Utah Shakespeare Festival’s opening celebrates 60 years, honors late founder

A production of "Pericles" at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cedar City, Utah, June 2021 | Photo courtesy of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Thursday was a night over a year in the making at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, marking the resumption of plays after the 2020 season was canceled because of COVID-19. After an opening night of “The Greenshow,” audiences were invited into the theater by traditional trumpet fanfare, and the stage soon exploded with action and color.

A scene from the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 2021 production of Pericles, Cedar City, Utah, June 2021 | Photo by Karl Hugh/Utah Shakespeare Festival, St. George News / Cedar City News

The opening play was Shakespeare’s “Pericles” in the Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre. Other productions in the festival’s 60th season include “Richard III,” “The Comedy of Errors,” “The Pirates of Penzance,” “Ragtime,” “Cymbeline,” “Intimate Apparel” and “The Comedy of Terrors.”

Before the stage was turned over to the actors on opening night, Executive Producer Frank Mack and Artistic Director Brian Vaughn made a quick appearance to express heartfelt thanks to patrons, donors, company members and others for making this season happen. They also spoke about festival founder Fred C. Adams, who died in 2020. This season is dedicated to his vision, friendship and memory. A celebration of his life is being planned for later this summer.

“The confluence of many circumstances will combine to make 2021 a special season — celebrating sixty years of great professional theatre in beautiful Cedar City, honoring our visionary founder who made all this possible and getting to produce shows for our wonderful audiences, by our amazing artists, after a year-long hiatus,” Mack said while discussing the season.

Vaughn’s remarks touched on six decades of successful festivals.

“The 2021 season marks sixty glorious years producing Shakespeare under the stars at the Utah Shakespeare Festival,” he said. “It will be a season filled with celebration and reflection, including honoring the legacy of Fred and the incredible achievements of his remarkable life.”

The pair also announced the 2022 season. Details can be found on the Festival’s website.

The 2021 season will run through Oct. 9 in three theaters. Tickets are $23 to $85 and are on sale now: to buy tickets, go to the Festival website, call 800-PLAYTIX or visit the ticket office at the Beverley Center for the Arts, 195 W. Center St., Cedar City.

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