Liz Kay: Monsters: A Love Story
For so many women, Stacey Lane would be living a fantasy—suddenly finding herself hobnobbing with Hollywood celebrities, and falling into bed with one of the most popular heartthrob actors in the world. But in Monsters: A Love Story—the debut novel from poet and one-time Ogdenite Liz Kay—that fantasy proves extremely messy and complicated.
Stacey, as it happens, is a recently widowed mother with two young children, still trying to cope with the new normal of her life. It comes out of nowhere that her novel-in-verse Monsters in the Afterlife—a feminist spin on the Frankenstein story—might ever be considered for a film adaptation, and even more improbable that A-list bad-boy Tommy DeMarco would want to produce and star in it. And when she comes face-to-face with Tommy's charms, she finds it hard to accept that a relationship with him could make any sense.
Kay creates a collection of appealing, distinctively messed-up characters—including Tommy's troubled teenage daughter—as she explores Stacey's increasingly complicated life bouncing between her Nebraska home and California. While it would have been easy for this story to become a kind of show-biz farce, Monsters remains anchored in the collision between what Stacey's keen intellect and her broken heart are trying to tell her, even as she struggles with life as a single parent. What path will give her a shot at her own happily ever after? Start your own discovery at this reading and signing with the author. (Scott Renshaw)
Liz Kay: Monsters: A Love Story @ The King's English Bookshop, 1511 E. 1500 South, 801-484-9100, June 9, 7 p.m. KingsEnglish.com
Broadway Across America: Disney's Newsies
As part of the Broadway Across America ensemble, Disney's Newsies is coming to Capitol Theatre. Known for its high-energy music and choreography, the story was originally inspired by the 1899 Newsboys Strike in New York City that left its mark on both the city and the industry, while also illustrating the way young, struggling newspaper sellers and the heartlessness of big business do not mix.
Newsies, the theatrical production, was adapted from the 1992 musical film directed by Kenny Ortega in 1992, starring a very young Christian Bale. Playwright Harvey Fierstein first launched the stage production in September of 2011. Since then, the music created by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman has become a favorite of Broadway audiences. The energetic choreography along with the lyrics tell the story of the downtrodden newspaper boys living in New York, trying to support their families. When they discover they are paid a pittance for their hard work and in return are making the publisher wealthy, they rise up in an attempt to bring fairness and end the injustices of child laborers.
Twelve original songs set the scenes and assist in telling the story, from "Seize the Day" to "High Times, Hard Times." The journey is a serious one but is successfully portrayed with a light-hearted attitude and a zest for life. Due to popular demand, the production will also return in August. (Aimee L. Cook)
Broadway Across America: Disney's Newsies @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, June 7-12, Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ArtTix.ArtSaltLake.org
Trump vs. Bernie
Unless some miracle occurs in the next couple weeks, we're not getting Bernie Sanders running against Donald Trump for the presidency. We're not, kids. We're just not. Let that sink in.
Comedians James Adomian (Comedy Bang Bang, Last Comic Standing) and Anthony Atamanuik (Broad City, College Humor), however, have put together Trump vs. Bernie as a mock debate between the two candidates. Adomian plays the crouching and hacking Sanders who knows how grass-roots his campaign is, while Atamanuik takes on Trump in exaggerated orange skin, terrible hair and penchant for saying the most offensive things possible.
The duo has perfected their impressions of the polarizing candidates down to mannerisms, expressions, body language and even stump-speech one-liners. Back in March, the two appear on Comedy Central's @Midnight for an extended hour-long debate and absolutely killed it, with Chris Hardwick throwing material at both men to play off of, to amazing results.
Now the comedians bring their show through SLC, where you'll watch the two debate the biggest issues of the 2016 election season—partially scripted and partially improv, with a guest moderator who will barely be moderating the discussion. The show incorporates special guests from time-to-time who won't be announced until they show up on stage to ask their question, along with the occasional audience interaction to help give the show some spontaneity. With a few exceptions on the jokes and the topics, you never get the same show twice from this duo. So the SLC show—with what will probably be a mostly Bernie-supporting crowd—is bound to be unique. (Gavin Sheehan)
Trump vs. Bernie @ Wiseguys Salt Lake City, 194 S. 400 West, 801-532-5233, June 10, 7:30 p.m., $20, TrumpVsBernie.com
Utah Scottish Festival
Utah Asian Festival
This weekend will have a double-dose of culture festivals available to check out: the Utah Scottish Festival at Thanksgiving Point, followed by the Utah Asian Festival that will take over South Towne Expo.
The Scottish are one of the prominent cultures to help settle Utah after the Mormons first arrived, and were actually vital to some of the infrastructure and labor that happened before it received statehood. So to celebrate their heritage in the Beehive State, they'll be throwing their annual Highland Games in Lehi. The event will feature piping and drumming performances, highland dancing, athletic competitions (including the caber toss and throwing the hammer), dozens of vendors and performances from Wicked Tinkers and Molly's Revenge. Be sure to grab a tartan before you leave.
On Saturday, the 39th annual Asian Festival will give people the chance to check out over two-dozen cultures. Experience exhibits where you'll be able to learn about the cultures on the world's biggest continent and surrounding island nations from the Indian and Pacific Oceans. As always, there will be fantastic food, crafts, live performances and demonstrations, amazing art and interesting vendor booths you won't find at other, bigger cultural events. The festival will feature local representation from the Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hawaiian, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Taiwanese, Thai, Tibetan and Vietnamese communities—all of it absolutely free. (GS)
Utah Scottish Festival & Highland Games @ Thanksgiving Point, 3003 Thanksgiving Way, Lehi, June 10, 5-10 p.m.; June 11, 8 a.m.-10 p.m., $10-$15, kids 11 & under free. UtahScotts.org
Utah Asian Festival @ South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State, Sandy, June 11, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., free. UtahAsianFestival.com
SB Dance: SNaked: The True Story of the Garden of Eden
For more than 15 years, Stephen Brown's SB Dance company has been creating original dance theater works that push the envelope of what might be expected from such productions in Utah. Tutus and tights can make for some fantastic explorations in movement, but sometimes a naked body is what is called for. And maybe, as has been the case in the past, it can be in the service of a story of bondage, or cannibalism.
This year's all-new production, SNaked, takes on a tale most of us think we know: Adam and Eve's journey from innocence in the Garden of Eden to the knowledge that ultimately drives them out into the suffering of the world. Like other SB Dance creations, this one involves a full range of designers and multi-media components, in addition the potentially eyebrow-raising mature content. This is one temptation that might be worth giving in to. (Scott Renshaw)
SB Dance: SNaked: The True Story of the Garden of Eden @ Rose Wagner Black Box Theater, 138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, June 10-11 & June 17-18, 8 p.m., $22.50. ArtTix.ArtSaltLake.org