The Pioneer Theater Company, which is nearing the end of its 2021-2022 season, is ready to open one of Broadway’s most enduring hits, HELLO, DOLLY!. Broadway star and award-winning TV presenter Paige Davis will play the iconic role of Dolly Levi during its May 13-May 28 show.
But that’s not the only surprise that Salt Lake’s professional regional theater has remained hidden under the loop skirts. The abbreviated role, in Act 2, for THE JUDGE will be played by a rotating staff of some of Salt Lake City’s most prominent leaders in the county government, the University of Utah administrative branch, the press, business, and the Utah legislature.
Dr. Angela Dunn, a former state epidemiologist who is now the executive director of Salt Lake County Health, takes her part on stage with Dr. Martel Tasli, Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the University of Utah; BABS DELAY Principal Broker and Owner of Urban Utah Homes & Estates; State Senator Luz Escamilla; The Fox 13 reporter Ben Winslow.
Each guest artist will appear in three evening appearances and one intern. Dr. Tesley will open the race with appearances on May 12-14; Dr. Dunn will be on stage May 16-18, including Wednesday, Wednesday, the Student Concert. Babs DeLay will take place from May 19-21, followed by Luz Escamilla from May 23-25, and Ben Winslow, ending May 26-28 this weekend.
“We thought the community would enjoy seeing some of its most well-known and beloved members appear on stage, somewhat out of their element,” said PTC Artistic Director Karen Azenberg, who made the decision to choose the rookie (mostly!) cast. “I would like to thank these very busy individuals who have taken the time of their lives to provide some unexpected fun for our customers.”
Dr. Martell’s. Doctor of social work, he served in the US Army for 10 years, participated as a licensed practical nurse in the First Persian War, and attended drill sergeant school. Those things set him up for a career as a production stage manager, not as an actor, but you have to start somewhere, right?
Dr. Angela Dunn (Judge, May 16-18) is the Executive Director and Health Officer of the Salt Lake County Department of Health. Dr. Dunn does not have any theater credits to her name but does have an extensive background in television, having starred in a weekly series last year called “Covid Update”. Starting her career as a sailor on an oil tanker, cutting paint and wiping the deck on her way to Valdez, Alaska, and probably around the middle of 2020, that must have seemed like a really cool job.
BABS DELAY (Judge, May 19-21) is not new to the stage. They replaced Roma Downey on the Broadway show, The Vagina Monologues, and then produced/delayed it in Utah for 20 years. Since all actors need a side hustle, Babs has been one of the most successful real estate sales agents in Salt Lake for 38 years, a fact all the more impressive when you realize that this includes years when they were giving away homes on every corner. Babs is a wife, father and grandmother to four grandchildren, as well as a Girl Scout for life…which makes us want Samoa.
Senator Luz Escamilla (Judge, May 23-25) is the first Latina to be elected to the Utah Senate and the first immigrant to be elected to the Utah legislature. She is now serving her fourth term as a minority senator. She is on the boards of Children’s Primary Hospital, Days ’47 Rodeo, Advisory Board of the Huntsman Cancer Institute and Hill Center Theater (but who put you on stage, right?) Her acting experience, other than the Senate floor, consists of a Spanish-speaking theater group at the U of U while in college and consuming Korean and Chinese dramas. So be careful; A K-Pop song can be spoiled if you forget its lines.
Ben Winslow (Judge, May 26-28) has been an on-air reporter for Fox 13 for over ten years, recipient of the Edward R. Morrow National Award, and honors from the Utah Broadcasters Association and the Professional Journalists Association. He worked as a part-time model during the pandemic, showing off the latest PTC face masks. He’s received more “Best of TV News” awards from Best of Utah than John Saltas can track. This is Ben’s first acting since he bombed the high school stage which is clearly the only thing he hasn’t worked out.
For more information visit: https://pioneerheater.org/