Zions Bank, Red Butte Garden, and the Utah Shakespeare Festival are joining together to present a concert version of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on June 6 at the Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre in Salt Lake City.
Imagine a world without William Shakespeare. Obviously, we would have none of his plays; no Hamlet, no Romeo and Juliet, and no A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Those plays are beautiful, complex, and arguably integral to the structure of Western culture. But it gets even worse. Without Shakespeare, we would be missing out on many popular musicals and movies—no Shakespeare in Love, no West Side Story, etc.
There are a lot of familiar plays this upcoming season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival: classic Shakespeares like Hamlet, Twelfth Night,and Macbeth are on everyone’s top five list, a continuation of the Henry VI plays from last year, and of course, the ever-popular Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Even so, there are a few unfamiliar ones. One in particular, is unfamiliar because it’s still fairly new: Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival and the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA) recently broke ground on a multi-part project meant to enhance the guest experience at the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts on the campus of Southern Utah University. The project includes a new gift store, a concessions stand, a clock tower, an outdoor gathering area, and landscaping and seating upgrades at SUMA.
After sorting through the resumes, photos, and auditions of nearly 1,200 actors, Artistic Director Brian Vaughn has recently announced the first group of what will be about sixty actors that will be appearing at the Utah Shakespeare Festival this summer. Included in this number are at least twelve actors who have appeared at the Festival in the past.
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.
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