“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” hits the Hale Centre Theatre stage in Salt Lake


By Courtney Newby

A small town isn’t big enough for two con men in a story of deceit, romance and betrayal.

The Salt Lake Hale Centre Theatre presents “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” the musical based on the original film starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine, Tuesday through July 23.

“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” has received 11 Tony nominations and 10 Drama Desk nominations on Broadway.

Hale Centre Theatre’s adaptation will feature elaborate costumes, entertaining choreography and a decadent, transforming set, according to a news release.

Set designer Kacey Udy has created backgrounds that reflect the emotional development of main character, Lawrence Jameson.

Dave Tinney, the show’s director, choreographer and lead role, has created choreography that is both high-energy and comedic. Musical direction will be led by Kelly DeHaan.

Mark Knowles, who plays the slick con man, Jamison, said the show is perfect for the Hale Centre stage in Salt Lake.

“I love performing at the Hale Centre Theatre,” he said in a Facebook message. “With the intimate surroundings of the theater in the round, you can hear the audience react, even if it’s as quiet as a sudden intake of breath or a sympathetic sigh.”

Knowles said he especially likes performing in fast-paced shows like this one.

“I love playing broad comedy,” he said. “It flies along at breakneck speed, then on rare occasions slows down just enough to tug at your heartstrings.”

Knowles said he believes the musical will keep audience members engaged.

“‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ is a hilarious romp from start to finish,” he said. “Audience members can expect to be entertained from curtain to bows. They’ll wonder how two hours can fly by so quickly.”

Musical theater is perfect because the score of the music enhances your experiences, Knowles said.

“You as an audience member find yourself cheering on the actor, hoping that she’ll dazzle you when she belts out that awesome ‘money note,’ then applauding like the Dickens when she nails it,” he said.

Based in the French Riviera, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” unveils the story of two scammers, one a white-collar (Jameson), the other a blue (Freddy Benson). After taking Benson under his wing, Jameson quickly becomes aware of his juvenile style of conning. The town grows smaller for the scam artists as their pursuits become tangled. They crack a deal — the first person to steal $50,000 from an heiress gets to stay in town and the other must leave.

Jackie Westenskow, an Hale Centre Theatre season ticket holder from Murray, said in a Facebook message she is always amazed at the caliber of shows put on by the theater, and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” is no exception.

“During the show I’m expecting to check out of reality for a couple of hours and become a part of a fun story,” she said. “I know I will enjoy the talent of the cast and crew. The sets are always amazing. I have no doubt I’ll enjoy every minute of it.”

Westenskow said she goes to shows with family and anyone who enjoys theater, especially musicals.

“Musicals stick,” she said. “The music and lyrics somehow stay with me long after the show. I enjoy seeing the dancing and singing come together. Life should be a musical.”

For more information about Hale Centre Theatre’s upcoming musical, visit halecentretheatre.org.

If you go:

What: Salt Lake City’s Hale Centre Theatre musical “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”

Where: Hale Centre Theatre, 333 South Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City

When: Tuesday through July 23. Monday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Matinées each Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Occasional weekdays at 4 p.m.

Tickets: Monday through Thursday evenings and matinees are $24 per adult and $15 per child (5-11 years); Friday and Saturday evenings are $26 per adults and $16 per child. Purchase tickets online at halecentretheatre.org, over the phone 801-984-9000 or at HCT box office at 3333 South Decker Lake Drive, West Valley City.

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