As I sat down to cover the showing of “An Evening with Dave,” I realized it was quite literally a once-in-a-lifetime showing; never again would that same show be presented in that same way. It was then I knew that I couldn’t report on the event as a distant observer, but would rather have to present this article as a review of an artistic piece.
From left to right, photos by Jerry Melrose:
Kylie Shepherd, holding her daughter Sasha, at the end of a magical night. Photo by Jerry Melrose.
Nathan Unsworth (left) and Andy Luo run and jump across the stage during their performance of “The Odd Couple.” All photos by Jerry Melrose.
Larry Sorenson as Maurice with Adreanna Pederson as Belle in a scene from Beauty and the Beast.
Jenna Corry and Kylie Shepherd closed the show beautifully with their powerful performance of Wicked’s “For Good.”
Stephen Browning and Linda Alderman-Briscoe take a bow after singing Fiddler on the Roof’s “Do you Love Me?”
Jadon Sanders donning a top hat and a sure expression during his performance of “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady.
“Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better!” Or so sings Amy Burggraff to husband Kent in the number from Annie Get Your Gun.
“Shall We Dance?” Nathan Unsworth and Kayley Brinkerhoff answered this question as they spun around the stage in their performance The King and I.
Mikayla Jones as little Orphan Annie, singing her heart out in “Tomorrow”.
Mariah Wheeler as Maria sings with the children von Trapp, played by Sasha Shepherd (left), Viana Sanders, Kayley Brinkerhoff and Jadon Sanders (not pictured).
Lara Clayson captivated the audience with her lovely singing voice as Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy, singing “Over the Rainbow.”
"An Evening With Dave” is a showcase of highlights from the career of the late Dave Owens, who served as an avid member of the arts board and supporter of the local theater community through his technical and producing skills; Dave was Tech Director for dozens of shows over the course of his long career, and this show was a medley of highlights put on by those who knew Dave best; first and foremost his wife and children, with his wife, Stacey, narrating, their daughter, Kylie, as Director and Producer and son, Tegan, as Tech Director. Kylie set the emotional tone of the show, celebrating her late father, as well as the individuals who came together to help her make this show a reality. “This room is just so sacred to me,” she said of the Kanab High School Auditorium, which hosted the vast majority of plays and musicals Dave tech-directed over the years, “and without my dad in it, I just didn’t know if I could do it … so thank you to everyone who helped me heal that part of my heart I didn’t know could be healed.”
The evening’s medley led off with Dave’s final show, the recent “Hello! My Baby,” on which Dave worked as Producer rather than Tech Director, where he “had a hand in all elements of the production,” per the narrator. Following that, the medley led a trail through Dave’s career, from the earliest shows he helped with, to his first show as official Tech Director, to his favorite scenes from his favorite plays. The passion and verve of the performances clearly signaled that these were performers who loved being on stage - it came as no surprise that a list of favorites belonging to a veteran of the industry like Dave would have some truly golden moments (that goes for the list of classic rock songs that scored the intermissions and cast roll too.)
The final song in the evening left an appropriately bittersweet sense of farewell and what could have been: “For Good” from Wicked, as performed by the duet of Jenna Corry and Kylie (Owens) Shepherd herself. The narrator described Wicked as “a show that Dave never got to work on, but loved nonetheless.”
The music played on as the cast and crew took their bows, and as a surprise, presented Dave’s family with flowers and a plaque. Amy Burggraaf, the current chair of the Arts Board, presented the family with a special paired award; said Burggraaf, “As far as I know these two awards have never been given to the same person, but for Dave we knew we had to make an exception,” as she presented both the 2023 Artist of the Year, and Art Supporter of the Year.
Thus, with An Evening with Dave wrapped up, the cast and crew turned to congratulations and farewells and the audience departed.