn't work, blame YouTube!

We've seen Steve Harmon as Bazzard/Bax in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and as Pharaoh in Joesph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. And yes, he's been cast as Adam in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, but this could be his best role yet... Bob, the tech support guy! (Wait for it, its at the end of the video.)

Geek Chic by Seriously Evan

Here's a new music video by some of our Empress friends

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Two New Sponsors

Forever Roses and Give-Me-a-Break Home Cleaning are the two newest Empress Theatre Advertising Sponsors.

Forever Roses has been donating raffle prizes for a while and has just decided to add a program advertisment. (Just in time for Mother's Day too... ***hint hint***) They are located at 2690 South 7200 West in Magna. Phone number is (801) 250-5637. When you order those roses for Mom, be sure to tell Chris we sent you!

Give Me A Break Home Cleaning comes to us via Liz Brown. Liz worked as our stage manager for several shows, before moving on to other things in her life... Like Grad School. If she is managing Give Me A Break as well as she managed the Empress stage, they will have a lot of very happy customers.

These two new sponsors join England Counseling, Old Town Art and Frame, Linelle Autumn, and the Walgamott Group in sponsoring our programs. Without this support, we'd still be xeroxing. So if you get a chance to send some business their way, please do.

And if you'd like to place your own ad, please give me a call.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Return with an Honorable Broken Leg...

Two of our favorite Empress actresses, Catherine Cripps (Narrator in Joseph) and Mandi Jensen (Narrator in Joseph and Kim Macafee in Bye-bye Birdie) have received performing mission calls from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both young ladies will be spending their summer performing in Nauvoo, IL. They leave this Friday for "the City of Joseph."
Only 20 performers, out of hundreds that apply, are selected for this 4 month Church Service Mission.
I wasn't taking notes when I talked to Catherine yesterday (I was eating a ham sandwhich at her farewell open house), but if I remember correctly, they will be performing in Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo, Just Plain Amanda, Sunset by the Mississippi, and High Hopes and River Boats - A Nauvoo Adventure. (Okay, I cheated and looked it up.) They could be doing up to six performances per day! (And I thought they worked hard doing four performances of Joseph over two days!) And they may have chorus parts in Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration. (I guess they just like doing shows about prophets named Joseph.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Foreigner Press Release

Just got this from Glen:

For Immediate Release
Contact 801-347-7373

The Empress Theatre
announces its upcoming production of The
by Larry Shue

A longtime Wasatch front favorite is the next show on the slate for The Empress
Theatre in Magna. (9104 West 2700 South)

Larry Shue’s The Foreigner tells the tale of a fishing lodge in rural Georgia
often visited by "Froggy" LeSeuer, a British demolition expert who occasionally
runs training sessions at a nearby army base. This time "Froggy" has brought
along a friend, a pathologically shy young man named Charlie who is overcome
with fear at the thought of making conversation with strangers. So "Froggy,"
before departing, tells all assembled that Charlie is from an exotic foreign
country and speaks no English. Once alone the fun really begins, as Charlie
overhears more than he should—the evil plans of a sinister, two-faced minister
and his redneck associate; the fact that the minister's pretty fiancée is
pregnant; and many other damaging revelations made with the thought that Charlie
doesn't understand a word being said. That he does fuels the nonstop hilarity of
the play and sets up the wildly funny climax in which things go uproariously
awry for the "bad guys," and the "good guys" emerge triumphant.

The Foreigner is directed by Porter Williams, and the cast includes Geoff
Richards as Charlie, along with David Chapman as Ellard, and Larry Webb as
Froggy. The cast is rounded out with Joan Johnson as Betty, Erin Fair as
Catherine, Jim Schroeder as Owen and John Peckam as David. Sets are
designed by Ty Williams with Douglas Nelson serving as Technical

The Foreigner opens on May 9th and runs through June 9th. Performances are at
7:00pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays. Tickets for Fridays and
Saturdays are $9.00 for Children under 12, $10 for Students and seniors, and $11
for all others. Tickets for Monday nights and any matinees (if added) are
only $8.50 per person. Reservations may be made by calling the Empress at
801-347-7373, or by purchasing online at

Be sure to purchase your tickets early for this sure-fire family comedy that has
more twists and turns than a corkscrew

Friday, April 25, 2008

Blog Makeover

Boy, take a day off, and when you come back all of the furniture's been moved....

Do you like the new look of the blog? Manelle Oliphant, the illustrator who has done several Empress Theatre posters and other art work for OHPAA and the Empress Theatre found the key under the mat, slipped in and added all of this cool artwork.
Manelle not only draws and paints these yummy pictures, but she does layout work too. (She's been the art director for our last three programs and has done some of the ads. When she isn't doing the art herself, she coordinates the other artists that do it.) Go check out her blog and see some of the other stuff she's willing to share on the Internet.
She makes me want to write a children's book just so I can have her illustrate it!
By the way, we are always looking for others to join our "art department." Writers, artists, photographers, or if you just like hangin' around with 'em, if you have an interest, give me a shout.

"O brave new world"

The Star Trek: Tempest seems to be coming along nicely.
"O brave new world that has such creatures in't"
I'm so grateful that the Klingons developed the art to such a high state. Here are a few snipets of Shakespeare in Klingon:

Sonnet #18 -- "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"
qaDelmeH bov
tuj pem vIlo'choHQo'.SoH 'IH 'ej belmoH law', 'oH belmoH puS.jar vagh tIpuq
DIHo'bogh Sang SuS ro'.'ej ratlhtaHmeH bov tuj leSpoH luvuS.
rut tujqu'
bochtaHvIS chal mIn Dun qu' .rut DotlhDaj SuD wov HurghmoHmeH, HuvHa'.'ej reH
Hoch 'IHvo' Sab Hoch 'IH, net tu'.'u' He choHmo', San jochmo' joq
'ach not wovHa'choH jubbogh bovlIj tuj,'ej not ghomHa'choH Hochvetlh
'IH Daghajbogh,'ej "QIbwIjDaq bIleng" not mIy Hegh nuj,bovmey DaDontaHvIS,
DojwI' nIHajbogh!
tlhuHlaH 'ej legh, wej 'e' lumevchugh nuv,vaj yIntaH
bomvam, 'ej DuyInmoH quv.
Translated by Nick Nicholas. KLI, 1994.
Khamlet (Hamlet) III.i.55ff. ("To be, or not to be....")
Khamlet: taH
pagh taHbe'. DaH mu'tlheghvam vIqelnIS.quv'a', yabDaq San vaQ cha, pu' je
SIQDI'?pagh, Seng bIQ'a'Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuqDI','ej, Suvmo', rInmoHDI'? Hegh.
Qong --- Qong neH ---'ej QongDI', tIq 'oy', wa'SanID Daw''e' jecho'nISbogh
porghDaj rInmoHlaH net Har.
Translated by Nick Nicholas & Andrew Strader.
KLI, 1995.

The Photo is of Brent Spiner, as LCDR Data, performing the role of Prospero from The Tempest in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "Emergence." According to "Memory Alpha" The Tempest was a partial inspiration for the film, Forbidden Planet, which in turn was a major inspiration for Star Trek's creator, Gene Roddenberry. Patrick Stewart played Prospero in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production from July 28 - Oct 12, 2006.

"The hour's now come; the very minute bids thee ope thine ear. Obey and be attentive."

Superstar Volunteers: Kelly Madsen

Among all the people who volunteer at the Empress and for OHPAA, there are a handful that just don't know when to stop. Kelly Madsen, the Empress Theatre's stage manager is one of these individuals. There has rarely been a time when I've gone to the Empress and not found Kelly there. Some of you may have heard me say this before, but some folks have "home theaters," Kelly has a "theatre home."
Kelly is 17, she's still in high school. Yet she has taken on the responisbilities of managing the Empress Stage. Most people don't know how much is involved in managing a stage. During the run-up to a show, the stage manager coordinates rehearsals, schedules, props and everything else that is needed for a rehearsal. She may read for missing actors during auditions, and is generally the Directors super-assistant.
During the run of the show, the stage manager runs the entire theatre. She makes sure everything is ready before the audience is seated, makes sure the actors are all accounted for, makes sure props, lights, sound, and sets are all ready. She is responsible for safety of everyone in the building.
During the performance she coordinates everything that happens on the stage. She cues actors, "calls the show," giving cues to the lighting and sound operators, the floor crew moving scenery around, and so forth. And when something goes wrong, she fixes it. When the show is over for the night, she makes sure everything gets back to where it belongs.
Now imagine how much work this is when we have one show running and two in rehearsal with auditions pending for two more.
Kelly does all of this for free as a volunteer, then apologizes for not doing enough!
In fact, Kelly has been suffering from a medical condition that quite frequently has left her in a great deal of pain, and yet she was still here "calling the show" every night of Joseph's record breaking 22 performance run.
On Monday, Kelly went in for a "procedure," and she's litterally been unable to stand for the last few days. I got an email from her yesterday. She feels guilty for not being at the Empress doing her job during "An Evening of One Act Plays!" She also said this:

I miss you so much. I miss the theatre, and all my friends/coworkers there.
I miss working and helping create the magic of a show that brings such a change
to each audience. I miss what is so much a part of me. Truly, you, the theatre,
this work gave me my heart and soul. It is hard not being able to continually
give it back.

Give it back? Gadzooks! Kelly, we owe you. And for more than just your service as Stage Manager. You, and the very few others that step up at the level you do are the heart and soul of the Empress Theatre and OHPAA. Get better soon.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Blogging the Dadnapped Set

While wandering around the blogsphere this afternoon, I found this wonderful entry. That got me looking for Dadnapped stuff. Even Emily Osment has a little blurb about beautiful downtown Magna, though its a bit old and the pictures are from before the street was dressed as a movie set.
I'm excited to see Dadnapped when it comes out this fall, but I'm afraid the star won't be Ms. Osment for me, but my 91 year old, somewhat eccentric former Burlesque Queen, The Empress Theatre. (Sorry Emily, but you're too young for me anyway.) But she did post this kewl graphic on her website's gallery, and a publicity still that I can't place...
While I'm thinking about it, does anyone else have any pictures of the outside of the Empress (or of "Mercury's" Main Street) from the Dadnapped shoot? I'd love to put some in the Empress scrapbook! If you do, send me an email to and I will tell you where to upload them.

It's Someone Special's Birthday...

Everyone, be sure to wish Joline a Happy Birthday today! And don't let her escape without singing Happy Birthday to her at the Empress tonight! It'll be revenge for all the times she's done it to us!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

W.I.P is Back!

"Work in Progress" is back on the Empress Theatre stage! After taking the last two weeks off to rest, restore and rejuvenate, the comedy improv group is back, and they're better than ever!

They'll be performing in their normal (if anything associated with "Work in Progress" can be considered "normal") 10:00 PM time slot on Friday and Saturday evenings.

W.I.P will also be performing (and poking fun at the stage crew) every night this week between plays during "An Evening of One Act Plays."

Deseret News Covers "An Evening of One Act Plays"

Since I'm taking a break from doing technical work at the Empress Theatre until Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, it was a refreshing change for me to just be an audience member for opening night of "An Evening of One Act Plays." All four of the plays were delightful, and I heartily recommend coming to see them.

If you didn't see Erica Hansen's write-up in Deseret News on Friday, check it out. The photos are Nate Unck and Amy Krantz in The Casualties, and were published by the Deseret News accompanying the story. They were taken during technical rehearsal.

You Can Be First!

I checked the online box-office this morning and....

Tickets are now available for

  • Larry Shue's The Foreigner

  • If you hurry, you can be the first to reserve you seats! But don't wait to be the last...

Here's what "Stage Agent" has to say about The Foreigner:

In a fishing lodge in rural Tilghman County, Georgia, two English men, Froggy and Charlie, arrive as guests. After pleadings from his sick wife, the shy Charlie agreed to accompany Froggy on the trip. When people at the lodge try to talk to Charlie, he cannot find words due to his terrible shyness. Froggy then claims that Charlie cannot talk because he is from an exotic country and does not understand English. Due to his supposed lack of ability to understand English, Charlie soon discovers scandals amongst some of the residents of the lodge.

Tickets are also now available for Big Bad Musical, and "Work in Progress."

Friday, April 18, 2008

What do Priates of the Carribean and "An Evening of Once Act Plays" have in common?

OK, lets eliminate the obvious and trivial connections first. Yes, Capt'n Jack was our Pharaoh in Joseph, and yes, Pirates was partly filmed in Utah. But that isn't the connection...

Back in the 1920's, a Magna family, the Huffakers, owned a furniture store. It was located about a block west of the Empress Theatre. On September 24, 1926, Mrs. Huffaker had a baby; a boy. They named him Clair. (Don't ask, I haven't a clue.)

As Clair grew up (the family lived on 8950 West), it's not hard to imagine the young boy spending his 14¢ on a Saturday to come watch movies at the Empress. Teenaged Clair may have even been thumped by George Smith's flashlight a time or two.

Somewhere along the line -- We like to think it was while watching movies in the Empress --Clair Huffaker developed an interest in writing. Not long after the Empress closed, 1959 to be exact, found Clair in Hollywood writing TV Shows and films. He wrote episodes of Rawhide, The Rifleman, Bonanza, 12 O'clock High, and others. His movies include Seven Ways from Sundown (with Audie Murphy), Flaming Star (Elvis Presley), And The Comancheros (John Wayne). And he wrote a novel or two; The Cowboy and the Cossack is considered a classic by some.

And so we hope that the young playwrights whose plays we're producing on the Empress Theatre stage will be as inspired by the Empress as Clair Huffaker was and have as much success, or more.

So what does that have to do with Pirates of the Carribean? Just this... Clair's daughter, Sam Kirkeby (it's really Samantha) supervised the scripts on all three Pirates movies.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Liveth Long and Prospereth Ye

What do William Shakespeare, Gene Roddenberry, and the Empress Theatre have in common? You'll want to beam over to CONduit, on May 23rd at 8:00 P.M. to find out. Rumor has it that some of our Empress players will reveal their true alien characters as they perform Shakepeare's Tempest.

To boldly goeth where none hath gone before...

Pharoah Play

Ok, Tedi Tuttle Wixom called me a few months back and asked for information on our program printer. She mentioned something about King Tut the musical... Well, this just came in my email.

You are invited to King Tut the Musical playing FRI. April 25 11:00 AM/7:00
PM & SAT. April 26 1:00 PM & 7:00 PM
at Peery's Egyptian Theater 2415
Washington Blvd.OGDEN, UTAH
(FREE TO THE PUBLIC: Friday April 25 6:00 - 6:45 PM
MEET THE COMPOSER/storyteller in the lobby)
For Performance Ticket Box Office call: 801.395-3227 or go online at
Books, Music CD's, and hand-painted Egyptian Art will be available for purchase at this event

Listen to music at & forward this info to 10 friends/family/business associates

King Tut steps onstage to tell his own story.
He dreams of flying machines.
New Original Musical by local Utah composer/authors
Tedi Tuttle Wixom & and her17-year-old son, Jason Wixom.
Enjoy the never-before-seen, World Premier of

King Tut the Musical

as live musicians, in the form of THE EGYPTIAN BAND play live music in in the palace for King Tut.
This hit is going to Broadway.

Sponsored in part by Utah Central Credit Union, West Valley Billiards, Eats of Eden, & the Lovina C. Tuttle Art Foundation

We will have to see how their Pharoah stacks up with ours! Break a leg, Tedi! Hopefully, at least 10 of you will read this and break the mummy's email chain curse!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Okay, my curiosity is getting the better of me...

There is a town in the Fens of England, about 89 miles north of London, called March. It's in Cambridgeshire, on the Nene River. Because it has the same name as a month, it is difficult to find much informaton about the place via a Google search, but we know that the Oliver Cromwell Hotel is there, and the Willows Motel has closed (bummer!) . We also know that Kodikatz Bengals, a cat breeder, is located on Gold Street (kittens are cute). Beyond that we haven't a clue what might be there.

Oh, and St Wendreda, daughter of King Anna, who shunned the life of a princess and dedicated her self to healing and spreading Christianity, became the Hermitess of March. Her relics are enshrined in the Wendreda Church, world famous for its "magnificent double-hammered beam roof along with 120 carved angels." (The picture is of her church.)
Okay, yes the town does have a website too. But it wasn't easy to find.

For some reason, someone in March has developed an interest in the Empress Theatre's blog. Since we started blogging on March 24, we've had 21 visits from March, an average of one per day.

We know you're out there... Please leave a comment and tell us who you are.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Empress One Acts listed with
Hale, U of U, and Pinacle

Sunday's Deseret News listed "An Evening of One Act Plays" opening at the Empress on Friday, in the paper, right up there with Hale Centre's Annie Get Your Gun and above the U of U's Treasure and Pinacle's The Seagul.
Here's the blurb from the program on the plays:
If the Shoe Fits Written by Chelsy King from West Jordan High School Directed by Sherry Smith

A fairy tale about finding a lost princess and making sure everyone gets what they deserve.

Miscommunication Written by Gabriel Spencer from Hillcrest High School Directed by Blake Heywood

A janitor, a student and a tourist seem to have a hard time communicating in this humorous one-act.

The Casualities Written by Megan Chase from Riverton High School DIrected by Sherry Smith

A life long secret is revealed in an old elevator and the life changing events unfold in this one-act drama.

Unforgettable Written by Eva Terra Nova from Olympus High School Directed by Trent Oliphant

Educational Value of Performing at the Empress Theatre

I got an email yesterday from Stacey Case. Stacey works in the counseling center at Cyprus High School, and her son, Brandon, played the Baker in Joseph. Her email was part of an extended conversation we've had about her observations, as both a mother and someone who works within the school system, of the impact of working at the Empress. I want to share her comments with you:

How do you teach persistence, dedication, punctuality, personal
presentation, and adaptability? These are concepts that can be difficult
to learn, let alone teach. The Empress Theatre experience teaches these
concepts to youth and adult alike. My son has grown in these areas through
his Empress Theatre experience. With rigorous schedules and dedication to
perfection the students become engrained with these concepts.
Opportunities abound for a person to explore and expand these concepts through a
group or an individual performance. Student actors are encouraged to excel
in school as well as in their personal lives. These experiences transition
to their education and create a well rounded student.

Joseph Closes Strong

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat closed last night to a well deserved standing ovation, after 22 record setting performances! What a run! Eighteen of the 22 performances were sell-outs, and the other four were above average.

I am personally suffering from morning-after-closing-night decompression. And all I did was introduce the opening acts, ask for donations, and do the intermission stuff. The bitter-sweetness that always acompianies a closing night is still fresh with me. It is always sad to see the end come because we all move on to other projects and the comraderie (and adrenelin rush) of the show leaves our lives, but at the same time we know we can't sustain the energy levels indefinitely. We all need to take a break.

I will probably talk more about Joseph in future posts, but for now I'd like to mention some of the outside of the show highlights for me.

  • The opening night presentation of $500 donation from Zion's Bank. And of course the $2,000 donation from the anonymous donor.

  • The new lighting control system. We had actually borrowed the control board and some of the "instruments" from Ballet West to do the show. (The light show at the end of the first act wouldn't have been possible without the Ballet West board.) We had agreed to pay Ballet West $100/month until we could get grant funds. Part way into the run we received word of a $2,500 grant from Rocky Mountain Power Foundation, and we were able to pay off the equipment.

  • The night Wade "seeded" the donation basket and started a chain reaction of donations. That was one of two nights where we received more than $50 in the donation baskets.

  • Putting the new Internet ticketing system on line. We're still working the bugs out, but this new system has taken quite a load off of Joline and the box office ladies.

  • Making the farewell presentation to Doug Butts last night. I don't know why, but I was quite emotional as I presented the signed picture of the Empress Theatre to him. Even if he did have the "amazing technicolor fingernails."

  • Meeting Allene Ware, Leo's wife, and her two daughters and several of her grandchildren following the last Saturday performance. It was so wonderful to hear their stories about Leo and his dream. I also met Kim Ware following last nights performance.

  • Finding the secretary from my days at Webster Elementary School in the audience, and then being able to remember all of my elementary school teachers names.

  • Meeting visitors to the Empress from far away. Jenni's dad flew in from California to surprise her. My old school-mate Ohleen Hansen visited us from Texas. And some friends of mine from Holladay brought a visitor from India.

  • Presenting Linda Lyon with her "Diamond Sponsor" certificate and letter recognizing her donation of the costume shop, and all the hard work she's done for us as a costumer.

So now its your turn: leave your comments on what you want to remember most about Joseph. Cat's curlers? Nate's "wardrobe malfunction?" The "fruit hat?" the "country song performed by a goateed kid in a Neil Diamond shirt, bullrider hat, and extensive armband tattoo."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Abundance League

As I was purusing the blogsphere in search of funding opportunities for OHPAA this morning, I came across an organization called "The Abundance League." Many years ago, one of my mentors taught me to think in terms like, "Other people have everything I need in the world, and they will happily give it to me if I give them what they need." The Abundance League seems to operate on that principle.
In the Abundance League Manifesto they say:

We believe that abundance flows from helping each other. That mutual aid,
collaboration, and interdependence lead to abundance in all it's forms - health,
wealth, happiness, friendship, know how, great experiences, and more.

That scarcity is created by anything that keeps us from helping each other. That
anything blocking increasing levels of cooperation cheats humanity of its full
potential. That beliefs, behaviors, and social divisions that keep us from
helping each other lead to poverty and violence.

That the purpose of our lives is to be of service to each other. That it is our responsibility to understand our unique abilities and passions, design a life of service that uses these for our own fulfillment and to the best advantage of others, and to find like-minded collaborators to advance our service projects. That this is not only our responsibility, but also one of the most powerful sources of purpose, meaning,
and joy to do the work we were meant to do.

Taken in this context, my job as the Development Director is to help others (our donors and patrons) to reach their objectives through helping us (OHPAA and the Empress) to reach ours. This is true of all the different aspects of what we do at the Empress and for OHPAA. Volounteers volunteer because they get something back from the experience.
I would like to start an Abundance League chapter in Magna. The meetings sound like a lot of fun for everyone, and would probably be profitable for everyone.
If you are interested, leave a comment or send an email to

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Jenni Makes a Shameless Plug for W.I.P

My wife has finally learned that there is no such thing as a quick visit to the Empress Theatre. It looks like Jenni is learning a similar lesson, and lived to tell about it.

Last night I stopped by the Empress to drop off some things for tonight’s Joseph cast party, and what was meant to be a brief visit turned into a seven-hour stay… I had forgotten that Work In Progress holds their workshop every Thursday evening at the theater.

I asked Jourdan Dixon, the evil mastermind behind "Work in Progress" (or "Quick as a W.I.P" as they like to refer to themselves), about these Thursday workshops the improv group does. Here's what he told me:

Anyway, yes, I'd like them [The Work in Progress workshops] publicized. With WIP, they need to audition, so go ahead and put how to audition. They can email They should email a resume and preferrably a headshot to that address. The ones who teach the workshops vary between who I assign each week. There is no cost for the workshops if they pass the audition. If they don't pass the audition, they may not attend. We teach short form improv mainly, but occasionally teach long form as well. Short form is the basic improv that people are used to in the short game format. I'm not gonna go into the long form details.

The workshops are held every Thursday from 6:30 - 9:30 PM in the upstairs rehearsal hall of the Empress. We are offering the workshops because even improv teams need rehearsal time. Not that we perform exact stuff that we rehearse, but it's mainly technique and theory. That's how you do improv. Use every fiber of your own being and use your insticts combined with an outline of quirks and tricks etc.

If someone goes into improv thinking that they can hide from who they are, they got another think coming. So, I guess I'm trying to help people gain people skills, confidence and awareness. I let 3 non-graduated people on the team at any given moment. I don't want too many because on school dance weekends I'd be out of luck with scheduling and because they are generally harder to deal with because of how reliable they are etc. I have 1 team member who is in high school who is one of the most dependable people on the team. He has progressed more than ANYONE else on the team. When we first started, he was awkward and not confident and nobody wanted to perform with him. He has become a player who everyone wants to perform with and who is more than confident in who he is. His communication skills are a 180 from where they were. I mainly keep doing this because of people like him. Not for myself as much. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, but it's seeing other progress that keeps me going.

Monday, April 7, 2008

"An Evening of One Act Plays" Update

Here's the official scoop on: "An Evening of One Act Plays."
Opens April 18th and runs through April 26th (everyday but Sunday)
Ticket prices $7 Mon-Thurs $8 Fri and Sat.
Tickets are available online now.

If the Shoe Fits
Written by Chelsy King from West Jordan High School
Directed by Sherry Smith

A fairy tale about finding a lost princess and making sure everyone gets what they deserve.

Written by Gabriel Spencer from Hillcrest High School
Directed by Blake Heywood

A janitor, a student and a tourist seem to have a hard time communicating in this humorous one-act.

The Casualities
Written by Megan Chase from Riverton High School
Directed by Sherry Smith

A life long secret is revealed in an old elevator and life changing events unfold in this one-act drama.

Written by Eva Terra Nova from Olympus High School
Directed by Trent Oliphant

She thought they would be alone for the evening but she learns that having her 98 year old great aunt at home is a blessing.

Crazy Guy Ranting in Tribune

Last week the Salt Lake Tribune ran a story about plans to build a $560 million commercial development in Sandy that would include a 2400 seat "Broadway class" theatre. Normally, I would think this a wonderful development, but there is a hitch. Since other arts organizations, like OHPAA, have to compete for funds from Salt Lake County ZAP or the Utah Arts Council, I think Sandy is jumping the gun and needs to hold off until the County finishes its study and master plan.

The Trib published an OpEd that I wrote on the subject.

A blast from the past

This is a picture of the intersection of 2700 South (Magna Main Street) and 9100 West, the intersection in front of the Empress Theatre, taken during floods in 1932. The Panama Building is clearly recognizable in the center of the picture.

The building on the right side of the picture is the building that would later become Tom Dyches' Rexall Drugstore. I'm not sure if it was still a ZCMI store in 1932, but it started as a ZCMI in about 1924 or so.

On the left, you can see part of the "Magna Hardware" sign. Magna Hardware occupied the building next-door to the Empress Theatre. George Smith owned the Empress, and his brother Roy owned the Hardware Store. The hardware store remained in operation until about 1977. The building is now used by OHPAA for storage and set construction in support of the Empress Theatre.

The old style gravity fed gasoline pumps are an enigma. They appear to be in front of the Empress, but they might have been installed to service the fire trucks at Salt Lake County Fire Station No. 2, located immediately to the east of the theatre. If anyone knows about the pumps, please leave a comment.

And if anyone has any old photos of the Empress or Magna Main Street near the Empress, we'd love to see them.

(Photo courtesy of D. Kim Dyches, son of Tom & Cleone Dyches)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tickets for "An Evening of One Act Plays" Now Available

I just got word that tickets are now available online for "An Evening of One Act Plays." Just click on the image of my tickets to the left and select your date and seats. Friday and Saturday performances are $8.00, Monday through Thursday performaces are just $7.00.
There will be a total of 8 performances, starting on Friday, April 18, and running through Saturday, April 26.
BTW, the image of the tickets was scanned from actual children's ticket stock found in the basement. Cool isn't it. My mother always said the show cost only a dime!

Tickets Available ONLINE!

Tickets for Empress Theatre productions are now available online! Here's how it works: Click on the link on the main Empress website, the "tickets" link here on the blog, or just click here. You will be taken to a secure website with a list of Empress shows that you can purchase tickets for. Select the production you want to see (today only Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is available) and a click opens a list of performances, and tells you how many seats are available. When you click on the "Buy Tickets For" button, a diagram of the Empress's seating comes up. Next you select the section where you want to sit.

Red seats are already sold, green are available to purchase. Pick the seats you want by clicking on them. When you're ready click on the appropriate button, and you're looking at a new screen where you're presented with pricing options. If you don't already have an EZTicketLive account, you'll be asked to register at this point, or if you already have an account, enter your credentials.

The next screen displays the total price you'll pay for the tickets. It also adds a $1.50 convenience fee. This is a fee we pay for the online ticketing service.

Now for my favorite part: On this page is a place to enter a donation. Feel free to put large numbers in this field.

Then select "print at home" to have the tickets emailed to you. At the moment, this is the only option, but there may be others in the future. Next select your payment method, and enter the payment details. When you're ready, click on "process card."

Check your email, print your tickets and we'll see you at the Empress!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Auditions

While I'm posting audition notices, I guess I'd better put Seven Brides for Seven Brothers up...

Auditions for Seven Brides will be on April 19th, from 9:00 AM until Noon, with call backs on April 21. Come prepared with 32 bars from an upbeat Broadway Musical. Resumes and headshots are preferred.

Performance dates will be Friday, Saturday and Monday from July 11 through August 11. Call the box office at 347-7373 with questions or to scheudle an appointment.

Big Bad Musical Auditions

We have decided on our Children's Theatre show! We are doing Big Bad Musical.
Auditions will be held April 26th from 9-12 at the Empress Theatre. To audition, you will need to be prepared with 16 measures of an upbeat song. Call backs will be on Tuesday, April 29th. Ages are 10-18.
Pioneer Drama Service, who licenses the rights to this show says this about the script:
A courtroom has never been more lively and fun than in The Big Bad
This smart and wickedly funny musical is great for young actors
and audiences of any age. The jury—your audience—must decide the outcome of the
biggest trial ever in the fairy-tale world! The notorious Big Bad Wolf is being
slapped with a class-action lawsuit by storybooks of quirky characters who want
to get even: Little Red Riding Hood, her Grandmother, the Three Little Pigs and
the Shepherd in charge of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. With Sydney Grimm as the
commentator on live court TV, the two greatest legal minds in the Enchanted
Forest—the Evil Stepmother and the Fairy Godmother—clash in a trial that will be
remembered forever after. As our wronged fairy tale characters testify, the wolf
seems deserving of all that’s coming. Yet, even though the infamous Evil
Stepmother resents doing pro-bono work on such an obviously futile defense, Mr.
Wolf makes a good case for himself. Was he born a criminal, or made one? This
musical has it all—minimal set and costume requirements, a good balance of stage
time for each character, multiple endings to make every performance unique and
Bill Francoeur’s toe-tapping tunes!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Architectural Irony

The Empress Theatre in Magna isn't the only Empress Theatre around. This photo is of some of the architectural detail from the Empress Theatre in Montreal, Canada. Given our current production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcaot this bit of heiroglyphics seemed a bit ironic. I thought I'd share it. (The photo comes from a collection of Art Deco from around the world.)

Other Empress Theatres include a recently restored and renovated beau- arts performance venue in Vallejo, California, and an art deco theatre in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada that was renovated and restored to live performances in 1982.
All three of these other Empress Theatres started in Vaudville (Montreal in 1927, Vallejo in 1911, and Fort Macleod in 1912). Our empress is the only former Burlesque house among them! All later became movie houses, went through rough times, and were later rescued by loving friends. Finally, all of the other three are now cultural centerpieces in their respective communities.
Will our Empress follow suit with her "sisters?"

What makes you volunteer

I was contacted earlier in the week by Lisa Mann, a free-lance writer doing an article for DramaBiz magazine. Her story is about how live performance theatres, like the Empress, attract and retain volunteers. She was most interested in higher levels of volunteerism, like donated creative services or donations from lawyers, and so on. We'll have to keep our eye on DramaBiz for the next few months to see if the Empress gets a mention.

In the meantime, her query has me curious. For those of you who volunteer at the Empress, in whatever capacity, I'd like to hear from you. Why do you volunteer? If you're not an Empress volunteer, then why do you choose to volunteer, or not, for other organizations?

The Empress has some incredible people who keep coming back and doing more and more. And its not all actors wanting to be on stage. When I think of Joline Walgamott, our executive director, or Kelly, our stage manager, or Douglas, our house technical director, and others who give beyond the call of duty, often neglecting other parts of their lives, it gives me pause... and it inspires me!

So click on the comment button, and share with us what the fire is within you!