News From the Festival

The Tempest: Sophia K Metcalf as Ariel

Sophia K Metcalf

By Liz Armstrong

This is the 10th time the Utah Shakespeare Festival has produced The Tempest, and Sofia K Metcalf’s vivacious and whimsical energy has contributed to bringing the 2022 production to life.  

Metcalf discovered their love for theatre at a young age, acting in their first play in elementary school. Their mom used to play Broadway cast albums in the car, and Metcalf adored it.

“My first play I was in fifth grade and I played the fortune teller in The Wizard of Oz, which began my career of playing men,” Metcalf laughed. 

Well-traveled, the actor is from New Jersey but attended undergraduate school in Montreal, Canada where they double-majored in classical voice and drama. Metcalf also studied abroad in Munich, Germany and received a masters degree from the University of California, Irvine in acting. 

Several of their UCI peers had been hired at the Festival, and so Metcalf was excited about the idea of also securing a role. After visiting Zion and Bryce National Parks in 2020, they drove back through Cedar City, and that’s when the actor put the Festival on their actor vision board. 

Two years later, Metcalf’s dreams came true, and they are especially excited about their roles because Ariel is such a fun and tender character 

“I love the sprites and clowns in Shakespeare’s canon,” Metcalf said. “And Ariel is really exciting for me. You get to be a magical, infinite, genderless sprite, it’s crazy!”

Ariel hasn’t always been portrayed as genderless. In fact, most of the past roles at the Festival were traditionally filled by men. In 1967, Sabin Epstein was cast, followed by Robert Metcalf in 1971, Ray Dooley in 1976, Mark Guerette in 1984, Richard Hill in 1989, Benjamin Cherry 1995, and Michael Brusasco in 2007. 

The first woman to be cast as Ariel at the Festival was Rachel Mabey in 2001, followed by Melinda Parrett in 2013. Metcalf is the first nonbinary actor to be cast as Ariel.

Metcalf thoroughly enjoys playing Ariel through their elegant movements, humorous language, ethereal singing and playful personality captivating audience members throughout the season. 

There are seven performances remaining before the play closes at 2 pm on October 8. Go to bard.org/plays/the-tempest to purchase tickets. Don’t miss out on this imaginative and mystical play!

People in Our Neighborhood: Farmer's Market Owner Heather Carter

Heather Carter

By Liz Armstrong

Heather Carter has been running the Festival City Farmer’s Market and Nature Hills Farm full time for 12 years.

The business owner moved from Nevada to attend Southern Utah University when she was 18 years old and has lived in Cedar City ever since. Carter graduated from SUU with a Master’s of Education.

The business owner met her husband, Travis, at school, and the couple now have four kids, ranging in age from 12-20 years old.

Carter and her family attend plays at the Festival almost every season. Some of Carter’s favorites include The Taming of the Shrew and Mary Poppins, while her daughter enjoyed last season’s The Pirates of Penzance.

In addition to enjoying the Festival personally, Carter appreciates the positive impact the Festival has on her business.

“Because we are a year-round farmer’s market, we definitely notice a difference when the Festival starts and ends. We plan our busy season around Festival season,” Carter said.

With actor housing right across the street from the farmer’s market, Carter has noticed a lot of actors and Festival staff that attend from June to early October.

“We have a lot of actors come to support the farmers market, and that’s always so fun,” Carter said. “We get to know them there, and then we get to watch them in the plays.”

Carter stays busy between running the farmer’s market and her farm. She grows produce to sell and makes breads and jams.

Nature Hills Farm is located at 4326 2100 E Circle in Enoch. On October 1, 5, 8, 10, and 15, the Harvest Fest is open, where visitors can enjoy hay rides, feed animals, walk through the sunflower maze, pick out a pumpkin from the patch, drink apple cider and pumpkin hot chocolate, and much more!

From October 1-31, the Pumpkin Patch and self-guided tours will be available. Tickets for these fall festivities range in price from $4-$11.

During the winter, Carter hosts cheese and sourdough making classes. There is also Christmas on the Farm and a live nativity. For more information on Nature Hills Farm, visit their website at naturehillsfarm.com or follow Nature Hills Farm on Instagram and Facebook.

For a fun-filled weekend, visit the farmer’s market from 9-1 pm on Saturdays on 45 W Center Street in Cedar City and then attend a play! The Festival’s season includes Clue, The Tempest, The Sound of Music, and Thurgood and closes Oct. 8. Purchase tickets at bard.org/plays.

Festival to Host 46th Annual Shakespeare Competition

Shakespeare Competition

By Liz Armstrong

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is thrilled to announce the 46th annual Shakespeare Competition. Held September 29 to October 1, schools from across the country are invited to network and compete with one another in Cedar City

Students between sixth and twelfth grade will participate in acting, dance, music, technical and theatre competitions and have the opportunity to earn scholarships. 

The mission statement found on bard.org states that the goal of the competition is to “cultivate the art of theatre, dance, and music, by providing active observation of peer and professional performance, educational creations based on Shakespeare’s plays and poems, and personal evaluation by working theatre and dance professionals.”

The largest of its kind in the country, the Shakespeare Competition began in 1977. This year, 106 schools from Utah, Idaho, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin will be participating this year.  

Many members of the 2022 performing company will serve as judges for the competition, including Chris Mixon and J Michael Bailey, who played Sweeney Todd this season. 

Interim Education Director Stewart Shelley loves the Shakespeare Competition mostly for the sense of community it gives participants. 

“Yes, they may be siloed in their own high school as the ‘drama kids,’ but when we get 3,500-4,000 students on campus who all share the same passion, it really is magic to see them start networking,” Shelley said.

Although this is Shelley’s first time on this side of the competition – organizing and directing – he was once a participant himself in high school. As a former teacher, he’s also spend the past 20 years bringing his own students to the Shakespeare Competition. 

“Teachers should bring their students because it’s an incredible opportunity for students to get professional feedback from our company members and professional judges to improve their own performance,” Shelley said. 

Although the competition side of the event is exciting and motivating, Shelley pointed out that that’s not what the Shakespeare Competition is entirely about. It’s about networking, learning, and giving students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of Shakespeare. 

“Whether you hate or love competition, it’s irrelevant. If you hate competition, don’t come to compete, come and participate,” Shelley said. “If you love competition, use that as a springboard to drive your students to higher levels of performance.”

Groups will also have the opportunity to see professional performances from the Festival’s current season, such as The Tempest and Clue. 

The dance, tech, and theatre portions of the competition will be held on Southern Utah University’s campus, while the music portion will be hosted at the Heritage Center Theater.

For teachers and coaches, access required forms, judging forms, schedules, rules and regulations, and more, can be found here

To find out more information about the Shakespeare Competition, visit bard.org/about/education/competition/.**

Let’s All Be Help-Fall: The Festival Hosts 18th Annual Fall Food Drive

Fall Food Drive

By Liz Armstrong

The Utah Shakespeare Festival will be holding its annual Fall Food Drive from September 12 to October 8. 

The Festival has partnered with the local Iron County Care and Share to give back to the community by providing food to those in need. 

By donating five items of non-perishable food items, those participating in the food drive will receive a half-price ticket to the play of your choice. 

This promotion replaces the standard local discount, but there is no limit to the amount of half-price tickets given. Premier Seating is excluded and the promotion is unavailable Sept. 29 and 30. 

Local residents of Iron, Beaver, Washington, Kane, Garfield, Piute, and Lincoln counties are eligible for ticket discounts. Please bring proof of residency to the ticket office. 

Iron County Care and Share is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to providing compassionate assistance and resources to individuals and families in need, offering them exits from crises and pathways to increase their stability and self-sufficiency. 

It was founded in 1984 by local churches to address hunger in the community, and almost 40 years later, the Care and Share is still working to help those in need.

This year, there is a special need for canned meat, peanut butter, stews, soups, canned fruits, and vegetables. 

The  Festival typically receives over 3,500 pounds of food each year for the Iron County Care and Share. Hosting its 18th annual Fall Food Drive, the hope is to gather just as much - if not more - to contribute. To participate, bring food items to the barrels located outside the Festival ticket office when purchasing tickets. 

This offer is not available online. For questions, call 800-PLAYTIX.

Monetary donations are being accepted as well. Click here to donate to the Iron County Care and Share.

Jeanie and Roland Squire: Area Reps for Over 40 Years

Jeanie and Roland Squire

By Liz Armstrong

Jeanie and Roland Squire have been area representatives at the Utah Shakespeare Festival for 43 years. The couple began volunteering in 1979 and have been loyal patrons and volunteers ever since. 

Jeanie started attending the Festival the summer out of high school.

“I’ve only missed two seasons in 53 years,” Jeanie noted. “I saved money as a student to go, and then I took Roland to the Festival our second year of marriage.”

Roland was hooked and has been going with his wife ever since. They began taking their children, who are also lifetime fans of the Festival. All four sons became area representatives. 

“It started out to be an escape away from our kids, but then we started taking them, and they’ve been going since they were around five,” Jeanie said. “Now they bring their own children.”

It’s become a family affair. The couple has 14 grandchildren, ranging in ages 16 months to 19 years old, and those that are old enough to attend love going to the plays. 

“It’s become a tradition for our family that we just love,” Jeanie said. 

Jeanie and Roland live in northern Utah near Logan, but fulfill their duties by dropping off brochures and representing the Festival in a positive way. They make a trip down to Cedar City every season, eating at their favorite restaurants, attending the prop and actor seminars, going to the Greenshows, and, of course, attending all of the plays. 

“The arts are important and they have value – they build us up and lift us,” Jeanie said. “I come [to the Festival] and I feel like it feeds my soul.” 

Jeanie started attending plays at the Festival when it was just a platform stage with folding chairs. It’s been a lovely experience for her to watch the company grow. 

“We loved Fred, and I think it takes a special person to have that kind of passion,” Jeanie said. “When you look at the size of Cedar City and what they’ve built, it’s really amazing.”

The couple said they’ve always liked the traditional productions but have come to appreciate the modernization of Shakespeare. 

“You have to be open minded. When they started playing with the time period, I realized sometimes it helps me understand the show better,” Jeanie said. “ I might have seen the show eight times, but I’ll come away with something new.” 

Jeanie and Roland have many favorites, and it was hard to name a few after going for so many years. However, one of their most memorable plays was the 2002 production of Man of La Mancha.

“It’s hard for me to even talk about that show . . . it was magical,” Roland said, starting to get emotional. “There were two standing ovations during the first act.” 

Other favorites include productions of The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, Coriolanus, and The Spitfire Grill. This season, Jeanie’s favorite is King Lear while Roland’s are Clue and The Sound of Music. 

No matter what show is on, the family continues to return for the atmosphere and experience. 

“The Festival has such a standard of quality that they’ve maintained since the beginning,” Jeanie said. 

We thank Jeanie, Roland, and their four sons for the time and dedication they have contributed to the Festival. The Squires are simply invaluable to the Utah Shakespeare Festival family.

Honoring Festival Patron Linda Adams

Linda Adams

By Liz Armstrong

Distant cousin of Festival Founder Fred Adams, Linda Jones Adams was a longtime supporter and fan of the Festival. Her memory lives on, and a bench dedicated this year in her name can be found outside the Engelstad Theatre near the Green. 

Born on January 9, 1964, Adams immediately had a connection with the Festival, raised only a few blocks away from the grounds. In high school, Adams volunteered for three summers, as she and her friends sold tarts during the Greenshow.

Adams attended shows every year with her family, and later began taking her own children and grandchildren. Adams favorite shows included Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing. 

Heather Bess, Adam’s daughter, noted that she watched shows starting as a teenager all the way up until 2021, which means her mother attended the Festival for over 40 years. 

“My siblings and I grew up going with my mom to see the Greenshow, then later to the plays when we were old enough,” Bess said. 

When Adams passed away, her family decided to raise and donate money to the Festival to honor her. A bench was purchased with the phrase; “I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest,” from Act 4 Scene 1 in Much Ado About Nothing.

“It’s a place we can go and remember the memories we shared with her at the Festival,” Bess said. 

This is the perfect tribute to Adams because of how much she loved the Festival, and now her friends and family can enjoy the Greenshow from that very bench, forming a love of their own for the Festival like she had.

It is with much love that we will remember and honor Adams. It is patrons like her that keep the Festival producing plays year after year. Adams longtime support of the Festival is inspiring and humbling, and it is with much gratitude that we too, will sit at the bench and honor her.

The Historical Thurgood Marshall

Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall

By Liz Armstrong 

“If we don’t examine this history, we will forget how far we’ve come,” said Derek Charles Livingston, who is playing the role of Thurgood Marshall in this season’s one-man play Thurgood. “While I love being a student of history, it’s a hard history to go to because it’s injustice after injustice that were levied against men that look like me—which gives me an added responsibility as an actor to tell that story because it is part of our history.”

So what is the story of Thurgood Marshall?

“A lot of people know Thurgood as the first African-American Supreme Court justice, but many don’t know his history beyond that,” said Livingston, who is also the Festival’s interim artistic director. “Part of the reason he got to that position was because of the dramatic impact he had on our country and the advancement of equality and civil rights in the United States, and he was a leader in that.”

Thoroughgood Marshall was born on July 2, 1908 in Baltimore, Maryland. In second grade, he shortened his given name to just “Thurgood.”

Marshall’s law journey began at the dinner table with his father. His dad loved listening to cases at the courthouse, returning home to discuss the lawyers’ arguments with his sons. “Now you want to know how I got involved in law? I don’t know,” Marshall said. “The nearest I can get is that my dad, my brother, and I had the most violent arguments you ever heard about anything. I guess we argued five out of seven nights at the dinner table.”

He married Vivian Burey the year before graduating with honors from Lincoln University in 1930. Marshall went on to attend law school at Howard University, although he applied to the University of Maryland first, where he was rejected because he was black. He ranked first in his class at Howard and received his degree in 1933. 

“He did a lot through his work as an attorney representing his clients even before he became a justice,” Livingston said. “He went into court all across the country and fought for the lives of mostly black men who had been unjustly accused of heinous crimes—and he did his best to stop them being put to death.” 

Straight out of law school, Marshall began a private practice of law in Baltimore. He went on to become a staff lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and became the lead chair in 1938. Two years later, he became the chief of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. 

In 1955, his wife passed away, and he married his secretary Cecilia Suyat shortly after. 

He was an exceptional attorney, winning 90 percent of the cases he argued before the Supreme Court. Some of the most well-known include Smith v. Allwright (1944), Shelley v. Kraemer (1948), and Sweatt v. Painter (1950). Perhaps the most famous was the case Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which found that laws establishing racial segregation in public schools were unconstitutional—a major civil rights victory.

President John F. Kennedy nominated him to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on September 23, 1961, but southern senators delayed his confirmation until September 11, 1962. President Lyndon B. Johnson then nominated him as solicitor general and pressured Southern senators not to obstruct his confirmation again, and Marshall was quickly confirmed on August 11, 1965.

President Johnson nominated him to the Supreme Court on June, 13, 1967. He faced harsh criticism from some southern senators, but the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination by an 11-5 vote on August 3. On August 30, after six hours of debate the full senate voted 69-11 to confirm Marshall, and he became the first African-American to serve as a justice of the Supreme Court on October 2, 1967. He served on the court until 1991 when he retired. 

During his service on the Supreme Court, Marshall participated in over 3,400 cases and authored 322 majority opinions. He served until 1991, when he retired. He passed away on January 25, 1993 at the age of eighty-four. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Thurgood, directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, previews September 14 and opens September 16 in the Anes Studio Theatre. It runs through October 8. Tickets can be purchased online at bard.org/plays/thurgood or by calling 800-PLAYTIX

Interim Artistic Director to Tackle One-Man Show

Interim Artistic Director Derek Charles Livingston

By Liz Armstrong

Derek Charles Livingston, the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s interim artistic director, has taken on quite the challenge: In the one-man show Thurgood, he will be chronicling the story of Thurgood Marshall as well as playing several other characters onstage for ninety minutes. 

Livingston has played the role before, but it is still a daunting task to bring to life a giant figure in the civil rights movement and the first black Supreme Court justice in the United States.

 “It’s a one-person show, but it’s a full-length show, and so I’m speaking the entire time. One of the challenges is diving back into the text to remember the lines as they’re written,” Livingston said. 

Because he is playing a plethora of characters, studying their individual dialects and becoming a student of history was extremely important as Livingston prepared for the show. In addition to Marshall, he plays Marshall’s father, his two wives, one of the judges he faced, a doctor, two attorneys, and a teacher, to name a few.

“YouTube has been one of my great friends to study speech patterns and where they’ve come from. There’s an amazing interview with Marshall’s widow, and you get her intonation and the way she speaks, and so I could study that,” Livingston explained. 

But recorded video isn’t available for every single character, and so Livingston also had to improvise. President Lyndon B. Johnson, for example, was easy to research, with recorded political speeches easily accessible. But one of the young attorneys, John W. Davis, Livingston didn’t have the opportunity to hear from. “The play tells me he speaks in smooth southern cadence, but his dialect is going to be different from LBJ’s,” Livingston said. “So I made his dialect up.”

The playwright had to remember the voice of Marshall but do it in a way that was interesting to audience members. Livingston also explained that because he lives in the voice of Marshall throughout the majority of the play, he also has to bring his own voice to the character.

“For that span of time you really can’t develop that much mimicry. I have to balance the way Marshall spoke, but also it has to sustain my voice as well to speak for ninety minutes,” Livingston explained. 

The actor said that anyone who loves America and the constitution should come and see Thurgood. “It’s an opportunity to get to know someone that had a tremendous impact on this country that people may have not studied or learned about,” Livingston said. “He had a great impact on history, but it’s also a balanced play, and there are very funny moments and there are really hard-hitting moments.”

To get your tickets or to learn more about Thurgood, visit bard.org/plays/thurgood or call 800-PLAYTIX.

Q&A with the Director of Thurgood

Director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg

This is Delicia Turner Sonnenberg’s directorial debut at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, where she will be directing the final show of the 2022 season: Thurgood. She has directed at numerous other theatres, including MOXIE Theatre (co-founder, former artistic director), The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, TheatreSquared, Cygnet Theatre, San Diego REP, New Village Arts, Diversionary Theatre, Moòlelo Performing Arts, and Playwrights Project. Her list of awards includes the NAACP Theatre Award, the Women’s International Center Living Legacy Award, the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle Director of the Year, and more. 

The Utah Shakespeare Festival: As playgoers, what should we watch for in this play that would help us enjoy/understand it better? 

Director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg: Almost all Americans know the name Thurgood Marshall and maybe something about his Brown v Board of Education case or that he was a Supreme Court justice. This play offers insight into the man and not just the hero.

The Festival: What statement/realization/feeling do you hope audience members leave with after seeing the play? 

Turner: I hope people leave really believing that one person can indeed make a difference. And they might be that one person. 

The Festival: Why should people come see this play? 

Turner: People should see the play because it is smart and funny. Derek is a wonderful actor, and the audience will be blown away by him. I think people will be surprised by some details of Thurgood Marshall’s life and warmed by his sense of humor. Also, people should see it because it is such an essential American story and therefore a part of all of our stories.

The Festival: What challenges do you expect to come with directing this play? 

Turner: The biggest challenge is creating a full evening with just one actor on stage. 

The Festival: Why are you excited to direct this play? 

Turner: I’m excited for audiences to discover more about Thurgood Marshall—not just his successes but his failures as well. I’m excited to work with Derek as well as this tremendous team of designers and artisans.

The Festival: How long have you been directing plays? Why are you a director?

Turner: I’ve been directing for more than twenty-five years, and I’m excited to direct my first play with the Festival. As a director I really believe that theatre can make change big and small. It can change lives, it can change perceptions. It can create entertainment as well as empathy.

Ten Interesting Facts about Thurgood

Derek Charles Livingston as Thurgood Marshall in Thurgood, 2022.

By Liz Armstrong 

The one-man play, Thurgood, is a theatrical depiction of the life of Thurgood Marshall, the country’s first African American Supreme Court justice. Playing September 14 to October 8 at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, it tells the story of a lawyer and civil rights activist who spent his life advocating for justice for all Americans. Interim Artistic Director Derek Charles Livingston will play Marshall in the production, but before you attend, here are some things you will find interesting. 

1—The justice’s first name was was actually Thoroughgood, but in second grade, he got tired of writing his full name and shortened it to Thurgood. 

2—Marshall was an exceptional lawyer, arguing thirty-two cases before the Supreme Court. Out of these cases, he prevailed in twenty-nine, giving him a success rate of over 90 percent. Becoming an attorney started at the dinner table as a child, where his father disputed most topics his son brought up. 

3—He is most known for his pioneering of civil rights battles, but he also took on debates regarding police brutality, women’s rights, and the death penalty. His mother was a teacher, and so he also fought for equal pay for African-American teachers.

4—Marshall’s notable work—including the Brown v. Board of Education case—wasn’t the only thing memorable about him. He had a big personality too and was known to drink bourbon and tell stories full of lies with President Lyndon Johnson. 

5—Thurgood was the first play that George Stevens Jr. wrote and directed, and it was nominated for a Tony award. To learn more about the playwright, visit https://www.bard.org/study-guides/about-the-playwright-thurgood/.

6—Marshall went to Lincoln University, where he originally planned to study dentistry. Instead, he graduated with a degree in literature and philosophy. He went on to study law at Howard University, where he graduated top of his class. 

7—His first pick for law school was the University of Maryland, but he did not apply because of its segregation policy. Marshall’s “first big civil rights victory as an attorney, Murray v. Pearson, was against this very school,” according to legacy.com. This win resulted in equal education for generations to come. 

8—In 1967, Marshall became the first African American to become a Supreme Court justice. When Marshall retired in 1991, Clarence Thomas replaced him and became the second. 

9—Marshall received the United State’s highest civilian honor—the Presidential Medal of Freedom a few months after his death. It was posthumously awarded in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. 

10—In 2008, Thurgood premiered on Broadway at the Booth Theatre. In 2011, in celebration of Black History month, a screening of the film was hosted by the White House. This filmed version starred Laurence Fishburne. 

To purchase tickets to Thurgood or any other plays at the Festival, visit bard.org or call 800-PLAYTIX.