The bookends sag but the middle shines in Pioneer Theatre’s “Scoundrels” – Oct 19, 2019

Brent Barrett and Matthew Hydzik and Talya Groves star in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at Pioneer Theatre Company.

In recent years, Pioneer Theatre Company has taken to presenting a bonus musical each season — limited-run concert stagings of musicals such as The Rocky Horror ShowLa Cage aux Folles and In the Heights. This year’s offering is Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, the 2004 musical by David Yazbek (music and lyrics) and Jeffrey Lane (book) based on the Michael Caine/Steve Martin comedy about rival con men on the French Riviera.

If “concert staging” makes … Read More

Pioneer Theatre’s “Cagney” will win you over with its scrappy charm – Sep 21, 2019

Robert Creighton stars in the title role of Cagney with Jessica Wockenfuss as his wife Willie at Pioneer Theatre Company. Photo: PTC

“How will I be remembered? … Will it only be a line I never said?” Robert Creighton, as James Cagney, sings midway through the second act of Cagney, the biographical musical that opened Friday night at Pioneer Memorial Theatre.

It’s true: The screen legend never said the line most associated with him, “You dirty rat!” (The actual line was “Come out and take it, you dirty, … Read More

Pioneer Theatre to tap into power of legendary actor with “Cagney” – Sep 16, 2019

Robert Creighton portrays James Cagney in Pioneer Theatre Company’s “Cagney,” which opens Friday night. Photo: PTC

James Cagney wasn’t a bad guy—he just played one in the movies.

And if Cagney: The Musical About Hollywood’s Tough Guy in Tap Shoes sounds like a fanciful reimagining, remember that Cagney sang and danced his way to an Academy Award for his portrayal of George M. Cohan in “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

“He always wanted to be a song-and-dance man,” said Robert Creighton, the singing, dancing co-creator and star of Cagney. The … Read More

Critic’s Choice for 2019-20 – Sep 06, 2019

Isabel Leonard performs with the Utah Symphony January 10-11, 2020. Photo: Fay Fox

Cagney. Pioneer Theatre Company. September 20-October 5.  

Pioneer Theatre Company opens its season with Cagney, a new musical about James Cagney, the legendary song-and-dance man turned acclaimed film star. The story chronicles Cagney’s career from vaudeville performer to Hollywood tough guy. The show makes an extended stop in Salt Lake City on its way to Broadway and features Robert Creighton in the title role.  

“No Tenors Allowed.” Thomas Hampson, baritone; Luca Pisaroni, bass-baritone. Brigham Young University. … Read More

“Grease” wraps Pioneer Theatre season with rollicking production – May 11, 2019

Emma Hearn as Sandy and Pascal Pastrana as Danny star in Pioneer Theatre’s “Grease.”

For its final show of the season Pioneer Theatre Company is presenting a rollicking production of the Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey musical Grease, with a stand-out cast of actors.

Grease chronicles the day-to-day lives of a group of 1950s’ high school students both in and out of class. The show, which debuted in 1971, is campy and filled with period clichés that likely didn’t register with the mainly … Read More

Stellar cast animates Pioneer Theatre’s harrowing worker tale, “Sweat” – Mar 31, 2019

Nafeesa Monroe as Cynthia and Vince McGill as Brucie in “Sweat.” Photo courtesy of Pioneer Theatre.

Lynn Nottage’s Sweat, currently playing at Pioneer Theatre, is a gritty, unflinching study of how the Great Recession affects a small group of friends from the same factory in a working-class Pennsylvania city, and how individuals cope when their livelihoods are threatened.

The workers meet regularly at a bar run by Stan, a former plant employee who was injured on the job. The bar … Read More

Lack of romantic chemistry apart, “Once” offers a warm break from the winter blues – Feb 16, 2019

Roderick Lawrence and Hillary Porter star in “Once” at the Pioneer Theatre Company.

Pioneer Theatre Company offers up a bit of warmth during the seemingly endless winter season with Once, which opened Friday night. This musical adaptation of the 2007 film of the same name, won eight Tony Awards in 2012, including Best Musical.

Once follows two young, aspiring musicians in Ireland, as they encourage each other’s talents. A guitarist with a day job as a vacuum repairman is ready to give up … Read More

Superb cast sparks witty royal intrigue in Pioneer Theatre’s “Lion in Winter” – Jan 10, 2019

James Goldman’s “The Lion in Winter” runs at the Pioneer Theatre through January 19. Photo: BW Productions

Anyone who’s never seen or read The Lion in Winter might think it’s a typical historical drama a la Shakespeare. But they’d be mistaken. 

True, it deals with Henry II of England and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and tackles questions of royal succession at some length. But that’s where any similarity to historical plays ends.

While the characters are real, playwright … Read More

Pioneer Theatre’s “Miss Bennet” makes a heartwarming holiday treat – Dec 05, 2018

Elizabeth Ramos as Mary and Jamen Nanthakumar as Arthur in “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” at Pioneer Theatre Company. Photo: BW Productions

Fans of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice have no reason not to fall in love with Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. The new play, by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, currently running at Pioneer Theatre Company, picks up where Austen’s novel ends.

The story takes place at Christmas in 1815, not too long after Elizabeth Bennet’s marriage to Fitzwilliam … Read More

Pioneer Theatre serves up a dark and tasty Halloween treat with “Sweeney Todd” – Oct 27, 2018

Kevin Earley and Anne Tolpegin star in Pioneer Theatre Company’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Photo: BW Productions

Considering how often Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is performed these days, it’s somewhat of a shock knowing that it wasn’t well received at either its New York or London premieres.

But perhaps it’s not so much a surprise after all, since Sondheim isn’t the typical musical theatre composer. He has always brought an element … Read More