Congrats on the Big 5-0.
You don't look a day over 447.
(Must be all that jogging and the daily moisturizing.)
Fudged it a bit, we'll admit. That first milestone is the anniversary this year of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The other is the age of William Shakespeare. (At press time, there was no word on whether Mr. S would attend any of the celebratory events. He might be a bit infirm.)
Fine, we'll play it straight now.
Feeling all aglow for its golden anniversary, this year's season -- the summer roster of six plays, plus another two commencing in late September -- will be sprinkled with commemorations, including a reunion of cast members from the inaugural season of 1962, a shindig celebrating Billy S' birthday (don't feel pressured to bring gifts), photo exhibits illustrating the festival's history, post-play entertainment through this opening week and a vintage car show.
That's the potatoes. Here's the meat:
■ Does anyone actually dream of fairies? As opposed to, say being on a nude beach with Jessica Alba or stuck in an elevator with Brad Pitt? Apparently they do in the "Inception" of its time -- Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (through Sept. 3, Adams Shakespearean Theatre). The Bard's most popular giggle-fest finds the feuding king and queen of the fairies sticking their fairy noses into the couplings of mere mortals, as complications ensue. (Perhaps they can get Jessica to star. And who wouldn't want to see Brad as the king of the fairies?)
■ Not so much the giggle-fest, this one. In Billy's "Richard III" (today through Sept. 3, Adams Shakespearean Theatre), Dickie has manipulated his way to the English throne by exploiting -- or, if he's in the mood, murdering -- everyone in his way. Still, you skip over those anti-social tendencies -- kind of a charming dude, actually. Spoiler alert: That might not be enough to save his royal tush from the twisted world he's created for himself. FYI: No fairies. The Fairy Union was insisting on time and a half.
■ So there's these two sweet kids. They get along just swell -- all gushy and moon-faced, talkin' that love talk in between makin' out. They're so gooey for each other that their phones actually blush when they text each other, and their Twitter followers are praying they don't take a cue from Anthony Weiner and start sending each other crotch shots. (OK, we made that last part up.)
And yet, "Romeo and Juliet" (Saturday through Sept. 2, Adams Shakespearean Theatre) have to put up with that problem young lovers have endured since time immemorial: the grumpy ol' in-laws. Gets pretty intense between the Montague and Capulet clans until hostilities break out and Julie starts to wonder, "Hey, where the hell art thou, Romy?" By the end? Believe us, this is no Jennifer Aniston rom-com, kids.
■ Hey buddy, have you seen 76 trombones, a virginal librarian, a slick-tongued con man and some 19th-century Iowa yokels who swallow whole some folderol about putting together a boys' band to pass the summertime blues? If so, send them over, they're needed onstage to star in "The Music Man" (Wednesday through Sept. 2, Randall L. Jones Theatre).
Valuable lessons in this one courtesy of gosh-darn-likable swindler Harold Hill, who in one famous song asks the townies about their sons: "Are certain words creeping into his conversation? Words like, like ... 'swell.' A-HA! And 'So's your old man!' Well if so my friends ...
"Ya got trouble." Right here in Cedar City.
■ Oy. All that sturm und drang. Didn't Tennessee Williams ever chillax? Really, dude. Pop a Valium. Well, at least you're a great playwright, so we'll cut you so some slack, jack, when you tell us the tale of "The Glass Menagerie" (Monday through Sept. 3, Randall L. Jones Theatre).
Yes, it probes the concept of the American family, and no, it's not the Kardashians. (Ah, fudge!) Yet the story of the damaged Wingfields -- mom Amanda and grown kids Tom and Laura -- is a touching and searing portrait of human relationships.
Could use a few fairies, though.
■ Yes, Nevada Conservatory Theatre just staged this nutball farce known to comic connoisseurs everywhere as "Noises Off!" (Tuesday through Oct. 22). Can't see it again? Got something against laughing your fanny off, do ya?
See, it's a play within a play, which is a really bad sex comedy with actors who are played by actors playing other actors, and there's lots of backstage complications, flubbed lines, false entrances, malfunctioning props, onstage disasters and ...
Well, they're a mess in a show critics have called the funniest in the last half century or so. You could probably throw in some fairies and they'd fit right in.
■ ■ ■
By the way, come September, look for Billy Boy's "The Winter's Tale" (Sept. 22-Oct. 29) and "Dial M for Murder" (Sept. 23-Oct. 29) in the Randall L. Jones Theatre.
Meanwhile, have a slice of birthday cake for the Bard of Avon, before it collapses under the weight of 447 candles.
Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.