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Utah Shakespeare Festival names new executive producer

He’s worked at Shakespeare festivals from California to New Jersey.

But theater veteran Frank Mack’s next stop will be Cedar City, Utah, as the Tony-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival’s new executive producer.

Replacing the recently retired R. Scott Phillips, Mack officially joins festival management Sept. 1, but plans to be in Cedar City in early July when the festival launches its 56th season, which runs from June 29 to Oct. 21.

“I never saw a show there,” Mack notes in a telephone interview, “but that’ll change in July.”

Although Mack has never seen a USF production, he’s well aware of the festival’s reputation, prompting him to say, “Hey, I want to work there” when he heard about the executive producer opening.

“It’s one of the best in the country — really, in the world,” Mack says of USF, listing the festival alongside the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Canada’s Stratford Festival and Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company.

“It’s about the quality of the artistic work,” he adds, citing “this devotion to putting the best work on stage possible — and putting that first.”

In his new post, Mack will focus on fundraising, developing new donor relationships and deepening current ones.

“The festival can be even better at what it does,” he says. “Not that it’s underperforming, but there’s an opportunity to do even more.”

Mack joins USF from Connecticut Repertory Theatre, the producing arm of the University of Connecticut’s drama department, where Mack has taught arts administration.

Previous posts include managing director at the California Shakespeare Festival in Berkeley; the Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York; and the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival in Madison, New Jersey.

USF’s search committee — which included representatives from the festival, its home base at Southern Utah University, Cedar City and arts consultants — talked with more than 150 arts professionals during the selection process.

Frank’s hiring represents the latest change in festival leadership; earlier this month, Brian Vaughn was named sole artistic director, following co-director David Ivers’ departure to lead the Arizona Theatre Company.

Contact Carol Cling at ccling@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @CarolSCling on Twitter.

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