Author: Russell Warne

UTBA talks with 3 Shakespearean actors

CEDAR CITY — As is typical of any theatre company, some of the most visible people involved with the Utah Shakespeare Festival are the actors. The 73 members of the 2011 Festival acting company portray kings, queens, fairies, laborers, townsfolk, and a variety of other characters in the Festival’s productions. Almost all the actors play roles in multiple plays in a remarkable demonstration of their professionalism and versatility. UTBA recently sat down with three members of the Utah Shakespeare Festival acting company to talk about their Utah experience, their roles, and some of the challenges that come with performing...

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Romeo & Juliet hits the highs, lows of emotion

CEDAR CITY — “Two households, both alike in dignity . . .” Thus begins one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Romeo and Juliet. This play is so famous that many of its images and characters have permeated the popular culture. How many times have you heard a male lover referred to as “a Romeo”? When did you first know about “the balcony scene”? Have you ever seen West Side Story? I could go on asking these sorts of questions, but my point is clear enough: Romeo and Juliet is one of the most well-known and recognizable plays in the...

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You really ought to give "The Music Man" a try

CEDAR CITY — The Music Man is a staple of the American theatre. Debuting on Broadway 54 years ago, this beloved show has been produced thousands of times, been incarnated on film (in 1962) and TV (in 2003), and revived on Broadway twice (in 1980 and 2000). As part of the 50th season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, this classic is being mounted in southern Utah for local audiences. In addition to the show’s general history, I have a personal history with The Music Man. It was the first play I ever acted in (in 1999) and it was...

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Love to hate "Richard III" at Utah Shakes

CEDAR CITY — I’ve been reading and watching Shakespeare plays for half of my life and I like to consider myself well versed in the Bard’s work. However, there has been one gaping hole in my knowledge of Shakespeare’s work: the histories. Quite frankly, the histories are not as frequently produced in Utah—or elsewhere in the United States—as are Shakespeare’s tragedies or comedies, which is why I had never seen one on stage. My only previous exposure to the histories was the film version of Henry V, starring Kenneth Branaugh. That’s why I’m pleased that the Utah Shakespeare Festival decided to mount a production of Richard III as part of their 2011 season. Richard III is the tale of the titlular character’s rise to the throne of England, which he obtains through deceit, treachery, and murder. Richard—who is duke of Gloucester at the play’s opening—is physically, psychologically, and spiritually deformed and willing to stop at nothing in order to obtain his goals. Elijah Alexander embraces the role of Richard and makes the character a man that you love to hate. Alexander is at best in scenes where Richard is putting on a façade of respectability while in reality crossing all bounds of decency, morality, and order as he pursues the throne. In these scenes (such as when he puts on a show of piety for the people of London,...

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All the Festival's a stage

CEDAR CITY — Pop quiz! What attracts 130,000 audience members per year, has won a Tony Award, and has been running for 50 years? Of course, the answer is the Utah Shakespeare Festival.  Today marks the opening of the Festival’s 50th anniversary season and UTBA is down in Cedar City covering it all. Here is a taste of what you can expect over the next several days. Reviews of all six currently running Festival productions. We’ll probably be posting one per day starting with tomorrow’s review of The Glass Menagerie. YouTube videos of Festival actors and administrators talking about this year’s plays. Special features about the Festival’s past, present, and future. Photos and insight into the 50th anniversary of the Festival. So, come back often to the UTBA web site for information about the Utah Shakespeare Festival. You can also learn more about our experience at the UTBA Facebook profile page.  We’re also tweeting like a robot on crack in order to give you real time updates on what we’re doing.  You can follow us (UtahTheaterBlog) or join in the conversation by using the hashtags #utba and #utahshakes.  Finally, we’re also updating our Facebook status whenever possible.  So, keep up with us and enjoy some of the best theatre of Utah along with us. For more information about the Utah Shakespeare Festival, visit their web site at www.bard.org. You...

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