Support the impact of UtahPresents

As volunteer leaders at UtahPresents, we extend our thanks to all the continued supporters of UtahPresents. Like us, you have witnessed first-hand the incredible artists that UtahPresents brings to local stages.

What you may not see is the care UtahPresents invests in bringing artists that are as committed to community work as they are to their main stage performances.

In 2017, UtahPresents sponsored more than 70 engagement events that reach our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens, especially those who may not regularly experience the performing arts. We’re honored to work with UtahPresents to provide these meaningful opportunities for Utah children and families.

These programs are only possible because of patrons like you who purchase tickets and make financial gifts to support UtahPresents and its mission of creative impact. Please join us in making a gift to UtahPresents, and together we can create lasting connections with our community and the performing arts.


Krista Sorenson
Advisory Board Chair

Robert Mansfield
Advisory Board Vice Chair


Arts Sector Harmed in Tax Bills

The Latest Tax Bill Action

Early Saturday morning, the U.S. Senate passed a tax reform bill along an almost exclusively party-line vote of 51-49 with all Republicans voting yes, except for Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), who opposed it for the $1.5 trillion in debt that would be created.

In a rush to pass far-reaching tax reform before year-end, both the House and Senate have passed separate but similar tax bills. Unfortunately, both versions of the tax bill would have a very negative impact on charitable giving. The bill now moves into a joint conference committee to negotiate a final, unified bill that can be signed into law by the President. It is anticipated that the ability to include any new provisions at this point will be severely limited, if not impossible.

What is the Status on Charitable Giving?

Because both the House and Senate tax bills propose doubling the standard deduction, access to specific incentives for income tax deductions of gifts to charity become severely limited to only the top five percent of taxpayers who itemize their deductions. Americans for the Arts and the charitable sector had actively supported the idea of a Universal Charitable Deduction so that the incentive to give to charities would be available to both itemizers and non-itemizers. However, Universal Charitable Deduction proposals offered by Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) and James Lankford (R-OK) never made it into the final bill nor were given an opportunity for a floor vote.

Unfortunately, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that charities, including nonprofit arts organizations, could see a staggering loss of up to $20 billion annually as a result of this tax policy change.

Data shows that the charitable deduction under both bills also will no longer be viable to 95% of all taxpayers because of the expansion of the standard deduction. That means:

  • 31 million taxpayers who currently claim the charitable deduction will lose it.
  • Charitable contributions will decline by up to $20 billion per year.

What Do the Bills Mean for the Arts?

Americans for the Arts is still reading through the latest proposals. Although there are some differences between the two bills, both bills overall fail the arts and cultural sector. Here is a preliminary summary of some of the other provisions in addition to the expected reduction in charitable itemizers that they have identified impacting artists and the nonprofit sector.

Thank you for your support of the arts. Be assured that Americans for the Arts will continue to work to ensure that changes made under tax reform will encourage more giving by more Americans, and protect the civic infrastructure upon which our communities depend.

Thank you for helping to #ProtectGiving.


UtahPresents Brings White Rabbit Red Rabbit

UtahPresents is bringing the global theatre sensation, “White Rabbit Red Rabbit,” to Kingsbury Hall, playing on select dates through Dec. 2. This “theatre entertainment meets social experiment” is the work of Nassim Soleimanpour, who penned the play while confined to his native Iran and silenced as a conscientious objector.

A new reader must perform “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” every time, and the reader has never seen the script or the play before. The audience and performers alike take an artistic leap together in this unique experience.

A diverse slate of University of Utah administrators, students and community personalities will read the play each night.

Nov. 4: Bill Allred, host of X96’s “Radio From Hell”

Nov. 9: Mckayli Abbe, U psychology major

Nov. 10:  Sylvia Torti, dean of the Honors College

Nov. 11: Jorge Rojas, director of education and engagement for Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Nov. 16: Mark Macey, U theatre studies major

Nov. 17: Deena Marie Manzanares, actress

Dec. 1: Theresa Martinez, associate professor of sociology

Dec. 2: Derek Kitchen, Salt Lake City Council

“I like challenges and I was drawn to the idea of doing a staged reading of a play for which I would not receive the script in advance,” said Torti. “I believe that my willingness to blindly take on a challenge might provide a good role for all honors students. To me, a good life is about taking risks and allowing ourselves to inhabit uncomfortable spaces so that we might grow.”

On the heels of a long off-Broadway run, “White Rabbit Red Rabbit” has received critical praise and has been read by Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg and Martin Short. Entertainment Weekly called the play “a dazzling and transcendent piece of alive-and-kicking theatre.”

“I’m looking forward to just jumping on stage,” said Macey. “You’re not going to see something like this again any time soon. I think it’s going to be a blast.”

“I’m impressed by their willingness to participate in this rather madcap, and possibly foolhardy, adventure,” said Brooke Horejsi, executive director of UtahPresents. “I’m really looking forward to how each of them will navigate the audience through this script, which they’ve never seen before.”

A reception will follow each performance of “White Rabbit Red Rabbit.” Tickets are just $5 for U students and 10 percent off for faculty, staff and alumni.

UtahPresents awarded NEA Art Works grant for $10,000 for Global Arts Series

Haitian singer Emeline Michel, globalFEST March 2016

When you submit an NEA application, it feels like making a wish. A wish grounded in artistic excellence and community support, but a wish nonetheless. In a political climate that places funding for the NEA on the fringes, having that wish granted feels particularly validating. And for UtahPresents, that wish has become a reality with a $10,000 grant award for its annual Global Arts Series.

With over 1,700 applicants and a pool of $24 million funded, Art Works grants support organizations that meet the highest standards of artistic excellence, public engagement with art, and strengthen communities through the arts.

Starting in the 2015-2016 season, the Global Arts Series has brought artists from around the globe to perform for local audiences—including artists from Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, Haiti, Brazil, and Mexico, among others.

Compagnia T.P.O., coming April 2018

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as UtahPresents, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

During the 2017-18 UtahPresents season, audiences can look forward to another year of cultural vibrancy on stage with the Global Arts Series, with artists like Compagnia TPO, an Italian theatre group specializing in interactive theatre for children and illusionist Scott Silven from the UK to dazzle with his stylish approach to magic.

Love UT Give UT is almost here! March 30

UtahPresents does more than thrill you with performances on stage. Of course, bringing you amazing performances is an essential part of what we do, but UtahPresents also connects our community with transformational artistic experiences. Through master classes with touring musicians, choreographers, comedians, and playwrights, to school matinees that introduce local students to the performing arts, the work we do in the community is at the heart of the UtahPresents mission. That means YOU, the audience, inspire the work we do—and we are grateful to have a community willing to take chances and be moved by the diversity of the work we present.

To do this important work, we need your help. UtahPresents operates as a nonprofit at the University of Utah, meaning our work is possible because of generous contributions from audience members and patrons like you.

On March 30, please join with us during Love UT Give UT by making a gift to support UtahPresents. Your gift secures access to the arts and to arts education for those in our community who need it most—including low-income school students, community partnering organizations, and underserved families.

Need a little more of a nudge? We also have prizes for our loyal patrons participating in Love UT Give UT on March 30:

  • $10- Credit where credit is due: Special recognition in our playbill during the 2017-18 season
  • $20- Something sweet: Get two concessions vouchers to use during performances at Kingsbury Hall
  • $50- One Night Only: Receive one complimentary ticket to a 2017-18 UtahPresents performance (Some restrictions apply; will be arranged in June 2017)
  • $100- VIP Access: Special invitation to UtahPresents VIP events and intermission receptions, VIP Parking (when available)

Aside from the obvious incentive of investing in the vibrancy of our community, Mark Miller Subaru has joined forces with Love UT Give UT to encourage giving. Each person making a gift of $10 or more will qualify to win a 3-year lease of a brand new Subaru Impreza. This prize is courtesy of Mark Miller Subaru.

Director’s Take: Black Grace

In the latest episode of Director’s Take, executive director Brooke Horejsi talks about Black Grace, coming to Kingsbury Hall on March 22.

Founded by Neil Ieremia, one of New Zealand’s most accomplished choreographers, Black Grace draws from Neil’s Samoan and New Zealand roots to create innovative dance works that reach across social, cultural and generational barriers. The work itself is highly physical, rich in the story telling traditions of the South Pacific and expressed with raw finesse, unique beauty and power.

Black Grace features some of New Zealand’s finest dancers and has toured internationally to Europe, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Australia and New Caledonia. In 2004 Black Grace made its USA debut, performing a sold out season at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, with a subsequent return to the Festival in 2005. Since then, the Company has performed regularly throughout North America earning audience and critical acclaim.

For the Salt Lake City performance, Black Grace will perform Minoi, based on a traditional Samoan dance, Pati Pati, based on some of Black Grace’s early work, Mother Mother, which was originally choreographed for a music video for a New Zealand band, As Night Falls, a new work about hope in response to news stories from around the world, and an excerpt from Crying Men, a new work exploring the challenges and expectations of what it means to be a “real man.”

Take a moment to hear about this amazing company.


Director’s Take: The Crossroads Project

brooke-horejsiUtahPresents Executive Director, Brooke Horejsi, shared her thoughts about the upcoming performance of  The Crossroads Project at The Leonardo Museum on February 24.

The Crossroads Project brings the power of performance art to bear on one of the great conversations of our time: humanity’s growing lack of sustainability and the quest for truly meaningful response. The show is a blending compelling and poetic science, evocative imagery and powerful music. The Fry Street Quartet, along with physicist and educator Dr. Robert Davies, explore the impacts of society’s unsustainable systems, Earth’s rapidly changing climate, and humanity’s opportunity for a new direction. The result is an inspiring and deeply personal contemplation of the paths before us.

The Crossroads Project has been discussed on NPR’s All Things Considered, and marks UtahPresents’ first collaboration with The Leonardo Museum in downtown Salt Lake City.

Watch our interview with Brooke to learn a little more about The Crossroads Project.


APAP Conference Through the Eyes of a Student

Guest Blog Post – Cece Otto, Junior in the Actor Training Program of the U Theatre Department and UtahPresents Intern

Cece attended the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference with UtahPresents’ Executive Director, Brooke Horejsi, for a crash course on arts administration, building a performing arts season and working with artist agents.


Attending the Association for the Performing Arts Professionals Conference (APAP) this January was incredible. Not only did I get a taste of what the professional world of performing artists, presenters, and agents looks like, but I also learned many valuable skills I can put into practice in my life as a student at the University of Utah.

One of the best surprises of the conference was the comradery between all parties present at the conference. It seemed like everyone was working as one big team, and wanted everyone to succeed at what they were doing. This really impressed me, and left me with the feeling of encouragement.

The information I gained by attending APAP is both something I can stow away for future use, and a valuable resource that I can draw upon right now. Currently, I am an artist preparing to perform in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer, as well as the intern at UtahPresents, and the tour manager for Grassroots Shakespeare Company. Viewing the conference through the eyes of a presenter, an agent, and an artist has given me insights into how I can more efficiently work on my current activities/jobs.

Manual Cinema’s Lula Del Ray

My favorite showcase was Manual Cinema’s Lula del Ray. I was so excited to see that Manual Cinema would be showcasing at APAP because I had previously learned about the group in my Theatre History course with Martine Kei Green-Rogers. Their work is so unique- using overhead projectors, shadow puppetry and live music to create seamless narratives that are incredibly captivating. It’s like watching a movie being put together right in front of your eyes without an editing process. I have always enjoyed watching their work online, but having the opportunity to be in the theatre while they perform was an experience I’ll never forget.

My favorite speaker from the conference was Allison Orr from Forklift Danceworks. I had the pleasure of hearing her present in a panel based around collaborative work processes. Her main focus was The Trash Project which is basically a garbage truck ballet which she created in collaboration with the sanitation workers of Austin, TX. She stood out to me because it took her 5 years to create this project, and during that time she would go on the morning routes with the sanitation workers, learning how to do their jobs, and building a line of communication. Ultimately, the final project was a compilation of moves these people do every day as a part of their job, but she was able to help them find an artistry within their work.

I left the APAP conference with a greater respect for artists, agents, and presenters, as well as an excitement to return to my own work. This community was so welcoming and helpful. I’m very glad I had the opportunity to celebrate the beginning of a new year by attending this conference with performing arts professionals from across the world.

Director’s Take: Taylor Mac

brooke-horejsiWe recently sat down with UtahPresents Executive Director, Brooke Horejsi, to learn more about the January 14th performance of Taylor Mac at Kingsbury Hall.

Taylor Mac has created internationally award-winning performance events that at once provoke and embrace his diverse audience. Mac is beloved for his iconic beauty, disarming vulnerability, and soaring spirit. Drawing from his current project, “A 24 Decade History of Popular Music,”  and includes an epic performance over 24 continuous hours, this show will kick off MLK Week on campus and feature songs from 1946-1976, from the Civil Rights Movement to the Stonewall Riots.

Taylor Mac and A 24 Decade History of Popular Music have been a huge critical success this year, evoking some strong responses from audiences and media alike. Mac was named to the Out 100 2016, calling the performance, “the greatest theatrical feat ever.” Wesley Morris, critic-at-large for the New York Times hailed it as one “one of the great experiences of my life. I’ve slept on it an I’m sure.”

Brooke tells us audiences should, “expect to be inspired about how to be better and do better and work harder and love more. Expect to fall in love with Taylor Mac, and his message, and his work, and his beauty and his vulnerability, and his compassion.”

Take a moment to discover what Brooke Horejsi loves about Taylor Mac and what is in store for you on January 14.

Director’s Take: Ragamala Dance Company

brooke-horejsiUtahPresents Executive Director, Brooke Horejsi, recently discussed the November 12th performance of Ragamala Dance Company at Kingsbury Hall.

Ragamala Dance Company’s work explores the dynamic tension between the ancestral and the contemporary. As choreographers and performers, Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy create dance landscapes that dwell in opposition — secular and spiritual life, inner and outer worlds, human and natural concerns, rhythm and stillness — to find the transcendence that lies in between. As mother and daughter, each brings her generational experience to the work — the rich traditions, deep philosophical roots, and ancestral wisdom of India meeting and merging with their hybridic perspective as Indian-American artists.

The company has rave reviews, with the New York Times stating, “Ragamala shows how Indian forms can be some of the most transcendent experiences that dance has to offer. This is an excellent company…

Ragamala’s performance is also part of our audience program, The MixUP, and will feature a painting class at Kingsbury Hall before the show. Learn more from the MixUP on Facebook.

Take a moment to discover why Brooke Horejsi chose Ragamala and what is in store for you on November 12.