- Toni Meredith
Jeanne Robertson: The Rocking Chair Tour
It's a wonderful gift to be able to laugh at both life's little absurdities and at oneself—and Jeanne Robertson has been doing just that for more than 45 years. With sketches like "Don't Go to Vegas Without a Baptist" and "Don't Send a Man to the Grocery Store," she pokes good-natured fun at her world. And she's bringing her specific brand of humor to the Eccles Theater in the "Rocking Chair Tour."
For this tour, Robertson is seated in a rocking chair while dressed to the nines, telling anecdotes. But there's more than witty banter in her stories. She uses her performances to illustrate that a sense of humor is not an innate trait, but rather a skill that can be developed.
"Funny things are happening everywhere; if you don't think they're happening, it's because you're not looking for them," Robertson says. "All you got to do is tune your ears and eyes to listening for humor."
Robertson's comedy is clean, focusing on her family (especially her husband), her friends, her time as Miss North Carolina and Miss Congeniality, and as a physical education teacher. Drawing on these experiences, she shows that a sense of humor is a tool that can help people work together for creative new solutions. Robertson has won multiple awards for her public speaking work, which include induction into the National Speakers Association Speaker Hall of Fame and the Cavett Award. (Kylee Ehmann)
Jeanne Robertson: The Rocking Chair Tour @ Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, 801-355-2787, Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m., $30-$65, live-at-the-eccles.com
Health Care: Stories of Repair
After successfully hosting a dialogue on health care last November, The University of Utah Health's Resiliency Center and Program in Medical Ethics and Humanities collaborate to investigate the theme of repair—beginning with the question of what it means to heal. Three nurses and a medical student share health care-related stories, in addition to those handpicked from the audience.
In the middle of an increasingly spirited debate on American health care, heightened by political divisions, it's important to remember how intimate and personal the subject can be. "Within health care, everyone has an experience of the reminder we're all human," Megan Call, the center's associate director, says.Addressing these befuddling ideas just might bridge a deeper relationship between the clinical and the existential. However, this contemplation isn't meant to be conducted alone, but rather as a community.
The idea of "repair" doesn't only look at pathologies in individual bodies; it interrogates the health care system itself, as well as the relationships between patient and provider. That includes considering how professionals handle the perpetual stress in their line of work. "There is irony in people taking care of each other, but not themselves," Call says.
"Our hope is that [the idea of] repair holds nuance when, really, something else may happen along the way," Call adds. "Health care is a reflection of how we're doing as a society." For anyone interested in learning from multiple perspectives about this challenging, often-cumbersome issue, attending Stories of Repair might be a wise call.(Miacel Spotted Elk)
Health Care: Stories of Repair @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 801-581-7100, Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m., $5-$20, tickets.utah.edu
- Luke Isley
Ballet West: Giselle
After five years, one of the most beloved and enduring cornerstones of classical ballet is back in Utah when Ballet West opens its 2020 season with Giselle. Returning for only eight performances, ballet's original ghost story has been reconceived by award-winning artistic director Adam Sklute. The work is a touching love story—a vivid masterpiece that will linger in the minds of ticket holders long after they leave the theater.
"In my version, I have worked hard to develop the characters in in-depth and unique ways that make them relatable and bring out the essence and beauty of the story," Sklute says. "Giselle is one of the world's oldest classics, full of exciting and dramatic dancing, but what really keeps it fresh and alive to this day is the powerful, evocative and timeless storytelling."
The two-hour work endures beyond its 1841 Paris premiere, telling the tale of a peasant girl who falls in love with a nobleman only to be heartbroken by betrayal. As passion and forgiveness are woven gracefully into a beyond-the-grave love story, Giselle's fate is sealed with an unexpected result.
This stunning production is set to include live animals as part of the cast, and features 55 dancers and a live 50-piece orchestra. Guided by music director Jared Oaks, they will perform the poignant score by Adolphe Adam, best known for his carol "O Holy Night." "Adolphe Adam was prolific, and considered to be the greatest ballet composer of his time," Oaks says. "The Ballet West Orchestra is eager to perform this delicate and dramatic piece." (Colette A. Finney)
Ballet West: Giselle @ Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, 801-355-2787, Feb. 7-15, dates and times vary, recommended for ages 8 and up, $30+, balletwest.org
- Satellite of love
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour
You don't have to be a nerd to appreciate the fact that Mystery Science Theater 3000 is saying its final farewell, including the non-renewal of the recent Netflix revival. A cult show that achieved such widespread adoration, even while confined to cable (and later, streaming services), understandably sends nostalgic remembrance into overdrive.
Now making the rounds for the last time—following successful 2016 and 2017 road shows—producer Joel Hodgson (aka original MST3K host Joel Robinson) is stepping things up in a manner befitting a final farewell to his emcee alter-ego and his two robot sidekicks, a trio trapped in a satellite while forced to watch the cheesiest B-movies of all time. Having the hosts skewer those flicks mercilessly provides ongoing proof that camp is cool. That, plus the fact that the show nabbed a Peabody Award and a pair of prime time Emmy nominations during its original run.
Given Hodgson's previous résumé—one that also includes a stint in stand-up, live theater, the Jim Henson Co. and Walt Disney Television—a high standard was already set for this grand send-off. "I really wanted to do something special ... the ultimate challenge: a movie riffing robot circus!" Hodgson says in a news release. As its cheesy feature film, he's chosen No Retreat, No Surrender, a martial arts movie combining a foot in the groin and a tongue fully in cheek. Indeed, these parodies hath no equal. (Lee Zimmerman)
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour @ Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main, 801-355-2787, Feb. 8, 8 p.m. $24.75-$65, live-at-the-eccles.com