Friday, August 19, 2011

Reasons I Live in Utah....

Utah gets a bad wrap sometimes... It's got its quirks, I'll admit, but there are quite a few things that make up for them.

Reason #1, within 4 hours, I can be in 3 different National Parks (Zion, Bryce, or Arches)
Reason #2, Cedar City hosts a Tony award winning Shakespeare Festival every summer.
Reason #3, St George has Tuachan, an outdoor theatre that got the first rights to perform Disney's The Little Mermaid in a regional theater.

Now, why am I listing these reasons, the past 4 days I have been taking advantage of them.  :)

I explored a part of Zion National Park that I had never been too.  Kolob Canyon.  It's stunning and if you don't have a ton of time, it's perfect.  As you drive along, I-15 between Cedar City and St. George, you'll see the exit.  It's the western border of the park.  A five mile road takes to you the overlook, with trailheads all along the road.  At the end of the road, there is another trailhead that takes you on a quick 1 1/2 mile roundtrip hike to a scenic overlook.  Want an idea of what it look like from the top?  Here are some pictures.  My only regret is that I wasn't there in the evening when the sun would of been bouncing off the red cliffs.

Now, reason 2, The Utah Shakespeare Festival.
It's time for all of the literary geeks, like myself, to get their Bard on.....  The festival this year produced "Richard III", "Midsummer's Night Dream" and "Romeo and Juliet" for the Shakespeare selections and then "The Music Man", "The Glass Menagerie" and "Noises Off" for variety.
I managed to get tickets for "Richard III", "Midsummer" and "The Music Man" none of which I had ever seen live before.
Three completely different theater experiences and I loved all of them.

"Richard III" made me cringe with the cruelty of their actions, but the performance by the actor who played Richard was absolutely stunning.  He showed arrogance with humility, malice with humor and ego with self doubt.  It was one of the most complex portrayals I have ever seen on a stage.

"Midsummer's Night Dream" was wonderful, light and sweet.  When Lysander, Hermia, Helena and Demitrius were lost at night in the forest, they played it for laughs (almost a slapstick humor approach).  What made it even better?  It was performed in the Adams Outdoor Theatre, which is patterned after the famous Globe Theatre.  It really was a perfect summer night.

"The Music Man":  I must confess I am a big fan of the movie with Robert Preston.  Having said that, I had never seen it performed live.  It was wonderful!  The theatre was freezing due to the air conditioner being tooooooo cold, but the play was great.

The other thing I love about the Utah Shakespeare Festival is the Greenshow!  Before each evening play, a musical performance is put on in the grove by the stages.  There is a different theme each night (I saw Italian and the 50th anniversary ones).  It's a great way to get into the mood of the festival.

Now for reason 3, Tuacahn.  I went for the first time last year, when I got free tickets to one of the performances, and got hooked.  This year, when I heard they were performing Disney's "The Little Mermaid", I knew I had to add it on to my Shakespeare trip.  What creative geniuses they have there  to pull off an undersea adventure in the middle of a desert.  It was just magical.

I've got more things I love about Utah, but this post is getting kind of long, so I'll call it a day.

If you live in Utah, what's your favorite reason or hidden spot that you love?
If you don't live here, come and visit... you just never know.

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