Utah Shakespeare Festival just announced 2018 lineup

The Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City just launched its 2017 season — and just announced its 2018 lineup, featuring four plays by the festival’s namesake.

Next year’s season will include the return of the festival’s Complete the Canon Project (producing all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays between 2012 and 2023) and its History Cycle, staging all 10 of the Bard’s history plays in chronological order.

Next season’s history play is the seldom-produced “Henry VI Part One,” which joins the far more familiar “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “The Merchant of Venice” in the outdoor Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre.

Shakespeare’s “Othello,” meanwhile, will be staged in the intimate Anes Studio Theatre, along with the world premiere musical play “Pearl’s in the House,” which focuses on singer Pearl Bailey’s role as a trailblazer for African-American women in the racially charged America of the mid-20th century. (Audiences at this year’s festival may experience a workshop version of the latter as part of the Words Cubed new play program.)

Another musical — the Tony-winning “Big River,” an adaptation of Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” with a score by the late Roger Miller — leads the lineup in the Randall L. Jones Theatre. Rounding out the Randall schedule: “The Liar” (newly translated by David Ives from Pierre Corneille’s 17th-century French farce “Le Menteur”) and Larry Shue’s popular comedy “The Foreigner.”

With “Merchant of Venice,” “Othello,” “Big River” and “Pearl’s in the House” on the schedule, the upcoming season “provides a unique examination of intolerance and the adverse impact it can have on our collective humanity,” USF artistic director Brian Vaughn commented in a news release announcing the 2018 season.

The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 57th season will run from June 28 to Oct. 20, 2018; tickets go on sale July 15. For tickets and other information, visit bard.org or call 800-752-9849.

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