THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR JAN 26 - FEB 1 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly


Alex Moffat, Pioneer Theatre Company: A Distinct Society, Joyce Chopra: Lady Director: Adventures in Hollywood, Television and Beyond, and more.

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Alex Moffat
They say that overnight success in showbiz rarely occurs. Yet when you become a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live, it does bring instant recognition. Alex Moffat is a case in point. During his six seasons on SNL, he made his name—and his face—known through his impressions of Joe Biden, Richard Branson, Wilem Dafoe, Beto O'Rourke, Joe Scarborough, Hugh Grant, Eric Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, Anderson Cooper, Joe Scarborough and, of course, the snarky, penis-length-challenged character simply known as "Guy Who Just Bought A Boat" who regularly dropped in on "Weekend Update."

Like many of the SNL regulars, past and present, he got his start as a member of Chicago's Second City ensemble, also perfecting his skills as a member of the iO, ImprovOlympic and The Annoyance Theatre comedy troupes. However, few of his colleagues can claimed to have served as an official acro-dunker for the Chicago Bulls, which also earned him a place in the 2020 Celebrity All-Star game. As if that feat wasn't impressive enough, he's also appeared in films and series shown on Showtime, Netflix, Apple TV and the big screen. Including Disney's animated feature Wreck-It Ralph 2. Given his success, he could become a guy who can actually afford to buy a boat—maybe without the need to gloat about it, though.

Alex Moffat appears at Wiseguys Jordan Landing (3763 W. Center Park Drive, West Jordan) on Fri., Jan. 27 and Sat., Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. each night. Tickets for this 21 + show cost $25 and can be purchased at (Lee Zimmerman)

  • BW Productions

Pioneer Theatre Company: A Distinct Society
The people who work behind the scenes for theater productions often aren't particularly well-known in the local community, particularly if they're not based in Utah. You've seen their work even if you don't you know you have—like the work of Kareem Fahmy, who has directed local theater productions like Death of a Driver for Salt Lake Acting Company in 2018, and Fireflies for Pioneer Theatre Company in 2022. Now we get a chance to know him in a different capacity, as Pioneer Theatre Company shares world-premiere status for Fahmy's new play, A Distinct Society.

Set during the Trump Administration's controversial "Muslim ban," A Distinct Society finds the inspiration for its location in real-life a geographical oddity: the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, which happens to sit on both sides of the U.S./Canadian border in Vermont and Quebec. As such, it becomes a possible location for a separated Iranian family to meet and take advantage of an immigration-law loophole. But others are involved in this action—including a Border Patrol agent and a librarian—in ways that force them to choose between humanity and the letter of the law.

A Distinct Society premieres at Pioneer Theatre Company's Simmons Memorial Theater (300 S. 1400 East) Jan. 27 – Feb. 11. Performances are 7 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday – Saturday and matinees Saturdays at 2 p.m. A town hall event discussing the play's themes will follow the Jan. 28 matinee performance. Tickets are $35 - $46 advance purchase, $5 more at the door; visit for tickets and additional event information. (Scott Renshaw)

  • Paul Wagner

Joyce Chopra: Lady Director: Adventures in Hollywood, Television and Beyond
It's not exactly a controversial statement to suggest that certain roles in the movie industry have always been—and remain—a challenge for women to break into. That certainly applies to the role of director, where major accolades like Oscar nominations and oversight of blockbuster franchises continue to be overwhelmingly a boys' club. So it's always compelling to hear the insights of those who tried—and didn't always succeed—to break into that club, as veteran director Joyce Chopra relates in her 2022 memoir Lady Director: Adventures in Hollywood, Television and Beyond.

The book relates Chopra's history being inspired by the French New Wave of the 1960s to explore filmmaking, at a time when it seemed out of reach for a woman. She eventually found her way first into documentary filmmaking with the legendary D.A. Pennebaker, the autobiographical short film Joyce at 34, and didn't release her first theatrical feature—Smooth Talk, which won the 1985 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize—until she was nearly 50 years old. Lady Director explores the challenges of film-industry sexism and the struggle to balance her career with life as a wife and mother.

The King's English Bookshop (1511 S. 1500 East) partners with Gibson's Bookstore and Black Walnut Books to present a virtual conversation with Joyce Chopra, moderated by Washington Post reporter and Los Angeles Review of Books film editor Annie Berge. The Crowdcast event takes place on Friday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m., and is free to the public but requires online registration. Visit to register and for other event details. (SR)

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