If there’s one rule to writing, it’s this: write what you know. As for the best writer in all of English literature, William Shakespeare definitely followed that rule too. See it for yourself in this season’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. William Shakespeare put references to his times and life into all of his plays, but nowhere is that more obvious than in this zany comedy.
The Merry Wives of Windsor has always been a favorite at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. After all, who doesn’t love watching the antics of a ridiculous old man and two clever, witty women? The play is one of the most lighthearted of all of Shakespeare’s comedies, full of silly jokes, tricks, and mischief. At the heart of it all is Sir John Falstaff, perhaps the most famous of all of Shakespeare’s buffoons and definitely one of the most beloved.
They arrived Monday, May 14. They traveled here, nearly 300 strong, from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, and other cities across the country and even around the world. They will be here from eight weeks to five months, depending on their job and their contract. They are the 2018 Utah Shakespeare Festival company of actors, directors, designers, stage managers, builders and creators—and they love being in Cedar City.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival recently announced the last round of casting for the 2018 season, including eleven actors who are traveling to Cedar City from across the country. The complete acting company this year consists of nearly sixty performers. “This is a remarkable group of actors, with notable experience working at hundreds of theatres across the country,” said Artistic Director Brian Vaughn. “They bring with them an array of talents, and I am incredibly excited to see their work.”
What do jazz singers, slaves, merchants, Greek warriors, soldiers, and painfully shy foreigners all have in common? Maybe not a lot. At first glance, this season looks like an eclectic collection of stories and tales, all different and from different places and times. There’s nothing they have in common— or is there? Well, look closer. There’s a thread that runs through nearly all of the plays this season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival: the story of “The Other.”
The Utah Shakespeare Festival recently announced the casting of a number of actors who are returning to the Festival for the 2018 season. Of the eight who were announced, some were here last year, others have not worked here for a few years, but all will be fondly remembered by Festival audiences.
The Merchant of Venice has always been a popular choice with Utah audiences. Since the beginning years of the Festival, people have flocked to see the merry misadventures of Bassanio and Portia, Launcelet and his father, and the not-so-merry misadventures of Shylock. It’s certainly interesting to watch. After all, The Merchant of Venice is one of Shakespeare’s only “comedies” with more sadness than mirth. Why is that?
Artistic Director Brian Vaughn has announced the first round of casting for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2018 season—including an exciting surprise.
Most people know that Shakespeare wasn’t always overly concerned with historical accuracy. In fact, he was the king of taking artistic liberties. And there’s no better example of that than Joan of Arc, in this season’s Henry VI Part One. The Maid of Orléans— France’s greatest hero— is one of Shakespeare’s most notorious and fascinating villains.
When William Shakespeare’s birthday rolls around each year, you can bet there will be celebrations at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. This year, on April 23 and 24, the Festival will honor the Bard by celebrating his 454th birthday with local school children and the community through a variety of activities.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival will celebrate its friends in Las Vegas with its annual Fundraising Gala April 19 at Cili Restaurant. The evening will feature mouthwatering food, fun entertainment, and exciting Festival updates. Cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7.
Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (the basis for the musical) has been taught in American high schools for well over a century. But it’s also been debated for just as long. It is currently number fourteen on the list of Top 100 Banned Books. So why bother to read the book at all? Why bother to watch the musical if some people seem to hate it so much?
A puppeteer with years of corporate marketing experience, a classically-trained pianist who most recently co-founded a high school to help teens with addiction problems, and an MBA recipient who loves both spreadsheets and theatre—all three have recently taken on leadership roles at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival has announced the addition of an exciting ninth play to its 2018 season. An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare will be performed from July 12 to August 22 and will feature Artistic Director Brian Vaughn as The Poet, the only character in this spellbinding play.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is once again hitting the road with its Shakespeare-in-the-Schools touring production—this year performing the story of monsters and fairies, betrayal, revenge, and forgiveness, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival recently announced an expansion to its popular Playmakers youth program, as well as auditions to enroll and perform.The program trains youth in theatre techniques and performance etiquette and produces a musical for the youth to perform in.
Some of the most creative theatre professionals in the country were in Cedar City recently to do what creative people do: imagine, re-imagine, refine, and create. The annual Utah Shakespeare Festival design meetings were the first chance for the directors, designers, and artisans hired for the 2018 season to meet face-to-face and work through what the season plays will look like this summer and fall.
Costume Director Jeffrey Lieder has been a familiar face at the Utah Shakespeare Festival for thirty-two years. In fact, beautiful costumes and Lieder have become almost synonymous at the Festival; but, surprisingly, his position at the Festival has always been seasonal. Now, beginning January 1, that has changed, and the connection between Lieder and the Festival has become even stronger with Lieder joining the Festival full-time staff in Cedar City.
We may not know many things about Shakespeare, but most scholars assume that he knew how to have a good time! Will Shakespeare seems like the kind of man to turn any occasion into a party—especially Christmas.In fact, the Yuletide season was the most exciting time of year for most of Elizabeth’s England. They celebrated Christmas for twelve days; from the December 25 to the Feast of Fools on January 6. Here at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, we have collected a number of Tudor Christmas traditions that you may want to use to make your own Shakespearean Christmas!
How do you sort through the names, resumes, photos, and auditions of nearly 1,300 actors and narrow it down to about sixty needed for the 2018 Utah Shakespeare Festival acting company? And, while you are doing that, how do you keep in mind that each of those sixty actors will play roles in two or three plays. And, how do you incorporate the various visions and desires of each director and who he or she would like in each particular play? Sound impossible? It’s not, but casting the Festival’s season is a complicated, sometimes messy, sometimes exhilarating process
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