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

Layer by Layer: An extraordinary look into the creation and conservation of Chiura Obata masterpiece at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Nearly three years ago, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ (UMFA) already widely respected Japanese art collection expanded with the acquisition of 35 works by Chiura Obata (1885-1975), one of the most significant Japanese American artists of the twentieth century, thanks to a generous gift from the Obata estate. Undoubtedly, the announcement acquisition thrilled the … Read more

Utah Museum of Fine Arts’ Pictures of Belonging exhibition impressively commands viewers to think anew about American modernism

In a 2007 essay, art historian ShiPu Wang wrote that the works of Asian-American artists “are more than painterly creations that exude ‘transcendental beauty’ beyond cultural boundaries.” He added, “Their meaning and significance constantly shift and expand under different sociopolitical circumstances, and they do not remain incontrovertible objects or artifacts.” In her 1990 book, Mixed … Read more

Etudious!: Vassily Primakov, 2002 piano competition silver medalist, set to return to Gina Bachauer International Piano Foundation stage for concert of etudes

Growing up in Moscow during the 1980s, Vassily Primakov was just seven years old when he asked his mother, Marina Primakova, about starting piano lessons. “My mother was a pianist and I grew up with a lot of music around me, hearing her practice, rehearse and teach,” Primakov said in an interview with The Utah … Read more

Subdued, intimate Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s Ascent closes with perfect treat, featuring Storyograph and live original music

Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company’s 60th anniversary season has been a unique experience. Last fall, Groundworks, its superb season opener which honored its founders (Shirley Ririe and Joan Woodbury) reminded us of legacies, which define why we cherish and prize something for its excellence and its value in the community. High school dancers were the focus of … 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