Cedar City: Utah Shakespearean Festival

I'm just back from a wonderful few days in Cedar City where I attended the fabulous Utah Shakespearean Festival (If you haven't been you must change your ways and get tickets now). It was wonderful.

We saw three plays:

First, we saw Fiddler on the Roof which I thought was delightful. The stage was perhaps a bit too small for the play but you really only notice that during the opening scene and during the wedding scene. I thought the three oldest sisters were performed quite well but I could have hope for a Tevye with a stronger singing voice. While the whole thing was done quite well, I think the play was stolen a bit by the actor playing Lazor Wolf who was just fabulous and so funny--nice to see him performed as simply a man rather than an awful man.

Second, we saw Cyrano de Bergerac which was so wonderful that I would say it is a must see. There were, however, some sitting near us in the audience that didn't appreciate it as they should have. I think that Steve Martin's Roxanne does some disservice to the story in leading some to believe that the Cyrano story is a funny sort of romp. Well it is not. It is a drama (that has some funny lines) that deals with love and death. If that is what you are prepared for I do not see how you could not enjoy this particular presentation of the play. It was so moving and spectacularly acted that really I don't have any real complaints.

Third, we saw Two Gentlemen of Verona (it is a Shakespeare festival after all). This is Shakespeare's first comedy (I believe) and is (I think) one of his easiest plays to follow. This particular production was strongly acted but nothing that would blow you away as an audience member. There is lots to talk about, though, if you like to dissect plays after seeing them.

The other three options were: Taming of the Shrew (set in post-WWII Italy), Othello, and School of Wives. The set for Taming was really fantastic looking but that is about all that I could say about any of the plays as none of them were getting much buzz at any of the seminars that I attended.

In addition to the plays we saw we attended all of the play orientations (an absolute must as they will explain, in addition to the plot, some of the smaller details of the plays such as why Milan was mispronounced in Two Gentlemen of Verona (because the English liked to bug foreigners by mispronouncing names). We also attended the literary seminars which allow us as audience members to meet with really smart Shakespeare experts and talk about what we liked or didn't like about the plays, a prop's seminar, and an actor's seminar. It was so much fun.

It is very sad now to be back and I keep looking at the clock to see what people at the festival are doing and wishing I could just run over to the Pastry Pub for a great sandwich or piece of really decadent chocolate cake (sigh!). Now I have nothing to do but look forward to going next year.

On a side note: at the actor's seminar someone asked where the top Shakespeare festivals are. I don't remember the entire list but a few of them were the Oregon festival in Ashland, the Chicago festival, the D.C. festival, and a quick-growing festival in Idaho. Does anyone know anything about these festivals? Someday I'd love to travel around to at least some of them.


Science Teacher Mommy said...

I'm so jealous. The spring I got home from my mission I went with my sister, sister-in-law and my mother. It was so wonderful. Cedar City was much smaller then (this is 10 years ago), and just so charming.

I've heard nothing but fabulous things about Ashland (which pretty much runs year round) and is just a couple of hours from here. Plantboy is actually going to be in Ashland on business in August and we were trying to figure out who we trusted overnight with the kids when I realized that the dates coincide so terribly with a big RS party I'm basically in charge of. BIG SIGH. If we went while he was there anyway, part of our meals and hotel would be covered by the company. Ashland actually has a big outdoor theatre which mimics the Stratford theatre in its shape and size.

Denise said...

I have been to Ashland once. I never did see any plays but the city is fun. They have many markets lining the streets. I say the family and us meet at Ashland sometime. That would be fun. They are only 4 hours from me (I think).

I am glad you had fun. Sorry you are back home. No pictures???

Allyson said...

Hi Miss Courtney....LONG TIME NO TALK!!! I ran into Tiffany who gave my email to Natalie, who said you have a blog....and here I am. My blog is private, so I will invite you just get me your email address. Later Gator!


Natalie said...

Shoot! She beat me to you! I was going to warn you that Allyson was going to find you just in case you wanted to make your blog private to hide from her! Of course I am just kidding! My life feels complete now that we are all reunited! Yippee! LOL

Jen said...

I love the Shakespearean Festival. Janz and I went 15 years ago and we haven't been back since. Shame on me! I'm glad you had a good time though. I'm very jealous of all the traveling you get to do. And Happy late Birthday! Hope you had fun!

MBC said...

Just got back (like an hour ago) from the Oregon Festival. Really nice. I still prefer Cedar City, probably because I've been going there longer and know who to look for and have rituals that must be performed there. Their theater is beautiful but bigger than Cedar City's, which makes it a less intimate space.

The DC festival draws really accomplished actors but since it is in DC, it lacks that destination travel thing that Cedar City and Ashland have going on, where the whole town sort of revolves around the plays and the Festival.

Yankee Girl said...

STM--I am so sorry for you.

Denise--I will bring it up with the family.

Allyson--oh my goodness. I was just thinking of you the other day.

Jen--For Shame!

MBC--I just barely saw your email--hangs head in shame and replied--I'm glad you saw this post because you have the most experience in this section.

Anonymous said...

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CedarPix - Cedar City, Utah Photos & Pictures