The Utah Shakespeare
Festival is proud to announce the casting of the first eight actors for the
2015 season. All are familiar faces, having appeared at the Festival in the
past. Actors include Tony Amendola, Melinda Pfundstein, Aaron Galligan-Stierle,
Sam Ashdown, Betsy Mugavero, Peter Sham, David Ivers and Brian Vaughn. Please
check for complete casting available soon at www.bard.org.
After several seasons
performing in the hit ABC television show, Once
Upon a Time, Tony Amendola is
back this year in the title role of King
Lear. He’ll also be appearing in Henry IV Part Two.Amendola was last at the
Festival in 2010 appearing as Shylock in The
Merchant of Venice and The Porter in Macbeth.
Television credits include Once Upon a
Time, Continuum, CSI: NY, Dexter, Stargate and The Practice.
Pfundstein, who has appeared in numerous roles at the Festival, will perform this
year as Kate in The Taming of the Shrew and Goneril in King Lear. Many Festival-goers will remember Pfundstein
for her acclaimed portrayals last year as Olivia in Twelfth Night, Baker’s Wife in Into
the Woods and Irene Adler in Sherlock
Holmes: The Final Adventure. She has also
appeared in such roles as Rosaline
in Love's Labour's Lost, Constance in
King John, Fantine in Les
Misérables, Hermione in The Winter’s
Tale, Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac,
Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, and
will take on Luther Billis, the crafty sailor in South Pacific, and Grumio in The
Taming of the Shrew. At the
Festival last season, Galligan-Stierle played Dromio of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors and Feste in Twelfth Night. Previous
seasons he has performed in Peter and the
Starcatcher, Anything Goes,The Merchant of Venice, The 39 Steps, The
Merry Wives of Windsor, Room Service and
A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
returns as Prince Hal in Henry IV Part
Two. Ashdown will also be Lucentio in The
Taming of the Shrew and part of the King
Lear ensemble. Ashdown made his
Festival debut last year as the young Prince Hal in Henry IV Part One and John
Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility.
He’s performed at a variety of theatres including Chicago Shakespeare Festival,
Northlight Theatre, American Players Theatre and Broadway Playhouse.
After a year away, Betsy Mugavero will return to the Festival
to play Constanze, the flirtatious and resilient wife of Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart in Amadeus. She will also
appear as Kitty Verdun in Charley’s Aunt.
Mugavero’s past Festival credits include Molly in Peter
and the Starcatcher and Jaquenetta in Love’s Labour’s Lost in 2013. She’s also been in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Noises Off!, The
Winters Tale, As You Like It, Henry V, The School for Wives, and The Taming of the Shrew
Peter Sham, head of the
acting and directing program for Southern Utah University’s Department of
Theatre Arts and Dance,joins the Festival company as Baptista in The Taming of the Shrew. He’ll also have roles in King Lear and Henry IV Part Two.Sham is most recently known
for his work as book writer/lyricist on Lend Me A Tenor: The Musical, which
celebrated a successful run at the Gielgud Theatre on London’s West End.Sham has been in several
productions at the Festival, and has performed at the Asolo Theatre,
Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre, Eastside Playhouse, Perry
Street Theatre, Artpark and Yale Cabaret.
with directing this season, both Artistic Directors, David Ivers and Brian Vaughn,
join the acting company with Ivers appearing
as Antonio Salieri in Amadeus and
Vaughn as Petruchio in The Taming of the
an actor Ivers, had been in over forty productions throughout eighteen seasons,
including title roles in Richard II and Scapin. Festival directing credits include Twelfth Night, Twelve Angry Men, Romeo and Juliet, Cyrano de
Bergerac and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).
Vaughn has played over
forty roles in the past twenty years, including the title roles in Hamlet, Henry V and Cyrano
de Bergerac. Festival directing credits includeHenry IV, Part One, Peter and the Starcatcher, Dial M for
Murder, Greater Tuna, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare in the
You can purchase tickets online at www.bard.org or by calling 800-PLAYTIX. And be sure to check back for Round 2 of casting!
highly-talented directors from across the country are already knee-deep in
costume designs, scenery sketches, and play scripts as they prepare to create
the transformative stories of their plays for the 54th season of the Utah Shakespeare
Festival June 25 to October 31.
a tribute to the venerable and much-loved Adams Shakespearean Theatre, Festival
Founder Fred C. Adams will be
directing The Taming of the Shrew as
part of that theatre’s farewell year. After this year, the Festival will be
moving its outdoor productions to the Engelstad Theatre, which is currently
under construction. “I am thrilled to be able to direct one last time in this
lovely theatre,” said Adams. “While The
Taming of the Shrew is a delightful comedy, I feel that it is also a
beautiful love story, and we will have a lot of fun discovering this often-overlooked
facet of this delicious play."
Artistic Director Brian Vaughn will direct the fourth play in the Festival’s
continuing History Cycle, Henry IV Part Two.
Vaughn directed Henry IV Part One
last year and is excited to be continuing the story with the same design team.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for
our audience to see the progression of characters, within a recognizable
context of design that will hopefully help provide clarity for the continuity
of the story,” said Vaughn. “Henry IV Part Two is a very different play
than Part One; there is a greater sense of melancholy throughout
and where Part One is all about youth and rebellion, Part Two is
very much about age and people dying away. It also has a fabulous cliff-hanger
at the end which propels us into Shakespeare’s greatest treatise on war, Henry
will direct the famous tragedy of King
Lear with Tony Amendola playing the title role. Ott and Amendola worked together at the Festival in 2010 when Ott
directed The Merchant of Venice and
Amendola played the role of Shylock. Ott
has directed at theaters throughout the country including Playwrights Horizons,
Public Theater, Manhattan Theater Club in New York, Arena Stage, South Coast
Repertory, Huntington Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Idaho Shakespeare Festival,
and many others.
hilarious British farce, will be directed by Artistic Director David Ivers. Ivers has directed many
productions at the Festival including last year’s Twelfth Night and 2013’s Twelve
Angry Men. Love,
romance, and secret disguises drive the plot of Charley’s Aunt, which will play throughout the Festival season,
from June to October.
directing last summer’s gold rush themed The
Comedy of Errors, Brad Carroll
is back at the Festival directing this year’s musical, South Pacific. Carroll has been involved with numerous productions
at the Festival including, Les
Misérables, Johnny Guitar, HMS Pinafore,
Spitfire Grill.South Pacific is
one of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s most beloved musicals with songs such as
“Some Enchanted Evening” and “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair.”
will direct Amadeus, Peter Shaffer’s
brilliant fictionalized account of the lives of composers Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart and Antionio Salieri. Sullivan has directed many
productions at the Festival, including Sherlock
Holmes: The Final Adventure, Stones in His Pockets, The Glass
Menagerie, Henry V, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, and The Importance of Being Earnest. Other theatre credits include
Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Studio Theatre in
Washington D.C., and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Robynn Rodriguez returns to the Festival to direct
Shakespeare’s romantic adventure The Two
Gentleman of Verona. In 2013 Rodriguez made her professional directorial
debut at the Utah Shakespeare Festival with the acclaimed production of
Shakespeare’s, King John. A
classically trained actor, Rodriguez received her MFA from ACT and was a member
of the resident acting company at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 22
seasons where she appeared in over 40 productions. Chockfull of confused men,
cunning maidens, and a hilarious and sly dog, The Two Gentleman of Verona will delight anyone who has ever been
in love or would like to be.
Directing the frightfully exciting Dracula is Jesse Berger who is the founding artistic director
of Red Bull Theater, an off-Broadway theater in New York City. Berger has
directed new plays and classics for The Old Globe, Denver Center, Pittsburgh
Public, PlayMakersRep, Barrington Stage and many more. Steven Dietz’sadaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula will run this fall through
Halloween. Get ready to sink your teeth into the story of the world’s most
This year’s Greenshow will once again be directed by Associate Education
Director Josh Stavros. Last year
Stavros directed the Greenshow along
with Fred C. Adams. There will be three different themed nights for patrons to
enjoy, each one taking elements of classic songs and dances. The free pre-show
entertainment features spirited song and dance, the perfect way to spend thirty
minutes before that evening’s show. Add Elizabethan sweets, and you'll have a
fun-filled frolic to prepare you for the main stage performance that follows.
very much looking forward to engaging with these six powerful and entertaining
plays, said Ivers. “It will be particularly lovely to witness our Founder
working on the Adams stage as we make way for the new Beverley Taylor Sorenson
Center for the Arts in 2016. Our 2015 season has something for every age and
gender and is sure to provide our patrons with a huge palette of theatre!"
are on sale for the Festival’s 54th season, which will run from June 25 to
October 31, 2015. For more information and tickets visit www.bard.org or call 1-800-PLAYTIX.
tour is still out on the road and going strong since January. We decided to check in with actor Molly
Wetzel, who plays a Witch, Lady Macduff and many other parts in Macbeth. Molly has been with the Festival for the last
two seasons. Last year, she appeared in The
Greenshow, Into the Woods as Lucinda and Sense and Sensibility. She earned her BFA at Otterbein University
and currently lives in New York City. This is her first role in Macbeth and her first time touring.
shared her thoughts about the play and the tour.
How do you make this story relevant
for the students?
Wetzel, Harris, Ivers Witches
honestly think that the story is relevant to everyone. Everyone can relate to
wanting something, and figuring out what lengths you need to go to get what you
want. Macbeth just has to go to great lengths to become king (spoiler alert?).
We watch Macbeth deal with the consequences of his actions, and ultimately have
to decide for ourselves what he should have done, which of his actions we would
consider "worth it", and whether he truly got what he wanted. The
show still makes me think when we run it, and I'm very familiar with the
What do you hope the students will take-away
from your production?
Wetzel as Lady MacDuff
really hope the students will take away that good and bad isn't always black
and white- there are definite shades of grey. Macbeth does things that are bad
for sure, but does it really make him a bad person? Is there such a thing as a
bad person? I hope that our production starts a dialogue about that.
What are some challenges that you
might run into while on the road?
I'm sure there will be some mishaps during the show throughout the run, and
it may be challenging to fix some of them with such a small group. During
summers at USF if you rip a costume, you let your dresser know and they take
the appropriate steps to fix it. On the road we only have the 10 of us and
we'll have to fix it ourselves! Luckily our costume team taught us how to take
care of things like this before we left, but I imagine we'll have those sorts
of challenges. However, so far our group is really cohesive and can go with the
flow- I'm sure that will help us a lot.