SALT LAKE CITY — Summer is a time to combine two of Utah’s favorite things into one: the outdoors and theater.
Multiple professional and community theater companies in Utah take their monologues, solos, dance numbers and drama to outdoor stages as the weather gets warmer, giving audiences the chance to enjoy a bit of theater as the summer breeze flows and starry skies twinkle.
Outdoor theater productions continue throughout the summer, but here are a few places offering them in June.
‘Matilda the Musical’ at Tuacahn Amphitheatre
The red rock backdrop of Tuacahn Amphitheatre near St. George makes it an iconic outdoor venue. Located in Ivins, Washington County, about 10 miles north of St. George, Tuacahn offers “Broadway in the canyon,” as its tagline states, and this summer’s lineup includes “Matilda the Musical.” Based on Roald Dahl’s well-known children’s book, the musical uses “high-energy dance numbers, catchy songs and plenty of Tuacahn magic” to tell the story of a girl who won’t stand for being mistreated any longer.
“Matilda” opens in preview June 1 and runs through Oct. 18, dates and times vary, Tuacahn Amphitheatre, 1100 Tuacahn Drive, Ivins, prices vary (435-652-3300 or tuachan.org).
Also playing at Tuacahn this summer are Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” dates vary through Oct. 19, and “The Prince of Egypt,” dates vary July 13-Oct. 20.
‘Mary Poppins’ at Draper Amphitheater
Enjoy a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious evening at Draper Amphitheater with everyone’s favorite nanny — the one who’s “practically perfect in every way.”
Watch Mary Poppins win over the hearts of the entire Banks family while simultaneously enjoying what the amphitheater’s website calls “a breathtaking view of the entire Salt Lake Valley.”
“Mary Poppins” runs June 1-11, 8 p.m., dates vary, Draper Amphitheater, 1020 E. Pioneer Road, Draper, $10 for adults, $7 for children ages 12 and under, free for children under 2 (385-351-9468 or draperartscouncil.org).
Lerner and Loewe’s “Brigadoon” is also slated to be performed at Draper Amphitheater later in the summer, Aug. 24-Sept. 1.
Grassroots Shakespeare Company is on a mission: to create “joyous, vibrant productions” inspired by the way the Bard of Avon himself did it.
The theater company travels around the Wasatch Front doing open-air performances of Shakespeare’s plays, and this summer they’ll be performing “Two Noble Kinsmen” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at locations such as SCERA Park in Orem and Liberty Park in Salt Lake City. Performances are generally held on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Visit the group’s website for a complete schedule.
‘Shrek the Musical’ at SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre
Regardless of whether you’re the type of person who compares an ogre to an onion or to a parfait, “Shrek the Musical” is a “side-splitting fairy tale adventure” for everyone, according to SCERA Center for the Arts’ website.
The musical, based on the 2001 Dreamworks film starring the vocal talents of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz and Eddie Murphy, is the first of three musicals scheduled to be on the SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre stage this summer. It tells the story of a cranky ogre named Shrek who goes on a quest to get the peace and quiet of his swamp restored but finds a “wisecracking donkey and a feisty princess” instead, according to scera.org.
“Shrek the Musical,” runs June 8-23, 8 p.m., dates vary, SCERA Shell Outdoor Theatre, 699 S. State, Orem, $12-$16 for adults, $10-$14 for children and seniors (801-225-2787 or scera.org).
SCERA is also slated to offer “Big River,” July 6-21, and “Bye Bye Birdie,” Aug. 3-18.
‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’ at Murray Amphitheater
Murray City’s Arts in the Park program offers a variety of events from singalong film screenings to lunchtime concerts to children’s programs. This summer, the Murray Amphitheater will play host to three musicals, starting with “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” June 21-23 and 25-27, 8 p.m., Murray Amphitheater, 296 E. Murray Park Ave., Murray, $10 (801-264-2614 or murray.utah.gov).
“Into the Woods,” July 26-Aug. 1, dates vary, and “The Secret Garden,” Aug. 10-16, dates vary, round out Murray Amphitheater’s summer offerings.
‘Into the Woods’ at Outlaw Trail Amphitheater at Western Park
“Into the woods / And down the dell / The path is straight / I know it well / Into the woods / And who can tell / What’s waiting on the journey?”
What’s on the journey in Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” is a mashup of fairy tales from “Little Red Riding Hood” to “Jack and the Beanstalk” to “Cinderella.” And they will all be on the stage of the Outlaw Trail Amphitheater at Western Park in Vernal June 25-July 7, dates and times vary, 302 E. 200 South, Vernal, $14 for adults, $9 for children (outlawtrailtheater.com)
At the same time as the run of “Into the Woods,” the Outlaw Trail Theater company will also perform the melodrama “Pony Expresso … or the Villain Came to a Grinding Halt,” dates and times vary.
Utah Shakespeare Festival
In true Shakespeare tradition, Utah Shakespeare Festival offers patrons the chance to take in the Bard’s soliloquies, witticisms and drama all while “the moon shines bright: in such a night as this, / When the sweet wind did gently kiss the trees / And they did make no noise, in such a night,” as described in William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.”
“The Merchant of Venice” — the “controversial tragicomedy,” as USF describes it — is one of three productions opening in the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre this month. Similar to the Globe Theatre used by Shakespeare, the Engelstad is an open-air theater “reminiscent of Elizabethan theatres but with modern amenities and technology.”
“The Merry Wives of Windsor” opens the Engelstad for the season June 28, 8 p.m., and runs through Sept. 8, dates and times vary.
“Henry VI Part One” follows June 29, 8 p.m., and runs through Sept. 6, dates and times vary; with “The Merchant of Venice” rounding out USF’s outdoor shows for the 2018 season starting June 30, 8 p.m., and running through Sept. 7, Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre, 200 W. College Ave., Cedar City, $20-$75 for each show in the Engelstad (435-586-7878 or bard.org).
The other shows playing at this year’s festival are “Othello,” “The Foreigner,” “Big River,” “An Iliad,” “Pearl’s in the House” and “The Liar,” all of which will be performed in one of the festival’s two indoor theaters.
‘Willy Wonka the Musical’ at High Valley Arts Outdoor Theater
Visit a world of “Pure Imagination” with Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka in “Willy Wonka the Musical” at High Valley Arts Outdoor Theater in Midway. Based on another of Dahl’s beloved books, the musical takes viewers into the mysterious candy factory full of chocolate bars and Oompa-Loompas. No golden ticket needed to see this show — just a regular one will do. Audiences can catch the outdoor production June 29-July 14, 8:15 p.m., dates vary, High Valley Arts Outdoor Theater, 200 E. 400 South, Midway, $14-$17 for adults, $10-$13 for children ages 12 and under (435-657-5007 or highvalleyarts.org)