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Find arts around Utah with our summer events bucket list

Published June 5, 2014 5:13 pm

From Shakespeare to orchestra music, plenty of scenic adventures await Utah arts lovers.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It won't be just drama as usual around the Cedar City campus of the Utah Shakespeare Festival this summer.

After all, by the time the curtain rises on preview shows the week of June 23, theatergoers will be able to see some dirt piles on the block of the Randall L. Jones Theatre. While that construction backdrop might not be colorful enough to make it on the festival's main stages, it's a symbolic move forward for the $35 million Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center.

The complex, aimed to be completed for the 2016 festival season, and will include a new Shakespearean theater, a smaller studio theater and production building, as well as the Southern Utah Museum of Art.

It's "overwhelmingly poetic" that construction has begun for what has long been festival founder Fred Adams' vision, says co-artistic director Brian Vaughn. "To know that it's happening now after so many years of heart and labor and passion — that's a wonderful thing," Vaughn says between rehearsals for the show he's acting in, "Into the Woods," and the show he's directing, "Henry VI Part 1."

As an aside, please note this bit of backstage intrigue: Vaughn is playing the Baker in "Into the Woods" opposite his wife, Melinda Pfundstein, who plays the Baker's Wife. The couple met in USF's 2001 production of "Pirates of Penzance" and fell in love while playing husband and wife in 2004's "Henry IV Part 1."

For Vaughn, having acted in two separate productions of the show, as well as in "Henry V," helps in his directorial duties. It's the third show in the festival's production of the 10 plays in Shakespeare's history cycle, which began in 2013 with "King John" and "Richard II," and are continuing to be produced in chronological order.

For the history plays, the festival has hired three actors — Larry Bull, Henry Woronicz and Sam Ashdown — to play ongoing roles. Bull will play Henry IV this season, after portraying the character in "Richard II" last fall. Henry Woronicz will play Falstaff this summer and next in the continuing Henry story, while Ashdown will play Prince Hal this summer, then in "Henry IV, Part 2" and further in "Henry V."

Making casting commitments so far in advance is unusual for USF, but it should make it easier for theatergoers to follow the characters as the history unfolds across the plays. "It's a chance to us to invest in the actors and the characters," Vaughn says.

Also on the schedule at this year's festival is a rare original work: a world premiere of "Sense and Sensibility." The show will be directed by Joseph Hanreddy, who was commissioned to adapt the Jane Austen novel with J.R. Sullivan, a former USF associate artistic director. The pair also adapted Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," which the festival produced in 2010.

"Into the Woods," fracturing familiar fairy tales, is only the second Stephen Sondheim musical to be produced at USF. Also on the docket are Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," "Measure for Measure" and "Twelfth Night" (which will continue into October). Marc Camoletti's "Boeing Boeing," a farce about a playboy who is dating three flight attendants, and Steven Dietz's "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure" will play in the fall.

Also newly reworked this year are the British and Scottish editions of the free nightly Greenshow, which include some of the historical elements drawn from Shakespeare's era. The show will include signature bits such as Punch and Judy skits, a Maypole and the egg dance, complete with a dozen raw eggs.

For young performers, the Greenshow also provides an opportunity to learn how to interact with audiences and improvise while performing, as well as how to project your voice in an outside venue.

Adams is co-directing this year's Greenshow, nodding back to the original vision of his late wife, Barbara, who launched the preshow during the inaugural 1962 festival as a way to acclimatize audiences to the language and music of the Elizabethean era.

"We're speaking a language you have to adjust your ear to," Adams says. Thirty minutes of singing and dancing helps audiences "get out of their world and get them back into the Old World, and the gentler, quieter more robust time of Shakespeare."

USF • In repertory June 23-Oct. 18

Where • 351 W. Center St., Cedar City.

Tickets • Midweek $28-$73; weekend $32-$77; at bard.org or 800-PLAYTIX or 435-586-7878. Buy early: Prices can increase by as much as $10 as shows begin to sell out.

Tip • On Thursday nights starting July 11, the festival's best talent shows off as part of a weekly after-hours Cabaret show. Proceeds help fund trips by casting directors, agents and artistic directors, in an aim to help USF actors land future jobs. 11 p.m. Thursdays at The Grind Coffee House, 19 N. Main St.; donations at the door.

Once you've made plans for your Shakespearean summer diet, you'll be ready for a feast of music, dance and theater.

Deer Valley Music Festival • The Utah Symphony will welcome a diverse lineup of guests, ranging from Kenny Rogers and the Texas Tenors to Ben Folds and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, to its summer home. There also will be performances of more traditional orchestra repertoire in Park City's St. Mary's Church.

When and where • July 4 to Aug. 9: Most Fridays and Saturdays on the lawn at Deer Valley Resort's Snow Park Lodge; most Wednesdays at St. Mary's. See www.deervalleymusicfestival for details.

Tickets • $25 to $100, depending on date and location; significant discounts for youth.

Tip • Pack a picnic and remember that the temperature at Deer Valley drops sharply after sundown.

Utah Symphony goes parking • The Mighty Five tour will take the orchestra's 86 musicians, music director Thierry Fischer, soprano Celena Shafer and a large cast of unsung behind-the-scenes heroes to the state's five national parks for a series of free concerts and educational events.

Dates • Aug. 11-17, with concerts Aug. 12 and 14-16.

Where • Events start at Capitol Reef; the orchestra then will wend its way through Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks. See http://www.utahsymphony.org/mighty5 for details.

Tickets • Free; see the website for outlets.

Tip • Closer to home, the Utah Symphony will perform at Orem's SCERA Shell, Lehi's Thanksgiving Point, Taylorsville Dayzz, the Sundance and Snowbasin resorts, and downtown Salt Lake City's Gallivan Plaza. Some of these concerts are free. Details: http://www.utahsymphony.org.

Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition • It's a "big Bachauer" year again, with 37 pianists (representing more than a dozen nations) vying for cash, concert engagements and the cachet that comes with winning one of the world's major piano competitions.

Dates • Opening gala and performance-order drawing, June 11; preliminary rounds, June 12-14 and 16-19; semifinals, June 20-21; finals, with the Utah Symphony joining three finalists in performances of full concertos, June 25.

Where • The concerto round is in Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City; other rounds are in Jeanné Wagner Theatre at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City.

Tickets • $20 for the preliminary and semifinal rounds ($8 for students); $30 for the finals ($15 for students); full-competition pass, $150 ($50 for students); http://www.arttix.org or 801-355-ARTS

Tip • Of 203 hopefuls who auditioned in six cities, one Utahn — Conlan Miller, originally from Delta and a recent graduate of Brigham Young University — made the cut. He's among eight American pianists in the competition.

Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre • Utah loves its local productions of "Les Misérables," and this Logan company should deliver "One Day More," "I Dreamed a Dream" and "Castle on a Cloud" with panache. Other shows on the schedule are the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical "Oklahoma!," Sigmund Romberg's "The Student Prince" and Samuel Barber's "Vanessa."

Dates • July 9-Aug. 9; 1 and 7:30 p.m.

Where • Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 South Main St., Logan.

Tickets • $13 to $77 (with student discounts) 800-262-0074 ext 3 or utahfestival.org

Tip • Free preshow "Informance" one hour before the main shows, usually presented by festival founder Michael Ballam. First-time festivalgoers be forewarned: Don't park behind the theater for matinee shows, as you will be booted. Check the festival's website for nearby public lots.

Broadway Across America — Utah • If you crave theatrical spectacles, then you'll be ready for "Wicked's" big number, "Defying Gravity," which will ring through downtown when the national tour plays for seven weeks at the Capitol Theatre.

Dates • July 9-Aug. 24.

Where • Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City.

Tickets • $55-$175 (plus $8-$9 in fees); at 801-355-2787 or artix.org.

Tip • There are more tickets available for Sunday shows or late August dates.

Family-friendly musicals • As you'd expect, there are brand-name musicals playing at theater companies all over the state this summer, including a flying "Mary Poppins" at West Valley City's Hale Centre Theatre as well as a revival of Tuacahn Amphitheatre's popular production of "The Little Mermaid." If you're looking for a show matched with unbeatable mountain scenery, there's Sundance Summer Theatre's production of "Fiddler on the Roof," a co-production with Utah Valley University.

"Mary Poppins" • June 13-Aug. 9; Hale Centre Theatre, 3333 S. Decker Lake Drive, Salt Lake City; tickets at 801-984-9000 or hct.org.

"The Little Mermaid" • May 29-Oct. 18; in repertory with "The Wizard of Oz," June 5-Oct. 17; and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," Aug. 1-Oct. 16; Tuacahn Amphitheatre, 1100 Tuacahn Drive, Ivins; tickets at 800-746-9882 or tuacahn.org.

"Fiddler on the Roof" • July 24-Aug. 16; 8 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; Sundance Resort, 8841 N. Alpine Loop Road, Provo; $21-$30 at 801-223-4567 or sundanceresort.com.

Serious theater • If plays are your thing, there's serious drama on local boards this summer, as well.

"Rings" • Grand Theatre launches a world premiere of Utah playwright Aden Ross' newest play, a ripped-from-the-headlines legal case from New Mexico about a woman and her best friends who charge their Latina maids with stealing a wedding ring. The staging is interesting too, with the play's action and audience both situated on the theater's large stage. June 5-21, 7:30 p.m.; Grand Theatre at South Salt Lake Community College, 1575 S. State St., Salt Lake City; $10-$24 at 801-957-3322 or the-grand.org

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" • Pinnacle Acting Company presents the first local production of Edward Albee's Tony Award-winning classic in 32 years. June 12-14; 20-21 and 27-28; 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, June 28; Emma Eccles Jones Conservatory's Dumke Student Theatre at Westminster College, 1250 E. 1700 South, Salt Lake City; $15 ($13 students/seniors); $12 matinee; at pinnacleactingcompany.org or at the door.

Utah Arts Festival • Salt Lake City's annual arts explosion will take place the last weekend in June, featuring a variety of artist and food booths. Among the performers will be the Australian Strange Fruit theatrical troupe, who performs on 16-foot stilts, and March Fourth, a marching band and cabaret act from Portland that's like a moving block party. The festival has commissioned jazz and chamber-music compositions, as well as a new dance work, "Drum," by Ballet West's Christopher Ruud, which will be performed at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 17, on the Festival stage.

When • Thursday, June 26-Sunday, June 29

Where • Washington and Library Squares, 200 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City.

Tickets • $12 at the gate, $8 in advance at uaf.org (opening day/senior/Thursday and Friday lunchtime discounts); children 12 and younger are free.

Intermezzo Chamber Music Series • This longtime fixture on Salt Lake City's summer scene is the best place to hear Utah Symphony members showing off their chops in a more intimate venue. Repertoire this season includes favorites from Brahms, Mozart and Dvorak as well as spicier fare from Iannis Xenakis and György Kurtág.

When • Monday nights at 7:30, June 30, July 14 and 28, and Aug. 4 and 11

Where • Vieve Gore Concert Hall at Westminster College, 1250 E. 1700 South, Salt Lake City.

Tickets • http://www.intermezzoconcerts.org

Tip • You never know what might happen at Intermezzo. Series president David Porter is serious about his music, but he's equally serious about dispelling the idea that chamber music is staid and stuffy. Past pranks have included an onstage pizza delivery, elaborately staged pratfalls and guerrilla performances of lesser-known pieces.

Moab Music Festival • An evening with John Pizzarelli and his quartet, the world premiere of a piece by Utah violinist-turned-novelist Gerald Elias and a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's "Trial by Jury" are among the highlights of this festival, set at a wide array of scenic venues in and around Moab.

When • Aug. 28-Sept. 8

Where • Various indoor and outdoor venues in and around Moab.

Tickets • Most concerts are $25, but prices range up to $325 for the festival's signature grotto concerts. (There's also a free concert Sept. 1.) Visit http://www.moabmusicfest.org for details.

Tip • You've probably heard about the Moab Music Festival's grotto concerts, accessible only by jet boats on the Colorado River. The festival also offers three music hikes, in which intrepid listeners trek to secret concert locations.

Logan's Old Lyric Rep Company • W. Vosco Call, who founded the Old Lyric Repertory Company in 1967, will direct "Tons of Money" for the second time at Caine Lyric Theatre. His grandson, company co-artistic director Richie Call, remembers the play as being one of the first shows he saw at the Caine Lyric Theatre as a child. "To this day, I've never laughed as hard as I did as when I was 11 watching this show in the back row of the theater with my grandpa," the younger Call said in a news release. "Now I finally get to play the role that I watched then and, to top it off, my grandpa will be my director."

Shows • Also playing: "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!" and "The Elephant Man."

When • June 12-Aug. 2, with shows at 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Where • Caine Lyric Theatre, 28 W. Center St., Logan.

Tickets • $18-$30 (USU students/youth discounts), at 435-797-8022 or arts.usu.edu/lyric.

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Backstage with 'Sense and Sensibility'

P In partnership with KUED, Utah Shakespeare Festival is bringing a roadshow to Salt Lake City to promote its upcoming world premiere of Jane Austin's "Sense and Sensibility." Moderating a Q&A will be Aspen Anderson, a Utah Valley University history instructor who is the Utah regional coordinator for the Jane Austen Society of North America.

When • Monday, June 9, 7 p.m.

Where • Salt Lake City Main Library Auditorium, 400 S. 200 East.

More • Raffle tickets for prizes from KUED, The King's English Bookshop and USF will be distributed to the first 300 attendees.

Also • KUED will preview upcoming PBS dramas, including a new season of "Shakespeare Uncovered." Jennifer Adams, author of "Remarkably Jane" and the BabyLit "Sense and Sensibility" board book, will sign books at 6:30 p.m.

Info • 801-585-3523

As an aside, please note this bit of backstage intrigue: Vaughn is playing the Baker in "Into the Woods" opposite his wife, Melinda Pfundstein, who plays the Baker's Wife. The couple met in USF's 2001 production of "Pirates of Penzance" and fell in love while playing husband and wife in 2004's "Henry IV Part 1."

For Vaughn, having acted in two separate productions of the show, as well as in "Henry V," helps in his directorial duties. It's the third show in the festival's production of the 10 plays in Shakespeare's history cycle, which began in 2013 with "King John" and "Richard II," and are continuing to be produced in chronological order.

For the history plays, the festival has hired three actors — Larry Bull, Henry Woronicz and Sam Ashdown — to play ongoing roles. Bull will play Henry IV this season, after portraying the character in "Richard II" last fall. Henry Woronicz will play Falstaff this summer and next in the continuing Henry story, while Ashdown will play Prince Hal this summer, then in "Henry IV, Part 2" and further in "Henry V."

Making casting commitments so far in advance is unusual for USF, but it should make it easier for theatergoers to follow the characters as the history unfolds across the plays. "It's a chance to us to invest in the actors and the characters," Vaughn says.

Also on the schedule at this year's festival is a rare original work: a world premiere of "Sense and Sensibility." The show will be directed by Joseph Hanreddy, who was commissioned to adapt the Jane Austen novel with J.R. Sullivan, a former USF associate artistic director. The pair also adapted Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," which the festival produced in 2010.

"Into the Woods," fracturing familiar fairy tales, is only the second Stephen Sondheim musical to be produced at USF. Also on the docket are Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors," "Measure for Measure" and "Twelfth Night" (which will continue into October). Marc Camoletti's "Boeing Boeing," a farce about a playboy who is dating three flight attendants, and Steven Dietz's "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure" will play in the fall.