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10 Reasons the 2023 Season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival is the Most Exciting Yet!

Naiya Vanessa McCalla (left) as Juliet and Ty Fanning as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. (Photo by Karl Hugh.)

By Liz Armstrong

Next week we welcome audiences for the 2023 Season, starting with a Romeo and Juliet preview on June 21. The Festival offers over four months of live theatre, running Monday-Saturday. Most days, there are four different shows along with a free nightly Greenshow that plays into September. There’s ample opportunity to attend this season and share in our belief in the power of theater. 

The lineup for the 2023 season includes: Romeo and Juliet (officially opening June 23), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (opening June 24), A Raisin in the Sun (opening June 29), Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical (opening July 1), The Play That Goes Wrong (opening July 4), Timon of Athens (opening July 17), and Coriolanus (opening July 18). 

Here are some fun facts that make this sixty-second season extra special: 

  1. Last time the Festival produced Romeo and Juliet was in 2017. Betsy Mugavero played Juliet, and now, six years later, she is directing the very same play. For the beloved Festival actor, this is a very full-circle moment. 
  2. Former Festival actor Geoffrey Kent has returned to make his directorial debut with The Play That Goes Wrong. Previously at the Festival, Kent was an actor in Treasure Island, Shakespeare in Love, As You Like It, Othello, and more. 
  3. Lisa Peterson is also making her directorial debut at the Festival with Timon of Athens and Coriolanus. She is a two-time OBIE Award-winner for her productions of An Iliad and Light Shining in Buckinghamshire. Her most recent production, Good Night, Oscar starring Sean Hayes, is currently on Broadway. Winning Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play for his role as Oscar, Hayes said, “Half of my performance I owe to Lisa Peterson, the director. She’s phenomenal.” 
  4. Actor Elijah Alexander, known for his role as Atticus Aemilius in The Chosen TV series, will be Timon in Timon of Athens and Tullus Aufidius/Roman Citizen in Coriolanus. Don’t miss out; tickets are going fast!
  5. Speaking of Timon of Athens, the last––and only––time the Festival has produced this play was 30 years ago!
  6. This is the first time the Festival is producing A Raisin in the Sun and The Play That Goes Wrong
  7. The famous tarts are made fresh locally, directly from Park Place Eatery. What’s better than enjoying a tart at a free 30-minute Greenshow this summer? 
  8. A lot of hard work goes into a repertory theater to produce seven shows in a season, and so the number of staff and company members rise exponentially during the season. From a year-round staff of 25 members, the Festival employs a seasonal staff of over 300 from June to October. 
  9. This is the first time that both plays in the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre have both been works of Shakespeare. 1992 was the first time four of the Bard’s plays were produced, and since then, the number of Shakespeare’s plays have always fluctuated between three and four. This season, the Festival boasts four, with Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coriolanus, and Timon of Athens
  10. This is the eleventh time the Festival has produced A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the ninth time Romeo and Juliet has been produced. 

For more information or to purchase tickets for the 2023 season, visit bard.org or call 800-PLAYTIX.

What's On

The Taming of the Shrew

June 19 - September 7, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

Henry VIII

June 17 - September 5, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

RADA Production

July 30-August 3, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

Much Ado About Nothing

June 21 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

The Mountaintop

July 13 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

Silent Sky

July 12 - October 5, 2024

Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

The 39 Steps

June 22 - October 5, 2024

Randall L. Jones Theatre

The Winter's Tale

June 18 - September 6, 2024

Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre

© Utah Shakespeare Festival 2024 www.bard.org Cedar City, Utah