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
Are you looking for a fun, family friendly, affordable way to celebrate the Christmas season? How about Christmas at the Homestead and Holiday Market—at the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum! The Utah Shakespeare Festival and the popular state park are once again partnering to provide a Christmas celebration for area residents and visitors.
Utah Shakespeare Festival guests made life a little better for those in need this fall, by donating over two tons of food to the Iron County Care and Share. The food was donated as part of the Festival’s fifteenth annual Fall Food Drive from September 13 to October 22. Residents of southern Utah and eastern Nevada were able to donate six items of nonperishable food and receive a half-price ticket to a Festival production.
It sounds like the characters of an English soap opera: King John who signed the Magna Carta in 1215. Richard II, a weak king whose throne was taken from him by his cousin. Henry IV whose right to the throne was always suspect. Prince Hal, who rose from his riotous youth to become the beloved Henry V. His son, who became King Henry VI while an infant and suffered from mental illness. The murderous hunchback, Richard III. And King Henry VIII, the father of Queen Elizabeth, who ruled during much of Shakespeare’s life.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2018 season offers an eclectic mix of eight plays in three theatres, exploring a number of themes relevant in today’s world. The season will run from June 28 to October 20, 2018. “With four diverse Shakespeare offerings (including the next in our History Cycle), a world-premiere musical centered around one of the world’s most iconic figures, two delightful classic and contemporary comedies, and a Tony Award-winning musical based on one of the most controversial novels of our time, this season promises to resonate on all levels,” said Artistic Director Brian Vaughn.
It’s Halloween once again. Here at the Utah Shakespeare Festival we love scary stories and are enjoying the spookiness of the season. Think about it: classic literature, including theatre, has brought about the scariest monsters in horror history; there’s just no better time for literature lovers than Halloween. So many great writers wrote horror, and I would say that the best horror writer of all time was Shakespeare!
This weekend the 41st annual Shakespeare Competition, hosted by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University, 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 3,400 students from 109 schools in five states.
Utah Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Brian Vaughn recently announced a slate of eight highly-creative, talented, and experienced directors for the Festival’s 2018 season. Many have directed at the Festival before, but some will be new to Festival audiences. “I have such profound admiration and respect for these directors,” said Vaughn in making the announcement. “They each bring a unique blend of insight, passion and commitment to the work that will electrify these plays with tremendous clarity and immediacy. I’m excited to have them here.”
"There really is nothing like the Shakespeare Competition,” said Michael Bahr, education director for the Festival. “For forty years the competition has provided young people an outlet to share their passion and excitement for the arts, while also cultivating the future generation of arts professionals.”
Patrick Page, known for his Broadway roles such as Scar in The Lion King, The Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Green Goblin in Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark has added a second performance of his one-man show at the Utah Shakespeare Festival on September 29.
Two senior staff members will be taking their bows and exiting the Utah Shakespeare Festival stage this fall. Jyl Shuler, long-time development director, has announced her retirement effective October 31; and Zachary Murray, general manager and recently interim executive director, is taking a new job in the Southern Utah University Budget Office beginning October 1.
I can hardly wait! The Tavern will delight families, so I’m bringing the kids along for this one. Although it was not written with children in mind, it is family-friendly and promises to entertain audiences of all ages, from all places.