Asian Voices front and center in Ballet West’s 6th Choreographic Festival, set for SLC June 5-8, and Kennedy Center, June 18-23

Ballet West’s 60th anniversary season has been simultaneously a celebration of its groundbreaking legacy in American dance and an exploration of fresh artistic possibilities going into the second quarter of the 21st century.  Phil Chan, an internationally known choreographer whose organization Final Bow for Yellowface initially engaged the ballet world’s artistic gatekeepers to resist treating … Read more

Gobsmacking and dazzling: Pioneer Theatre Company’s Utah premiere of Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812 wows opening night audience

The electropop opera Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 draws the audience into the stage action in ways unlike conventional experiences with musical theater. Take, for example, the rapid-fire exuberance of the Act II sequence comprising Balaga, The Abduction and In My House.  On opening night for Pioneer Theatre Company’s (PTC) Utah premiere … Read more

Sackerson returns to public performances with In Your Dreams, showcasing its logistical talents for a marvelous theatrical tour of emotional vulnerabilities, laments, realities

Becoming more popular than its precursor “dream on,” the slangy derisive “in your dreams!” quickly took hold in the 1980s, making it painfully aware that despite desiring so much for something to happen, it will never be. With eight miniature scenes by four Utah playwrights, presented to a tiny audience of six persons per performance, … Read more

PYGmalion Theatre Company’s Utah premiere of Jane Anderson’s Mother of the Maid is superb closer to a spectacular company season

In the introduction to her superlative biography Joan of Arc: A History (2014), Helen Castor wrote about her subject’s unique position as historical figure and as an epitome of Medieval Age culture, military history, politics and religious faith: “Unsurprisingly, the effect of Joan’s gravitational field – the self-defining narrative pull of her mission – is … Read more

A musical theatrical bounty for actors-musicians on stage: Pioneer Theatre Company set for Utah premiere of Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812

The idea of turning even a rather small part of Leo Tolstoy’s monumental novel War and Peace into a musical would seem daunting, if not damn near impossible. However, Part 8 of the story, which occurs just before the novel’s midpoint, inspired Dave Malloy to do precisely that. Tolstoy, who achieved the epitome of rich … Read more

Ballet West’s Love and War provided some of season’s most artistically gratifying moments

Ballet West’s mixed repertory production Love and War generated some of the season’s most meaningful, sensitive performances of the company’s 60th anniversary season. The program note by Adam Sklute, the company’s artistic director, summarized it well: “Love & War is designed to reflect our humanity, showing us our individual soulful divinity, our power and defiance, … Read more

Salt Lake Acting Company’s regional premiere of Vichet Chum’s Bald Sisters is marvelous, heartfelt audience pleaser

It is a familiar American story: two siblings grieving the death of their mother are discussing and arguing about what to do with her body. In Vichet Chum’s play Bald Sisters, that familiar story expands to an elucidating emotional epiphany about how we engage with and view our neighbors, especially immigrants who have escaped horrifying … Read more

A prized chamber theater jewel: Outstanding acting invigorates Plan-B Theatre’s production of Melissa Leilani Larson’s Bitter Lemon

The two actors in the fabulous Plan-B Theatre production of Melissa Leilani Larson’s Bitter Lemon persuade the audience to reconsider Shakespeare’s Macbeth, not just as a chronicle about the fatalistic machinations of power but also as the moral conflict about good and evil. This conflict is manifested in Larson’s character creations of Lady Helen Macduff … Read more

Enemy fiction: Melissa Leilani Larson’s Bitter Lemon set for Plan-B Theatre’s (sort of) world premiere this week

In February, Plan-B Theatre mounted a world premiere production of Balthazar, Debora Threedy’s fresh reimagining of The Merchant of Venice’s Portia. As The Utah Review noted at the time, Threedy’s play is a well-crafted piece of fan fiction. In her two-hander script, she successfully sustained the broader integrity of Shakespeare’s literary world while reconfiguring characters … Read more

Setting the bar of theatrical excellence in a history-making moment for Utah theater: Pioneer Theatre Company christens Meldrum Theatre with The Lehman Trilogy, powered by virtuosic acting

When the history of 21st century theater in Utah is written, it will be noted that actor Jeff Talbott, in the role of Henry Lehman, spoke the first words in performance on the thrust stage of the new Meldrum Theatre at The University of Utah. It also will be noted that Talbott, along with actors … Read more