2014 Utah Shakespeare Festival offers a 'smorgasbord'

Published: Saturday, June 21 2014 3:40 p.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, June 20 2014 5:34 p.m. MDT

The Adams Memorial Shakespearean Theatre, located on the campus of Southern Utah University, was dedicated in 1977. Many of the Utah Shakespeare Festival's Shakespeare plays are performed on its stage.

Provided by Utah Shakespeare Festival

Three sets of twins in two different plays, a rebellious son, unrequited love, mixed-up fairy tales, mystery and more will abound at the 2014 Utah Shakespeare Festival.

With four plays from William Shakespeare’s canon, three additional well-known plays and a musical, this year’s docket continues the festival’s tradition of offering “something for everybody,” said Fred C. Adams, Utah Shakespeare Festival founder and executive producer emeritus.

“That’s really what we offer here is a smorgasbord, if you will, a complete spread from a play as deep and intense as ‘Measure for Measure’ all the way up to something as bright and light as ‘Into the Woods,’ ” he said.

As a result of the “smorgasbord” offered, the eight plays explore many different themes and situations, some of which may be more or less appropriate for children and teens. The festival’s staff encourages parents to investigate the content of the plays before purchasing tickets.

“Some of the plays have different kinds of themes to them, but we try to make sure at the end of the day that the message and the theme and moral story of the play is an uplifting one,” said R. Scott Phillips, executive director of the festival.

Here is a list of the plays that will be offered with brief synopses, locations, times, ticket prices and content advisories compiled from information on the festival’s website.

Tickets and additional information may be obtained online at bard.org or by phone at 800-752-9849. Published ticket prices may change as ticket availability decreases.

“Henry IV Part One”

The Utah Shakespeare Festival continues its initiative to perform all of Shakespeare’s history plays in order with “Henry IV Part One.”

The play follows King Henry IV as he seeks to stop the civil unrest that plagues his country, which he helped jumpstart in “Richard II.” Meanwhile, his son, Prince Hal, doesn’t appear to be taking his role as heir to the throne very seriously as he parties with his friends in the taverns. Additional rebellion arises and Prince Hal is given the choice to turn his life around and join his father on the battlefield to preserve the kingdom.

Runs: June 23-Aug. 30

Show times: Days vary Monday through Saturday, with all performances at 8 p.m.

• Location: Adams Shakespearean Theatre

Price: $31-$69 Monday through Wednesday and $36-$73 Thursday through Saturday

Content advisory: The show is suitable for most audiences but does “contain the Bard’s usual innuendo and double entendres and some violence,” according to the festival's website.

“Twelfth Night”

Viola, a shipwreck survivor, washes up on the shore of Illyria and assumes her twin brother was drowned in the wreck. She seeks work in the home of a woman named Olivia who is also mourning the loss of her brother. When Viola’s request is denied, she disguises herself as a man so she can work for Orsino, the Duke of Illyria.

Viola falls in love with Orsino who is in love with Oliva who falls in love with Viola, whom she thinks is a man. Throw in a group of fun-loving friends, a jealous servant and a twin brother who didn’t actually drown, and the result is comedy full of disguise, confusion and, ultimately, love.

“Twelfth Night” is the only play from Shakespeare’s canon that will continue to play at the festival through the fall season.

Runs: June 23-Oct. 17

Show times: Days vary Monday through Saturday, with matinee performances at 2 p.m. and evening performances at 8 p.m.

Location: Randall L. Jones Theatre

Price: $31-$69 Monday through Wednesday and $36-$73 Thursday through Saturday

Content advisory: Utah Shakespeare Festival’s website indicates that the show is suitable for most audiences but states that it does “contain the Bard’s usual innuendo and double entendres and some violence."

“Measure for Measure”

Inward and societal battles between good and evil ensue in this “seldom-produced but daring ‘dark comedy,’ ” according to the festival’s website. The duke of Vienna temporarily leaves Lord Angelo in charge but remains nearby in disguise to observe the lord’s increasingly corrupt actions.

Angelo sentences a man to prison for impregnating a woman out of wedlock, and the man’s sister, Isabella, temporarily puts her intentions to become a nun on hold to help her brother. Isabella, the epitome of virtue, is offered a deal for her brother’s freedom in exchange for succumbing to the lord’s unchaste desires.

• Runs: June 24-Aug. 29

• Show times: Days vary Monday through Saturday, with all performances at 8 p.m.

• Location: Adams Shakespearean Theatre

• Price: $31-$69 Monday through Wednesday and $36-$73 Thursday through Saturday.

Content advisory: The festival’s website offers the reminder that the show does “contain the Bard’s usual innuendo and double entendres and some violence.

“The Comedy of Errors”

The Utah Shakespeare Festival takes Shakespeare’s tale and gives it an 1849 California Gold Rush twist.

Antipholus and his slave Dromio travel the dusty roads to a nearby town only to be utterly confused. Everyone there seems to know them, yet they know nothing about these people. Little do they know that they each have a long-lost twin, also a master named Antipholus and his slave Dromio, who actually live in the town. Each twin is mistaken for the other in a series of comedic events that lead to alleged theft and even imprisonment as they attempt to understand the peculiar situation at hand.

"The Comedy of Errors" is this year's Festival Family Days play with "family-friendly" matinee performances available at a discounted price. Visit bard.org for a list of eligible performances.

Runs: June 25-Aug. 30

• Show times: Days vary Monday through Saturday, with matinee performances at 2 p.m. and evening performances at 8 p.m.

• Location: Adams Shakespearean Theatre, with matinees in the Auditorium Theatre

• Price: $31-$69 Monday through Wednesday and $36-$73 Thursday through Saturday for evening performances, $28-$60 Monday through Wednesday and $32-$64 Thursday through Saturday for matinee performances; $15 per person for selected performances as part of Festival Family Days (use "family" as the coupon code to purchase online)

• Content advisory: The festival’s website indicates that the show is suitable for most audiences but states it does “contain the Bard’s usual innuendo and double entendres and some violence."

“Sense and Sensibility”

Some of Jane Austen’s well-beloved characters will hit the stage of the Utah Shakespeare Festival in the premiere of a new adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility.”

The play follows the story of the Dashwood sisters, who have recently lost their father, home and income all at once. With their lives in upheaval, the Dashwoods leave behind their home and friends to stay with their relatives. Old love interests remain for some while new love is kindled for others, but all learn that falling in love doesn’t happen exactly the way they imagined.

• Runs: June 24-Aug. 29

• Show times: Days vary Monday through Saturday, with matinee performances at 2 p.m. and evening performances at 8 p.m.

• Location: Randall L. Jones Theatre

• Price: $31-$69 Monday through Wednesday and $36-$73 Thursday through Saturday

Content advisory: The show is suitable for most audiences and “faithfully follows the plot and themes of Jane Austen’s novel,” according to the festival's website.

“Into the Woods”

The baker and his wife have wanted to have a child for years and learn their lack of success is a result of the witch’s curse. They embark on a quest to overcome the curse by completing a list of tasks in three days. Along the way, they encounter Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and more fairy tale characters.

“Each story is altered and intertwined, and most eventually work toward the same goal, but not until they each realize the repercussions of their desired ‘happily ever afters,’ ” according to the festival’s synopsis of the musical.

Runs: June 25-Aug. 30

Show times: Days vary Monday through Saturday, with matinee performances at 2 p.m. and evening performances at 8 p.m.

Location: Randall L. Jones Theatre

Price: $35-$73 Monday through Wednesday and $40-$77 Thursday through Saturday

• Content advisory: Utah Shakespeare Festival’s website indicates that the show is suitable for most audiences but states that the second act “contains adult situations and mild violence.”

“Boeing Boeing”

Bernard Lawrence is engaged to three flight attendants at the same time and counts on their flight schedules never intersecting. His house cleaner does her duty of rotating the women’s wardrobes, pictures and other personal items in and out of the apartment the man shares with all three women, unknown to them.

His plan hits a wall when flight schedules are changed and all three women are due home on the same day, providing a “bumpy and hilarious ride” full of confusion, according to the festival’s website.

Runs: Sept. 17-Oct. 18

Show times: Days vary Tuesday through Saturday, with matinee performances at 2 p.m. and evening performances at 8 p.m.

Location: Randall L. Jones Theatre

Price: $31-$69 Tuesday through Wednesday and $36-$73 Thursday through Saturday

Content advisory: With the play based on a man dating three women at once, the festival’s website indicates the content may not be appropriate for “some preteens; it is a bedroom farce in the same vein as plays such as ‘Noises Off!’ ”

“Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure”

Sherlock Holmes has been building a case against the evil Professor Moriarty for six months and is about to present his findings for the local authorities to arrest him when an intruder throws a wrench into Holmes’ schedule. The intruder asks Holmes to help him recover an incriminating photograph from the opera singer Irene Adler, for whom Holmes harbors a secret affection.

Although he initially considers the new case as more of a side project, Holmes’ sleuthing soon reveals that the cases are more closely connected than they may have seemed.

Runs: Sept. 18-Oct. 18

Show times: Days vary Tuesday through Saturday, with matinee performances at 2 p.m. and evening performances at 8 p.m.

Location: Randall L. Jones Theatre

Price: $31-$69 Tuesday through Wednesday and $36-$73 Thursday through Saturday

• Content advisory: The festival’s website indicates the play is suitable for most audiences but advises that it “briefly portrays drug use, innuendo and mild violence.”

Email: wbutters@deseretnews.com, Twitter: WhitneyButters

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