Annie The Musical

Annie The Musical • May 10, 2024 • Eccles Theater

Reviewed by Alisha Gregson

Photos Courtesy of Broadway at the Eccles/ MurphyMade

The May 10, 2024 performance of “Annie” at Eccles Theatre in Salt Lake City was a delightful and heartwarming experience that captivated both children and adults alike. This run of the beloved musical, directed by Jenn Thompson, who herself played an orphan in the original Broadway production, was full of charm and energy.

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Pretty Woman The Musical

Pretty Woman The Musical • April 2, 2024 • Eccles Theater

Reviewed by Kevin Rolfe

Photos by: Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade. Provided by Broadway at the Eccles

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

I have to admit, I totally forgot that the 1990 film Pretty Woman was adapted for the stage.  Pretty Woman The Musical appeared on Broadway in 2018 and it wasn’t until the Broadway at the Eccles announced their 2023/2024 Season that I remembered it existed.  Since its Eccles Theater stop was announced, I have been curious to see how the show worked in musical form.  On Tuesday, April 2, I found out. 

Pretty Woman The Musical has everything needed for a successful production.  Highly acclaimed director and choreographer, check.  Jerry Mitchell has choreographed big-time shows like Hairspray, Legally Blond, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and The Full Monty and directed Kinky Boots (choreography also) and On Your Feet.  Well-known songwriters, check. 

Bryan Adams (yep that Bryan Adams) and Jim Vallance have written some of the most recognized songs of all time.  Pretty Woman The Musical would be their first time writing for musical theater.  Well-known book writers, check.  You don’t get much bigger than the late great Gary Marshall.  Writing for shows as far back as I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show, Marshall has written some of the most beloved television shows and movies in history. Joined by J. F. Lawton, a respected screenwriter in his own right, the book has some all-star power.  Gary Marshall passed away before the show was completed.

The cast of Pretty Woman The Musical is given the unenviable task of getting the audience to buy into their interpretation of these characters and try to forget the memorable performances in the movie.  Vivian Ward is one of Julia Roberts’ most iconic roles.  Ellie Baker did a great job of not trying to mimic Roberts.  That would have been a disaster.  It’s simply impossible to portray the role exactly like Julia so I liked that Ellie gave the character her own spin.  It did take me longer than I wanted to get in the zone of this production and forget the movie.  But eventually, for the most part, I did get there. 

Chase Wolfe did an admirable job of portraying Edward Lewis.  His powerful singing voice drew the audience to him and I overheard audience members talking during intermission hoping for more songs from him in the second act.  They got their wish.  

Adam Du Plessis stole the show as Happy Man. The Eccles Theater audience was delighted by his performance.  He appeared in multiple scenes as different characters within those scenes and each time he’d show his face, the audience would cheer or laugh.  Mr. Thompson, the hotel manager was Du Plessis’s best character.  At first leery of Elie Baker then evolving to be her biggest support was the journey we all went on through him.  He was funny, heartfelt, and probably got the biggest ovation at the end of the evening. Some of the biggest highlights of the show were when Adam Du Plessis was paired with Connor Kabat as Giulio the bellhop. Most of Kabat’s scenes were met with large laughter.  I think without his and Du Plessis’ performances this show would have fallen flat comedically.   

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

Memorable scenes from the movie, like Elie being snubbed by women at the Rodeo Drive store only to burn them later didn’t have the same impact as the movie.  The scene where Edward snaps the jewelry box before Vivian can pick up the necklace which makes Vivian laugh, was valiantly attempted but impossible to avoid recalling Julia Roberts’ well-known laugh in that scene.  I think those moments were just going to be too difficult to avoid comparison.   I tried hard not to compare but I just couldn’t do it.  

Overall, Pretty Woman The Musical is an entertaining production.  It falls short of other Pygmalian-type stage productions like My Fair Lady or even Once Upon A Mattress.  I think the familiarity with the movie both helps and hurts this musical.  That being said, it’s a good time and while it’s not the best show to have come to Eccles Theater, it’s still a fun night out of theater with a very talented cast.

Pretty Woman plays Eccles Theater until April 7. For ticket information, including how to get $50 Student Tickets, click here.

Dancing With The Stars

Dancing With The Stars • March 8, 2024 • Eccles Theater

Reviewed and Photographed by Miriam Wasden

The area in Salt Lake City where the Eccles Theater is reminds me of New York City. The buildings are not as big in SLC but the design of the streets change quickly, store type reflects the pattern of the roads, and there is more parking and transportation available. Walking down the streets were cold as the buildings created a wind tunnel but it was all worth it to see the colorful differences in comparison to other venues in SLC.

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MJ The Musical

MJ The Musical • February 27, 2024 • Eccles Theater

Reviewed by Kevin Rolfe

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

When I first heard they were doing a Broadway musical of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, I thought, this will have great music and dancing, and it’ll surely bring in tourists.  But I wondered how good it would be.  This seems like a show that a production could easily get wrong.  I was thinking if I ever saw it, I’d be seeing a watered-down, cash grab of a jukebox musical.  But when MJ was announced as part of the Broadway at the Eccles 2023/24 season, I started to hear good things about the production coming from New York.  I was hearing that it was actually a good show.  I was excited to find out for myself.  

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Broadway at The Eccles announces 2024/2025 Broadway Series

Announcing our biggest season ever, 
the new 24/25 Broadway Series features
the show with all the #1 hits & Juliet,
the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Kimberly Akimbo
the return of Salt Lake City’s most “popular” musical WICKED, and more!

Salt Lake City, UT – We are pleased to announce the 24/25 Zions Bank Broadway at the Eccles season, bringing five premiere engagements to Salt Lake City, and the return of crowd-pleasing Add-Ons. 

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Six The Musical • January 9, 2024 • Eccles Theater

Reviewed by Kevin Rolfe

Photos by Joan Marcus

The North American Tour Boleyn Company of SIX. Photo by Joan Marcus

We all have our favorite musicals, don’t we?  Shows that we’ll see every time we go to Broadway, or whenever the touring production stops through town.  We know all the words, we know everyone who has played our favorite character, and we know every bit of choreography. There’s nothing like having a favorite show.  But once upon a time, that musical was brand new and we saw it for the first time.  Think back on not knowing all the words, and as soon as you could you wanted to learn them.  Or wanting to learn everything about the actors or the production.  Well, departed the Eccles Theater after watching the premier performance of the musical Six, my thought was, “Someone is leaving here tonight with a new favorite musical.”

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in Concert

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat• September 21, 2023•Eccles Theater

Reviewed and Photographed by Kevin Rolfe

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolfe

The state of Utah has had a love affair with the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for decades. It’s everywhere!  Every professional stage to community theater has put on a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first musical. It’s impossible not to find a production being staged somewhere within the state’s borders.  The most recent production was a concert version of “Joseph” at the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City.

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Renée Elise Goldsberry

Renée Elise Goldsberry•September 16, 2023•The Noorda Center

Reviewed by Kevin Rolfe

Photos provided by Utah Valley University

Renée Elise Goldsberry’s concert was a mesmerizing and unforgettable experience that left the audience in awe. Held at The Noorda Performing Arts Center on the campus of Utah Valley University, her performance showcased not only her exceptional vocal talent but also her captivating stage presence and storytelling abilities.

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Beetlejuice The Musical

Beetlejuice The Musical•August 8, 2023•Eccles Theater

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

Back in 2018, when I heard that there was going to be a musical adaptation of the 1988 film Beetlejuice I must admit that my first thought was, “This is going to be terrible”.  I’m not sure exactly why I thought that.  Maybe because the film is so great and there are so many amazing actors that gave such iconic performances that I didn’t think anyone would ever be able to see the characters played differently or by different actors.  Whatever the reason was, I didn’t have the best attitude when it came to the production. 

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The Principle Wife

The Principle Wife• July 22, 2023• Cover Center for the Arts

Reviewed by Kevin Rolfe

*This review contains spoilers.  If you’re planning on seeing The Principle Wife come back and read this after you’ve seen it.  Otherwise, you may proceed.*

Photo Credit: Matt Ball

I saw the billboards, I’ve seen the social media ads, and I thought, ‘Is this a musical about polygamy?’  Then I received an email with an invitation to review the production of The Principle Wife.  So I read up on it and sure enough, it is.  I’m sure many of you might be thinking, why would anyone write a musical about polygamy, why would Kevin go review a musical about polygamy, and do we need a musical about polygamy, are people wanting this?  I’ll do my best to answer those questions. 

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