- Robin Van Swank
My Favorite Murder Live
Murder and crime have always been a preferred brand of escapism for Americans; we love the scary, the creepy and the macabre. So for all of us who secretly maintain a morbid interest in violence, here's the perfect podcast.
My Favorite Murder was first released in early 2016. The show, like so many hit podcasts, revolves around murder, but hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark offer a new and refreshing take on stories of violent crime evidenced by their day jobs—Kilgariff works as a stand-up comedian, and Hardstark hosts a show on The Cooking Channel. Jokes and profanity set a casual mood, balanced out by empathetic advice, leaving listeners feeling content and satisfied—which is a strange feeling to have after listening to the grizzly details of the Bundy murders.
As part of the largely-improvised show, each host usually shares a true-crime story, as well as an occasional "hometown murder" tale provided by a listener. While murder is a central concept of the show, the discussion is rarely restricted to crime. The lively banter often covers everything from the weird to the mundane, and the loose style makes for an engaging and often hilarious listen.
My Favorite Murder is known as much for its popularity as it is for its quality. A regular on iTunes charts and number one on Spotify's most listened to list, the show has a devout fan base. Many venues for this tour have already sold out. So grab your tickets while they last and enjoy an exciting, fun and slightly morbid live showing. (David Miller)
My Favorite Murder Live @ Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle, 801-581-7100, Feb. 15-16, $39.50, tickets.utah.edu
- Pioneer Theatre Company
Pioneer Theater Co.: i
The press release for Pioneer Theater Co.'s world-premiere production of Jeff Talbott's i plays a bit coy with the synopsis, describing it as "a mysterious love story ... set a few days aftertomorrow." It's a necessary bit of obfuscation, Talbott believes, for a story that unfolds in a near-future where some of what has gone before the on-stage action is part of the mystery.
"Revealing too much ... would open up too much about the plot," Talbott says. "Really, it's about two people who have had a rough time in life, a little bit bruised by the world, opening up to each other."
An actor as well as a playwright—including an appearance in the cast of PTC's 2007 production of Doubt—Talbott believes he applies that on-stage experience to the way he writes, "because I'm trying to get to the emotional heart of things. As an actor, I'm very impatient when I think, 'Well, that's just something a writer thinks is interesting to say.'" He also recognizes that the actor performing a role changes the nature of the work, something he saw close-up with i between a staged reading in January of 2017—where local actress Susanna Florence played one of the lead roles as Sarah—and this production with Kathleen McElfresh in the role.
"When it's done, both of their DNA is in the play," Talbott says. "Once an actor starts saying it out loud, it becomes much more theirs than mine. ... New plays are constantly shifting. They are not done until the author walks away from it." (Scott Renshaw)
i @ Pioneer Theater Co., 300 S. 1400 East, 801-581-6961, Feb. 16-March 3, dates and times vary, $25-$44, pioneertheatre.org
- Stanley Kramer Productions
High Noon in Concert
Even before movies had sound, music played a critical role in bringing films to life. The intrigue and emotion that marked the screen classics of yesteryear were heightened by stirring soundtracks that fueled the drama.
Such was the case with the 1952 film High Noon, which starred Oscar-winning actor Gary Cooper as Marshall Will Kane, a principled man duty-bound to stand up to the villainous Frank Miller, a vengeful ex-con. Kane's potential allies abandon him, and even his wife Amy, an avowed pacifist, isn't willing to stand by as he faces off—alone and outnumbered—against Miller's gang on the dusty streets of their otherwise defenseless town. The music swells and the drama heightens when Kane, a sworn servant of the people, faces off against the vicious outlaw who, like most bad guys, has scant concern for innocent lives, and even less for those sworn to protect them.
That stirring combination of movies and music is revisited when the Utah Symphony performs the sweeping Dimitri Tiomkin score while accompanying a special screening of the classic film. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Go West! Art of the American Frontier at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, High Noon reaches unique heights in this live performance.
"It's exciting for Utah Symphony to present the world premiere performance of Tiomkin's Oscar-winning soundtrack," Utah Symphony President and CEO Paul Meecham says via email. "There is nothing quite like the immersive experience of watching a feature film on the giant screen while the soundtrack is played by a live orchestra." Indeed, that's one quick draw. (Lee Zimmerman)
High Noon in Concert @ Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, 801-533-6683, Feb. 17, 7 p.m., $15-$32, utahsymphony.org
- David Waitz
Bob Garfield: Ruggedly Jewish
"There are some things that Jews just don't do," Bob Garfield says in his one-man performance Ruggedly Jewish. "Jews don't fix our own trucks. We don't own trucks. ... Jews do not suspend chunks of fruit in our Jell-O." That might sound like the stuff of old-time Borscht Belt comedy, but Garfield is interested in more than self-deprecating humor—and it's part of an evening that he defines as an Odysseus-like heroic quest.
A veteran journalist for outlets like The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and Wired, as well as the 17-year co-host of the Peabody Award-winning public radio program On the Media, Garfield spends the 90 minutes of Ruggedly Jewish in part telling stories of his professional travels around the country and around the world, including everything from (in his words) "singing to tasteful nudity." Along the way, he provides not just an insight into his own experience wrestling with being a secular Jew in America, but an alternately funny and disconcerting exploration of the country's cultural tapestry in an era of open nationalism and anti-Semitism. "This is certainly a spectacle of me trying to make sense of who I am," Garfield said to Chicago Jewish News in November 2017, "but it's really much more concerned with who you are—who we all are—as individuals and as a society. Especially at this particular political moment."
"Most of all, there will be a search for identity: mine, yours and everybody else's," Garfield says in the show. Join him on this uniquely American odyssey. (SR)
Bob Garfield: Ruggedly Jewish @ Eccles Center, 1750 Kearns Blvd., Park City, 435-655-3114, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m., $29-$27, ecclescenter.org