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New Director Promises "Joyous" Greenshow

Cassie Abate

By Liz Armstrong 

Last year, Utah Shakespeare Festival patrons enjoyed a fabulous production of The Pirates of Penzance, with a colorful and buzzing energy that entranced audiences throughout the play. This season, patrons can expect the same at The Greenshow. “It’s going to be joyous, fun, and nonstop,” director Cassie Abate said. 

And Abate should know. She directed that acclaimed production of The Pirates of Penzance and this year is writing, directing, and choreographing The Greenshow, the Festival’s free pre-play entertainment.

Abate said that directing The Pirates of Penzance last year prepared her for directing The Greenshow this year. “Being at the Festival last year, I really got a sense about the traditions, and experiencing what the Festival is all about was awesome,” she said. “I’m so excited to be back.”

Directing The Greenshow will have its challenges, but this vivacious director is up for the task. “The Greenshow has been a fun learning experience for me because I’ve never fully written a show before,” she said. “So taking an [idea] all the way through has been a really fun, interesting, dynamic experience.”

Abate is also extremely excited about how collaborative the process of putting together The Greenshow has been. “What’s so great about this kind of production is because it’s new, the cast gets to be a collaborative part of it,” Abate said. “So things shift and change and adapt more so than when you have a set show that you are producing.”

“It’s a lot less predictable than when you’re inside a theater,” she said in discussing the outdoor space on the green. “I’m looking forward to experiencing how we fill that space and how we utilize it to its full potential so that we don’t just make it an entertainment, but an immersive experience for the audience—where they’re interacting with the performance.”

Abate plans to honor the traditions of the Festival and The Greenshow while adding fun and new elements. Jokingly, she promised to mention the Festival-famous tarts in each show. 

Patrons can also expect an extremely fun soundtrack. Abate hinted that in addition to pulling from the musical theatre canon, the company will also be using more popular songs from the ’40s to the ’60s. 

Because The Greenshow is presented every night before the plays, Abate’s biggest goal is to make sure it complements the shows being performed, as well as making sure each of the three versions of The Greenshow can stand alone as a fun and family-friendly entertainment. The Last Time I Saw Paris will play before All’s Well That Ends Well; British Music Hall before Sweeney Todd; and Coronation Day before King Lear. Abate promises each one is unique in its own way.

The 2022 season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival runs from June 20 to October 8 and includes All’s Well That Ends Well, Sweeney Todd, King Lear, The Sound of Music, Trouble in Mind, Clue, The Tempest, and Thurgood, as well as all the experiences surrounding the plays, such as The Greenshow, seminars, orientations, and backstage tours. Tickets and information are available by calling 800-PLAYTIX or going online to bard.org.

© Utah Shakespeare Festival 2023 www.bard.org