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Utah Shakespeare Festival

USF Unveils 2018 Season, Executive Producer

Utah Shakespeare FestivalAs it opened its 2017 season last week, the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah, unveiled its 2018 season, the first under recently hired Executive Producer Frank Mack. With four Shakespeare titles among eight plays in the Festival's three theaters, this 57th season, running from June 28 to October 20, 2018, will touch on a central theme of intolerance.

“Among other themes, our 2018 season provides a unique examination of intolerance and the adverse impact it can have on our collective humanity,” Artistic Director Brian Vaughn said in the press release announcing the season. “With four diverse Shakespeare offerings, including the next in our History Cycle, a world-premiere musical centered on one of the world’s most iconic figures, two delightful classic and contemporary comedies, and a Tony Award-winning musical based on one of the most controversial novels of our time, this season promises to resonate on all levels.”

The Engelstad Shakespeare Theatre will feature three plays by Shakespeare, including Henry VI, Part One, which continues the Festival’s History Cycle of producing all 10 of Shakespeare’s history plays in chronological order. In addition, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Merchant of Venice will give Festival guests the chance to check off two more plays in the Festival’s Complete the Canon Project, an ongoing initiative to produce the entire Shakespeare canon of 38 plays between 2012 and 2023.

The festival's fourth Shakespeare offering, also part of the Complete the Canon project, will be Othello in the Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre. The studio theatre also will feature the world premiere of Pearl’s in the House by Art Manke, which is being workshopped at the Festival in 2017 as part of the Words Cubed new play program.

Plays next year in the Randall L. Jones Theatre will include a popular musical based on classic American literature (Big River), a hilarious French farce newly translated into English (David Ives' The Liar), and the return to the Festival of one of America’s most popular comedies (Larry Shue's The Foreigner).

Tickets for the 57th annual Festival season, go on sale July 15. To purchase tickets or for more information visit www.bard.org or call 1-800-PLAYTIX.

The Festival named Mack, a veteran of theatre companies across the United States, in May to replace the recently retired R. Scott Phillips as executive produceer. Mack will join the Utah Shakespeare Festival on September 1.

Hailing from Connecticut, where he is currently serving in a leadership role at the Connecticut Repertory Theatre and teaching arts administration at the University of Connecticut, Mack is eager to bring his expertise to the Tony Award-winning Festival, he said in a Festival statement. “I am excited by the opportunity to join this amazing organization. I have been inspired by the deep commitment to the Festival held by the community of Cedar City, the staff, board, leaders at Southern Utah University, and its audience. I am enthused by the extraordinary artistic achievements of the Festival and eager to become an active part of it.”

Mack has also worked as managing director at the California Shakespeare Festival in Berkeley, California; Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, New York; the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival in Madison, New Jersey; and Connecticut Repertory Theatre. His skill set includes an emphasis on making data-informed decisions and cultivating long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with stakeholders. Mack has served as a management consultant at Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland; the African Continuum Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.; the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia; and community and university arts organizations along the East Coast.

Utah Shakespeare Festival Board Chair Jeffery R. Nelson led the search committee tasked with filling this role. "Through the selection process, I've been very impressed with Frank Mack,” he said in the press release. “Not only is he a smart, capable, and decisive leader, but he's a passionate advocate for the arts and especially theater. Frank has a unique ability to inspire and guide continual improvement and growth with a friendly yet persistent persuasion that I am confident will help us continue to build on the strong foundation already established by Fred Adams and Scott Phillips. Frank is the right leader at the right time for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and I am very excited for our bright future."

Search committee members included Ken Adelman, Jeff Larsen, and Ginger Anderson representing the Festival’s board of governors; David Ivers and Brian Vaughn representing the Festival; Stuart Jones and Shauna Mendini representing Southern Utah University; and Marty Larkin and Susan Wooten representing the Cedar City community. Consultants David Mallette and Stephen Richard from Management Consultants for the Arts worked with the search committee throughout the process.

“I am eager to work alongside Frank during this historic new chapter in the Festival's legacy," Artistic Director Vaughn said in the press release. “Frank comes with a wealth of experience in both professional and academic theatre, and I am confident our collaboration will be a rewarding one. I'd like to extend my personal gratitude to the search committee, our staff, the Festival board of governors, and Zach Murray, interim executive director, for their patience and advocacy during this transition.”

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is part of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts at Southern Utah University, which also includes the Southern Utah Museum of Art.

July 12, 2017

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