The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Words Cubed program for new plays is set to introduce audiences to two very different plays this season: Gertrude and Claudius,a prequel to Hamlet,will play August 24, 25, and 30 and September 1. Shakespeare’s Worst! A Play on a Play,a hilarious retelling of The Two Gentlemen of Verona,will be performed August 29 and 31.
Actor John Ahlin played a very memorable Sir John Falstaff in 2015 in the Festival production of Henry IV Part Two and has returned this year to play the role of the lovable old knight in The Merry Wives of Windsor. And he has agreed to provide a few posts on our blog about his feelings about Falstaff, the play, and the Festival. "The Big Sir: Thoughts on the Honor of Acting at the Utah Shakespeare Festival" is his first installment.
Scholars from across the United States and beyond will be gathering in Cedar City August 6–8 to discuss “The Other in Shakespeare.” Now in its seventeenth year, the Wooden O Symposium, sponsored by the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Southern Utah University will host a number of scholars who will present papers and speak about a diverse range of subjects.
Almost everyone knows the basic story: the beautiful Helen, Paris of Troy, strong Achilles, and noble Hector. We all know about the River Styx and the thousand ships and the Trojan Horse. But at the center of all this splendid storytelling is one question: did the Trojan War really happen? Did it happen, or was it only a story? There's no way Homer's poem is true, is there? Is there any fact at all to The Iliad?
This season's An Iliad is full of amazing stories, themes, poetry, and settings. But more than anything, this play is full of amazing characters. Even though every character is portrayed by one man, The Poet (played by Brian Vaughn), each of Homer's original warriors and soldiers and kings come to life in a way that you don't see too often. Two characters, especially, drive the heart of the story: Trojan Hector, and Greek Achilles.
The 2018 season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival opens next week, but Festival administrators are already looking ahead to 2019. Themed around families, the 2019 season will feature eight (or depending how you count, nine) plays from June 27 to October 12, 2019. In an effort to make it easy for loyal Festival guests to order their tickets well in advance, tickets will go on sale July 6.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival has announced that it has cancelled the 2018 production of Pearl’s in the House.
Citing culturally insensitive communications issued by the guest director/creator of Pearl’s in the House regarding casting, the Utah Shakespeare Festival issued the following . . .
The last few years have seen a rise in British family dramas. With shows like The Crown and Downton Abbey, it's easy to see why complicated families make such entertaining stories. But this isn't a new trend— no, it goes all the way back to Shakespeare!
The lineup of plays this season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival is looking to be one of the most exciting yet— especially with the continuation of the History Cycle. Henry VI Part One is a play you may not get the chance to see elsewhere. But with this play comes one important question— why is it so different from what really happened?
Since the very first year of the Festival, audiences have fallen in love over and over again with Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. It’s an appealing love story wrapped around a complex, fascinating study of religious and social tensions. And because of its popularity, the Festival has produced it a number of times! From fun and farcical to deep and complex, this play has evolved in its Cedar City productions over the years. . . .
Shakespeare's villains are some of the most complicated, realistic characters in theatre. Truthfully, they can sometimes be more compelling than their heroic counterparts. And nowhere is that more true than this season at the Festival. This year, two of Shakespeare's most infamous villains take the stage— the bitter Jewish moneylender Shylock, and the jealous, manipulative ensign Iago. . . .
Charlie, the lead character in The Foreigner, says at one point in the play: “We—all of us, we're becoming—we're making one another complete, and alive." Such optimism and hope are difficult to confine, and audience members tend to leave with the theatre with some stashed in their pockets and their hearts, which is perhaps the real reason The Foreigner triumphs.
Shakespeare's Othello is a complex play, and one of the most interesting topics within it is the idea of interracial marriage. With a black Othello and a white Desdemona being at the center of an immense tragedy, audiences for centuries have wondered about the implications of their relationship. An interracial marriage in the sixteenth century? It seems impossible, but . . .
Big River is so entertaining and full of good ol’ American fun and catchy music that you’ll probably dance out of the theatre when you see it this summer. Its harmonicas, guitars, banjos, and swinging dance numbers will have you humming and whistling all summer long. And yet underneath this lighthearted, old fashioned fun lies something much more serious, and much more important.
There’s no better example of a mischievous, carefree boy than Huckleberry Finn. After all, who can forget all of his crazy antics and adventures with Tom Sawyer in Mark Twain’s two famous novels? But in this season’s Festival production of Big River, we get to see young Huck in a different genre and a new light. Big Riveris a coming of age story; it’s about Huckleberry Finn learning what it means to grow up.
If there’s one rule to writing, it’s this: write what you know. As for the best writer in all of English literature, William Shakespeare definitely followed that rule too. See it for yourself in this season’s The Merry Wives of Windsor. William Shakespeare put references to his times and life into all of his plays, but nowhere is that more obvious than in this zany comedy.
The Merry Wives of Windsor has always been a favorite at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. After all, who doesn’t love watching the antics of a ridiculous old man and two clever, witty women? The play is one of the most lighthearted of all of Shakespeare’s comedies, full of silly jokes, tricks, and mischief. At the heart of it all is Sir John Falstaff, perhaps the most famous of all of Shakespeare’s buffoons and definitely one of the most beloved.
They arrived Monday, May 14. They traveled here, nearly 300 strong, from New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, and other cities across the country and even around the world. They will be here from eight weeks to five months, depending on their job and their contract. They are the 2018 Utah Shakespeare Festival company of actors, directors, designers, stage managers, builders and creators—and they love being in Cedar City.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival recently announced the last round of casting for the 2018 season, including eleven actors who are traveling to Cedar City from across the country. The complete acting company this year consists of nearly sixty performers. “This is a remarkable group of actors, with notable experience working at hundreds of theatres across the country,” said Artistic Director Brian Vaughn. “They bring with them an array of talents, and I am incredibly excited to see their work.”
What do jazz singers, slaves, merchants, Greek warriors, soldiers, and painfully shy foreigners all have in common? Maybe not a lot. At first glance, this season looks like an eclectic collection of stories and tales, all different and from different places and times. There’s nothing they have in common— or is there? Well, look closer. There’s a thread that runs through nearly all of the plays this season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival: the story of “The Other.”
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