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Heritage Theatre opens 2016 with old-time classic ‘Our Town’

By Rachel J. Trotter, Standard-Examiner Correspondent - | Jan 8, 2016
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Emma Dawson and Kyle Parkinson star in "Our Town," opening Jan. 16, 2016, at Heritage Theatre in Perry.

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Emma Dawson and Kyle Parkinson star in "Our Town," opening Jan. 16, 2016, at Heritage Theatre in Perry.

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"Our Town" is playing Jan. 16 through Feb. 6, 2016, at Heritage Theatre in Perry.

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Mother and son Judean Parkinson and Kyle Parkinson play a mother and son in "Our Town," running Jan. 16 through Feb. 6, 2016, at Heritage Theatre in Perry.

PERRY — The Heritage Theatre is premiering its year with an old classic, “Our Town,” starting Jan. 16 and running Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays until Feb. 6.

Shows usually open at the Perry theater on Friday nights, but there was a scheduling conflict with one of the main characters and a change had to be made. Nightly curtain time is 7:30 p.m. and there will be a 2 p.m. matinee Jan. 23.

Katie Pace-Hess is directing the show and is a regular face at Heritage.

“I did my first show there when I was 8 years old in ‘Little Orphan Annie,’ ” Pace-Hess said.

“Our Town” is a different show for her, as she is used to directing adventures like “Around the World in 80 Days” or “Pirates of Penzance.” She was asked to direct the show and thought it would be a fun and unusual change and said it has been.

“It’s a beautiful story with so much to take away,” Pace-Hess said.

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The show was written by Thornton Wilder in the 1930s. “It’s classic Americana set at the turn of the century,” Pace-Hess said.

The play is divided into three parts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death and Eternity.” The play follows the lives of two families, and particularly a boy and a girl from each family and how they fall in love and live their lives. It’s set in New Hampshire, but has an “every American town” kind of setting, Pace-Hess said.

“It’s beautifully put together with a minimum set,” Pace-Hess said. In one scene, the boy and girl are talking between windows, but are standing on ladders to depict the moment. Pace-Hess said there are many classic moments in the show like that, where the set is minimal and it’s left to the dialogue and imagination, which is refreshing.

Heritage Theatre traditionally alternates during its season between plays and musicals, and its last show was a play at Christmastime, but to fit it into Pace-Hess’ schedule, the staff decided to make “Our Town” the first show.

The cast is fairly small compared to a musical, with only about 20 people. Pace-Hess said the Heritage show is unique in that there are several families participating in the show. The mother of the main character on the stage is also the mother of the main character in real life. Jodean and Kyle Parkinson play those roles. Plus, the parents of the other lead are married in real life, Brock and Shannon Cheney. Pace-Hess said it has been fun to direct the actual families and see them bring the roles to life.

The show continues to be an audience favorite because even though the story is set more than 100 years ago, it still follows the same circle of life, Pace-Hess said.

“It just shows that life is beautiful and that life is fleeting. You come away remembering that and appreciating the circle of life,” she added.

Heritage Theatre is located at 2505 S. Highway 89. Adult tickets are $12; seniors and children are $10. Season and flex tickets are still available for $77 for adults and $63 for seniors and children.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.heritagetheatreutah.com, at the box office or by calling 435-723-8392.

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