THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR DEC 1 - 7 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly
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THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR DEC 1 - 7 

Holiday Lights @ various locations, Ballet West: The Nutcracker, Wasatch Theatre Company: Dreamers, and more.

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COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

Holiday Lights @ various locations
You could fill an entire print edition of this paper with Utah's holiday light displays, and you still wouldn't capture all of the places to get your cheer on with a flash or a twinkle. Here's just a sampling of what you can find.

Historic Midvale Main Street (7505 S. Holden St., Midvale) launches its lights with a ceremony on Friday, Dec. 2 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., complete with hot chocolate and photos with Santa, along with opportunities to shop the Holiday Market. Favorite free light displays are also available at Temple Square (50 N. Temple) and at the Gallivan Center (36 E. 200 South); for the latter you can pair the experience with some ice skating.

World of Illumination's Arctic Adventure visits the Utah State Fairpark (155 N. 1000 West) through New Year's Day, with magical experiences including a 32-foot-tall snowman and an animated drive-through light show set holiday music. Tickets begin at $39 per vehicle, available at worldofillumination.com. A similar holiday tradition comes from Christmas in Color at the Bastian Agricultural Center in South Jordan (11161 S. 2200 West), where more than a million synchronized lights await Monday – Saturday now through Dec. 31. Visit christmasincolor.com for tickets ($35/vehicle) and timed reservations.

For one of Utah's favorite traditions, enjoy the ZooLights at Hogle Zoo (2600 Sunnyside Ave.), with fantastical animated light animals and holiday scenes, on select dates Dec. 2 – 30. Tickets are $11.95 - $14.95 at hoglezoo.org; for those with neurodiversity needs, check out the Dec. 27 "Silent Night" with flashing lights and sound turned off. (Scott Renshaw)

BEAU PEARSON
  • Beau Pearson

Ballet West: The Nutcracker
There has always seemed to be something particularly fitting about The Nutcracker as a holiday tradition, since the entire premise is built around a child experiencing Christmas magic. That magic has been built into Ballet West's annual productions of William Christensen's Nutcracker choreography for more than 65 years, through the updated costume and production elements, and right up to the present day.

Tchaikovsky's musical adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman's short story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King"—about a girl named Clara whose Christmas gift of a nutcracker soldier from her uncle becomes part of a fanciful dream, full of dances from around the world—dates back to 1892, but the legacy of Ballet West's version traces back to 1944, with Christensen's first ever American staging in San Francisco. Christensen brought the production with him to Ballet West in 1955, where the tradition started that has involved generations of Utah families—not just as audience members, but as part of the group of nearly 300 children annually who participate as cast members for week-long runs.

Ballet West presents The Nutcracker at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (20 W. 500 South) Dec. 2 – 24, with 7 p.m. evening performances Thursday – Saturday, matinee performances Saturdays and Sundays, 5 p.m. performances on select Sundays and additional performances Dec. 20 – 24. Tickets are $30 - $131, and you can always expect them to go fast. For an additional dose of magic, consider the character Nutcracker Tea on Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. Visit balletwest.org for tickets and additional information. (SR)

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

Wasatch Theatre Company: Dreamers
Among the many amazing things that's possible with our small, local theater companies is the ability to experience brand-new work by Utah-based writers. And when you are particularly light on your feet, you can put together a production that feels torn from today's headlines. That's what you get a chance to see in the world-premiere of Dreamers—a play by Utah actor and writer Ariana Broumas Farber, produced by Wasatch Theatre Company and newly-formed Immigrant's Daughter group—which finds its main characters exploring issues surrounding the American immigrant experience, set against the backdrop of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in March 2022.

It's set in an apartment building in the Bronx, where Ukrainian immigrant Svetlana is living. She receives a visit from a neighbor, New York native Donnie—possibly to be helpful, possibly to hit on her. Donnie believes Svetlana is preparing to take her U.S. citizenship, but learns instead that Svetlana intends to return home to Ukraine to care for her mother in the war-torn country. What follows is the blossoming of a strange relationship and conversation that ranges from music to politics to the respective perils of their respective countries of origin.

Dreamers plays at The Box Too theater space in The Gateway (130 S. 400 West), Dec. 1 – 10 with performances Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, Dec. 4. Tickets are $20 general admission, limited to 14 seats for each performance; visit theboxgateway.org to purchase tickets, or visit wasatchtheatre.org for additional information. (SR)

DAVID DANIELS PHOTOGRAPHY
  • David Daniels Photography

SLAC: A Year With Frog and Toad
For more than a decade, Salt Lake Acting Company has devoted the holiday season to family-friendly productions based on some of the most beloved works of children's literature, from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to Go Dog Go to Pinkalicious. With so much material to draw from, it says something when the company decides to return to one of these shows it has already produced—which is what SLAC is doing now in bringing back A Year With Frog and Toad, first presented in 2014 (pictured).

Based on Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad series originally published in the 1970s, and commissioned by the author's daughter, it follows the amphibian best friends of the title over the course of one year. It's a tale filled with small kindnesses and the resolution of difficult moments, whether that involves Frog writing a letter to Toad after the latter expresses disappointment at never receiving mail, to raking one another's yards in the fall. The lively songs by Robert and Willie Reale bring additional spark to the show, which became trailblazer for kid-oriented Broadway shows, earning three 2003 Tony Award nominations in the process.

A Year With Frog and Toad runs at Salt Lake Acting Company (168 W. 500 North) Dec. 2 – 18, with performances Friday evenings at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday afternoons at noon and 3 p.m. Special accessibility performances include open captioning (Dec. 11, 3 p.m.), audio described (Dec. 18, 3 p.m.), and ASL interpreted (Dec. 17, noon). Tickets are $17 for children, $27 for adults; visit saltlakeactingcompany.org to purchase tickets and for additional event information. (SR)

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