SALT LAKE CITY — A three-day weekend is upon us — thank you, Martin Luther King Jr. — and that means there's extra time to enjoy all the festivities taking place throughout the Beehive State, ranging from MLK celebrations to a bluegrass-infused musical written by comedian/banjo extraordinare Steve Martin.
Wasatch Improv Festival
If you’re looking to get a good laugh in this weekend, you might consider attending the inaugural Wasatch Improv Festival, which will bring troupes and performers throughout the United States to Midvale. The performers will work with some of Utah's top teams to put on a series of shows throughout the three-day festival. Each night, audience members will have a chance to see 10 different troupes performing a variety of improv styles at the Midvale Performing Arts Center, 695 W. 7720 South, Midvale, $8 (801-824-0523 or qwcomedy.com)
Opening Theater Productions
This weekend, Utahns get the rare chance to see Broadway star Carmen Cusack take the stage for the last time with her Tony-nominated role in the bluegrass-styled musical “Bright Star.” The musical was written by banjo/comedian extraordinaire Steve Martin and singer-songwriter Edie Brickell, and tells the story of Alice Murphy, an intelligent teenager who grows up to become a Southern magazine editor, according to the Deseret News.
Cusack originated the role of Alice in early workshops of the musical and led “Bright Star” eight shows a week throughout its Broadway run. When the show closed on Broadway in June 2016, Cusack wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the role, so she signed on to star in the production’s first national tour, which stops in Salt Lake City Jan. 12-27, Pioneer Theatre Company, 300 S. 1400 East, dates and times vary, $42-$69 (801-581-6961 or pioneertheatre.org).
“Don’t Drink the Water”
CenterPoint Legacy Theatre is bringing to life Woody Allen’s farcical “Don’t Drink the Water,” which chronicles a New Jersey family’s vacation gone awry as patriarch Walter Hollander gets accused of being a spy in an unnamed European country behind the Iron Curtain. Theatergoers can watch the family’s comical strive to make it back home Jan. 12-Feb.3, dates and times vary, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville, $15, children under age 3 not admitted (801-298-1302 or centerpointtheatre.org).
Anders Osborne, a Sweden-born, New Orleans-based singer is making his way to Salt Lake City for two nights at the State Room. As a teenager, the musician was fascinated with artists including Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell and Van Morrison, and he has since come to forge his own unique blend of blues, funk and soul. Osborne takes the stage Jan. 12-13, 8 p.m., 638 S. State, $30-$50, (thestateroom.com).
Although composer Igor Stravinsky is best known for works including “Firebird Suite” and “The Rite of Spring,” this weekend, the Utah Symphony will highlight a long-forgotten work from the Russian composer. Titled “Funeral Song,” the piece, which was written in 1908, was only performed once before becoming lost for over a century, according to artsaltlake.org. “Funeral Song” was rediscovered in 2015 and the Utah Symphony will perform it, along with Rachmanioff's romantic Piano Concerto No. 1 on Jan. 12-13, 7:30 p.m., Abravanel Hall, 123 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, $15-$83 (385-468-1010 or artsaltlake.org).
Martin Luther King Jr. events and celebrations
To commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the work of many activists during the Civil Rights movement, a rally and march will take place Monday, Jan. 15, starting at East High and ending at Kingsbury Hall. The rally will begin at 2:30 p.m. with the march following from 3-4 p.m. The event is part of the University of Utah’s weeklong celebration of MLK.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, well-known African-American poet Nikki Giovanni, who covers topics ranging from race and social issues to children’s literature, will be a keynote speaker at Salt Lake City's Grand Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m., 1575 S. State, free, reserve seats online (801-957-3322 or grandtheatrecompany.com).
Joe Satriani presents G3
Joe Satriani is bringing some guitar virtuosity to the Eccles Theater via his G3 tour. The tour, which debuted in 1996, features Satriani alongside two other six-string masters — this time John Petrucci, founding member of the progressive metal rock band Dream Theater, and Phil Collen, the lead guitarist for Def Leppard. The 2018 tour kicks off Jan. 11 in Seattle and will stop in Salt Lake City Tuesday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m., 131 S. Main, $35-$95 (801-355-2787 or artsaltlake.org).