About a week ago, the family went up to Sundance for my stepdad’s company picnic. They have dinner and tickets to a show at the Sundance Summer Theatre. This year, it was a production of my most favorite musical, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I can still remember the first time I saw it: I was eight years old, it was a Friday, and Mom had ordered Chinese food which we got to eat sitting on the living room floor–just like it was a picnic! I also know all of the songs, and do a pretty fair impersonation of Howard Keel. Needless to say, we were pretty stoked.
I’m always pleasantly surprised by how close Sundance is to Provo. In about 20 minutes, you leave behind the drier environs of town for mountain forests and meadows. You’re surrounded by trees, tall grasses, brooks and wildflowers—it feels like being back east again.
Dinner was great—I’m a fan of any place where I can get a pulled pork sandwich—but I was particularly excited about the show. The theatre at Sundance is outdoors, and they do a really great job of integrating the stage into the surrounding landscape. The rooftops all have grass growing on top, so it doesn’t break up the eyeline. It’s really cool.
The performance was amazing; I appreciate that the Sundance Summer Theatre collaborates with Utah Valley University and largely casts student actors. I hadn’t realized how different the stage production is from the movie version, but by and large, I liked the additional songs and character development (although I will always be upset that it didn’t include “June Bride” or “Spring, Spring, Spring!”). Apparently, back when the theatre first opened, Robert Redford really wanted to do this show, and had the director call the company in New York for the rights. They refused, so Robert Redford decided to call them personally. They still refused, at which point he said “Well, if we call it Five Brides for Five Brothers, we aren’t really violating copyright”. So they did. Rest assured, this production was completely legal.