Utah Valley University Theatre’s second show in the new Noorda Theatre is an adaptation of the classic horror novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury. While the book has been presented on stage and screen before, this is the North American premiere of Bradbury’s own adaptation for the stage. The production opens on October 22 and continues through November 7. Evening performances will be held at 7:30PM, with special midnight performances on October 30 and 31.
Something Wicked This Way Comes was originally written by award-winning Bradbury as a screenplay in 1955. Shortly after it was written, Gene Kelly approached Bradbury with a proposal to collaborate on a movie that Kelly would direct. Unfortunately, Kelly was not able to procure financing for the film. After this setback, Bradbury focused his attention on changing the screenplay to a novel. Five years later, in 1962, Something Wicked This Way Comes was published. Bradbury stated that, “without [Kelly’s] invitation to that screening, this book might never have been born.” In 1983, Disney made Something Wicked This Way Comes into a movie that went on to win the Saturn Award (Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, USA) in 1984. In 2003, Bradbury created an adaptation for the stage, which was produced by the National Theatre of Scotland in Edinburgh in conjunction with Catherine Wheels Theatre Productions. Something Wicked This Way Comes is considered to be one of the scariest films of all time, which contributed to UVU’s decision to produce as this year’s Halloween show.
The play is an adaptation of the book and has, like all adaptations, some minor changes to fit the medium it is in. It is a mixture of both the book and the movie and tells the story of two young boys, Will and Jim, who find themselves caught up in the mystery of Mr. Dark’s Carnival. “When we were young, our playground was our world,” stated Dr. Terry Petrie, director of UVU’s production, “in this deliciously scary play we revisit the playground of our youth as we follow the story of a father and two boys coming of age. Together they struggle to defeat an evil carnival whose members are bent on luring in and capturing their very souls.”
This play is not for the faint of heart, but it is suitable for middle school aged children and up. There will also be a study guide online with fun facts and activities for families and teachers. Tickets to the production can be purchased by calling 801-863-PLAY or online at www.uvu.edu/theatre.