Utah Shakespeare Festival season opens; preview performances

CEDAR CITY – The Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival will begin its 2014 season Monday with preview performances.

The festival presents four Shakespeare plays along with a variety of non-Shakespeare performances.

“There’s something for everybody – everything from slapstick comedy in ‘Comedy of Errors,’ which is ridiculously set in a California mining camp in the 1800s, to the absolute brilliant musical ‘Into the Woods’ by Stephen Sondheim,” Fred Adams, founder and executive producer emeritus, said.

This year’s festival also features the world premiere of Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.”

Utah Shakespeare Festival commissioned the writing of a new adaptation of the book, Adams said. There have been other adaptions but the festival wasn’t happy with any of them, calling them “stuffy and stilted.”

“We hired a couple of adapters who have done this for us, and it’s a brilliant, brilliant script,” Adams said. “I think audiences are going to be blown away by the charm and the beauty of it.”

The Green Show – a free pre-show that sets the stage for the evening plays – is directed by Adams and Joshua Stavros, associate director of education for the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

“It’s exciting to have two people who have a deep fondness for the Green Show be able to have direct control over the Green Show this year,” Kami Terry Paul, marketing director for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, said. “It’s really a labor of love for them both.”

Theatergoers look forward to the festival every season, and especially this season with its great play selection, Maria Twitchell, executive director for the Cedar City • Brian Head Tourism Bureau, said.

The festival largely affects the economy in the city as it brings a large number of patrons to downtown businesses and local hotels, Twitchell said.

“The Utah Shakespeare Festival is a big generator of the visitors that we see here in Iron County every year,” she said, “there’s no doubt about that.”

The 2014 lineup:

In the Adams Shakespearean Theatre, June 23 to Aug. 30

• “Henry IV Part One” by William Shakespeare
• “Measure for Measure” by William Shakespeare
• “The Comedy of Errors” by William Shakespeare

In the Randall L. Jones Theatre, June 23 to Aug. 30

• “Sense and Sensibility” by Joseph Hanreddy and J. R. Sullivan
• “Into the Woods” by Stephen Sondheim

In the Randall L. Jones Theatre, June 23 to Oct. 18

• “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare

In the Randall L. Jones Theatre, Sept. 20 to Oct. 18

• “Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure” by Steven Dietz
• “Boeing-Boeing” by Marc Camoletti

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