THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR NOV 30 - DEC 6 | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly

THE ESSENTIAL A&E PICKS FOR NOV 30 - DEC 6 

PTC: Christmas in Connecticut, Salt Lake Acting Company: Elephant & Piggie's 'We Are in a Play!', Utah Authors Day, and more.

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BW PRODUCTIONS
  • BW Productions

PTC: Christmas in Connecticut
New Broadway musicals in recent years have tended to look towards pop-culture properties like recent hit films for their source material. So it wasn't exactly intuitive to think instead about a nearly-80-year-old holiday movie like Christmas in Connecticut—in which Barbara Stanwyck played a city-girl writer trying to keep up her published persona as a farmer's housewife—as something audiences would embrace.

According to Patrick Pacheco, who co-wrote the book for the new musical, "For any [musical] adaptation, the important question to answer is, 'Does it sing?' ... So I watched it, and yeah, it did sing." Pacheco's collaborator, Erik Forrest Jackson, added, "We just found such a strong contemporary resonance, in the age of social media, of people presenting perfect snapshots of their perfect families and perfect homes. There was something so comedic and kind of powerful in examining that through this kind of nostalgic lens."

Pacheco and Jackson kept the World War II-era setting and the premise of a military veteran visiting the protagonist's fake-farm for a home-cooked holiday meal, but tweaked it to create more of a romantic triangle. The tweaking process is ongoing, as the creators develop the show after a premiere at Connecticut's Goodspeed Opera House in 2022. "As soon as the run ended in Connecticut, we wanted to get right back into it," Pacheco says. "We were excited, and we had learned a lot."

Christmas in Connecticut comes to Pioneer Theatre Company's Simmons Memorial Theatre (300 S. 1400 East) Dec. 1 – 16, with performances Monday – Saturday and ticket prices starting at $55. Visit pioneertheatre.org for tickets and additional event information. (Scott Renshaw)

LAURA CHAPMAN
  • Laura Chapman

Salt Lake Acting Company: Elephant & Piggie's 'We Are in a Play!'
In one sense, this isn't Salt Lake Acting Company's first go-round with the musical Elephant & Piggie's 'We Are in a Play!', based on the Mo Willems book. And in another sense, it really is. That's because the 2021 production of the show—continuing SLAC's recent tradition of family-friendly holiday shows—was created and produced for a virtual presentation, as COVID disruptions to live theater lingered on.

At the time, however, veteran director Penelope Caywood noted that the creative team wasn't approaching the staging of the show any differently than had it been exclusively an in-person show. "The whole team agreed, we're still making a play, and the play is being filmed," Caywood told City Weekly in December 2021. "So I really didn't do anything differently, because I wanted to make it feel like kids are coming to the show."

This year, everyone involved will enjoy the payoff that comes from playing in front of a live audience. "I have done a bunch of these shows, but it was a little bit sad to not hear ... the oohs, the ahhs, the laughter," Caywood said in 2021. "And that's also kind of a gift to those actors for all that hard work. There's no other audience like a kids' audience."

Elephant & Piggie's 'We Are in a Play!' runs at Salt Lake Acting Company (168 W. 500 North) Dec. 1 – 30, with performances Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays & Sundays at noon and 3 p.m., and additional performances during the holiday weeks. Visit saltlakeactingcompany.org to purchase tickets and for the full schedule. (SR)

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

Utah Authors Day
Many Utahns could probably name a couple of celebrated Utah writers—and they might make the mistake of thinking that the local writing talent begins and ends with those high-profile names. The purpose of Utah Authors Day—sponsored by the League of Utah Writers—is to provide all the evidence necessary to change that perception.

According to Bryan Young, a past president of the League of Utah Writers and a City Weekly freelance contributor, "I think a lot of people think writers from Utah and they conjure one of two images, either Brandon Sanderson or whoever wrote The Work and the Glory, but we have such a rich diversity of working writers here in the state. There is everything from romance and horror to science fiction and fantasy. Sure, you'll get writers who work on religious stories and things of that nature, but you'll also have authors working in big name franchises and popular work you wouldn't associate with Utah. The borders of Utah don't necessarily mean anything for the breadth and quality of writing being produced here, and it's national—even international, in some cases—in scale."

More than 100 writers are currently scheduled to appear in one or more of the participating library branches and bookstores, including Deseret Book and Barnes & Noble locations, The Printed Garden, The King's English Bookshop, Legendarium, Marissa's Books and more. Join in the celebration of Utah writers by visiting the participating Utah Authors Day location near you on Saturday, Dec. 2. The full list of participating venues and authors is available at leagueofutahwriters.com/localauthorsday. (SR)

COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo

Adam Sandler @ Delta Center
For more than 30 years, audiences have known Adam Sander as a mass-media star, beginning with his successful run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1990-1995, and his string of hit comedies beginning with Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore and running through his current "residency" at Netflix. That makes it easy to forget how Sandler started, like many SNL alums, in comedy clubs, doing routines with a bit more wit than is often associated with his outsized TV and movie roles. One classic bit involved his impressions based on NBA star Wilt Chamberlain's legendary 100-point game, including that of Chamberlain's teammates ("Hey ... I'm open, man.") and the coach of the opposing team ("Um, who's covering Wilt?").

So it's great to see Sandler returning to his roots with the "I Missed You" Tour, a two-month long visit to arenas around the country, including Salt Lake City. Based on reviews of previous stops, it includes a lot of the stuff that folks associate with the comedian, including amusing songs and raunchy humor, along with stuff that certainly didn't apply when he was launching his stand-up career in the 1980s, like dealing with fame, being a parent, and generally being a different person in your 50s than you were in your 20s. All that, plus making fun of Rob Schneider and David Spade, and honoring his friendship with the late Chris Farley.

Adam Sandler's "I Missed You" tour comes to the Delta Center (301 S. Temple) on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $66; visit seatgeek.com for tickets. (SR)

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