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 attraction … 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

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 … 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 … 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. … 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 … 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 … Read More