McDonald and Swenson Enter the Shade June 28 in Utah

News   McDonald and Swenson Enter the Shade June 28 in Utah The Hale Center Theater Orem's summer production of the Harvey Schmidt, Tom Jones and N. Richard Nash musical 110 in the Shade, featuring four-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and 2009 Hair Tony nominee Will Swenson, opens June 28.

Audra McDonald stars in 110 in the Shade.
Audra McDonald stars in 110 in the Shade. Photo by Joan Marcus

Joining McDonald, who is reprising her Tony-nominated performance as Lizzie, and Swenson as Starbuck are Marvin Payne as H.C. Curry, Kevin Goertzen as File, Tim Threlfall as Noah Curry, Jared Young as Jimmy Curry and Rachel Lynn Woodward as Snookie. The ensemble comprises Erik Agle, Ben Hess, John Graham, Darick J. Pead (alternate), Ricky Parkinson, Craig Williams, Lita Giddins, Julie Olson, Korianne Orton Johnson, Lena Latu, Laurel Lowe, Bailee Brinkerhoff, Janell Lewis, Sara Schmidt, Hailey J. Smith, Emily Castleton, Melissa Lindsey and Natalie Wheeler (alternate).

Dave Tinney directs and choreographs 110 in the Shade, which features musical direction by Dave Zabriskie. The design team includes Bobby Swenson (scenic design), Penny Jones (painting), MaryAnn Hill (costumes), Linda Hale (properties), Cody Swenson (lighting) and Cody Hale (sound).

McDonald and Swenson will continue with the production through July 10. Beginning July 12 and continuing through Aug. 7, the roles of Lizzie and Starbuck will be played by, respectively, Natalie Wheeler and Darick J. Pead.

In a previous interview with the Deseret News, McDonald stated, "I grew up doing community theater, it's very dear to my heart.... I got talking with Will and we just said, 'Wouldn't it be great if we could figure out a way to help support Cody's theater?'"

110 in the Shade is a musical take on Nash's play The Rainmaker by the team that created The Fantasticks. The most recent Broadway revival featured McDonald as Lizzie; Swenson was featured in the ensemble. "From the same creative team that wrote The Fantasticks comes this musical telling the story of Lizzie Curry, a spinster in the American Southwest during the Dust Bowl year of 1936," according to the Utah venue. "Two suitors are interested in Lizzie: one is a respectable, upstanding citizen, while the other is a con-man who comes to the moisture-deprived town masquerading as a rainmaker. Lizzie's choice cuts deeper than selecting a beau — she must decide whether it is best to pursue a life of dreams or to live the life that the world considers responsible and reasonable."

The production is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Hale Center Foundation for the Arts and Education.

Founded by the late Ruth Hale, HCTO is a year-round community theatre in Orem, UT, that has been in operation since 1990. The theatre is now run by her son, Cody Hale, his wife, Linda; Ruth's grandson, Cody Swenson, and his wife, Anne.

Tickets, priced $99-$149 each, are available by calling (801) 226-8600 or by visiting HaleTheater.org.

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