UTAH SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL IS THEATRICAL CORNUCOPIA
by Jackie Brett
The Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah, just a short two-and-a-half hour drive from Las Vegas, is so much more than a medieval theatrical experience. It’s a total package of show offerings including musicals, comedies, dramas, and of course Shakespeare, taking place in three new theaters on the Southern Utah University campus. The 2017 season is running through Oct. 21 with a new surprise announcement just out.
After 28 years, renowned actor Patrick Page is returning to the Utah Shakespeare Festival to perform his one-man show All the Devils Are Here, which is an exploration of the evil depicted in Shakespeare’s plays. He’ll present a public performance in the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre at 2 p.m. on Sept. 29. Tickets are $25.
Page was a popular Festival performer from 1984 to 1989, before his success acting around the country and adding such New York credits to his resume as Scar in The Lion King on Broadway, Max in The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall, and Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden.
This reporter made the trip this summer to witness the world premiere of very serious original gripping play How to Fight Loneliness featuring a trio of superior actors. The 2018 season running June 28 to Oct. 20 has been announced and will include eight plays. The world premiere in 2018 will be Pearl’s in the House, which is being workshopped at the Festival this year as part of the Words Cubed new play program.
This year the popular musical Guys and Dolls was presented and next year it will be the Tony Award winning Big River based on Mark Twain’s timeless American classic. Next year the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre will feature three period plays including Henry VI Part One, which continues the Festival’s History Cycle of producing all 10 of Shakespeare’s history plays in chronological order.
In addition, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Merchant of Venice will be two more plays in the Festival’s Complete the Canon Project, an ongoing initiative to produce the entire Shakespeare canon of 38 plays between 2012 and 2023.
Other entertaining activities associated with the Festival include fun outdoor pre-show free Greenshows, seminars with artists and scholars, orientations, talkbacks, etc. Cedar City is a charming city with places to stay and restaurants to enjoy. It’s a most worthwhile trip!