Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre opens its 21st season Wednesday, July 10 pm the stage of Logan’s Ellen Eccles Theatre. Founder and general director Michael Ballam said there are four mainstage productions opening in this order: “The Flying Dutchman,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” “Otello” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”
Ballam plays the starring role of Tevye and he is being mentored by Pulitzer Prize winner and close friend, Seldon Harnick, who wrote the lyrics. Two of his real-life daughters, Vanessa and Olivia, are his daughters in the production, which Ballam said is being done not as caricature or slapstick but as reality.
“We’re living in an age where people are persecuted because of their beliefs,” Ballam said. “And the idea that exterminating races of people has never stopped, it continues to this day. And I believe ‘Fiddler’ is very possibly the most important musical in American history. It has changed the way people look at the Jews, and any other race or people or philosophy or religion. I don’t think anyone could standby and let Auschwitz be constructed again.”
Ballam said in addition to the mainstage productions, the season offers a total of 129 different activities.