Utah Shakespeare Festival Unveils New Leadership Team
John DiAntonio as Artistic Director and Michael Bahr as Executive Managing Director
Utah Shakespeare Festival (USF) is pleased to announce John DiAntonio as its new Artistic Director and Michael Bahr as Executive Managing Director. DiAntonio is currently the Producing Artistic Director at Creede Repertory Theatre (CRT) in Creede, Colorado, and brings seven years of executive leadership experience with a rotating repertory company in a rural destination setting.
Bahr has been serving as USF’s Interim Managing Director since November of 2022 and previously served as USF’s Education Director for over twenty years.
DiAntonio will join USF’s leadership team later this year with the newly appointed Bahr. Derek Charles Livingston, currently serving as the Festival’s Interim Artistic Director, will continue as Artistic Associate and Director of New Play Development.
“John has a great love for Shakespeare, experience with rotating repertory, and embraces the complexity and sustainability of theatrical processes,” Bahr says. “He will be a great asset to our present ensemble of artists, artisans, staff members, volunteers, and the community. I’m thrilled that he is joining our artistic team, building on the legacy of the past and illuminating our bright future.”
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, DiAntonio discovered theatre at age 16 through improvisation and the works of Shakespeare. He received his BA in Theatre and Psychology from Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his MFA in acting from the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver, Colorado, with additional training in classical acting from the British American Drama Academy in London. A member of Actors Equity Association, he and his wife Caitlin Wise DiAntonio, an actor who came up through USF’s education programming as a participant in its annual Shakespeare Competition, lived in New York for six years before beginning his leadership career with CRT. Before this, he was a freelance actor, director, playwright, and teacher. Under his leadership, CRT has achieved both artistic and financial success. DiAntonio and CRT are celebrated by two articles in the New York Times: “Friday Night Footlights: How Theatre Bonds a Colorado Town” and “In a Small Mountain Town, a Beloved Theatre Company Prevails.”
“What an honor to join the extraordinary artists of the Utah Shakespeare Festival,” says DiAntonio. “I cannot wait to connect with the Cedar City community, recruit more theatre lovers, and bring the magic of the Bard to the stage as we embark on the 63rd season.”
“From a board member’s perspective, John has a wonderful balance of vision for USF accompanied by proven administrative skills and artistic leadership,” said Bryan Watabe, immediate past board chair and co-chair of the search committee. “I believe the Festival will thrive with him as our Artistic Director.”
In addition, Bahr excels at community building and stresses that all Festival productions, orientations, seminars, and Greenshows are designed to bring artists and the community together to expand perspectives.
“I am so pleased Michael has accepted this important appointment," said Southern Utah University President Mindy Benson. “He has a long history of audience development, creative programming, and cultivating connections to art not only within the community and on campus but with patrons, donors, and those with whom he works daily. As a result, I have confidence and optimism about the future of the Festival.”
Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2023 season presents Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the American classic A Raisin in the Sun, which close by September 9; the hilarious The Play That Goes Wrong, the lovely Jane Austen’s Emma The Musical, and Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and Timon of Athens run through October 7. These productions are accompanied by other enriching and educational experiences such as backstage tours, orientations, literary and production seminars, and the ever-popular Greenshow. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit bard.org or call 1-800-PLAYTIX.