The actors are here, and a new season is nearly upon us! The preparatory meetings have been held, and the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival staff, technicians, and artists are eagerly looking forward to opening night June 27.
Once again, an impressive array of actors, directors, designers, carpenters, costumers and other notable professionals are lending their many talents to the Festival's upcoming season and adding their customary dash of color and flair to the Cedar City community.
“This summer we have more that 350 theatre professionals coming to Cedar City from 39 states, the District of Columbia, and even England,” said R. Scott Phillips, Festival managing director. “For every person seen on stage, there are seven people behind the scenes that help bring the stories to life on the stages.”
The 2005 season will feature a delightful combination of the old as well as the new, the familiar as well as the not-so-familiar, in both play production and company members.
The rarely performed Doctor Faustus, one of the oldest dramatic works in the English language, will provide Festival patrons with a marvelous opportunity to experience the genius of a Shakespearean contemporary, Christopher Marlowe, who wrote this original tale of bargaining with the devil. Would you be tempted to sell your soul to the devil in return for many years of riches, power and knowledge? On the day of reckoning would you try to bargain with the devil? Festival special effects specialists promise to provide a frightening glimpse of Elizabethan hell as Howard Jensen directs this tale of the results of greed and vanity.
Following in the footsteps of last year's highly successful regional premiere of The Spitfire Grill, a new Irish play, Stones in His Pockets, by Marie Jones, promises to amuse as well as touch the hearts of Festival audiences. Two Festival favorites, David Ivers and Brian Vaughn, face the challenge of their careers as they dart in and out of seven or more different roles each, relying on a quick switch in dialect, a gesture, the change of a hat, and their own multiple talents. All this they must do without confusing each other or the audience!
Veteran director Kathleen F. Conlin promises a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream unlike any other you may have seen. Such Festival favorites as Anne Newhall, Joe Cronin, Corliss Preston, and Peter Sham will take the stage, along with several highly talented newcomers. One of the highlights of this year's production as it weaves its magic on the stage of the Randall L. Jones Theatre will undoubtedly be a huge overhead, movable mirror!
Love's Labour's Lost, directed by Festival newcomer Timothy Douglas, will feature, among others, Leslie Brott, Corliss Preston, David Ivers, and Melinda Pfundstein. the King of Navarre and several of his naive friends find themselves outwitted at every turn in their clumsy amorous attempts to win the affections of the worldly-wise Princess of France and her beautiful ladies in this Shakespearean comedy.
A perennial favorite and certainly one of the Bard's best, Romeo and Juliet, will be directed by Kate Buckley, and will feature Festival newcomer Tiffany Scott as Juliet and Paul Hurley as Romeo. Numerous Festival veterans are featured throughout the cast, promising to bring a new twist to an old favorite with its timeless message of pure love spoiled by blind hatred.
Of course, no Festival season would be complete without its usual spectacular musical production. The 2005 season features one of the most beloved stories of all times, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's Camelot. Director Brad Carroll promises several new perspectives on this old favorite. Featuring Brian Vaughn as Arthur, Christine Williams as Guenevere and Michael Sharon as Lancelot, this retelling of the Arthurian legend and Arthur's quest for “might for right” promises to stir the emotions of Festival patrons as it has done for 45 years of audiences. “It's a play about hope, and that's reason enough to be doing it,” said Carroll.
“Every year brings a season unlike any other,” commented Festival founder and executive producer Fred C. Adams. “Even though you may have seen some of these plays before, you haven't seen the insights and visions of these directors and actors, and will never have that opportunity again. That's what makes each season, each production unique and exciting.”
Plenty of good seats still remain for all productions. Tickets for the 2005 season are now on sale and may be purchased at the Festival Box Office, by calling 1-800-PLAYTIX, or by visiting online at www.bard.org.
(News Release from Utah Shakespearean Festival.)