News From the Festival

Props Team Presents 19th Annual Holiday Light Display to Raise Money for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Holiday Light Display

Festival husband and wife duo Ben Hohman and Marielle Boneau have gone all out once again with their holiday display, bringing lots of light––literally––to Cedar City and its community.

This is the 19th year that Properties Director Hohman and Assistant Properties Director Boneau have decked out their house at 26 North 1150 West in Cedar City. The display lights up every night from 5:30-10 pm and will run until December 31st, weather permitting.

The Display

The display has raised over $32,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation in the 18 years it’s been running. In addition to receiving donations from the community, the couple also donates the value of their December power bill to the organization.

And lots of power is needed. An electrician installed an extra 120 amps of electricity in the back of the house just for the Christmas lights, which is four times the amount used inside. It’s safe to say that Hohman and Boneau love Christmas a whole “watt.”

3,000 more lights have been added this year, bringing the total to over 68,000 lights, which are choreographed to dance with 20 Christmas songs. The display also includes 70 plastic blow-molds, 30 lighted animal sculptures, over 55 inflatables, a homemade nine-foot wreath, and wire-frame animated sculptures.

Visitors can walk through Candy Cane Lane, taking in the light display in both the front and back yards. The display includes Santa’s Flight School, where reindeer are learning to fly, the Christmas Zoo, Winter Disco Land, Santa’s Workshop, Gingerbread Land, and more.

The Beginning

The idea to collect donations came about almost a decade ago. Hohman helps with the annual Make-A-Wish Christmas party and is a trained Wish Granter, so his involvement with the organization goes back a long time.

“We help decorate for the Christmas party each year, and we decorate the house as a fundraiser for the organization,” Hohman said.

That first year they were encouraged to become more involved with the organization after their friend Heather was impressed with their decorating, and so the couple started to collect donations at their light display.

The “Why”

When asked why the couple continues to put in over 700 hours to put up and take down the display each year, Hohman and Boneau said they do it for the community.

“The community has grown to love it,” Hohman said. “It’s become a tradition for a lot of families in town.”

“It started small, but grew quickly,” Hohman explained. “I tell everyone that I do it for Make-A-Wish and the children, but anyone who knows me, knows I do it because I enjoy it. I love the holidays.”

Boneau joked that because the display is for a good cause, it “legitimizes our Christmas craziness.” She comments, “Call it ‘crazy,’ we call it ‘passionate Christmas cheer!’” Either way, the Utah Shakespeare Festival is proud that this Props team continues to go above and beyond with the display.

Come see the display, “lighten” up, and get in the Christmas spirit. We promise, it’s sure to be merry—and definitely bright.

Donations can be made at the display or at their website. While on this page, check out video footage of the past 15 years of the display. Donations are accepted directly on the Make-a-Wish website here, as well as through Venmo @benslightdisplay.

Meet the Team: Every Brilliant Thing to Tour in 2024

Every Brillliant Thing Team

The Festival is proud to announce the inspiring production of Every Brilliant Thing will once again sweep the state of Utah in 2024. 

With the intention of “cultivating the use of proactive, life-affirming communication when you or those you love are confronted with depression,” this is one of the most critical pieces of work the Festival has ever produced, according to Director of Development and Communications Donn Jersey. 

“This tour is about saving lives,” Tour Manager Jordan Simmons said. 

The tour begins January 4 and concludes March 23. 

“Young people need the affirmation that they are not alone. Each and every student that will watch this production will be reminded that they are needed, they are loved, and they belong here,” Governor Spencer J. Cox said.

The Plot 

The story begins when, at seven-years old, the lone character learns that their mother is in the hospital after her first attempt to take her own life. Afterwards, they begin a list––a list of everything brilliant about the world, everything worth living for. With humor and inventiveness, the story explores depression and hope, uncertainty and change, relationships and solitude, risk and resilience, guilt and forgiveness.

Meet the Team 

Britannia Howe - Director
Howe directed The Greenshow in 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2023, as well as Cymbeline in 2021. She is returning to the Festival this 2024 season with three new Greenshow scripts, inspired by the plays that are being produced in the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre. 

She has also worked at Illinois State University, Utah State University, and Illinois Shakespeare Festival to name a few. Howe received the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National Directing Fellowship in 2011, and has taught at Illinois State University, Southern Utah University, and for the Festival’s Playmakers and Actor Training programs. 

Howe received a Master of Fine Arts in Directing from Illinois State University, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Classical Acting and Theatre Education from Southern Utah University.

Jordan Simmons - Tour Manager 
Simmons is returning as tour manager, having held the same position for the 2019/2020 and 2023 tours of Every Brilliant Thing.

“Every Brilliant Thing offers hope to those who may be struggling and in need of connection. This play provides a platform in which students can begin critical conversations with their parents and mental health professionals,” Simmons said. 

He was the stage management administrative assistant and scheduler for the 2023 season at the Festival. Before that, he was the production assistant for the Festival’s mainstage production of Every Brilliant Thing as well as Twelfth Night in 2019. He has also been the production assistant for The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mamma Mia at Pacific Conservatory Theatre and the stage manager for Part of the Story for Salt Lake Acting Company. 

Simmons received a Master of Fine Arts in Arts Administration from Southern Utah University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Technology from Utah State University. 

Kathryn Whilden - Stage Manager 
This is the second time Whilden is stage managing for the Festival’s production of Every Brilliant Thing. 

Whilden received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Spanish from Wofford College. Previously at the Festival, she was the assistant stage manager for Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical, The Play That Goes Wrong, The Sound of Music, and Clue.

Whilden has also worked for Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Triad Stage, and Clinton Area Showboat Theatre. 

Meet the Actors

Although this is a one-person show, the touring company consists of two actors, which means they alternate each performance. When not acting, each also helps the stage manager with production duties.

Marco Antonio Vega 
Vega hit Festival stages this past season as Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Paris in Romeo and Juliet. In previous years, he was in The Comedy of Errors, Richard III, and Henry V, to name a few. Vega is a recipient of the Festival’s Michael and Jan Finlayson Acting Award (2017). 

Vega has also been Puck/himself in William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) at Reduced Shakespeare Company and boasts teaching credits from Utah Tech University. 

He received a Bachelor of Arts from Southern Utah University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of San Diego. 

Angelique Archer 
“There are very few instances in life where you can make an immediate impact on the future generation. This tour is one of those instances,” Archer said. “Every Brilliant Thing, and the conversations it will create, will save lives.”

Although Archer is new to the Festival, this isn’t her first educational tour. She has been on tour with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in Macbeth, Twelfth Night, and Julius Caesar, among others. She also performed in Cato at Clarence Brown Lab Theatre, The Taming of the Shrew, and Little Women at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and more. 

Archer also has film and television credits, having been in Monica, You Have No Idea, and Truth. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Economics from Hamilton College. 

“This show reminds students that they are not alone and provides them with resources to talk about their mental health struggles and get the help they need,” Archer said. “I became an artist because of the change theatre can make that will continue long after the play has ended. This show is a perfect example of the power and importance of this art form. It is a privilege to be a part of this tour and to bring this message to communities all over Utah.”

For more information on the play, click here for the study guide. 

The touring company began rehearsals December 4, although they’ve attended meetings and trainings before arrival. To keep both the company and audience members as informed and safe as possible, the team participated in several suicide prevention trainings, such as QPR Institute Gatekeeper Training and “Talk Saves Lives” by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, presented by the Utah County Health Department.

Funded by the State of Utah, the Every Brilliant Thing Tour is free to any secondary education school in Utah that is interested. The production is in partnership with SafeUT and with the support of Governor Cox

“Our partnership with SafeUT is crucial to our success, as SafeUT provides immediate and confidential access to licensed counselors who are ready to listen to any crisis or concern through the SafeUT app,” Simmons said. 

For tour questions, contact Simmons at brillianttour@bard.org.

Festival Announces Passing of Beloved Retired Staff Member Bruce C. Lee

Bruce C. Lee

It is with deep sadness that the Festival announces the sudden passing of Bruce C. Lee, former Publications Manager at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, on December 3. Bruce retired in fall 2022 after a thirty-one year career at the Festival. His humble professionalism and mentorship, dedication to the mission of the Festival, and passion for creative work left a lasting mark on the organization and the people around him.

“For over 30 years the Festival was blessed by Bruce’s love of language, rigor in writing, and passion for creative communication,” says Executive Managing Director Michael Bahr. “His literary leadership and award-winning publications were fundamental in creating the Festival we know today.

“As a quiet and unassuming story-teller, Bruce had the gift for capturing the magic of the Festival’s people, plays, and programs and distilling it so they could be promoted and preserved,” Bahr continues.

Bruce’s impressive career encompassed many important decades of growth and change for the Festival. He led the Festival’s marketing and communication department for numerous years, and was part of the team during the expansion into the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts.

Director of Development and Communication Donn Jersey comments: “Bruce’s influence on my life and at the Festival was transformative. Beyond our professional collaboration, he became a mentor whose impact resonated deeply. His teachings extended far beyond the confines of the office and stage, leaving an indelible mark on my personal journey. 

“At the Festival, our teamwork was more than a creative partnership,” Jersey continues. “It was a shared exploration of art and life. Bruce infused our work with invaluable insights, elevating it beyond mere professional endeavors. His unique perspective enriched our projects, making them artistically fulfilling and personally meaningful. Every aspect of his life was guided by his faith, gratitude, and humility which I so admired. He touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of Festival patrons across the globe with his impeccably crafted messages and creative works. He was simply brilliant.”

“For all the years I knew Bruce he was the voice of reason,” shares emeritus Festival Managing Director R. Scott Phillips. “In the very dramatic world of theatre, he maintained a calm and focus on the end product. As a gifted writer, he expressed his passion for the world through words and ideas. He elevated the stories of the Festival to new levels of artistry. His shadow will be cast long and wide for years to come.”

His indelible work at the Festival was seen through years of writing, continually raising the quality of its marketing and communication, the publication of thousands of printed and digital articles, and the creation of the organization’s website––and the moniker “bard.org”––which he began in 1997, among many other contributions. 

He also directed the visual look of the Festival, from the souvenir programs to emails, from brochures to billboards. His touch and influence is still very present today. For example, he was very influential in the development of the Festival’s current “Believe” campaign prior to his retirement last year. 

Friend and retired Festival Art Director Phil Hermansen worked alongside Bruce for 21 years. He shares: “He was the best boss you could ever have. He was a father-figure to many of the Festival staff.”

For the full obituary, click here

His Festival family sends our deepest condolences, prayers, and love to his family during this difficult time. Funeral services will be Saturday, December 9 at 10 am at the LDS Meetinghouse at 451 E. Midvalley Road, Enoch, Utah. Interment will be in the Enoch City Cemetery.

Holiday Gift Guide: Give the Gift of Live Theatre This Christmas!

Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for the perfect gift for ALL your loved ones? Give the gift of live theatre this season!

It’s not too early to purchase tickets for the 2024 season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The play lineup for the 63rd season includes Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, The Winter’s Tale, The Taming of the Shrew, and Much Ado About Nothing, along with the hilarious The 39 Steps, the moving Silent Sky, and the inspirational The Mountaintop. 

Here’s our gift to you this season: deals and discounts! Check out the information below and enjoy the same brilliant plays while also saving some money. 

If you’re looking for gift ideas for students and lifelong learners, check out details about our educational offerings below. 

To purchase tickets and take advantage of these discounts and educational offerings, and for more information, call the Festival Ticket Office at 800-PLAYTIX or visit bard.org/tickets.

For Anyone

Gift Certificates can be purchased from the ticket office in any amount. These make the perfect stocking stuffers!

For Students and Children 

The Student Access Pass is an amazing deal and available for only $40. It allows students one ticket per performance for an unlimited number of performances throughout the season.

This steal of a deal isn’t just for Southern Utah University students here in Cedar City, but for students of any kind and any location. Other higher ed schools, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and home-schooled students qualify for the deal. Having a student ID or proof of student status on hand while calling the ticket office to purchase the pass is the fastest way to get this deal!

The pass can only be redeemed for one ticket per student per show on the day of the performance, but is good for as many performances as you wish during the season. The tickets are subject to availability and exclude premier seating. The pass can’t be refunded or exchanged, and it expires October 5, 2024. 

Not interested in the student pass? Youth between the ages of six and eighteen get $10 off any single ticket with a valid student ID or proof of student status. As a reminder, children under six are not permitted in our theatres. Professionally-staffed child care is available for our youngest friends. 

For young thespians, don’t miss out on our summer youth camps! Check out Playmakers Summer Camp from June 10-22, Junior Actor Training from July 15-20, and Theatre Training for Actors and Technicians from July 22-27. 

For School Groups 

Need a really unique gift for students or teachers in your life? Schools and education groups of 12 or more can enjoy a professional play, orientation, and other experiences with the Festival’s Shakespearience program. This special offer is available for schools and education groups for any matinee Monday-Friday, August 1–September 27, 2024. 

Shakespearience excludes premier seating and is subject to availability. Pricing is $10 per person for Utah public/charter school groups, and $15 per person for private and out-of-state school groups. 

School groups can also join us for our two USF School Days in 2024. On September 5 and 11, Utah public and public charter school groups can attend the matinees of Much Ado About Nothing and Silent Sky for free!

For Locals

Iron County residents may also purchase the Iron County Pass for $200, which may be redeemed for seven admissions throughout the season. Proof of residency and an ID is required when purchasing, and residents are limited to two passes per resident. This pass expires October 5, 2024 and excludes premier and center orchestra seating. 

To look forward to next summer: residents of Iron, Beaver, Washington, Kane, Garfield, Piute and Lincoln (Nevada) counties can purchase single tickets for 50 percent off. Tickets must be purchased on the day of the performance. 

For Educators and Adults

Teaching artists can be arranged to visit Utah public and charter schools to lead free workshops and events. Request a workshop from our PlayTeam here. 

Give the gift of learning this season. Adult courses are offered throughout the season, where participants receive Southern Utah University professional development credit for attendance at plays, seminars, and orientations. Courses include: Shakespeare Survey, Shakespeare Forum, Shakespeare Seminar, Teaching Shakespeare, and Tech for Teachers. 

Other Discounts and Offers

For groups of 12 or more, a discount starting at $4 per ticket is available. 

For those that are 62 years and older, AAA members and members of the military, a $2 discount per ticket to any performance is available. 

For those with sensory or accessibility needs, Sensory-Friendly and All-Access performances will be offered during the season. Live American Sign Language Interpretation services are scheduled to be provided as well. Dates to be determined soon. 

For more information on ticket prices and seating, plays, educational resources, or any other questions regarding the Festival, call the ticket office at 800-PLAYTIX or visit bard.org.

2023 Season Moments We're Thankful For

Naiya Vanessa McCalla (left) as Juliet and Ty Fanning as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, 2023. Photo by Karl Hugh.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the Utah Shakespeare Festival staff have been reflecting on moments from the season that left a lasting impression. Read below to hear from our administration, alongside members of our development, education, properties, and communication departments.

Most importantly, we are thankful for you, our wonderful patrons that fill our theaters. There would not be shows without audience members, and without our patrons we would not be able to produce world-class theatre year after year. 

We hope to see you for our 2024 season, and it’s not too early to plan for our 63rd season. Cyber Monday, our biggest sale of the year, is just around the corner and is the perfect time to purchase tickets. 

Take advantage of the deal and receive $10 off every ticket by visiting bard.org/cyber or by calling the Festival ticket office. The sale will go live at midnight and is only available on Monday, November 27. 

Artistic Director John DiAntonio 

“Before moving to Cedar City in late October, my family was able to attend the closing weekend of the Festival. I’m thankful for the Utah Shakes childcare program which watched our three children (4, 3, and 10 months old) and enabled my wife Caitlin and me to see all four shows. The kids had such a good time, as did we,” DiAntonio said. “We took away wonderful memories from those performances: the dynamic and transformative ensemble of Coriolanus and Timon of Athens, seeing Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical with a sold out house of students in town for the Shakespeare Competition, and then the final performance of The Play That Goes Wrong, a show which is always wild, but then add in that closing night energy––it was a night to be remembered.”

Director of New Play Development and Artistic Associate Derek Charles Livingston 

“I’m grateful to have had a chance to bring A Raisin in the Sun to our audiences and for the tremendous response by those who got a chance to see it,” Livingston said. 

Education Director Katherine Norman 

“I’m thankful for the moment at the end of Actor Training Camp when all the student actors bowed and then immediately hugged each other,” Norman said. “I am also thankful for the many folks in the Grove who welcomed me to the Festival family this season, and the rich, challenging, and always generous conversations in the Grove, especially those about Timon and Coriolanus. These plays were new to many of us, and it was such a gift and joy to discuss them with the brilliant Festival community.” 

Properties Director Ben Hohman

“I am thankful that we had a successful run of The Play That Goes Wrong,” Hohman said. “We knew from the start that it was going to be tough to get through so many performances and keep everyone safe and the show in good shape, but with a lot of pre-planning and diligent work by the cast, crew, and staff, we pulled off one of the most technically complicated shows we have done in a really long time, and the audience really enjoyed it. That made it all worthwhile.”

Development Associate Emily Cacho 

“This year I was so grateful to get to experience A Raisin in the Sun. It was one of my favorite plays that I read during my time as an undergraduate at Southern Utah University,” Cacho said. “Seeing it be performed live was such an outstanding experience. Corey Jones in the role of Walter Jr. had me in tears at the end of the play; he was simply amazing. I love this amazing work that the Festival puts on every year.”

MFA Communications Assistant James Whatcott

“I’m thankful for the ability to learn and grow each day. No matter how challenging the day was, I can always take it as an opportunity to learn more from it,” Whatcott said.

Have a happy Thanksgiving! 

Festival's Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

A scene from Timon of Athens, 2023. Photo by Karl Hugh.

Happy Thanksgiving! We are extremely thankful for all our friends, donors, and patrons and cannot wait for next season. During this time of gratitude and celebration, Utah Shakespeare Festival staff would like to share some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. 

Artistic Director John DiAntonio 
Chocolate Chess Pie 

Ingredients:  
1 pre-baked 9-inch pie crust
1 stick butter, melted
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup corn syrup (may substitute honey or Lyle’s golden syrup)
1 cup sugar
1  tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 eggs

Directions: 
-In a saucepan, melt butter and chocolate. 
-Add syrup, sugar, and cocoa.  
-Add eggs one at a time and flavorings. 
-Pour into formed crust and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Director of Development and Communications Donn Jersey 
Cajun Shrimp Deviled Eggs

Ingredients: 
1 dozen eggs
2 dozen fresh shrimp (medium-sized) 
1 teaspoon cooking oil 
1/2 small lemon 
2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 to 1 tablespoons hot sauce 
1 tablespoon sweet relish 
1 to 2 teaspoons old bay seasoning 
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill (and 2 teaspoons to garnish)
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 
-Place eggs in a shallow pot.
-Fill with water, covering eggs.
-Once eggs begin to boil, turn off heat and cover for 15-20 minutes.
-For the filling, peel eggs and slice in a half.
-Place egg yolks in a medium-sized bowl and place halved egg whites on paper towels to dry. 
-Add listed ingredients beginning with mayonnaise to egg yolks.
-Adjust spices to liking and mix until creamy.
-For the shrimp, add olive oil to a medium-sized pan on medium heat. 
-Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and add old bay seasoning until coated 
-Sauté shrimp until done (if raw) or until slightly-charred. 
-Halfway through cooking, add lemon juice.
-Scoop egg mixture evenly into egg white halves and top with one Cajun shrimp. 
-Garnish with paprika and dill. 

Assistant Properties Director Marielle Boneau
Slow Cooker Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread 

Ingredients:
2 cans Grands! cinnamon rolls (5 per can)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 

Instructions:
-Open cinnamon rolls and cut each of the rolls into 6 pieces. 
-Reserve the frosting and set aside.
-In a gallon Ziplock bag, add granulated sugar, cinnamon and cut cinnamon rolls.
-Seal and shake to coat.
-Stir together the brown sugar and melted butter.
-Spray a 5-7 qt slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place half the dough pieces in the bottom of the slow cooker.
-Pour half the melted butter mixture over the top
-Add the rest of the cinnamon roll pieces
-Pour the remaining melted butter mixture on top.
-Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for about 2 hours. (The edges will start to brown, but the top will be a little gooey.)
-Turn off the slow cooker and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
-Drizzle reserved icing on top of the monkey bread. 

Properties Director Ben Hohman
Ben’s Dip

Ingredients:
16-24 oz of whipped cream cheese
8-12 oz of vegetable cream cheese
1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of minced garlic
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese 

Instructions:
-Combine the cream cheeses, garlic, and 1/2 the mozzarella cheese in a bowl, stirring until well combined.
-Transfer the mixture to a baking dish.
-Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.
-Stir and top with the remaining mozzarella cheese 
-Continue baking for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melty. 
-Serve as a dip with crackers, pretzels, or chips. 

Business Operations Assistant Amy Gold 
Corn Pudding 

Ingredients: 
2 cans creamed corn (15 ounce size)
1/4  cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup cracker crumbs (saltines, Club, or Ritz crackers work well)
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 
-Separate the eggs, saving the whites.  
-Beat the yolks and stir in the corn, milk and cracker crumbs. 
-Whip egg whites to a peak and fold into the corn mixture.  
-Blend in the melted butter.  
-Bake in a 2 quart round casserole dish at 350 degrees for one hour or so. The top should be brown and it shouldn’t jiggle when baked through. 
Note: I have also made this with homemade creamed corn. Use fresh or frozen corn (roughly 2 cups) and make one cup of a white sauce with butter and milk. Whir half the corn and white sauce together in a blender or food processor. Mix in the other half of the corn. My husband liked the flavor better with fresh corn.  


Publications Manager Marlo Ihler
 
Artichoke Bread Dip 

Ingredients: 
2 bars cream cheese
1 cup mayonnaise 
2 cups fresh parmesan cheese
28 ounces of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
3/4 cup roasted red pepper, chopped 
1 teaspoon minced garlic (2 cloves)

Directions: 
-Combine ingredients and warm in crock pot.
-Serve with bread or crackers.

Get to Know John DiAntonio: Our New Artistic Director

We are thrilled to welcome John DiAntonio to the Utah Shakespeare Festival. In September, DiAntonio was announced as the Festival’s new Artistic Director after an extensive nation-wide search. 

Now, we’d like to share more about DiAntonio with our patrons with this full-length Q&A article and get-to-know-you video.

The Festival: Can you share with us a bit about yourself and your journey into theatre?

DiAntonio: I’m from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and am the oldest of four siblings. I was an athlete growing up, but I also loved to paint and draw. I didn’t discover theatre until late in the game. My father is an engineer and my mother is an accountant, so I didn’t know theatre existed until I was in ninth grade in English class. 

We were reading Romeo and Juliet, and after class, my teacher came up to me and said, ‘You should consider taking theatre.’ So, my sophomore year, I signed up for my first theatre class, and my head exploded a bit. It funneled all of that class clown energy into the right place. Theatre is always where the misfits can find their ensemble, and I certainly found that. 

I discovered the bonds that form when you put a play together, what it’s like stepping into a character, getting to experience all the emotions like grief, love, passion in a safe environment. I fell in love with it, and the rest is history.

The Festival: You most recently worked at Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, Colorado. Can you share an accomplishment you’re particularly proud of in your previous role as Producing Artistic Director?

DiAntonio: I was the Artistic Director for four years, a member of the staff for eight years, and part of the seasonal staff for 12 years. I spent a lot of time there. I was thrilled with our 2023 season in every way. We hit a revenue record, it was our second-best season of all time, and we were above pre-pandemic numbers which was fantastic. 

But artistically, the shows, the lineup . . . I was incredibly proud of the artistic quality and what was presented, including the diversity of those shows and the stories being told. 

There was a cohesiveness to the company, and folks were just leaning into what we were trying to accomplish. It felt like we were living our vision, and it was a great season to wrap things up on.

The Festival: The Utah Shakespeare Festival holds a special place in the hearts of many. What drew you to this position and what resonates with you about the Festival?

DiAntonio: I am so honored to be taking on this new role. I’ve always looked up to this theatre and revered the work that’s been done here. When I was moving to Denver for grad school, my mother and I stopped at the Festival and saw all the shows, and it was an incredibly pivotal point in my life. At Creede, I saw it as a big brother or big sister theatre of what we could become. 

There’s so many things that resonate with me. First, the power of repertory theatre and what it means. I’ve experienced rep as a performer and audience member. 

Repertory theatre pushes everyone in the company [and audience] and forces you to grow. 

Also, what an honor to make Shakespeare the cornerstone of the work here.

The Festival: Can you share your favorite play that’s been featured here at the Festival?

DiAntonio: At this point in my life, Henry IV Parts I and II are the plays that resonate most with me. Now that I am a father, hold leadership roles, and have dealt with a pandemic . . . it’s been a time of growth that has felt like war at some points. I resonate with the character arc of Prince Hal.

The Festival: How do you plan to immerse yourself in our local community and culture?

DiAntonio: My family and I are excited to become a part of this community in every way. My wife and I have three little kids, and we can’t wait for them to be a part of the school system and make new friends. We are big outdoorsy folks, and we’ve started hiking trails. We went to the farmer’s market the other day, and it was glorious, and there are so many wonderful restaurants. 

We are coming from a tiny town, that during winter, had 400 people. We learned what community is all about there, and we will bring that mentality here.

I can’t wait to work with Southern Utah University, it’ll be a wonderful thing for both institutions. We can’t wait to get to know everyone and dive in!

2024 Is Just Around the Corner! Get $10 Off Per Ticket

Cedar City, UT — It’s not too early to plan for the 2024 season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. Cyber Monday, our biggest sale of the year, is just around the corner and is the perfect time to purchase tickets. 

Take advantage of the deal and receive $10 off every ticket by visiting bard.org/cyber or by calling the Festival ticket office. The sale will go live at midnight and is only available on Monday, November 27. 

“We are thrilled to announce our shows for our sixty-third season in 2024,” said Managing Director Michael Bahr. “We are proud to focus on our cornerstone of Shakespeare, presenting four of his marvelous works.”

IN THE ENGELSTAD SHAKESPEARE THEATRE 

Henry VIII
By William Shakespeare 

Having first been produced in 1981, Henry VIII hasn’t hit Festival stages since 1995. Following the story of a ruthless race to power and the desire for a male heir, King Henry VIII listens to Cardinal Wolsey’s counsel, while honorable Duke Buckingham is convicted of treason. The play also focuses on topics of divorce and the treatment of women in a male-dominated society, as Henry leaves his wife Katharine and marries Anne Boleyn. 

Click here for the content advisory. 

The Winter’s Tale 
By William Shakespeare 

The Winter’s Tale has been produced in 1972, 1989, 1996, 2004, and most recently in 2011. Focusing on themes of betrayal, loss, and forgiveness in the setting of a family drama, Shakespeare’s romance tells of King Leontes, his paranoia of his wife’s infidelity, and the consequences that follow. 

Click here for the content advisory. 

The Taming of the Shrew 
By William Shakespeare 

The Taming of the Shrew was one of the first of Shakespeare’s plays to ever be produced here, in 1962, and was performed most recently in 2015 in the final season of the Adams Memorial Theatre. This is the eleventh time this Shakespeare play has been shared with Festival audiences. Full of deception and disguise, Petruchio attempts to tame the wild Katherina into being an obedient and dutiful wife. Suitors attempt to win her sister Bianca’s hand in marriage, but can only do so if Katherina weds first. Interestingly, lessons are learned on all sides about what true partnership is all about.

Click here for the content advisory. 

IN THE RANDALL L. JONES THEATRE 


Much Ado About Nothing 
By William Shakespeare 

Much Ado About Nothing has been produced seven times, most recently in 2016, the year the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre and the Beverley Center for the Arts opened. Shakespeare’s popular comedy centers around two romantic pairings and the ways in which we can deceive each other, ourselves, and be both opposed and open to love through it all. 

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The 39 Steps
Adapted by Patrick Barlow 
From the Novel by John Buchan 
From the Movie by Alfred Hitchcock 
Original Concept by Nobby Dimon and Simon Corble 

The 39 Steps was last seen at the Festival in 2010. This humorous play follows an innocent man accused of a crime who must clear his name. A fast-paced “whodunit” comedy with only four actors but a plethora of characters, the play balances both suspense and nonstop comedy, with a little splash of romance. It is a highly stylized theatrical romp that leaves you laughing and amazed.

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IN THE EILEEN AND ALLEN ANES STUDIO THEATRE

Silent Sky 
by Lauren Gunderson 

This is the first time the Festival has produced Silent Sky. A historical fiction, it tells of how astronomer Henrietta Leavitt explores a woman’s position in society during a time of scientific discoveries in the 19th century. Including themes of gender equality, female achievement, and work/life balance, this play speaks to modern times ––even though it takes place over one hundred years ago.

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The Mountaintop 
By Katori Hall 

The Mountaintop has never before seen Festival stages. This story follows Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as he prepares one of our nation’s most important speeches. Although fictional, the play shows themes of being a figurehead versus a private human, and how King must confront his mortality and legacy. 

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Once again, visit bard.org/cyber or call 800-PLAYTIX to get $10 off per ticket while the sale lasts! Please note that the sale cannot be combined with other discounts and it is only available on Monday, November 27. The ticket office is open from 10 am-5 pm, Monday through Friday.

Festival Announces 2024 Directors: Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre Edition

2024 Anes Directors

The Festival has proudly announced the directors for the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre and Randall L. Jones Theatre. Now, we are excited to reveal the directors for Silent Sky and The Mountaintop, which are being produced in the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre. 

To see these shows and take advantage of the biggest sale of the year, purchase tickets for the 2024 season on Cyber Monday, November 27, for $10 off per ticket. 

Melinda Pfundstein 
Silent Sky 
July 12-October 5, 2024

Pfundstein is a familiar face at the Festival, having directed The Book of Will, All’s Well That Ends Well, and The Merchant of Venice. She has also acted in over 30 Festival productions. Some of Pfundstein’s favorite roles performed include Mother in Ragtime, Margaret in Richard III, and Constance in King John. She has also worked for University of Utah, Lake Dillon Theatre Company, and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre to name a few. 

Pfundstein received a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Southern Utah University and was an Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at SUU. Her professional affiliations include Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and Actors’ Equity Association. 

This show tells about 19th Century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. “I am thrilled to explore this inspiring story of breaking barriers and the light in all of us, with a brilliant creative team of collaborators at USF,” Pfundstein said. “I can’t wait to begin.”

Cameron Knight 
The Mountaintop 
July 13-October 5, 2024

“What a perfect time to re-examine and meet our heroes,” Knight said. “It is important to me that we see the familiar struggles we all face. We are facing so many questions these days: who we are, what it all means, is it worth it, will it make a difference?”

Knight is returning to direct this fictional story about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Festival, having directed The Tempest and Richard III in the past. He has directed at Resident Ensemble Players, American Shakespeare Center, and Bristol Riverside Theatre to name a few. His television credits include Blue Bloods, Chicago Med, and The Orville, while film credits include Widows, Sister Carrie, and The World Without You. 

Knight boasts teaching credits from Rutgers University, Carnegie Mellon University, and DePaul University, as well as others. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from University of Michigan, Flint, and a Master of Fine Arts from University of Delaware. His professional affiliations include Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Actors Equity Association, and SAG-AFTRA. 

“This production will examine the struggles of the pursuit for something greater than ourselves,” Knight said.” 

Visit bard.org for more 2024 season information. Go to bard.org/cyber for more details on the biggest sale of the year!

Festival Announces 2024 Directors: Randall L. Jones Theatre Edition

2024 Randall Directors

Last week, the Festival announced the directors for the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre. Today we are excited to reveal our directors taking on Much Ado About Nothing and The 39 Steps in the Randall L. Jones Theatre.

To see their work and take advantage of the biggest sale of the year, purchase tickets for the 2024 season on Cyber Monday, November 27, for $10 off per ticket. 

Brad Carroll
Much Ado About Nothing 
June 21-October 5, 2024

“Beatrice and Benedick – everyone’s favorite Shakespearean couple, yes? Certainly mine! Their antics take us on a romantic romp brimming with hilarity, love and wildly wicked wordplay contrasted, as only Shakespeare can, with darker themes of deception, loss and revenge,” Carroll says. 

“The experience of this spontaneous clash of worlds ultimately leads to redemption and second chances and rediscovering the humanity we all share,” he continues. “A tall order for a comedy, but Shakespeare delivers with fascinating characters, sparkling language, razor-like wit and, as in any great play, the unexpected. Much Ado About Nothing is really much ado about everything, and discovering, when all is said and done, what is truly most important.”

Carroll is once again returning to direct at the Festival after directing Sweeney Todd, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Les Misérables, to name a few. He has been the music director and conductor of popular Festival productions such as Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical, Ragtime, and The Pirates of Penzance, among many others.

Additionally, Carroll is the composer of Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical, produced and performed here in 2007. He also boasts teaching credits from Pacific Conservatory Theatre and Southern Utah University, and is affiliated with Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. 

Aaron Galligan-Stierle
The 39 Steps
June 22-October 5, 2024

“Having performed in the 2010 Festival production of The 39 Steps, I am honored and excited to re-imagine the show for today’s audience,” Galligan-Stierle says. “ . . .by focusing on [the play’s] four storytellers who use their boundless imagination to tell a highly theatrical story full of thrills, romance, and comedy.” 

Galligan-Stierle is making his directorial debut at the Festival, although he has a long history of acting at the organization. Calling the Festival his “theatrical home,” he has acted here for nine seasons, including performing the roles of Wadsworth in Clue, Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, and Tateh in Ragtime. He has also been on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera, Ragtime, and The Grinch. 

He boasts teaching credits as the head of musical theatre at Slippery Rock University, film credits as executive producer of Ruin Me, and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association. He has also acted at the Kennedy Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Papermill Playhouse, to name a few. 

Visit bard.org for more 2024 season information. Go to bard.org/cyber for more details on the biggest sale of the year!