AND THE BANNED PLAYED ON, ROSE WAGNER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, Saturday, May 3, 8 p.m., $25
Plan-B Theatre Company's And the Banned Played On, one of my favorite local theater events, returns after a lengthy hiatus with a who's who of local politicians and assorted dignitaries slated to read from children's books that have been banned in some American communities through the years. The celebration of the First Amendment is always a good time, bringing a genuinely celebratory vibe to the Jeanne Wagner Theatre inside the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center. This year the event is hosted by "Radio From Hell" hosts Bill Allred and Kerry Jackson, and will include readings from the morning radio personalities, as well as Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Utah legislators Joel Briscoe, Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Carol Spackman Moss and Jim Debakis, Salt Lake County DA Sim Gill and Mayor Ben McAdams, Salt Lake City Councilman Stan Penfold, Plan-B co-founder Cheryl Ann Cluff and local actor Anne Cullimore Decker. Those noteworthy folks will tackle passages from such controversial tomes (at least to some people) as Green Eggs & Ham, Where the Wild Things Are, Harriet the Spy and Bridge to Terabithia (my personal fave). One of the great things about the Banned shows is the explanation and history of the works' respective bannings--hearing the rationale of some people to keep, say, James and the Giant Peach out of the hands and heads of impressionable youth should make for some great laughs. There's also promise of a "surprise performance," so I'd suggest getting some tickets however you can.