‘Sister Dixon’ heartwarming, poignant
By Erica Hansen
“THE PASSION OF SISTER DOTTIE S. DIXON,” Pygmalion Theatre Company, Rose
Wagner Center, through May 17 (801-355-2787); running time: 2 hours 10
minutes (one intermission)
In a country embroiled in a political debate over same-sex marriage,
Proposition 8, Miss California and Marie Osmond, it might be easy to forget
the people at the heart of this polarizing issue.
Enter Sister Dottie S. Dixon (Charles Lynn Frost).
The Pygmalion Theatre Company show — “The Passion of Sister Dottie
S. Dixon” — has been so popular the company added three performances
to the close-to-sold-out run.
Sister Dixon is not here to preach, and she’s certainly not here to
judge. She is here to share the story of her personal journey and spread a
message of love and inclusion — “bridging the gap between gays and
Mormons, one creative casserole at a time.”
Dixon was created when KRCL’s Troy Williams asked Frost to create funny
characters for his radio show.
Frost, who is best known for originating the role of Alex McCormick in
Plan-B Theatre Company’s “Facing East,” chose a character based on his
mother — a good Mormon woman living in Spanish Fork, Utah.
Frost comes onstage in a puffed-up wig, capris and various sweater-sets and tells the tale of her family history — her 37-year marriage to Don Dixon; the birth of her son, Donnie; the moment Donnie told her he is gay; and her struggle to understand and rectify the gap between a churchshe loves and the son she loves. With Dottie’s best friend, Sister Dartsey FoxMoreland (Kent Frogley) at the piano, and a series of stairs as the set (Brad Henrie, design), Sister Dixon entertains for close to 90 minutes.
Beginning with her family “treeneology,” she then teaches a lesson on
how to speak Spanish — of the Fork variety — “Ferude,”
“Frignernt” and “ta, da, sa” in place of “to, do and so.” The crowd, made
up of many of Dixon’s fan base, laughed appreciatively at all the
local-isms, especially at a clip of Dixon on Doug Fabrizio’s show.
The pacing moves along pretty well, but it does slow down a bit when
Dixon finds herself at the annual Burning Man Festival in Nevada, where she
ends up hallucinating (aided nicely by Pilar I’s lighting) about a giant
boxelder bug telling her about her new mission.
What works best and is most endearing about this play is that it is
personal. Even though the evening is filled with comedy — and lots of
it (thought never mean-spirited) — what is most appealing about “The
Passion” is watching this very likeable, warm and loving woman’s very real
And Frost’s delivery couldn’t be better.
Sensitivity rating: Veiled references to drug
use; smoking; mild swearing; and sex discussion on Dottie’s wedding