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16 Fun Facts from the 61st Season

Patrons Enjoy The Greenshow (top), and a Seminar

By Liz Armstrong

To all who attended plays this season, many thanks. We hope it was an enjoyable and memorable experience and can’t wait for next season! Here is a list of fun facts from our 61st season below:

1- Sweeney Todd was the first ever musical produced in the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre. A massive upgrade to the sound system was implemented, setting the stage for musicals to come in the outdoor space.

2- Clue was the best-selling play, with approximately 24,800 tickets sold. The Sound of Music was the second most-sold title of the season with approximately 16,500 tickets. 

3- More understudies and swings backstage were used this season than any before, highlighting the resilience and dedication of Festival actors and crew.

4- The Tempest was the first sensory-friendly performance to be produced in the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre, with approximately 101 guests in attendance. The Sound of Music had approximately 116 guests in attendance during its sensory-friendly performance. In an effort to serve those with autism spectrum disorders, sensory sensitivities, or other similar disabilities, sensory-friendly performances allow for a more relaxed space, where house lights are kept on, sounds are lowered, and patrons can take as many breaks as they need. 

5- Clue, Sweeney Todd, and King Lear were, well, murder-heavy, with a startling 27 deaths between the three shows. 

6- 913 students purchased Student Access Passes. In total, including Student Access Pass tickets, approximately 14,837 tickets were sold to elementary to college age students. For information on the pass and other discounts, visit bard.org/tickets/.

7- The Tempest was the most performed play, with 74 performances produced over the course of the season.

8- 190 tickets were reserved at no charge for active military personnel and veterans during Military Appreciation Day. 

9- Derek Charles Livingston, interim artistic director and director of new play development, tackled the one-man show Thurgood, speaking and acting the entire 90-minute length by himself.

10- The ticket office received approximately 11,182 phone calls from June 1, 2022 through October 9th. 

11- The Education Department works with the Southwest Utah Youth Center studying and performing Shakespeare with incarcerated youth each week throughout the year.

12- Michael Sharon returned to the Festival after a 15 year absence, playing Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music and Professor Plum in Clue. After 21 years, Michael Fitzpatrick (Henry in Trouble in Mind and Max in The Sound of Music) also returned.

13- Keenon Hooks, who directed The Sound of Music, choreographed Ragtime last season.

14- 3,250 students attended the 46th annual Shakespeare Competition from Sept. 29-Oct. 1. 109 schools participated in the competition, from 5 states. 

15- During a seminar with patrons, interim education director, Stewart Shelley, and Michael Bahr, former education director, discovered they both got their start in theatre playing Kurt in The Sound of Music in elementary school. 

16- Distinguished author, professor, and Shakespeare scholar, Evelyn Tribble, was the keynote speaker at the 2022 Wooden O Symposium. 

Extra: Visit our Instagram page @utahshakespeare to watch Properties Director Ben Hohman’s “A Prop Minute” videos for fun facts about props, set design, and more!

© Utah Shakespeare Festival 2022 www.bard.org