Four Shakespearean classics, two hit musicals, an American stage icon about justice, and a regional premier of a new play are all scheduled as part of the 2013 season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, which opened in preview performances this week. This 52nd season for the Festival on SUU's campus will run June 24 through October 19.
Of the season's offerings, David Ivers. the Festival's artistic director, said, “Shakespeare is our cornerstone playwright, and we are excited for the next phase in our Complete the Canon campaign.” In 2012, the Festival set forth a plan to produce Shakespeare’s entire canon of work over a period of twelve years, including completing his entire cycle of history plays in sequential order.
With that in mind, the Festival will present in the world-famous outdoor Adams Shakespearean Theatre the first in that history cycle, King John. Also in the Adams Theatre will be Shakespeare’s epic masterpiece The Tempest and the frothy romance Love’s Labour’s Lost. These three plays will run from June 24 to August 31.
“In addition to featuring works by the Bard, we will return to producing two musicals in the season,” Ivers commented. Cole Porter’s high energy musical Anything Goes will be featured in the Randall L. Jones Theatre from June 24 to August 31. During the late season, September 18 to October 19, guests can enjoy favorite songs from the ’50s and ’60s in Roger Bean’s The Marvelous Wonderettes.
Also in the Randall L. Jones Theatre will be the American theatre classic Twelve Angry Men, running from June 24 to August 31, and the second in Shakespeare’s history cycle, Richard II, set to run September 18 through October 19.
The final and, perhaps, most exciting 2013 production is a regional premiere of the winner of five 2012 Tony Awards, Peter and the Starcatcher by Rick Elice, based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Peter and the Starcatcher promises to be a thrilling, imaginative, theatrical experience about Peter Pan, the boy who never grew, and all the memorable characters he encounters on his journey to Neverland. Fun and inviting for the whole family, this show is not to be missed. Peter and the Starcatcher will run all season, from June 24 to October 19, in the Randall L. Jones Theatre.
“Each play represents our continued commitment to explore master works of the theatre while entertaining and engaging our audiences in new and thrilling ways,” concluded Artistic Director Brian Vaughn. “It is a season of limitless possibilities.”
In that spirit, the Festival has dedicated its 2013 season to the University's outgoing president, Michael T. Benson, who has done much for the Utah Shakespeare Festival and its ongoing partnership with Southern Utah University in his tenure on campus.
In its formal dedicatory proclamation, the Festival stated that Benson's "unselfish gift of time, resources and knowledge has forever changed the Festival," with a guiding persistence and wisdom and a forward-thinking imagination and vision.
This season marks an important turning point for the University and the Festival as the two partners endeavor to raise the final $6.1 million of the $31.6 million needed for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts, a combined arts space to benefit both organizations. A longtime proponent for the arts throughout his lifetime and administrative career in higher education, Benson has played a lead role in the Center's forward progress.
The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts will incorporate visual arts, live theatre and arts education in one location, enriching the region's cultural life as a year-round destination for arts students, educators, enthusiasts and campus visitors. The Center will be comprised of SUU's Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), the Festival's new Shakespeare theatre and an artistic production facility.
The Festival has been raising money towards a new Shakespeare theatre for several years, and in 2009 SUU launched a campaign to build SUMA. combining the projects has propelled both toward completion and will enhance the overall guest experience concerning the arts on campus. Design work for the Center is underway. The remaining $6.1 million needed for the project must be raised by November 15, 2013. A groundbreaking is then slated for March of 2014, with a planned completion date for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts anticipated in the spring of 2016.
For more information about the Center or to donate, Festival friends and patrons as well as supporters of Southern Utah University may call the SUU Advancement Office at 435-586-7775 or visit sorensonarts.org.
Opening night performances for the Festival's six summer productions will run July 1–3 following this week's previews. For tickets or information about the Festival, call 800-PLAYTIX, or visit bard.org.