Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Evening You'll Never Forget

Collin Raye returns to Desert Star Dinner Theatre for another series of incredible dinner Concerts! With fantastic food and amazing music, you won't want to miss your chance to see music sensation, Collin Raye, up close and personal! Don't take our word for it, here's what past audiences had to say!

"The BEST experience I’ve had at a concert! Collin Raye’s performance was second to none. Not only was the food delicious, but the venue was incomparable to any other for the sound and acoustics. It was incredible! " Kaylinne Reed

"It was so fun to hear my old favorites like Little Rock and Love Me in such an intimate theater. Even from our seats on the back row,
it felt like he was singing to me in my living room!" Kasey Wadsworth

"My wife has been a big Collin Raye fan since she was a teen,and so for our anniversary, I purchased 2nd row tickets. One word. AMAZING. Our oldest daughter is about the same age as his granddaughter Haylie. Our daughter has special needs and he debuted his song "She's With Me" at the show. Tears streamed down our faces as we listened to a song that explained our emotions exactly. It is a memory I will always treasure." Geoffrey Sagers

"Collin Raye knows how to wow an audience. He sings, dances and gets your blood pumping with his upbeat songs, or melts your heart with his powerful ballads. He is one act worth seeing over and over again." Jennifer Christensen

"My husband and I saw Collin Raye for the first time in November of 2008 and it was a wonderful show. Al died in a terrible accident that December 1st so it was the last concert we saw together. I have made attending Collin’s concert an annual event, attending by myself and sitting in the same seat in the front of the balcony stage left. I just sit there and enjoy the music and remember what it was like have my sweetheart beside me." Karen Christoffersen

"Our experience seeing Collin Raye at Desert Start last year was incredible. We’ve seen him in the past in large venues, and it was amazing being so up-close and personal. We will definitely go again and are also buying tickets as presents for family members!" Scott Stanger

"We ate, laughed, cried, and even danced a little at the Collin Raye concert last year. We all had a great time!" Carolyn Swaim

"In 2010 my wife and I had a very hard year, and to celebrate our anniversary we saw Collin Raye at Desert Star Theater. I was able to get Collin to dedicate "Love Remains" to my wife. It’s a night we will always remember." James Moffitt

" I've been a Collin Raye fan for years. I've seen him several times in concert, but the concert at Desert Star was the best yet. Loved the intimate setting, with just him and two band members. Great food and music. Great night!" Cheryl Ward

"The Desert Star Playhouse provides the perfect setting for a wonderful evening, including a delicious meal and choice entertainment. Collin Raye kept the audience engaged singing his heart-felt ballads and spirited country tunes. My husband and I enjoyed the experience so much that we decided to make it a tradition we'll look forward to for years to come." Carie Erickson

"We are so lucky to have Collin Raye performing right in our backyard at the Desert Star Playhouse each year! His music is timeless and inspirational, and the intimate setting of the Playhouse theater perfectly enhances the experience. His concert will be a tradition for us for many years to come!" Julie Holbrook

"I had a wonderful time at my last Colin Raye concert there!!! I've had 2 brain tumors leaving me with pretty bad hearing. BUT I was able to enjoy the dulcet tones of my fave country singer because your theater is intimate, not too big and echo-y." Compliments to you!! Deb Jacobi

"I have gone to the show for the past 3 years and bring more girlfriends each year. We look forward to it every year!" Shalees Alfonso

"My wife has always been a fan of Collin Raye. I have spent many road trips with Little Red Rodeo blaring through the car speakers. I surprised her with tickets to his performance for our anniversary. The intimate venue makes the experience amazing! We will be doing this again!" Thomas Elegante

"His concerts are entertaining, fun and they just feel good!" Jill Hughes

"We have seen Collin Raye perform at other places but last year we attended his dinner and concert at Desert Star Playhouse. It was an incredible and intimate setting and the food was delicious. With this smaller venue Collin was able to see each of us and interact with his audience in a way that made it very personal." Jennifer Hansen

"We bought tickets in 1995, just before the concert my husband suffered a heart attack. We hadn’t seen him since then, until last year. It was very emotional reflecting back. His music always leaves us feeling more in love than before we started the evening. Thanks for the memories, Colin." Name Withheld

"Collin Raye is one performer who is well worth seeing again and again. We have attended the last two years. He is a consummate entertainer and a warm human being. The eclectic musical mix is fantastic." Pam Blanck

"After hearing Collin perform his heartfelt songs in such an intimate setting two years ago, I went again last year. I can’t wait to repeat the experience this year, too!" Linda Banner

"I have been a fan of Collin Raye for 20+ years now and my sweet husband always makes sure I make it to the Utah concerts. Last year was my favorite because the setting was so intimate as opposed to a big concert hall. I really loved the personal insights that Collin shared, and the food was excellent too! We'll see you in November." Julie Harward

"The Collin Raye concert at Desert Star was absolutely amazing! The dinner theater is so warm and intimate, the parking is great, and the sound and up-close seating is spectacular! Since attending the Collin Raye concert, I've sworn off the huge, cold ampitheater and
sports-arena concerts!
" Todd Hale

"My experience in the past with Collin Raye concerts goes like this: Awesome. I have always enjoyed watching Collin perform. When he talked about his granddaughter was being treated at Primary Children's Hospital I knew how he felt because I myself was treated there when I was young. Music is magic and it can help miracles to happen." Selar Tyler

"Wow! How lucky am I that I have been able to see Collin Raye at the Desert Star Playhouse for last three years. He’s a wonderful singer and performer and in this cozy atmosphere he makes you feel like a friend. BTW, the food is scrumptious! Loved it!!" Anita VanLieshout

"Desert Star Playhouse (exciting, great food) plus Collin Raye (genuine, amazing entertainer) equals a superb evening of enjoyment and fun. Two years ago as Collin was ending his concert and shaking hands with those on front row he missed me, but looked back at me saying "this songs for you." Name Withheld

"Colin Ray at the Desert Star is not just a enjoyable concert, it is an experience that will keep you humming and tapping your toe for months to come. For the last three years we have attended Colin’s annual intimate unplugged concert, and we will be back this year." Kim Cassett

"Collin Raye is one of my favorite artists, and he does an amazing job at Desert Star. It's such an intimate concert and GREAT experience! I love how Colin seems to engage everyone in the theater! It's better than any large production could ever be!" Jennifer Gunn

"Seeing Collin Raye at Desert Star was like attending my own private concert. The size of the theater creates an intimate bond with the performer. Collin Raye is an amazing and heartwarming entertainer, so having seats in the front row was truly incredible being that close. The evening was the ultimate birthday present: being serenaded, smiled and winked at by Collin." Maureen Farrell


THAT SAYS IT ALL!" Dawn Southwick

"I LOVE Collin Raye. The first year I went I swear he winked at me. BEST present ever!! The theater is intimate and feels like he is talking and singing just for me. I LOVE that you have been able to get him to come for my birthday every year!!" Marcia Thomson

"What a great experience to see Collin Raye so up close and personal. He has still got it! The energy in the room is magnetic! We loved the food, and the dinner theatre enviroment just can't be beat. I took my husband last year as a birthday gift and it definitely gained me new levels of awesomeness in his eyes!" Tiffany Dickson

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Actor Diaries

Editor's Note: Actor Kelly Knight is a newcomer to Desert Star Playhouse. She'll be playing Elle Woods in our next production: Legally Brunette. We asked Kelly to keep a diary of her experiences at Desert Star, to give our friends a backstage look at what’s it’s like to work here. Here is Kelly’s fourth entry...

9/22/11  The Laughs Keep Coming During Rehearsal!
By Kelly Knight

We've been in rehearsal for "Legally Brunette" for a week and a half now, and each day is a new and exciting experience!  One of the things that makes Desert Star unique is that they allow their actors to improvise, or change their lines.  This adds a fun feeling that “anything can happen” to the show.  Our director, Scott Holman, told us from the very beginning that we had some wiggle room for adding our own flare to the script. Coming from a traditional theatre background, I had no idea what this meant, but I certainly quickly found out!  I was blown away by the talent and ad-lib masterpieces of my fellow cast mates. 

When you put a bunch of comedy actors together for 4 hours a day, you are guaranteed to make a good script even better!  It is so fun to hear hilarious improv-ed lines that throw the entire cast into uncontrollable fits of laughter.  If the ad-libbed lines are funny enough, they make the cut and Scott tells us to leave it in the script for good. 

With one week before we open, I fully expect to continue laughing at each rehearsal, and I can’t wait to see how hilarious our show will be for opening night! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Actor Diaries

Editor's Note: Actor Kelly Knight is a newcomer to Desert Star Playhouse. She'll be playing Elle Woods in our next production: Legally Brunette. We asked Kelly keep a diary of her experience at Desert Star, to give our friends a backstage look at what’s it’s like to work here. Here are Kelly’s second and third entries...

9/10/11 My First Read-Through of Legally Brunnette. Lots of Kooky Laughs!
By Kelly Knight

From the 2005 Production of Legally Brunette
Since I had never seen a show at Desert Star, Mary Williams (Assistant Director) arranged to squeeze my husband and me into a performance of Hunk-cules just to get an idea of what Desert Star is all about. I was excited to see what I had gotten myself into, and I was also pumped to venture into new territory because, believe it or not, I had never been to a dinner theatre before.

My husband gave me the old elbow in the side when we walked in and saw the other patrons; I had made him wear slacks, and I’m glad he fought me on the tie; otherwise we really would have stood out. Wow, one more point for Utah: casual theatre attire. Again, liking this...

I immediately dug the personal vibe of the show--actors talking to us from the stage, and the pianist coaching us on when and how to respond to sound cues. The result was a bunch of unassuming joes (my husband included) laughing their heads off and clapping in participation.

When the show ended, I stopped by the box office and picked up my script for Legally Brunette. I waited till the next morning to sit down and read through it, and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was one joke after the next, made by exaggerated and zany characters whose conviction was as strong and those of soap operas. This was going to be fun! When I finished reading the script, I quickly became eager to start developing my version of Elle Woods; I had forgotten how fun an eternally optimistic character could be. I had seen Legally Blonde a million times, so I had a few ideas to get started with. And, in a line toward the end of the script, Elle describes her own voice as “sucking helium.” This got me going in a direction. With 3 days before my first rehearsal, I was ready to own Elle Woods.

9/12/11. The First Rehearsal for the New Kid on the Block

From the 2005 Production of Legally Brunette
I got to the theater 30 minutes early for the first day of rehearsal because I wanted to make a dazzling first impression with my punctuality. But my grand entrance was ruined. I couldn’t figure out how to get inside! I tried both the front and back door, but with no luck. Did I get the time wrong? Luckily I stumbled upon a random guy in the parking lot who realized I was the new kid, and he informed me that “the theater isn’t open yet. The actors always go in through that stage door over there.”

Other than a very friendly fellow actor who already knew me by name, I was the first person there. As the other actors trickled in, I felt more and more like a newbie. Everyone knew each other by name, and greeted each other the way actors do after about 6+ weeks of cast bonding. I realized I would have a lot of catching up to do on the social scene, seeing as most of these folks had been working together for years.

As soon as rehearsal began, things felt familiar: First was the script read-through. I got a real kick out of hearing the other actors’ interpretations of their characters--especially the funny voices of the court room witnesses. Next was stage blocking. I’m pretty sure the humor of the show doubled as our director, Scott Holman (a very funny guy with a warped brain) coached us on where and how to move throughout the script, adding many of his own funny bits along the way. Not to ruin any show surprises, but my favorite of these moments is a bit where a witness removes an invisible object from my hair and eats it, shortly after being compared to a big ape. :)

In the last hour, we had time for a quick music rehearsal. I had never worked with spoof/satire versions of familiar songs before, so I was having a blast listening to my favorite Broadway classics be converted into comedic musical interpretations. All in all, the first rehearsal was a lot of fun.

We'll have one more rehearsal this week week, and then we've got a 4-day weekend to get off-book; aka, memorized.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Actor Diaries

9/8/11 Auditioning at DSP
By Kelly Knight

Actor Kelly Knight is a newcomer to Desert Star Playhouse. She’s just been cast in her first role, playing Elle Woods in our next production: Legally Brunette. Kelly is talented, energetic, and fun, and we think our audiences are going to love her. We thought it would be fun to have Kelly keep a diary of her experience at Desert Star as an on-going feature, to give our friends a backstage look at what’s it’s like to work here. Here is Kelly’s first entry…

Ahh! Two hours to pull together an audition! Why hadn’t I checked the Desert Star webpage sooner? I knew they didn’t hold auditions often, so when I saw the posting at 5 PM on audition day, I quickly called to see if they could squeeze me in. They had a slot at 7:05.

Let me back up and give you a quick background story: I am brand new to Utah—officially moved here three weeks ago. Why? After performing with a children’s theatre company in South Korea for three years, I had met my husband and was ready to “settle down.” But where? I was from Montana, he was from Mississippi and, before heading to Asia in 2008, I had been “living the dream” as an actor in New York City. This meant my life was basically as follows: wake up, audition, go to my night job, go to bed. This would continue for a few months before I’d book a gig, then I would be shipped off to a random theater across the country, finish out a three- or four-month contract, return to NYC, and start the routine all over again. That is, until I landed the Korea gig.

After three years of international adventures and meeting the handsome American English teacher who later became my husband, the NYC routine just didn’t sound that appealing anymore. And I wasn’t about to drag my new husband into it. He’s not a “theatre person.”

We both liked the idea of settling down out West, somewhere that we could ski all winter, hike all summer, and where I wouldn’t have to give up my performing career. My parents had moved to Utah while I was overseas, and after some Google research told me that SLC had multiple professional theaters, it wasn’t too hard to convince me that This Is The Place.

OK, back to the audition. I grabbed my repertoire book, dashed to my car, and practiced on my drive to Desert Star. This certainly wasn’t my first rodeo with a last-minute audition, but it was an important one--my first in Utah. I arrived 5 minutes early, was greeted by friendly audition monitors, and waited for my turn.

Hmmm, weird. This wasn’t like a New York audition. Everyone was smiling and friendly, wearing blue jeans, and had such a casual attitude. I did my little song and dance (literally) and I was done. In and out in 5 minutes--that sure beats waiting all day for the chance to “maybe” be seen. I was liking Utah theatre already!

I got a call the next morning from Desert Star, and I had landed the gig: Elle Woods in Legally Brunette. Sweet.

Legally Brunette opens September 29, 2011. Click here for tickets.

Friday, September 2, 2011

More Laugh Lines From "Hunk-cules!"

Come hear all the laugh lines!  Click here to buy tickets to "Hunk-cules!"