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Announcing the Cast of Thurgood

Derek Charles Livingston

“The casting process for Thurgood was a little different,” said director Delicia Turner Sonnenberg when talking about the one-man play she will be directing this season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. In fact, it was almost the opposite of how casting usually works at the Festival. Instead of the director being hired first and then casting taking place, “Derek Charles Livingston, Festival director of new play development/artistic associate, contacted me about directing the show with him already in the role.”

Sonnenberg and Livingston have known each other for over a decade, which will be a bonus as they work together to bring to the stage the life of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice. “The collaboration has to be different. We have to work more closely, collaboratively on character and intentions,” said Sonnenberg. “The entire play has to come from one actor, and it has to live comfortably in his mouth and body. Already having a prior working relationship means Derek and I can get right to the work, and that’s exciting.”

“And as long as he remembers I’m the director, it’ll be fine,” she joked.

Livingston has played the demanding role before, as well as numerous others across the country: Tupolski in The Pillowman, Simon in The Whipping Man, Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy, Nat Turner in Insurrection: Holding History, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Gregory in Love! Valor! Compassion!, Oberon (twice) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pridament in The Illusion, Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, Duke Frederick in As You Like It.

He has also worked as a theatre director, producer, and new play developer.  He served for over four years as the managing artistic director of Los Angeles’s Celebration Theatre (the country’s second oldest, continuously operating LGBT-focused theatre). During that time and after, he produced and/or directed several acclaimed plays and musicals; those productions received over fifty Los Angeles theatre awards or nominations (including acknowledgements for Derek’s directing work on five productions). Later he lived in San Diego where he produced or co-produced a host of new play festivals, helping give life to over forty new plays. For San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre, he directed the award-nominated San Diego premiere of Tru, depicting the life of Truman Capote.

In his position at the Festival, Livingston is responsible for re-envisioning and overseeing the Festival’s new play program, Words Cubed, as well as other artistic and senior staff duties. 

The Festival season runs from June 20 to October 8, with Thurgood being performed from September 14 to October 8 only. Other plays in the season are All’s Well That Ends Well, Sweeney Todd, King Lear, The Sound of Music, Trouble in Mind, Clue, and The Tempest. Tickets are now on sale. You can order or receive more information by visiting www.bard.org or calling the Ticket Office at 800-PLAYTIX. 

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All’s Well That Ends Well Casting Story

Sweeney Todd Casting Story

King Lear Casting Story

The Sound of Music Casting Story

Trouble in Mind Casting Story 

Clue Casting Story

The Tempest Casting Story

The Greenshow Casting Story

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