BWW Review: Hale Centre Theatre's THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL is Bigger and Better than Ever
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL is a perennial Utah favorite, but the new production on Hale Centre Theatre's Centre Stage perhaps shines brighter than any other. It is a lush spectacle with emotional heft from soaring performances.
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (book and lyrics by Nan Knighton, music by Frank Wildhorn) is an adventure romance based on the classic works of Baroness Orczy. Set to the backdrop of the French Revolution's Reign of Terror, it boasts a thrilling story and score. Englishman Percy Blakeney is secretly the Scarlet Pimpernel, who rescues French aristocrats from the guillotine, but when he learns that his new wife, Marguerite, sent a marquis and his family to their deaths, he must face the danger without her by his side.
First, it must be said: "What a cast!" Some of the very best musical theatre talent in the state was selected to lead the company, and their maturity and experience is utterly refreshing and exactly what is needed for these characters.
Daniel Beck as Percy Blakeney (double cast with Keith McKay Evans), Erin Royall Carlson as Marguerite St. Just (double cast with Amy Shreeve Keeler), and Dallyn Vail Bayles as Chauvelin (double cast with Quinn Allan Dietlein) are a trio of knockout vocalists and actors who breathe new life into their roles, leaving the audience spellbound.
Additional standout actors include Becca Burdick as Marie (double cast with Morgan Fenner Western), Nathan Kremin as Armand St. Just (double cast with Alexander Vaughn), and Jeffrey Whitlock as the Prince of Wales and Robespierre (double cast with Anthony LeRoy Lovato).
Director John J. Sweeney consistently helms productions with stunning visuals in addition to substance. Under his purview, this new version of THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL is a parade of opulent spectacle grounded in historical reality.
Costume designer Kelsey Nichols has designed simply stunning creations that fill every scene, and hair/makeup designer Trisha Ison and lighting designer Michael Gray assist in making them shine.
For the first time, the new Centre Stage in Sandy feels like the Hale Centre Theatre we knew and loved in West Valley but on a larger scale. The way in which the show is staged and the technical capacities are utilized is reminiscent of the familiar, special approach that Hale Centre Theatre is known for with a turntable that morphs and shifts into various formations. Add to that massive set pieces that fly in from the ceiling and rise from the ground, and the design team has finally found a way to fill all that space to awe-inspiring results. Congratulations are in order for set designer and technical director Kacey Udy, who seems to be growing more and more comfortable with the new space and its unique opportunities and challenges with every show.
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL plays through November 24, 2018. For tickets, call the box office at 801-984-9000 or visit www.hct.org.
Photo Credit: L-R Dallyn Vail Bayles (Chauvelin), Daniel Beck (Percy Blakeney), and Erin Royall Carlson (Marguerite St. Just)