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Musicals will bookend Pioneer Theatre’s new season
Stage » Company to present two premieres, plus classic “Crucible.”
First Published Apr 21 2014 11:34 am • Last Updated Apr 23 2014 03:00 pm

In its new season, Pioneer Theatre Company will produce a world premiere of "Alabama Story" and a Utah premiere of the farcical swinging 1960s London comedy "One Man, Two Guvnors," plus launch a new concert series with the cult favorite "The Rocky Horror Show."

The company will bookend its season with a pair of musicals: the sweet-and-sassy story of quirky competitors in "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" and the beloved story of musical con man Harold Hill, who falls in love with Marian the librarian in Meredith Willson’s "The Music Man." Artistic director Karen Azenberg lauded the musical’s hummable tunes, calling it "one of the best musicals ever written," in the company’s season announcement.

At a glance

Pioneer Theatre Company 2014-15 season

Season tickets are available at 801-581-6961 or pioneertheatre.org.

Where » Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, Salt Lake City

Prices » A seven-play package is $91-$307 and offers an additional free ticket to nonmusical shows.

Special features » The theater has an elevator and offers hearing assistance devices and handicapped parking.

Also » Other packages include the Pick-Five, which ranges from $128-$248; the $250 Flex pass; the $125 Rush pass; and the $91 Upper Balcony pass. All packages include flexible exchange privileges, free parking within a block of the theater, priority seating, the ability to purchase additional tickets to individual shows at a discount, and an electronic subscription to the Backstage newsletter.

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In the holiday spot is the family-friendly "Peter and the Starcatcher," which tells the backstory about how Peter Pan got to Neverland; the 2011 Broadway show charmed local theatergoers when it premiered at last season’s Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Rounding out the season are Paul Rudnick’s 1991 comedy, "I Hate Hamlet," about a TV star who sees his own theatrical ghost as he begins to rehearse one of Shakespeare’s most challenging roles, and a revival of Arthur Miller’s landmark "The Crucible," a political allegory set against the backdrop of the Salem witch trials.

Launching a new concert series offers the Utah company a chance to showcase musicals that aren’t suitable for full PTC productions, perhaps because the material is dated or not family-friendly, Azenberg said. She said the concerts, similar to New York City’s popular Encores! series, will offer a chance for theatergoers to discover overlooked gems or revisit old favorites. The concerts will feature an onstage orchestra, while actors will perform with scripts in hand.

In addition, the company will continue its Play-by-Play development series, with staged readings in February and March.

Season ticket prices remain the same, $91-$307, while upper-balcony tickets increased by $7 and the Rush pass increased by $26. Managing director Chris Lino pointed out that individual tickets to Pioneer shows range from $13 to $44, in comparison to Broadway or touring shows where tickets might range from $50 to $150.

For season tickets, contact Pioneer Theatre Company’s box office at 801-581-6961 or visit online at www.pioneertheatre.org.

On the schedule

Sept. 12-27 » "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." A musical about the hopes and angst and p-a-n-d-e-m-o-n-i-u-m sparked by the quirky competitors and quirky teachers at a high-school spelling competition. Conceived by Rebecca Feldman, with Jay Reiss, with Feldman’s book, and music and lyrics by William Finn.


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Oct. 24-25 » A three-concert presentation of "The Rocky Horror Show." The musical, which spawned the cult favorite movie and the song "Time Warp," tells what happens after an innocent couple’s car breaks down in the woods on a dark-and-stormy night and they meet Dr. Frank N. Furter, the "Sweet Transvestite" mad scientist. Music, lyrics and book by Richard O’Brien.

Oct. 31-Nov. 15 » "One Man, Two Guvnors." An interactive comedy set in swinging 1962 London. Written by Richard Bean, with songs by Grant Olding, based on Carlo Goldoni’s 1743 commedia dell’arte-style play "The Servant of Two Masters."

Dec. 5-20 » "Peter and the Starcatcher." Written by Rick Elice, based on the 2004 children’s book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.

Jan. 9-24, 2015 » "Alabama Story." The premiere production of a story introduced to PTC audiences from this season’s inaugural Play-by-Play staged reading series. The drama tells the story of a state librarian who, in 1959, sparks the anger of a segregationist state senator over the children’s book "The Rabbits’ Wedding," about the union of a white and a black rabbit. Written by Kenneth Jones.

Feb. 13-28, 2015 » "The Crucible."

March 30-April 4 » "I Hate Hamlet."

May 1-May 16 » "The Music Man."

ellenf@sltrib.com



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