Theater

Ellen Simon chisels out a witty portrait of family conflict in Pioneer Theatre’s “Ass” – Oct 23, 2021

T Ryder Smith, Laura J. Hall and Ben Cherry in Ellen Simon’s Ass, which had its world premiere Friday night at Pioneer Theatre Company. Photo: PTC

“Narcissism is the birthright of genius,” world-renowned sculptor Jule Waterman proclaims toward the end of Ellen Simon’s comedy Ass, which made its pandemic-delayed world premiere Friday night at Pioneer Memorial Theatre. 

And Simon—herself the daughter of an artistic genius, the late playwright Neil Simon—does make some sharp observations about the ways in which we indulge the creative and … Read More

Pioneer Theatre Company to explore family conflict in premiere of “Ass” by Ellen Simon – Oct 20, 2021

Ellen Simon (with actor T. Ryder Smith) whose play Ass will have its world premiere Friday night at Pioneer Theatre Company. Photo: PTC

Karen Azenberg will be happy to have the world premiere of Ass behind her. Not because she isn’t a fan of the acerbic comedy by her lifelong friend Ellen Simon—far from it.

“When we get this show open, it will be a big piece of the missing part of what Covid stopped,” explained Azenberg, Pioneer Theatre Company artistic director who is … Read More

“Ain’t Misbehavin’” gets the joint jumping again at Pioneer Theatre – Sep 11, 2021

Featuring the music of Fats Waller, Aint Misbehavin’ runs through September 25 at the Pioneer Theatre Company. Photo: PTC

Pioneer Theatre Company returned after a 547-day intermission Friday night with the exuberant musical revue Ain’t Misbehavin’. Sassy, sly and silly in equal parts, it’s a timely remedy for the pandemic blues.

There’s no need for a plot in this celebration of the music of Thomas “Fats” Waller; there aren’t even characters per se, as the performers use their own names. The sharply dressed company … Read More

Pioneer Theatre Company to offer three-play season in 2021 – May 12, 2020

The Pioneer Theatre Company will be mounting a shortened, late-starting 2020-21 season in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

PTC will offer just a three-show season, opening February 19, 2021 with Something Rotten! The Broadway musical, which takes aim at Shakespeare, is rescheduled from the present season.

Also rescheduled is the world premiere of Ass, which follows on March 26.  Ellen Simon’s demurely titled comedy examines family relationships—though the central character, she says, is not based on her famous father, Neil Simon.

The abbreviated season … Read More

Editor’s note on the coronavirus – Mar 14, 2020

As across the country, many Utah performing arts organizations are closed and events cancelled for the next two weeks and some into April due to COVID-19. Utah Symphony/Utah Opera have cancelled all events through March 28, and Pioneer Theatre Company through April 11. Ballet West’s season finale “Bolero and The Dream,” opening April 17, is still on at this time.

We will keep the UAR calendar listings up to date to reflect evolving developments and indicate streaming options where available. Check back for further … Read More

Pioneer Theatre’s vibrant “Once on this Island” takes off the winter chill – Feb 22, 2020

Pioneer Theatre Company’s Once on this Island opened Friday night and runs through March 7. Cast members are (clockwise from top): Ava Lynn Smith, Derrick Cobey, Cicily Daniels, Tyla Collier and Jordan Alexander.

Entering Simmons Memorial Theatre to see Pioneer Theatre Company’s Once on this Island is like embarking on a vacation to the Caribbean. The stage seems to sway to the rollicking rhythms of Stephen Flaherty’s music as the cast of 11 actors dance their way through a story of … Read More

Killer queens face off in Pioneer Theatre’s seething “Mary Stuart” – Jan 11, 2020

Mary, Queen of Scots (Erika LaVonn) and Queen Elizabeth (Anne Bates) confront each other in Mary Stuart at Pioneer Theatre Company. Photo: PTC

“When shall I have freedom on this throne?” Queen Elizabeth of England laments in Mary Stuart, Jean Stock Goldstone and John Reich’s 1957 adaptation of Friedrich Schiller’s classic tragedy, now playing at Pioneer Theatre Company.

Well aware that “you cannot call a man a king who studies all his deeds to please his people,” Elizabeth is faced with a terrible choice: whether … Read More

Things go perfectly off the rails in Pioneer’s hilarious “Play That Goes Wrong” – Dec 07, 2019

Eric Santagata (seated) and Brandon Contreras in The Play That Goes Wrong at Pioneer Theatre Company.

What if the cast and crew of Nothing On — the play-within-a-play in Noises Off — were even less competent?

They might end up presenting something like The Play That Goes Wrong, the madcap comedy by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, which opened Dec. 6 at Pioneer Theatre Company. And while the play itself isn’t as clever as Michael Frayn’s iconic door-slamming farce, Noises Off, smart direction by Pioneer’s Karen Azenberg and the razor-sharp timing of … Read More

Pioneer Theatre’s “Lifespan of a Fact” examines inconvenient truths – Nov 03, 2019

Constance Macy, Ben Cherry, and John Kroft star in The Lifespan of a Fact at Pioneer Theatre Company.

Pioneer Theatre Company is advertising The Lifespan of a Fact as “a showdown between truth and fiction.” Like most things in this 90-minute verbal tennis match, which opened a two-week run Friday night, the reality isn’t so straightforward.

The Lifespan of a Fact comes to Salt Lake City a year after the play made a brief but well-received premiere on Broadway. 

The play opens with magazine editor Emily Penrose (Constance … Read More

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” … Read More