Announcing Our 2020 Season
The Utah Shakespeare Festival has announced a new, extended season for 2020. The Tony Award-winning theatre company will be producing nine plays from June 1 to October 10, a season that is three weeks longer than this year. It is the longest season the Festival has ever produced.
“It’s a season of love, laughter, romance, and revenge,” said Artistic Director Brian Vaughn. “Complete with identical twins, singing cowboys, dancing pirates, charming villains, and inspiring women, each of these plays celebrate the glory of life, the magnitude of love, and the laughter that lives in us all.”
As usual the plays will be performed in three world-class theatres, with a wide variety of musicals; Shakespeare comedies, tragedies, and histories; and classic and modern theatre.
“The Festival is breaking new ground by producing in June,” said Frank Mack, executive producer. “Changes to the calendar at Southern Utah University enable the Festival to fulfill a long-held ambition to start producing plays earlier in the summer than our traditional late June/early July start. This not only opens new programming opportunities, but provides audiences a chance to visit the Festival as early as June 1.”
The 2020 season will start June 1 with two shows running in rotating repertory in the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre, a musical and a Shakespeare play. A third production will be added to the Anes Theatre in August.
Cymbeline, William Shakespeare’s fantastical romance, will open the season on June 1 and run through October 10. A wicked stepmother, a banished soulmate, villains, ghosts, long-lost princes, and a lion-hearted heroine are all a part of this mythic tale based on the legends of ancient Celts and chock-full of deception, intrigue, innocence, and jealousy.
A musical comedy gone wild, Desperate Measures by Peter Kellogg and David Friedman will be in performance from June 2 to October 10. This critically acclaimed new show takes Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and goes west—way west—as in cowboys, a mysterious sheriff, a saloon girl gone good, and a nun out of the habit. You will laugh until you cry as this show shakes things up with toe-tappin’ music and a script fully loaded with laughs.
These two shows will run in rotating repertory, with matinee and evening performances through August 6 when a third show will be added to the mix.
The final play to open in the Anes Studio Theatre will be the United States premiere of Shakespeare’s Worst! with performances from August 6 to October 9. Written by Mike Reiss of The Simpsons fame and actor and teacher Nick Newlin, Shakespeare’s Worst, is an original and hilarious retelling of a Shakespeare classic. Workshopped as part of the Festival’s Words3 new play program in 2018, this new play is set in a small-town theatre where a group of actors are performing The Two Gentlemen of Verona. But one of the cast members is unhappy: his career is going nowhere, he’s tired of the show, he wants out, and he is all-to-happy to tell the audience exactly what he thinks!
Three Shakespeare plays will open the fourth week of June in the outdoor Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre:
The Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare’s funniest plays, will open on June 22 and play through September 4. Featuring not just one, but two sets of bewildered twins, it’s double the laughter and twice the fun as confusion reigns supreme. You will laugh from beginning to end as these bewildered twins try to unravel the lunatic events swirling around them.
Playgoers will have a chance to see the rarely performed Pericles from June 23 to September 3, as the Festival performs this tale of high adventure for only the third time in its history. Pericles is searching for thrills, treasure, and family. But his loves die, his friends deceive him, and the gods seem to be against him. In the end, he finds the most important treasure of all: himself.
Richard III is the next installment in the Festival’s History Cycle, completing the story of the War of the Roses told in Henry V, and the three parts of Henry VI. Playing from June 24 to September 5, Richard III features one of Shakespeare’s most charming and evil villains. Richard, the ambitious son of York, has taken the English throne by exploiting or murdering everyone in his path, but it isn’t clear that he can keep it in the twisted world he has created.
Three more classics will fill out the 2020 season in the beautiful Randall L. Jones Theatre:
First to open is One Man, Two Guvnors, the hilarious new comedy by Richard Bean, running June 25 to October 10. Winner of multiple Tony and Drama Desk Awards, this glorious comedy is a fresh take on the classic farce A Servant of Two Masters and a unique laugh-out-loud mix of satire, songs, and stupendous physical comedy as Francis finds himself with two new jobs and two new bosses, who (against all odds) he must continue to please through mistaken identities, outrageous farce, love triangles, and inspired lunacy.
Next is the ever-popular Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, The Pirates of Penzance, which plays from June 26 to September 5. Spotlighting a ship full of zany pirates, a bevy of giggling maidens, and a band of bumbling policemen, the show is one of the most charmingly silly love stories ever to grace the stage. Alack! Alack! Will our hero, Frederic, ever be reunited with his love, Mabel?
The final show in the Randall Theatre will be Into the Breeches!, a hilarious and heartwarming look at the WWII home front and a group of women who band together to keep their favorite theatre going while the men are off to war—by mounting an all-female production of Henry V. This modern comedy is like a theatre version of A League of Their Own and plays from July 28 to October 10.
Tickets for the 2020 shows are $20 to $82 and are now on sale: visit the Festival website at bard.org, call 800-PLAYTIX, or visit the Ticket Office at the Beverley Center for the Arts.