One of the most popular of all American farces, 1928's The Front Page, has been on Broadway four times and was made into a classic film with Cary Grant. It forever set the tone for plays and movies about life in the newspaper biz. Now Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's comedy comes to Salt Lake City's Pioneer Theatre in Utah, running March 18-April 4.
Set in a Chicago newsroom, The Front Page spotlights a seasoned reporter on what he thinks will be his last day at the paper. Little does he expect a breaking scoop and the machinations of his hard-bitten editor.
Authors Hecht and MacArthur started as Chicago journalists and, after Front Page, went on to write Twentieth Century, the libretto for Jumbo, Ladies and Gentlemen and Swan Song. Even so, they wrote in an to the published edition of Front Page, "We found we were not so much dramatists or intellectuals, but two reporters in exile."
Pioneer artistic director Charles Morey directs The Front Page, which he loves because "it is about passion for work... about a newspaperman's passion for `getting the story...' not unlike the passion theatre people frequently have for telling the story."
Starring in the show are Michael Lasswell (as Hildy) and Ross Bickell (as Walter Burns), alongside Charles Antalosky, Craig Bockhorn, Kermit Brown, Jackie Farrington, David B. Heuvelman, Deidre Madigan, William Pitts, Margaret Crowell, Grank Gerrish, Jayne Luke, Richard Mathews, Robert Peterson, Max Robinson, Richard E. Scott, David Valenza, Spencer Ashby, Joe Debevc, Michael Hopkins, Christopher Lazzaro, Ryan Poole, Trish Reading and Isaac Riddle. Designing the show are Gary English (set), Peter L. Willardson (lighting), K.L. Alberts (costumes) and Cynthia L. McCourt (hair/make-up). For tickets ($14-$32) and information on The Front Page at Pioneer Theatre Company, 1400 East (300 South), call (801) 581-6961.
-- By David Lefkowitz