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Southern Utah has a rich theater scene thanks in no small part to Tuacahn Amphitheatre (“Broadway in the Desert”) near St. George and the first-rate Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City. The latter is showcasing two dazzling new amphitheaters which made their debut this year. If you’ve not made the trip, you’ve got precious little time to do so.

I’ve already reviewed this year’s Tarzan and Peter Pan at Tuacahn. Both are excellent, but it’s their third offering this season, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, that is the crown jewel of the year. More thematically mature and profound than their general “happily ever after” shows, this adaptation closely follows the original novel while incorporating the songs from the Disney film, resulting in a powerhouse experience that left our audience in tears and on their feet. It challenges prejudices and religious corruption while emphasizing charity, kindness, and the beautiful side of faith, all with stunning artistry. It closes on October 15th. Tickets can be bought here.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival, long known for its excellent performances, has just two more weeks in its season, with plays such as Julius Caesar and The Odd Couple closing out the year. Debuting the Engelstand and Anes theaters this year, the festival has gotten a facelift well worth visiting, adding to an already dazzling experience. Buy tickets here.

Jonathan Decker is a licensed marriage and family therapist available for online sessions throughout Utah and face-to-face sessions in St. George. He was the co-host of The KJZZ Movie Show, winner of the campus-wide BYU Talent Show, performer with Divine Comedy, and star of numerous independent action-comedies. His book 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families is now available in paperback and Kindle. For Jonathan’s relationship tips and family movie reviews please visit yourfamilyexpert.com.