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August 20, 2014

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Never been to Utah Shakes? Read this, then gas up the tank

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Karl Hugh

To drive or not to drive to Cedar City. Is it even a question?

It’s time for another round of deceit, jealousy, murder, rape and raucousness in Southern Utah, where mirth, revenge and all-around Elizabethan-era pranksterism take over Cedar City each summer. The Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival is a popular draw for Las Vegas Valley residents, but there are plenty who’ve never made the 170-mile trek. We offer a list of reasons, aside from the cooler temperatures, to check it out.

The Details

Utah Shakespeare Festival
June 21-October 20, Cedar City Utah, bard.org

Drama: The acting, of course, is fantastic, as are the stage sets, costuming and play selections. This year’s lineup: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Mary Stuart, Titus Andronicus, Scapin (modern adaptation), To Kill a Mockingbird, Les Misérables and, later in the summer, Hamlet and Stones in His Pocket.

Brush with 16th century royalty: So there I was last summer, standing next to food vendors, when Queen Elizabeth I strolled into the crowd, pale-faced and dressed to the nines with a crisp white ruff topping her bodice and kirtle, both made of ornate fabric and adorned with a pearl necklace and gold pendant. Her red hair, braided around the brow and curly on the crown, was topped with a headpiece connecting to a long ivory veil flowing down her back. A-mazing.

Literary seminars: The lectures, seminars and group discussions on literary topics are always a gas. The festival offers an assortment to discuss the plays, with occasional directors and actors dropping in.

Fossilized shrimp: The small collection at the Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History at Southern Nevada University is not to be overlooked—fossils, minerals, taxidermy (including a moose and Siamese calves) and archeology fill out the new space, which sadly is only open Monday through Friday, so you may have to opt for weekday Shakespeare productions.

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