I’ve blogged many times about theater. My blog followers should know by now how much I love theater. We have many great theater venues in Utah. One of my favorite places to experience theater is Tuacahn…. an outdoor theater in Southern Utah set amongst the beautiful red rock cliffs.
Tuacahn was the brain child of Doug Stewart. Many of you may know him as the author of the popular musical Saturday’s Warrior. As quoted from the Tuacahn website: In 1993….. Doug Stewart, noted playwright and St. George resident, stumbled upon the spot as he was searching for a location for an outdoor amphitheatre in the St. George area. “The stunning beauty and perfect surroundings stopped me in my tracks,” Stewart recalled. “I was brought to tears when I first stood there, and after taking it in for some time – envisioning an amphitheatre and a stage with an awesome backdrop of 1,500 foot red rock cliffs, and hearing the sounds of music echoing from the canyon walls – I literally flew back to town and straight to the county recorder’s office to see who the land belonged to.”
His dream became a reality in 1995 with the completion of the beautiful 42,000 square foot facility featuring a 330 seat indoor theater, a dance studio, a black-box theater, a recital hall, a costume shop and scene shop, studios and classrooms, and a gift shop, all of which were built to complement the jewel of Tuacahn – a 1920-seat outdoor amphitheatre, which was designed as the home of the original musical UTAH!
Though Tuacahn had their years of struggle trying to maintain interest in drawing crowds…. they have now found a way to fill the seats with patrons. Two to three musicals every Summer seems to draw the crowds. Especially the last few years by making one of those shows a Disney Musical. What can I say? Disney sells seats! Families come from miles around to witness the outdoor spectacle.
They’ve put on some pretty amazing shows over the years. We’ve been lucky enough to see both shows of the season the last several years. When we come down for the Senior Games in October, we take the time to go see the shows. You really couldn’t ask for a better setting. Some shows work better on the stage than others…. but it’s always fun when they can use the huge area behind the stage that is set with the water falls that flood the stage when appropriate, but also allow large vehicles to be a part of the show. In western shows they have done, you’ll see wagons and horses being used. In the case of Grease, which we saw tonight…. there were several vehicles brought on stage. It was fun to have a set where the actual cars could be used for the ‘drive in’ scene and also for the car race and Greased Lightning. Not may stages would allow that.
It’s truly a wonderful facility and I am ever grateful to Doug Stewart for being persistent in his dream. The fruition of which we all can take advantage of. If you’ve never been to Tuacahn…. it’s hard to explain it. If you get the chance to witness an outdoor show there…. do it! It will be an experience like nothing else you’ve ever had. I’ve enjoyed many shows on it’s stage over the years and am always impressed with the clever things they do. We really enjoyed Little Mermaid last night too. The curtain of water with projections on it to create a feel of being under the sea was very clever and effective. One of my favorite shows they did was a few years ago when they did Peter Pan where Peter and Wendy and Michael and John flew over the audience. It was pretty awesome. They used that same flying rig for Tarzan last summer. It was fun stuff.
Thanks Doug Stewart…. thanks Tuacahn…. for bringing us some great entertainment in the most beautiful setting in the world!
I am Grateful! How are you?
Here’s a news piece I found and Doug Stewart and Tuacahn:
Hey! I don’t know if Doug meant to do this…. but did you know that you can spell “Utah Can” out of Tuacahn! Oh yeah…. that’s what I’m talking about!