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Broadway in the Canyon: Tuacahn Shows & Activities to Pair Them With

By Brian Higgins
July 11, 2023

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Broadway — for all its poetic mystique and legendary status — is a bit lacking in slot canyons isn’t it? And before you say it, alleyways are not the slot canyons of the city. We’re not knocking the Big Apple, but as much as we love the twinkle of Times Square, we prefer the twinkle of stars above an iconic outdoor amphitheatre when we catch a show. We prefer Tuacahn Amphitheatre and its amazing slate of yearly Broadway shows.

When it comes to amazing ambience and sensational scenery, an outdoor show at Tuacahn’s theater is hard to beat. Not only will you be able to enjoy a night under the stars, but you’ll catch some of the most talented performers the West has to offer in an array of Broadway’s most beloved musicals. Even when the weather cools and the shows move inside, the talent remains red hot, and you’ll still enjoy a show you’ll remember forever. 

The best part? You won’t be sitting around all day twiddling your thumbs like you would in boring ol’ New York City. Instead, you’ll have trails to hike, vistas to behold and all kinds of local activities to enjoy. Not sure where to start? Well, we’ve taken the liberty of pairing each of 2023’s shows with the appropriate pre-show activity in the St. George region.

Roald Dahls’ Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, May 13 - October 19

There’s no better way to prepare for “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” than by taking a trip to Judd’s General Store in downtown St. George. With an authentic old-timey storefront and a full stock of retro sodas, ice cream and (of course) candy, this St. George staple is a perfect stand-in for Charlie’s local candy shop. Don’t be surprised if you end up breaking into a rendition of “The Candy Man” or asking for a Scrumdiddlyumptious Bar. 

Around the corner from Judd’s is the perfect second stop, The Book Bungalow. Brush up on Roald Dahl’s classic before the big show, or dive into a brand new adventure! Just be sure to warm up your imagination by making it as fantastic as possible. You can save the Civil War memoirs and self-help books for another day.

If you’ve got kiddies in tow, the Thunder Junction All Abilities Park is another great pre-show activity. With a climbing wall, splash pad, dino-themed playground and a “smoking” volcano looming over it all, it’s one of the coolest parks they’ll ever see. And that’s not even mentioning the half-mile long train ride, which is nothing like a ride on Willy Wonka’s boat, in case you were nervous. 

Tarzan, May 20 - October 21

At its heart, “Tarzan” is all about the connection between man and nature (and the connection between Phil Collins and a killer melody). So why not honor that connection by exploring one of the world’s most incredible parks — Zion National Park. With epic views to behold, expansive wilderness to explore and streams to bound through, don’t be surprised if “You’ll Be in My Heart” just starts playing out of nowhere. 

Unfortunately, there aren’t any vines to swing on, but if you want to stay on theme you can keep exploring at the nearby Red Cliffs National Conservation Area. There you can check out Tarzan’s favorite Utah landmark — Elephant Arch. And when an elephant steps out in the musical later on, don’t be afraid to nudge the person next to you and say, “Y'know I met him.”

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” July 15 - October 20

Looking for a way to celebrate this beloved tale of romance in 15th century Paris? How about spending a day in St. George, the Paris of southern Utah. After all, what does Paris have that St. George doesn’t? Sure, they’ve got the Louvre, but St. George has plenty of local art galleries and museums lining the streets of downtown. And we can guarantee they’re all easier to spell. 

And shopping? Forget those Paris storefronts like Louis Vuitton, Versace and Le Credit Card Debt. St. George has plenty of shopping, from name-brand stores at Red Cliffs Mall, local boutiques throughout town and incredible artisan artwork over at Kayenta Art Village. Whether you’re shopping for a dress that would make Esmerelda jealous or a simple, rugged, Quasimodo tunic, you’ll find everything you need.

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” June 30 - August 19

The best way to celebrate the singer-songwriter behind such iconic ballads as “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “You’ve Got a Friend” is by — you guessed it — going off-roading. OK, that might not sound very “Carole King,” but hear us out. Carole famously sang “I feel the Earth move under my feet,” and there are few better ways to feel the earth move beneath you than on an ATV. We’re pretty sure that’s what the song is about. 

Seriously though, Carole’s music will be the perfect way to relax after an adrenaline pumping off-road adventure. And the area surrounding Tuacahn has plenty of incredible trails to explore, whether ripping the dunes at Sand Hollow or exploring the Pine Valley Mountains, about an hour north of town. Hire a guide or rent your own rig, but book it soon or you’ll be singing “It’s too late, baby, now it’s too late.” 

“Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” November 25 - December 22

This is an easy one. If you’re dreaming of a White Christmas — and turning that dream into a reality by seeing “White Christmas” — spend the day at the seasonally appropriate Snow Canyon State Park. You might not see any snow, snoooow, snooooooooooow, but you will get to explore a stunning playground filled with towering sandstone cliffs and vistas galore. And in the winter, you’ll not only experience smaller crowds, but also enjoy cool, hiker-friendly temperatures. 

There are plenty of overlooks and trails along the main canyon to explore. One of our favorites is Johnson’s Canyon Arch Trail. This easy 2-mile hike is actually closed from March through September, so just like hot chocolate, powder skiing and your Bing Crosby impression, it’s a true winter treat. The Whiterocks Amphitheater hike also sets the stage particularly well for a winter-themed Broadway show, even if the rocks are naturally white and not blanketed in snow. There’s plenty to love about this underrated park, so make a day of it! Best seen with your devoted sister or an old pal from the army.

No matter which show you choose to see, or what adventure you decide to have beforehand, you can’t go wrong when visiting Tuacahn. Buy a ticket for a single show, or purchase any number of season package options to take it all in. Between the musicals and the scenery, you’re in for a heck of a show. 

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