“In nature there’s no blemish but the mind.
None can be called deformed but the unkind.”
― William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
The 2019 season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival is presenting a group of plays themed around the ideas of family. Families of all kinds will be featured in a diverse line-up including everything from dark and dysfunctional (I’m looking at you Macbeth) to hopeful stories that bring joy to actors and viewers alike.
“[This] season is filled with shows that will connect with Festival audiences,” commented executive producer Frank Mack. “including great Shakespearean masterworks and ranging to an American classic, ‘The Price’ by Arthur Miller, 2019 will be a great season to drink in what the Festival does best.”
The 2019 season will feature a total of five Bard classics as well as an all-new play “The Book of Will” written to celebrate the works of Shakespeare. Additionally, the festival will be showing a touching commentary on the parts of life that make it worth living in “Every Brilliant Thing” and one of history’s most loved musicals “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Brian Vaughn, USF’s artistic director and said: “The 2019 season is rich with life-affirming classical and contemporary plays, each celebrating the preservation of life and the value of our loved ones.”
The Utah Shakespeare Festival prides itself on its ability to connect with their audiences through emotional and well-crafted portrayals of classic and contemporary works. The performances are enhanced by interactive festival experiences, including the nightly Greenshow performances on the lawns, which are designed to not only entertain but to enrich and educate spectators and passerby alike.
Beyond working tirelessly to perform, the actors and crew at USF have formed a special bond with previous cast and crew speaking fondly of the family that formed during the season.
Quinn Mattfeld is a long-time actor at USF and the 2019 season marks his 10th-year working with the festival in a place that has begun to feel like home. Mattfeld said, “Utah Shakes has meant so much to my wife Betsy and me over the years, and I couldn’t be more thrilled and humbled to be asked back again to play the title role in what is arguably the greatest play ever written.”
Mattfeld will be playing the character of Lennox in “Macbeth” as well as the titular character of Hamlet. He said, “Getting to play Hamlet, directed by Brian Vaughn, in the same space where we’ve done [so many seasons] together is the kind of magic you dream of as an actor.”
Cedar City has been home to the Shakespeare Festival since 1961, and each year it brings new visitors to the town and even new students to SUU. Olivia Livingston was a long-time USF fan who would visit Cedar City every year to attend the plays with her family. When it came time to pick a university to attend after high school she knew there was nowhere else she would rather go.
She said, “I had been coming to Cedar for so long for the Shakespeare Festival that I just knew I wanted to come here to go to school. Being able to be right on campus with the festival was so fun, I think I saw every show at least twice within my first month at SUU.”
Livingston later had the chance to work in the box office the summer after her freshman year at SUU. Many other students have has similar opportunities including current actor in the festival, Samae Allred.
Allred is an SUU alumna who will be appearing as the Narrator in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” this upcoming season.
“Playing the Narrator has been a dream I’ve had since I was a child,” she said. “I remember sitting with my parents down in our living room and performing every single character from the play we had on VHS for two hours straight. So from my childhood living room to the Festival stage, it truly is an honor to bring [my dream] to fruition!”
From fulfilling childhood dreams to finding a family among co-workers, the Utah Shakespeare Festival is just as fulfilling for the actors as for the audience. Experience a labor of love by visiting the Shakespeare festival, who knows where it will take you. The plays will open June 27 and run to Oct. 12, 2019. For a full schedule of performances or to purchase tickets visit www.bard.or or call the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-PLAYTIX.
The 2019 season:
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat June 21 – Oct. 12
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
It’s bright! It’s loud! It’s technicolor! It’s Joseph’s new coat! And it sets the tone for a frolicking Biblical satire filled with vaudevillian tunes, country and western swings, calypso, and good old rock and roll. This classic musical of Joseph and his brothers has been going strong for fifty years and guarantees to leave everyone in the family humming for days.
Macbeth June 27 – Sept. 6
By William Shakespeare
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 June 28 – Oct. 2019
By William Shakespeare
Prince Hamlet wants the truth—and retribution. Driven by his father’s ghost, his mother’s hasty remarriage, 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 Book of Will June 28 – Sept. 5
By Lauren Gunderson
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 fellow actors realize that the plays they love are being muddled and even lost; they know they need to publish a collection of his work. Thus, they launch a seemingly impossible mission to print “the book” of his plays and save his legacy.
The Conclusion of Henry VI, Parts Two and Three June 29 – Aug. 31
By William Shakespeare
Pitting the Lancasters and 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. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime theatrical event of the last two parts of Henry VI.
Twelfth Night June 29 – Sept. 7
By William Shakespeare
Orsino loves Oliva (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 do, at last, find love where they least expect it.
Every Brilliant Thing July 11 – Oct. 12
By Duncan MacMillan
With Jonny Donahoe
Mom’s in the hospital. She’s “done something stupid.” So you start a list of everything that’s brilliant and worth living for. 1. Ice cream. 2. Water fights. 3. Staying up past your bedtime. You leave it on her pillow, hoping—and you add to the list throughout your life. This funny and moving play is a tribute to resilience and hope—as it enlists you to tell its heartfelt story.
The Price Sept. 12 – Oct. 12
By Arthur Miller
A powerful, riveting masterpiece by one of America’s greatest playwrights, The Price spirals around two brothers’ struggle to make peace with their past. Years after an angry breakup, Victor and Walter meet again after the death of their father. As they sort through his possessions, the memories evoked stir up old hostilities and bring the angst of years of unanswered questions back to the surface.
Story by: Alexis J. Taylor
Photos Courtesy of the Utah Shakespeare Festival