In their 58th year the Utah Shakespeare Festival continues to shine and draw crowds from far and wide to spend an evening enraptured in the works of Shakespeare or more contemporary shows such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The Utah Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1961 by a young theater professor named Fred Adams. Adams envisioned a theater festival to entertain the millions of annual visitors to the nearby national parks. The festival is one of the oldest and largest Shakespeare festivals in North America. While every year of the festival is an incredible line up, here are 5 reasons not to miss the Utah Shakespeare Festival this year!
4 Works of Shakespeare
Eight plays are presented in repertory each season in three different theaters, four of which are pulled from the works of the Bard himself and presented on the stage of the outdoor Engelstad Theatre. This year the four works of Shakespeare being performed are:
Macbeth | Haunted by the witches’ prophecies and spurred by his wife’s ambitions (as well as his own taste for power), Macbeth dares to tempt fate. But in this, one of the world’s first psychological thrillers, he slowly finds that his murderous machinations are doomed to bitter and tragic failure.
Hamlet | Prince Hamlet wants the truth — and retribution. Driven by his father’s ghost and the corrupt society all around him, he plots and withdraws, schemes and retreats. Written at the height of Shakespeare’s career, this powerful examination of the human psyche is the Bard’s most mature and chilling revenge tragedy.
The Conclusion of Henry VI: Parts Two and Three | Pitting the Lancasters and the Yorks in a battle for the crown and the future of England, this story is at times both grim and heroic. The epic tale of kings and families at war will be concluded in one grand event spanning the War of the Roses in an epic and expanded experience.
Twelfth Night | Orsino loves Olivia (who won’t give him the time of day). Olivia loves Viola (whom she thinks is a boy). Viola loves Orsino (who doesn’t know she’s a girl). Malvolio loves being in love; and Sir Andrew, Toby Belch, and Maria love life to its fullest. It’s all rollicking confusion, but these hilarious characters to, at last, find love where they least expect it.
A Vibrant Spectacle, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
“It’s bright! I’ts loud! It’s technicolor! It’s Joseph’s new coat! And it sets the tone for a frolicking Biblical satire willed with vaudevillian tunes, country and western swings, calypso, and good old rock and roll. This classic musical has been going strong for fifty years and guarantees to leave everyone in the family humming for days.” The Utah Shakespeare Festival description says it all! This beloved musical has been entertaining audiences for 50 years and this year’s production is no exception.
Every Brilliant Thing
This funny and moving play shines a light on the effects of suicide, a serious problem in our day and culture. The main character spends the performance starting a list of everything that’s brilliant and worth living for. #1. Ice cream. #2. Water fights. #3 Staying up past your bedtime. He then leaves the list on his mother’s pillow, hoping that it will help her. Then he continues to add to the list throughout his life.
Just one small twist…. this is one man + the audience show!
“As audience members help tell the story, the play ‘ takes a group of strangers and turns them into a group of supporters, by recognizing that so many of us have been touched by depression and suicide,’ says director Vincent J. Cardinal. The Salt Lake Tribune
A show that is truly for everyone
It’s bright and brilliant, loud and bold, but “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” may not be the easiest performance for visitors with sensory sensitivities…. unless you go on Saturday, September 21! Tickets are half price for a sensory-friendly performance of this beloved musical. During this special performance “patrons will be able to enjoy the show together with family and friends in a welcoming, inclusive, and relaxed space.”
So that patrons can freely respond to the show in their own way and without judgment, house rules will be relaxed. The lights will be kept up so that patrons can move about; patrons are welcome to engage in self-expression such as singing and clapping along; patrons will also have the freedom to take breaks during the performance.
The modifications for this performance are environmental rather than artistic so that patrons can enjoy the same artistic product seen during other performances.
Take a page from the Book of Will
Join the friends of William Shakespeare as they work to compile “the book” of his beloved plays and save his legacy. A typical season with the Utah Shakespeare Festival provides four classic works of Shakespearean magic alongside 4 plays that are more contemporary. Alongside Joseph, and Every Brilliant Thing, visitors can enjoy The Price, and the Book of Will.
The Book of Will | Without William Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have the world’s most memorable plays – and without his friends, we wouldn’t know he wrote them. After the Bard’s death, his quick-witted fellow actors realize that the plays they love are being muddled and event lost; they know they need to publish a collection of his plays. Thus, they launch a warm-hearted and often comic mission to print “the book” of his plays and save his legacy.
To book your tickets for this incredible season and learn more about the performances available visit www.bard.org !