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Keith McCord ReportingAfter weeks and weeks of rehearsals, the 10-member cast of "The Grove" theatre in Pleasant Grove has cancelled a play by Neil Simon.
Opening night was scheduled for next Thursday. The Grove Theatre was planning to put on the Neil Simon play called "Rumors". The comedy has been around since the 80's, and is performed at community theatres and colleges all over the country. The Pleasant Grove Dinner Theatre paid all the fees, and had permission to do comedy, but asked if it could change a few of the words.
When you call the reservation line at Pleasant Grove's dinner theatre on Main Street Street, you get all the information. “Thank you for calling the Grove Theatre. Our current production is ‘Rumors’, by Neil Simon. This is a dinner theatre production. It runs from august 14th thru the 30th."
Inside, the set is built and freshly painted; dinner tables for 158 patrons are in place, and ready for the curtain to go up. But, the show will NOT go on.
Gayliene Omary, Owner, Grove Theatre: “We didn't alter the story or the content of the plot at all -- at all, or the idea of the story."
The plot line in "Rumors" features a group of friends who arrive at a dinner party, and find the host shot, and the hostess missing, and no food. Rumors ensue! Problem is, there's a lot swearing!
In fact, there's objectionable language throughout the entire play. During rehearsals the cast tried to work around some of the language. Pleasant Grove is a conservative community in Utah County, and the theatre owner wrote letters to Neil Simon's attorney saying that audience members won't appreciate the foul language in the play. The attorney wrote back, "Do the play as written or not at all.”
Gayliene Omary, Owner, Grove Theatre: “When I talked with Samuel French, they pretty much told me that Neil Simon never let's you do it, but I thought, hey come on, he can't be that stringent, you know!"
But he is apparently. And two days ago the cast was informed that the play is cancelled.
Agnes Broberg, Director: "We had a meeting Wednesday night. Everybody was there. We had some tears. We had some oh gee. They loved doing the show. It was a great unified cast."
This morning the disappointed staff of the "Grove Theatre" took down all the posters and removed Neil Simon's name from the marquee.
The theater now has a big gap in its schedule and is talking with a comedy group to fill up that two-week space. Canceling a show like this is a big financial hit for a small theatre. If the place stays dark for two weeks, it could lose about 40-thousand dollars in ticket sales.