SALT LAKE CITY — Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, Singles Awareness Day or World Nutella Day (it’s on Feb. 5, and you’re welcome), there’s a lot of love going around in the month of February.
Whether you’re looking for a Valentine’s date idea or want to treat yourself to a night out, here are 10 theater productions opening this month that deal with love in its many forms.
‘Comedy of Errors’ at BYU
Is a list about love and theater complete without including the Bard? Thanks to the upcoming production of “Comedy of Errors” by Brigham Young University’s Young Company, we don’t have to wonder.
Although it’s not necessarily the play that comes to mind when you think of William Shakespeare’s best-known love stories, “Comedy of Errors” nonetheless does have its dose of love … along with ample doses of mistaken identities, farce and, of course, comedy.
The Young Company’s production will go on tour to local elementary schools, but before it does, audiences can catch the 1960s-themed production on BYU’s campus, Feb. 6-16, dates and times vary with some matinees, Nelke Theatre, Franklin S. Harris Fine Arts Center, BYU, Provo, $6-8 (801-422-2981 or byuarts.com).
Speaking of the Bard, lovers and haters of the playwright, as well as lovers and haters of musical theater, will all find plenty to laugh at as “Something Rotten!” makes a two-day stop at Logan’s Ellen Eccles Theatre.
“Something Rotten!” premiered in April 2015 at Broadway’s St. James Theatre and tells the story of brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, who aspire to be playwrights in the 1590s — the same time as “rock star" playwright Shakespeare writes hit after hit. When Nick visits a soothsayer who predicts that the next big thing in theater will be stories told by singing and dancing, Nick convinces his brother to help him write the first-ever musical.
The national touring production of the show stopped at Salt Lake’s Eccles Theater last January, and this month brings the same story but with a new cast back to the Beehive State, this time at the Ellen Eccles Theatre, 43 S. Main, Logan, Feb. 12-13, 7:30 p.m., $45-$65 (435-752-0026 or cachearts.org).
‘First Date’ at Grand Theatre
Is there anything more nerve-wracking than a blind date? Probably, but it’s definitely high up there on the list, and Grand Theatre is about to give audiences the chance to watch the squirming awkwardness in action with its upcoming “First Date.”
When a blind date newbie meets up with a serial dater for a seemingly casual drink, the night quickly escalates into anything but casual. According to the musical’s licensing company, “in a delightful and unexpected twist, (the man and woman’s) inner critics take on a life of their own when other restaurant patrons transform into supportive best friends, manipulative exes and protective parents, who sing and dance them through ice-breakers, appetizers and potential conversational land mines.”
If you’re looking to take a special someone on a date — or, if you’re feeling particularly daring, take a blind date — on Valentine’s Day, Grand Theatre is happy to oblige as “First Date” opens on V-Day, Feb. 14, and runs through March 2, dates and times vary, Grand Theatre, 1575 S. State, $10-$20 (801-957-3322 or grandtheatrecompany.com).
Jaks Theatre Company’s ‘The Little Mermaid’
A visit to the theater doesn’t have to be just for Mom and Dad: Jaks Theatre Company’s “The Little Mermaid” makes it a family affair.
Although a youth version of “The Little Mermaid” is available for licensing, Jaks — a local youth theater program — is slated to stage the full-length Broadway version of the familiar Disney tale, according to the group’s website. Hear familiar tunes such as “Part of Your World,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Under the Sea” and watch as the mermaid Ariel abandons her tail to seek true love on land.
According to artsaltlake.org, infants under 13 months old do not need a ticket, and child prices are available in person and over the phone, which means this is a show the whole family can enjoy.
Catch it at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Feb. 15-23, dates and times vary, $12 (801-355-2787 or artsaltlake.org).
‘Once’ at Pioneer Theatre Company
The awards didn’t stop there for the Sundance film-turned-musical. It won eight Tony Awards in 2012, including for best musical, and the cast album won the Grammy Award for best musical theater album.
“Once” tells the story of a romance between a man and a woman, bonded by their love of music, and does so in a unique way as members of the cast play musical instruments live onstage. Pioneer Theatre Company’s production opens Valentine’s Day weekend starting Feb. 15 and runs through March 2, Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, 300 S. 1400 East, $44-$71 (801-581-6961 or pioneertheatre.org).
‘An American in Paris’ at Hale Centre Theatre
The City of Love makes its way to the Salt Lake Valley in the form of “An American in Paris” at Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy.
Based on the 1951 film starring Gene Kelly and featuring the iconic music of the composing brother duo George and Ira Gershwin, “An American in Paris” follows an American World War II vet and aspiring artist named Jerry who makes Paris his home after the war, a choice that proves fortuitous when he runs into a beautiful young woman who quickly fills his heart and mind.
The musical debuted on Broadway in 2015, featuring Utah native Robert Fairchild in the lead role of Jerry, and went on to win four Tony Awards. It sees its regional premiere this month at Hale Centre Theatre’s Centre Stage Theatre, 9900 S. Monroe St., Sandy, Feb. 18-April 6, $44-$48 for adults, $24 for youths ages 5-17 (801-984-9000 or hct.org).
Plan-B Theatre Company’s ‘An Evening With Two Awful Men’
Sometimes, there are people society can’t help but love to hate, and former Deseret News reporter-turned-playwright Elaine Jarvik wants to put audiences in a room with two such people.
The world-premiere staging of Jarvik’s “An Evening With Two Awful Men” by Plan-B Theatre Company brings President James Buchanan “the original worst-ever (and possibly first gay)” president of the United States and John Wilkes Booth, President Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, to the stage to “defend their (in)actions,” according to Plan-B’s website.
See it at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Feb. 21-March 3, dates and times vary, $22 (801-355-2787 or artsaltlake.org).
‘Camelot’ at Brigham’s Playhouse
Few things create as much drama as a love triangle, and Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s “Camelot” delivers a doozy.
Based on T.H. White’s book "The Once and Future King, “Camelot” tells the story of the “legendary love triangle” between King Arthur, Guinevere and Sir Lancelot, according to the show’s licensing company. A young King Arthur maintains a deep love for two things: his kingdom and his wife, Guinevere. But his love and dreams for both hang in the balance when the queen falls in love with the knight Lancelot. Cue "If Ever I Would Leave You," “I Loved You Once in Silence,” "The Lusty Month of May” and other well-known tunes.
Catch it at Brigham’s Playhouse, 25 N. 300 West Building C1, Washington, Washington County, Feb. 22-March 23, dates and times vary, $23 for adults, $21 for seniors, $17 for children ages 5-17 (435-251-8000 or brighamsplayhouse.com).
‘Newsies’ at Hale Center Theater Orem
When the movie musical “Newsies” opened in theaters in 1992, it wasn’t the “King of New York” … or really the king of anything, anywhere.
According to a previous Deseret News article, the film was widely recognized as one of Disney’s biggest flops. Now, however, the story has reached cult status, both by way of the film and the Broadway musical.
And “Newsies” love is alive and well here in Utah — as evidenced by its many recent productions over the past few years, including two stops by the “Newsies” national tour in 2016 and stagings at Tuacahn Amphitheatre and Pioneer Theatre Company in 2017 and a production at Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy in 2018.
Good thing there’s no such thing as “too much ‘Newsies.’” Fans of the musical can rejoice in yet another local production, this time in Hale Center Theater Orem’s intimate theater-in-the-round, Feb. 22-April 20, dates and times vary, HCTO, 225 W. 400 North, Orem, $25-$27 for adults, $19-$21 for children ages 4-11 (801-226-8600 or haletheater.org).
‘Urinetown’ at Terrace Plaza Playhouse
Though it may be a bit of an unconventional type of love to highlight, love of basic human rights is nonetheless important — and we’re not talking “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Think even more basic, and that’s at the heart of “Urinetown,” Terrace Plaza Playhouse’s upcoming musical.
When a water shortage hits a town and stays for 20 years, the government enforces a ban on “one of humanity’s most basic needs”: going to the bathroom, according to the show’s licensing company.Comment on this story
Although satirical and comedic, the show brings up important themes, according to Terrace Plaza Playhouse. “Replace the concept of a ‘privilege to pee’ with any governmental issue and poignant lessons are learned,” according to a news release from the theater.
“Urinetown” plays Feb. 22-April 6, dates and times vary, at Terrace Plaza Playhouse, 99 E. 4700 South, Washington Terrace, Weber County, $15-$17 for adults; $14-$16 for seniors, military and students; $10-$12 for children (801-393-0070 or terraceplayhouse.com).