City Guide 2015: Out & About | City Guide | Salt Lake City Weekly

City Guide 2015: Out & About 

The people to know and the places to be

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Claims to Fame
26 reasons to gloat about Salt Lake City's arts & entertainment offerings.
By Jerre Wroble
jerre@cityweekly.net

Shhh. Don't tell anyone, but we're simply flush with must-see arts and entertainment in Utah's capital city. From the avant-garde to the more classic or family friendly, there's a performance and exhibition for every taste, budget and perspective. But let's keep it to ourselves, shall we? We like being able to buy tickets to a Broadway show without having to stand out in the cold overnight. Salt Lake City's abundant arts scene is a little slice of heaven we give ourselves, made possible in part by a ZAP (Zoo, Arts and Parks) sales tax—a penny on every $10 spent in Salt Lake County.

click to enlarge Ballet West - Aladdin
  • Ballet WestAladdin

CULTURAL CRED

1. Founded in 1963 by William F. Christensen, Ballet West (50 W. 200 South, 801-869-6900, BalletWest.org) is one of the top companies in the country, having toured the world several times, and even selling out the Kennedy Center in December 2014. Led by artistic director Adam Sklute, Ballet West now occupies the new 55,000 square foot Ballet Centre adjacent to the Capitol Theatre. In 2015, look for Ballet West to serve up its annual holiday shows of The Nutcracker, as well as Swan Lake (Feb. 6-15), Aladdin (April 3-5), Almost Tango (April 10-19), and its annual showcase of new works called Innovations (May 15-23).

2. Now under conductor Thierry Fischer's baton, Utah Symphony (801-533-6683, UtahSymphony.org) is 75 years old, filling not only the rafters of Abravanel Hall (123 W. South Temple) with the music of Dvorak, Strauss and Shostakovich, but the skies above five national parks, where the symphony took the show on the road in summer 2014. In 2015, Fischer continues his Mahler symphony cycle, with Symphonies No. 3 (Feb. 6-7) and No. 4 (May 22-23) on tap in the spring.

3. Founded in 1978, the Utah Opera (801-533-5626, UtahOpera.org) merged with the Utah Symphony in 2002. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Christopher McBeth since the early 2000s, the company in 2015-16 will stage at Capitol Theatre Cosi Fan Tutte (March 14-22), The Rake's Progress (May 9-17), Tosca (Oct. 10-18), The Merry Widow (Jan. 16-24, 2016), Aida (March 12-20, 2016) and The Marriage of Figaro (May 7-15, 2016).

4. Pioneer Theatre Company (300 S. 1400 East, 801-581-6961, PioneerTheatre.org), in residence at the University of Utah, is a professional regional theater under the artistic direction of Karen Azenberg. PTC produces seven plays September through May each year, from classics to musicals to dramas and comedies. Look for that star quality in The Crucible (Feb. 13-28), I Hate Hamlet (March 20-April 4), and The Music Man (May 1- 16).

Broadway Across America - The Book of Mormon
  • Broadway Across AmericaThe Book of Mormon

5. Bringing the really big shows to Utah, Broadway Across America Utah (BroadwayInUtah.com) has lined up blockbuster performances you won't want to miss this spring and summer: Mamma Mia (March 13-15 at Kingsbury Hall), Once (April 7-12 at Kingsbury Hall) and The Illusionists (June 23-28, Capitol Theatre). But the year's showstopper, no doubt, will be the Utah premiere of The Book of Mormon (July 28-Aug. 9, Capitol Theatre).

Ririe Woodbury
  • Ririe Woodbury

6. Founded in 1964, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company (801-297-4241, RirieWoodbury.com) is an internationally renowned contemporary-dance company. The Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance partnered with the company in 2003 to present the works of Alwin Nikolais, which they went on tour to perform for 12 years. Coming April 9-11 are two world premieres in the Spring Season performance.

7. Founded in 1966, Repertory Dance Theatre (801-534-1000, RDTUtah.org) represents "the scope and diversity of modern dance past and present" in Utah. Its Reunion performance on April 23-25 will feature alumni choreographers in advance of its 50th anniversary.

CHALLENGE YOUR THINKING

8. Located in the historic 19th Ward House of Worship in the city's Marmalade district, Salt Lake Acting Company (168 W. 500 North, 801-363-7522, SaltLakeActingCompany.org) has a 45-year history of "brave contemporary theater" that includes regional and world premieres, plays by local playwrights and Saturday's Voyeur, the annual summer sendup of Utah's cultural dysfunction. The coming season includes: Two Stories, Feb. 4-March 1; Mr. Perfect, April 8-May 3; Saturday's Voyeur (June 24-Aug. 30).

9. Giving voice to women playwrights, directors, actors and characters, Pygmalion Theatre Company (138 W. 300 South, 801-355-2787, PygmalionProductions.org) was founded in 1995 by Nancy Roth and Reb Fleming. This year's productions include Hellman v. McCarthy (Feb. 27-March 14) and Mocking Bird (April 17-May 2).

10. Wasatch Theatre Company (801-355-2787, WasatchTheatre.org) has made it its mission to create a nurturing environment for actors, directors, playwrights and technicians. Its Page-to-Stage Festival is a chance for local playwright to see their works performed on stage by local actors.

11. Since 1991, Plan-B Theatre Company (801-297-4200, PlanBTheatre.org) has made it its goal to produce socially conscious theater, with an emphasis on new plays by Utah playwrights. In 2015, look for A/Version of Events (March 5-15); Pilot Program (April 9-19); and Ruff (Aug. 31).

12. Founded by Jared and Tiffany A. Greathouse in 2010, The Hive Theatre Company (HiveTheatre.Blogspot.com) is newer on the scene and focused on innovative theater productions. In 2015, look for BUPKIS: A Play About Nothing (May 8-16), Cock (June 19-27), The Secret Lives of Clowns (Oct 9-17).

13. Having found a new home at the Sugar Space Warehouse Theater, Utah Repertory Theater Company, (435-612-0037, utahrep.org) has developed a "Season of Levity and Consternation" in 2015 with scheduled performances of The Last 5Years (Feb. 27-March 7), Rabbit Hole (July 10-24), Amadeus (Sept. 12-28) and Carrie (Oct. 29-Nov. 14, Sugar Space Warehouse Theater).

14. University of Utah theater department's Babcock Theatre and Studio 115 (Theatre.Utah.edu) productions allow you to catch a glimpse of the next generation of Utah actors. Coming up at the Babock Theatre are The Children's Hour (Feb. 6-15) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (April 3-19). At Studio 115, look for The School for Lies (Feb. 27-March 8) and Godspell (April 23-26)

15.SB Dance (SBDance.com), newly renamed Strange Beast Dance Circus, performs original works of dance and theater known for being "out there" in the dance world, but that may be just what you are looking for. The company's big summer show is titled New Creation 2015 (June 12- 21). They are also planning a "twisted alternative performance adventure" based on 2014's Cannibal, A Love Story on Oct 23-25, 2015.

16. Wiseguys West Valley City (2194 W. 3500 South, 801-463-2909, WiseguysComedy.com) and Wiseguys Ogden (269 Historic 25th St., Ogden, 801-622-5588) are hubs for touring national headliners, as well as talented local comedians.

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