I just returned from a glorious 15-day trip to the magnificent state of Utah, where the mountain temperatures hover in the 40s and 50s at night and the 60s and 70s in the day and the sky is so blue, it looks artificial.
We took long hikes through the majestic forests of silver aspen and monster cedars and inched our way along narrow ledges overlooking steep hillsides and canyons. I ate more steak and fresh salmon than I should have, but, hey, I was keeping up my strength for those long hikes and to manufacture more adrenalin.
I also imitated my colleague Jan Glidewell, who spends much of his summer in Colorado reading (or at least that's what he claims), only I sat on the porch at my son's mountain retreat outside Heber City and read stacks of books, some of them dense and good for my intellect and others more in the vein of "beach books," even though the nearest beach is at the Great Salt Lake 60 miles away as the soaring eagle flies.
But, without question, the most exciting moments of my vacation were the last 90 minutes on the Wednesday flight home through a, um, very interesting afternoon thunderstorm. It was a two tranquilizer, three martini experience, so to say, as our acutely perceptive pilot threaded his way up and down and in and around the many storm cells plaguing the skies that afternoon as everyone in the back, including avowed agnostics and atheists, held heartfelt semiprivate prayer meetings.
Even so, here I am, in the comfortable, familiar Times newsroom, reminding myself that U.S. 19 is about 400 times more dangerous than a big Delta Airlines jet in a Florida thunderstorm, and all excited about the 2010-2011 season just announced by the Show Palace Dinner Theatre.
Truth be told, the Show Palace's 2010-2011 season is as exciting as and a heck of a lot more fun than that airplane ride, with eight boffo shows instead of the usual seven, six of them all new to this area.
The extra production comes in the summer of 2010, when the theater will do three shows for only four or five weeks each, instead of two shows lasting seven or eight weeks:
June 25-July 18: Red, White and Tuna, the third in the comedy series where two actors do the dozens of denizens in the third-smallest town in Texas. The first two, Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas, broke box office records at the Show Palace and American Stage, both starring Matthew McGee and Candler Budd, who are scheduled to do this one, too.
July 23-Aug. 22: Boogie Wonderland: The Music of the '70s, an all-new musical revue in the style of the wildly popular This Magic Moment playing at the Show Palace now.
Aug. 27-Sept. 26: Mid-Life: The Crisis Musical, a toast to middle age with all original music and age-appropriate humor.
I think the three-show format is a smart move, since the other theaters in the area usually don't do big shows in the summer, and people are looking for somewhere to go and/or somewhere to take summer guests that won't break the bank or give them a heatstroke.
The rest of the year features three Broadway shows (two of them repeats) and two originals.
Oct. 1-Nov. 20: Oklahoma!, the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic that never seems to get old.
Nov. 25-Dec. 25: A Show Palace Christmas, which changes every year.
Jan. 7-Feb. 27, 2011: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, the hilarious satire of Big Business and Big Shots that seems especially timely and hasn't been done at the Show Palace before.
March 4-April 24: 42nd Street, the romantic spoof of 1930s-era showbiz, with Busby Berkeley-style dances, a chorus girl made into an overnight star, and songs like Lullaby of Broadway, We're in the Money and the title song.
April 29-June 5: Sentimental Journey: A 1940s Revue, a paean to World War II America's songs, dances and attitudes.
Ticket prices are increasing to $48 for dinner and show starting with the June 25 show; or, to get a discount, three shows for $126, four shows for $168, eight shows for $336; all plus tax. (That's $44.94 for each dinner and show, including tax.)
Current season ticket holders can buy from 9 a.m. July 20 through 5 p.m. Aug. 3 and retain their current seats.
First-timer season tickets and individual shows go on sale at 9 a.m. Aug. 4.
Meanwhile, in an unprecedented and very gracious move, Show Palace co-owners Nick and Sal Sessa are keeping the current dinner and show price for productions that play through June 20, 2010.
"It's because of the economy," Nick Sessa said. "We're hoping it will be better by next year."