Of all the great characters out there, there’s no role so highly coveted as Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Prince of Denmark. His complex psyche and his beautiful language make him the Holy Grail of acting careers. And from the time Shakespeare set down his pen all the way to today, some of the world’s finest men and women have stepped into Hamlet’s shoes.
One of the questions that audiences have been asking themselves since the play premiered in 1609 is about the Prince of Denmark himself. Thousands of scholars have answered the question, and thousands of others have disagreed. There’s a lot of evidence for both sides of the debate, and in my opinion it’s one of the most intriguing questions in all of Shakespeare’s canon. It’s a simple question, really, without a simple answer: Is Hamlet playacting, or is he actually crazy?
Stop the presses! The Utah Shakespeare Festival Playmakers performing company is making headlines by presenting the high-energy musical Newsies! Public performances are on March 15 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and March 16 at 2 p.m. in the Randall L. Jones Theatre. Inspired by the true story of the 1899 New York City newsboy strike, Newsies! The Musical is a rousing tale of a courageous group of newsboys who become unlikely heroes when they team up to fight an unscrupulous newspaper tycoon.
Ace G. Pilkington, teacher, playwright, prolific writer, and literary seminar director at the Utah Shakespeare Festival for over thirty years, passed away on February 20, 2019. Ace was a fixture in the Seminar Grove as he led interesting and lively discussions of the Festival’s plays. He was admired and loved by many who made it a priority to be at the seminars early in the morning.
There are filmed versions, community theatre productions, and high school showcases of the musical Bible story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone—especially in Utah and Nevada—who hasn’t seen the show, or at least come in contact with it in some way. But even with all this mania over the musical, most people don’t know the fascinating story of how it came to be.
“Something terrific’s happened!” gushed Hildy, “Wait till I tell you!” Hildy is the heroine of the hilarious play, The Front Page, presented at the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s recent Make a Scene Gala, a gala with a twist. A newspaper reporter, Hildy was excited about a big story she was working on; but she could just as easily have been talking about the Festival’s new and exciting event.
Four new year-round employees have recently been hired at the Utah Shakespeare Festival and are already in their offices, or soon will be, working toward the 2019 season and beyond. The four are Brandon Burk, development associate; Emily Duncan, development associate; Gabrielle Piazza, company manager; and Danielle Davis, assistant electrics director.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is inviting everyone to Make a Scene and join them in their annual fundraising event in Salt Lake City February 8, 2019 at 7 p.m. in Harman Hall Theatre—with a twist that is sure to make this the best time you’ve ever had at a fundraising event.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is once again hitting the road with its Shakespeare-in-the-Schools touring production—this year performing one of the world’s first psychological thrillers, William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The tour will be performing nearly 60 shows for over 120 schools and 25,000 students across the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival recently announced auditions for its Playmakers production Newsies. Youth ages six to seventeen are invited to audition. The program provides young actors a chance to rehearse, learn, and then perform this fun and popular musical.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum are once again partnering to provide Christmas at the Homestead and Holiday Market. Offering just the right mix of Christmas magic and old-style “frontier” celebration, this fun, family friendly, and affordable kick-off to the Christmas season has become an increasingly popular annual event for southern Utah residents and visitors.
The Cedar City Area Chamber of Commerce recently announced the recipients of the sixty-eighth annual Best of Cedar City Awards, including Utah Shakespeare Festival Education Director Michael Bahr as Educator of the Year.
Utah Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Brian Vaughn recently announced a slate of nine highly-creative, talented, and experienced directors for the Festival’s 2019 season. The directors come from home bases across the country and bring a wealth of diverse experience to next season, which is themed around the family.
It’s a wrap for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2018 season, and Festival administrators are excited about the season’s success both artistically and financially. Everybody at the Festival took a deep breath, celebrated for a moment, and then continued work on the 2019 season which is fast approaching. But before they moved on, Executive Producer Frank Mack and Artistic Director Brian Vaughn took a few minutes to review the highlights of 2019.
Utah Shakespeare Festival guests made life a little better for those in need this fall, by donating nearly two tons of food to the Iron County Care and Share. The food was donated as part of the Festival’s sixteenth annual Fall Food Drive from September 17 to October 13.
This weekend the 42nd annual Shakespeare Competition gave out dozens of awards and scholarships to drama, dance and music students. The competition is the largest scholastic Shakespeare competition in the country, and this was a record-breaking year with nearly 3,600 students from 123 schools in seven states and the U. S. Virgin Islands.
It is with sorrow that Southern Utah University and the Utah Shakespeare Festival share the news that Dr. Charles L. Metten, founding dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts and long-time director, actor, and administrator at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, passed away on the morning of September 27 at the age of 91.
We’re coming to the end of the season here at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, but there’s still a couple more weeks to come and see The Liar! It’s a hilarious farce that you definitely don’t want to miss; with twins, mistaken identities, and hilarious misunderstandings, the play is almost Shakespearean! But The Liarisn’t a Shakespeare play— no, this is a Corneille.
From The Taming of the Shrew to King Lear to The Comedy of Errors, the ways that masters interact with their servants can reveal a lot about a play’s themes. The master/servant relationship is also a very important part of this season’s The Liar. However, the master/servant dynamic is somehow very different in The Liar than in anything we've really seen in Shakespeare.
The endearing Dorante lies to get whatever he wants— especially women. So when he first meets Lucrece and Clarice, he lies to impress them. And, of course, some of the funniest scenes in theatre result. But there’s one question that sticks out. Why is The Liar so funny? What makes it so interesting to audiences?
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