Monday, October 10, 2011

Utah Shakespeare Festival 50th Season Highlights

This past weekend I returned to Cedar City to see the fall shows, which were phenomenal. The Winter's Tale is definitely in my top three Shakespeare performances to date (also including Macbeth and Henry VIII at the Globe). And so, here is a list of my personal favorite highlights or moments from the 50th Anniversary season of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, in no particular order.
-Brian Vaughn and Melinda Pfundstein's performances as Leontes and Hermione respectively in The Winter's Tale. Specific scenes include Hermione's final words to Leonte's at her trial, Leontes' reaction to his infant (I cried) and to the news of Hermione's death and the final scene. Well done Brian and Melinda!
-Matt Mueller as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. Awesome doublet, awesome character.
-The Music Man. Seriously, my favorite musical, I grew up on the movie, but Brian Vaughn as Harold made me forget Robert Preston and the dance break for 76 Trombones made me cry for some reason, oh yeah! Because I love musicals.
-Rhett Guter as Thisbe in A Midsummer Night's Dream. As assistant costume designer and stitcher for the fall season I got to see Rhett's performance progress until I could hardly stand the last performance I saw of Midsummer at the end of the summer season because I was laughing so hard.
-Kymberly Mellen (above right) as Queen Elizabeth and Leslie Brott (left) as Margaret in Richard III. The women in this one stole the show.
-The sound design for Richard III by Barry G. Funderburg. At points the sound escalated into strange and unearthly versions of WWII bomber engines that crescendoed just until it was unbearable.
- David Ivers as Tony in Dial 'M' for Murder. So charming and so skeezy. The girl next to me at the second intermission said she didn't know if she wanted Tony to get caught or not because she knew he was a bad guy and should, but was also drawn to the idea of such an evil and calculating character actually getting away with it.
-Ben Livingston's restrained performance as Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet. Where many Lord C's toss and smack Juliet around when she defies him, Livingston's Capulet controlled himself to the point that it was even more terrifying than physical violence.
-The willow tree for Midsummer designed by Bill Forrester, made possible by the scenic, lighting and prop crews. Truly a magical set.
-Rick Peeple's portrayals as Buckingham in Richard III, Peter Quince in Midsummer, and Friar Lawrence in R&J were all remarkably different and fantastic. I love Rick's voice! He used it so differently for each part!
-Dan Molina's Hispanic accent and Spanish interjections in Midsummer. Having seen it so many times I caught a lot more of his character than many of the audience member's who concentrated on other characters in the scenes. Some of my favorite stuff.
-Quinn Mattfeld as Young Shepherd and David Ivers as Autolycus in The Winter's Tale. So incredibly funny. Their running gags together and apart were just the sort of out of the box comedy that makes Shakespeare so fun.
-Puck's broom from Midsummer. Seriously, the coolest, most mystical broom ever.
All photos taken from USF's website, Check the site for ticket info and info about their 2012 season!

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