THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR DEC 15 - 21 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly

THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR DEC 15 - 21 

Wasatch Theatre Company: The Lord of Misrule, Utah Symphony Holiday Programming, The Sting & Honey Company: This Bird of Dawning, and more.

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Wasatch Theatre Company: The Lord of Misrule
In some ancient traditions, there were certain times of year when the social order could be turned upside-down, and a beggar could force a lord to do his bidding, including providing donations for the poor. That concept has been applied by Wasatch Theatre Company to an intriguing new Christmas tradition that combines theater with charity to unique effect.

The Lord of Misrule begins with the premise of a televangelist named Pastor Lucas Karol, who collects donations from followers for the "miracles" he performs on his TV show. During a Christmas broadcast, a mob hijacks the show, forcing Pastor Karol to obey the orders of the Lord of Misrule. And that's where members of the audience get in on the action: By making a donation to Our Unsheltered Relatives—a non-profit serving meals to the Rio Grande area unhoused community—you can introduce new elements and suggestions into the actors' performance of the show, based on a list of suggestions in the production's program. That's how holiday charity becomes holiday hilarity.

Wasatch Theatre Company's production of The Lord of Misrule runs for two weekends at two different venues: Dec. 16 – 17 at 8 p.m. at The Box Theatre at The Gateway (124 S. 400 West), and Dec. 22 – 23 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 24 at 2 p.m. at the Alliance Theatre at Trolley Square (602 E. 500 South, Suite E101). Tickets are free, but don't forget to make those donations, with all the fun they bring to the occasion. Visit fb.me/e/2eNxtltUW for additional information. (Scott Renshaw)

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Utah Symphony Holiday Programming
Beautiful music is inextricably linked with the holiday season. Everybody has their favorites—and the one that makes them shudder when it comes over the mall speakers—but that special Christmas spirit usually gets a little more spirited when we're hearing plenty of beloved holiday classics. And not surprisingly, if you want to hear beautiful music, the Utah Symphony is a perfect place, with multiple options for guests of all ages.

This weekend brings two such programs, beginning with A Soulful Holiday with the Utah Symphony. Special guest vocalist soprano Morgan James (pictured)—whose Broadway credits include The Addams Family and Motown: The Musical—brings her soul stylings to Christmas tunes like those showcased on her 2021 album A Very Magnetic Christmas. The program comes first to Utah Valley University's Noorda Center (800 W. University Parkway, Orem) on Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m., with tickets $17.50 - $72, then Dec. 16 – 17 at Abravanel Hall (123 W. South Temple) at 7:30 p.m., with tickets $10.50 - $95.

If, on the other hand, you want to bring music-lovers of all ages to a family friendly presentation, check out the annual Here Comes Santa Claus show. Favorite carols ring out from the Symphony musicians, plus a chance to sing along with some of the classics, and a visit from a certain jolly old elf, all in an attention-span-considerate show that's under an hour. Take the whole gang to performances at Abravanel Hall on Dec. 17, with showtimes at 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.25 - $26; visit utahsymphony.org for tickets and additional information. (SR)

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The Sting & Honey Company: This Bird of Dawning
Back in 2008, Sting & Honey Company founder Javen Tanner created a Nativity-themed holiday play that he believed at the time would be a one-time fund-raiser. Nearly 15 years later, This Bird of Dawning ... is still going strong, in part because the people who love it as an annual tradition don't want to let it go away, particularly the students at Waterford School, where Tanner teaches. "Some students do it all four years," Tanner told City Weekly in 2021. "And every year, the students who did it the year before, they're introducing it to students who are doing it for the first time."

Employing theatrical mask, This Bird of Dawning ... tells the Nativity story in a way that draws from theater's ancient connections to religious ritual. "I'm fascinated by how theater all over the world, they all evolved out of ritual, out of religious practices," Tanner said. "One of the things that's so fascinating is how close this piece gets to that. The audience just connects to it. ... I've never been interested in it as a proselytizing piece, but I am interested in how deeply it connects with an audience, even people who are not Christian or not religious."

This Bird of Dawning plays at the Regent Street Black Box (144 Regent Street) of the Eccles Theater for three performances: Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission, $10 for children under 12 and $15 for seniors and students. Visit arttix.org for tickets and additional event information. (SR)

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