Critic’s Choice 2023-24 – Sep 12, 2023

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 … Read More

Lively dancing provides pleasure amid cardboard characters, muddled messaging of PTC’s “Prom” – May 13, 2023

Celeste Rose and Mia Cherise Hall as Emma and Alyssa in The Prom at Pioneer Theatre Company. Photo: BW Productions

Pioneer Theatre Company is closing its season with a big, bright dance party. Fittingly enough, the dancing is the best part of The Prom

Director Karen Azenberg’s delightful choreography, combined with an uplifting message and some stellar singing, overcame the musical’s forgettable score and puzzlingly uneven tone to bring the opening-night crowd to its feet.

The story is inspired by real events: In 2010, … Read More

PTC makes a case for Schreck’s solipsistic Constitutional lesson – Apr 10, 2023

Laura Jordan stars in Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me at Pioneer Theatre Company. Photo: BW Productions

What does the United States Constitution mean to you? For Heidi Schreck, as she pointedly observes in her Tony-nominated play What the Constitution Means to Me, that largely depends on your race, sex, orientation and economic status.

This show, which opened at Pioneer Theatre Company Friday night, is many things—a memory play, a civics lecture, a confession, an exercise in audience participation, a parliamentary debate—wrapped together … Read More

“A Distinct Society” receives a worthy world premiere at PTC – Jan 28, 2023

Corey Jones and Carrie Paff in Kareem Fahmy’s A Distinct Society at Pioneer Theatre Company. Photo: BW Productions

The Haskell Free Library and Opera House is a real place that straddles the U.S.–Canada border in the towns of Derby Line, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec. Visit its website and the first thing you’ll see, beneath a photo of the handsome Victorian building, is an announcement: “Family/friends reunions (cross-border visits) are not allowed.”

In Kareem Fahmy’s A Distinct Society—set in the winter after Donald … Read More

PTC’s high-energy cast serves up enjoyable, family-friendly “Christmas Story” – Dec 10, 2022

Soren Ray as Ralphie (center) with Don Noble and ensemble in Pioneer Theater Company’s production of A Christmas Story: The Musical. Photo: BW Productions

Most people in Pioneer Theatre Company’s audience already own the 1983 film A Christmas Story or know how to find one of the marathon screenings on cable TV. So why would one venture out to the theater to see the decade-old musical version?

On its own, A Christmas Story: The Musical doesn’t make a terribly convincing case. But director-choreographer … Read More

Fine cast elevates cornpone humor of PTC’s “Shucked” – Oct 30, 2022

Take a passel of musical-theater stock characters (the ingenue, the con artist who woos her, the hometown boy waiting on the sidelines, the wise-cracking sidekicks and the all-knowing narrators), give them a score of soaring pop-country hits waiting to happen, and you have Shucked, the latest Broadway hopeful to make its world premiere at Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Theatre Company.

Is the plot predictable? Yes. Are the jokes unapologetically corny and occasionally a little smutty? Oh yes. Will you have a good time anyway? Also yes.

Shucked, which opened Friday, has solid credentials: music and lyrics by Nashville hitmakers Brandy … Read More

Pioneer Theatre’s “Scapin” offers more silliness than sophistication in updated Moliere – Sep 18, 2022

Pioneer Theatre Company’s Scapin runs through October 1. Photo: PTC

Pioneer Theatre Company opened its season Friday night with two hours of unmitigated silliness: Stephen Wrentmore’s new adaptation of Molière’s seventeenth-century farce Scapin.

The main twist here is that the titular character is now a woman, and the overbearing fathers in the original are now overbearing mothers. The gender swap does little to alter the dynamic of the story; rather, it demonstrates the durability of Molière’s satire and the universality of certain comedic tropes.

The plot revolves around two households, both alike … Read More

Utah Shakespeare Festival opens fall with absorbing “Thurgood” – Sep 15, 2022

Derek Charles Livingston stars as Thurgood Marshall in Utah Shakespeare Festival’s “Thurgood.” Photo: Karl Hugh/USF

Derek Charles Livingston introduced himself to Utah Shakespeare Festival audiences Wednesday onstage in the persona of Thurgood Marshall, the pioneering civil-rights attorney, Supreme Court justice, and subject of George Stevens Jr.’s 2006 play Thurgood. Livingston’s captivating portrayal of the multifaceted Marshall—erudite, impassioned, mischievous—made for an auspicious introduction.

The production took on added interest in June when Livingston, the festival’s director of new play development, was appointed as the … Read More

Pioneer Theatre says goodbye to season with a lively “Hello Dolly!” – May 14, 2022

Paige Davis stars in the title role of “Hello Dolly!” at Pioneer Theater Company. Photo: PTC

Pioneer Theatre Company is closing its season with some good old-fashioned fun: Jerry Herman’s classic musical Hello, Dolly!

The 1964 musical, which gave Carol Channing her signature role in its original Broadway production, has a long theatrical lineage. Based upon Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker, the title character is Dolly Gallagher Levi, a sassy widow with a prodigious skill set and an equally prodigious supply of moxie. Dolly … Read More

A fine cast lifts the gentle humor, late autumn romance of PTC’s “Fireflies” – Apr 02, 2022

Joy Franz as Eleanor and David Manis as Abel in Matthew Barber’s Fireflies at Pioneer Theatre Company. Photo: PTC

Like a warm summer breeze, Fireflies slips into Pioneer Theatre Company’s season as a breather between the boisterous, exclamation-pointed musicals Something Rotten! and Hello, Dolly!

Fireflies is what you might get if Enchanted April were a sitcom. (Both are from novels adapted for the stage by playwright Matthew Barber.) Friday night’s Utah premiere was underscored by a steady beat of chuckles as the audience … Read More