110 in the Shade, which opens June 28, may be one of the biggest events to ever happen at the Hale Center Theatre in Orem. The show is being headlined by big stars and features a phenomenal local supporting cast.
110 in the Shade is the musical version of The Rainmaker, which is set during the dust bowl of the Great Depression. Four-time Tony Award winning actress Audra McDonald is reprising the role she brought to life in 2007’s Broadway revival of the play.
McDonald may be more commonly recognized as Dr. Naomi Bennett, from TV’s Private Practice. This time, she is coming to Utah to play Lizzie, a spinster who is forced to choose between two men. One is a responsible, upstanding citizen, the other a traveling charlatan who claims to be able to sell the community’s rain for a hundred dollars.
But Lizzie’s choice is more than just between two men; it’s a choice between two ways of life.
The charlatan in question, Bill Starbuck, is being played by Tony Award-nominated actor Will Swenson. He played the same role on Broadway and has somewhat of a cult following among aficionados of LDS cinema, after having starred in Sons of Provo and the Singles Ward films.
To have such big names and such widely-recognized talent playing here in Orem is remarkable. The stars will be playing a two-week engagement, after which the show will continue with local actors. McDonald and Swenson are donating their performances as a fund raiser for the Hale Center Theatre.
110 in the Shade is directed by UVU professor Dave Tinney, who recently directed the well-received Urinetown here at UVU. Tinney’s other recent theatrical accomplishments include directing The Fantasticks at Sundance last year and starring in HCT’s Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Tinney is excited to be working on this show.
“This is an opportunity for people to come and see how amazing our community is with the arts,” said Tinney. “This is a story about learning to have hope during our own personal droughts until the rain comes.”
The cast is comprised of community professionals, BYU alumni and current students from UVU and BYU. UVU theater student Julie Olson, who performs in the ensemble, said that people should come see the show because “it’s a really talented cast and has a great message. It’s about the rain, but it’s also about what the rain represents in life.”
Tickets are available at http://WebTicketing.HaleTheater.org