Critic’s Choice 2023-24

Tue Sep 12, 2023 at 7:32 am
Ballet West opens its season October 20 with a revival of the company’s acclaimed Dracula. Photo: Beau Pearson

Can I Say Yes to That Dress? Salt Lake Acting Company. September 27–October 29.

Prominent actor, dialect coach, University of Utah theater professor, and now playwright Sarah Shippobotham plays a middle-aged woman questioning her life choices while trapped in a wedding-dress changing room in this new one-woman show.

Dracula. Ballet West. October 20–28.

Ballet West’s season-opening revival of Ben Stevenson’s Dracula promises pyrotechnics and flying vampires. A live orchestra performs music of Franz Liszt as arranged by John Lanchbery.

Sherlock Holmes and the Final Problem. Plan-B Theatre Company/RadioWest. October 27.

The long-running collaboration of Plan-B, playwright Matthew Ivan Bennett, and KUER’s RadioWest continues with a live broadcast and—for the first time in a decade—a live audience. RadioWest host Doug Fabrizio plays the title role.

Music of Bruckner, Berg, and Beethoven. Utah Symphony and Chorus/David Robertson. November 2-4.

David Robertson steps into the newly created post of Utah Symphony creative partner, which will have him conducting four subscription weekends with the orchestra this season. The first installment should draw a big crowd to hear Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony—but Robertson has paired it with the Bruckner motet Christus factus est and a semi-staged presentation of Act III of Berg’s Wozzeck.

The Firebird. Ballet West. November 3–11.

Company founder Willam Christensen’s 1967 setting of The Firebird, featuring Igor Stravinsky’s classic score,anchors this evening of ballets. Also on the bill are Fever Dream, scored and choreographed by recently retired company artist Joshua Whitehead, and George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, with music of John Philip Sousa.

Stephen Hough performs the world premiere of his Piano Concerto with Donald Runnicles and the Utah Symphony January 12-13, 2024.

Music of Bach, Copland, Montgomery, and Abrams. Utah Symphony/Teddy Abrams with Awadagin Pratt, pianist. November 30-December 1–2 .

Louisville Symphony music director Teddy Abrams conducts the overture to The Greatest,his rap-opera about another noted Louisvillian, Muhammad Ali. Pianist Awadagin Pratt also joins the Utah Symphony in a Bach keyboard concerto and Jessie Montgomery’s Rounds,which was written for him. Copland’s Appalachian Spring rounds out the bill.

Music of Elgar, Vaughan Williams, and Hough. Utah Symphony/Donald Runnicles with Stephen Hough, pianist. January 12–13, 2024.

Piano superstar Stephen Hough plays the world premiere of his own Piano Concerto, subtitled “The World of Yesterday,” with the Utah Symphony. Donald Runnicles is also on the podium for Elgar’s Cockaigne and Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 5.

Native Gardens. Pioneer Theatre Company. January 12–27, 2024.

Conflict blossoms between a young, ambitious Latino couple and their old-money neighbors in Washington, D.C., in this Karen Zacarías comedy billed as “a garden party culture clash for the ages.”

Music of Brahms, Dessner, and Elfman. Utah Symphony/David Danzmayr with Colin Currie, percussionist. March 22–23.

Utah favorite Colin Currie is back to join the Utah Symphony in percussion works by two alt-rock heroes-turned-film composers: Danny Elfman (formerly of Oingo Boingo) and Bryce Dessner (currently of The National). David Danzmayr also conducts Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in his second Abravanel Hall appearance of the season.

Pioneer Theatre Company presents the Tony-winning The Lehman Trilogy March 29-April 13. Photo: Mark Douet

The Lehman Trilogy. Pioneer Theatre Company. March 29–April 13.

Stefano Massini’s multiple-Tony Award-winning drama about the real-life rags-to-riches-to-ruin story of the Lehman Brothers, adapted by Ben Power, marks the construction-delayed opening of the intimate Meldrum Theatre in the University of Utah’s Einar Nielsen Fieldhouse.

Another Night on Earth, guitar ensemble (featuring JIJI), with Utah Symphony/David Robertson. April 19–20.

David Robertson wraps up his first season as Utah Symphony creative partner with an intriguing program featuring Another Night on Earth, the guitar collective of which he’s a member. Music of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa will be heard alongside the more conventional sounds of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez. JIJI, a South Korean guitarist and DJ, is soloist in the latter.

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Pioneer Theatre Company. May 10–25.

This Dave Malloy adaptation of Part 8 of Tolstoy’s War and Peace comes to Utah in what PTC heralds as “an immersive format never before seen in our 60-year history!” Presumably this means the audience will be in the midst of the action, as it was during the musical’s Broadway run; no word on whether pierogies will be served.

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