Half-priced tickets to the Utah Shakespeare Festival!

I know it's late, but here is my report about last month's trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival. (Hint: skip to the end if you are just here for the "half-price tickets" part. Or if you want to read that first.)


The company. I went with my friend JJ (we are old Festival buddies at this point) and this year had the added bonus of Desmama. I always have such a wonderful time being around these two women (separately and together). I mean, there is the part where Desmama reads really super trashy books*, but I'm a true friend so I don't judge. The nice thing about going on a Girls Only trip is that you can do things like drive to Wal-Mart at 11pm because you have just convinced one member of the group that not only can she wear dark blue nail polish, but she is going to. Also you can buy and eat like 9 tarts all together and nobody thinks that is excessive at all. Somebody wants to go back to the hotel and change into something pretty before the evening play? Let's ALL do that!

The food. Did I mention the tarts? Because they figured prominently in our adventures. (As did my growing bottom.)

We also hit Lefty's Hideout for some tasty Mexican food and The Pizza Factory for pizza, pasta, bread sticks, and salad. I shared my tip for getting the most out of the salad bar. You put the dressing on BEFORE you are completely done, and that way your last few toppings like the grated cheese and sunflower seeds and peas will stick to the dressing and not just roll down the sides of your heaping salad plate. You are welcome!

The Renaissance Fair. This was going on at the same time, so we checked it out. JJ crossed "riding a camel" off her bucket list:

We watched a belly-dancing performance (the little guy in the wrap was hilarious because every time his mom spun around he started giggling):

And what I thought was going to be a nice little photo op in the stocks turned into me being stuck there while people threw wet sponges at me:

Never trust Germanic men in leather pants. They are trouble. And possibly they will squeeze a wet sponge down the back of your neck and it will run all the way down to your underwear and make it look like you peed your pants in the back. Upside is, I haggled a vendor into selling me a jingly hip scarf thing at a discount to cover up the huge wet spot.

And now I shall take up belly dancing. Take that, Germanic guy.

Shakespeare First Editions. On loan from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, the library on SUU's campus had this cool exhibit that included some first edition quartos and folios. It was insane to stand there and look at a copy of Romeo & Juliet that was over 400 years old. We couldn't take pictures inside the exhibit, but the special collections area was beautiful and peaceful.

The plays. We bought tickets for three of the plays beforehand--The Glass Menagerie, The Music Man, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

The Glass Menagerie was very well done, and the actors were all great, but it was still Tennessee Williams. So you just knew it wasn't going to end well for people. And it was at 2pm in a cool theater after our early morning and long drive so . . . there might have been a tiny bit of dozing off happening. Oops. I even moved us into some empty seats in the orchestra section after the intermission but it didn't help. (That's my other tip: From the nosebleeds you can get a great view of the empty seats in the front. Make a beeline for them as soon as intermission hits, and then sit knitting like the own-business-minder that you are.)

That night we saw The Music Man. I've seen the 1960s musical once and to be honest it didn't do a lot for me. So I went into this performance not expecting very much but looking forward to my BF Brian Vaughn as Harold HIll. It was wonderful, though. I hadn't realized how funny it was, and during the finale I could not wipe the delighted grin from my face. The choreography during "Marian the Librarian" was perfect, and for days afterward I kept humming and singing "76 Trombones."

The next morning we stopped by one of the Actor's Seminars where the actors who played Romeo in Romeo & Juliet (directed by my other BF David Ivers) and the mother from The Glass Menagerie were speaking. It made me want to go see Romeo & Juliet, but it wasn't going to be on again before we left. Except by that point I just could not STAND that I was missing Noises Off! so we bought tickets for the afternoon performance and went.

Michael Frayn (who is brilliant) wrote this as a play-within-a-play. In the first act a group of actors and their director are struggling to get through the dress rehearsal of a comedy called "Nothing On," and everything is going wrong. The second act occurs later in the tour with a view of backstage, when morale is down and personal bickering and backbiting and relationship angst between the actors has escalated. The third act shows us the front of the stage again, months later, as everything and everyone is falling completely apart. I saw the 1992 movie version first in high school, which I thought was okay but kind of crude. I watched a friend in a community theater version at the Springville Playhouse a few years ago. But I knew that I could NOT miss the chance to see what this festival could do with such material.

And oh . . . friends.

I laughed so hard that my cheeks ached afterward. I shrieked like a hyena. Not even kidding. If it is at all possible, you need to get down there and see it. My only complaint is that there were SO MANY hilarious things happening all over the stage that I knew no matter where I looked I was missing something that somebody else was doing. If it had been possible to turn right back around and pay another $30 to see it again (and then sneak into the $46 seats during admission) I would have.

That night we watched A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Adams outdoor theater, which is always a treat. And speaking of treats, there were more tarts. They did a great job with this play. The sets and costumes were cool and the acting was loads of fun. The physical comedy was hilarious, especially during Bottom's play-within-the-play at the end. I may have shrieked some more at that part. Also I got to wave at goddessdivine, who was on the other end of the theater with her group.

Now for the good news. Tere are still seats available for all the plays, and the festival is running some discounts to get them filled. If you go online and book an evening performance for The Music Man, The Glass Menagerie, or Noises Off!, you can enter the coupon code BOUNCEBACK11 or HOTAUGUSTNIGHTS to get 50% off your tickets! I would love to drag GH down there to see Noises Off! and maybe The Music Man but I don't know that we'll be able to swing it. The summer season ends Saturday, September 3rd.

And just so you know, Noises Off! runs through the fall season, along with Dial M for Murder starring David Ivers. That's September 23rd through October 22nd. So you have no excuse for missing it!

* Sigh . . . fine. She doesn't read really super trashy books. I just like to say that she does.


goddessdivine said... [reply]

Yay for Shakespeare Festival! Ok. Those tarts....pure evil. I could have eaten a dozen! And I really enjoyed Noises Off! Great cast, and scene two was hilarious. This past weekend the group of us that went down to Cedar City got together to watch the movie version. It's kinda fun after you've seen the play. I mean, with Carol Burnett, Michael Cain, John Ritter, and Christopher Reeve; classic.

You're tempting me to sneak down there again. I would totally do Noises Off again, too....and Romeo and Juliet!

Ann-Marie said... [reply]

We are practically Shakespeare Festival twins! We saw Music Man, Noises Off, and A Midsummer Night's Dream as well. They were all so well done!

HAH said... [reply]

I'm seeing Noises off, Music Man, and Misummer next week!

heidikins said... [reply]

I actually directed Noises Off when I was in high school, it is, hands down, the funniest thing I have ever read/seen. I'm heading to Cedar later this fall to see it and I can't wait!! :)


amelia said... [reply]

okay weird... I was at that same actor's seminar. and we wandered around the renaissance fair too. (friend mandy and I spent an hour or so trying on corsets. and yeah. we each bought one.) we did not ride the camel though. oh well.

anyway...maybe you were there the same weekend I was. how crazy!

MBC said... [reply]

Oh, boo! I was supposed to be there this summer and then Baby McBaby scuppered the travel plans. I guess having a child is a fair trade for missing Noises Off, but I really wanted some lemon tarts!

Nemesis said... [reply]

Amelia, I know how we can solve this one. Was there a lady at the seminar who did a really long question-that-was-not-really-a-question? And it was all about how she stopped acting so she could have kids and how all mothers are living lives of quiet desperation and how she wanted the actors to tell her what huge sacrifices they made for their careers and how it totally wasn't worth it so she could feel validated? And then the actors were like, "Um. We became professional actors. So . . . it kind of WAS worth it to us."?

Because if you remember that huge awkward thing, then we were TOTALLY festival buddies! Squee!

Jill said... [reply]

The tarts are DEVINE! Also, I love the lollys. When I was younger I wanted to be a lolly girl.

Kayla said... [reply]

SOMEDAY I will go to there.

Strangely, I had a very similar stocks experience when I was 12, complete with wet sponges. The wet spot was especially great as a skinny, awkward kid with braces and a horrible haircut.

amelia said... [reply]

oh! i totally remember that! that woman was just a few rows behind us, i think. and yes: Very Awkward.

I'm sad I didn't recognize you from your everso famous blog here. my friend elsie was with me that weekend, and she is the one who introduced me to the land of missnemesis. it would have been really cool to have met you and been all fangirly for a minute. :)

Desmama said... [reply]

You're such a pup. "It's a smutty book!"

Truly, the festival was one of the highlights of my summer. I just loved it!

coolmom said... [reply]

This is why I may have to retire in Southern Utah!
And it just occured to me that I will be in Utah in September! My brain is whirling as I head over to the USF website!

Bebe McGooch said... [reply]

I've never wanted to go the festival before, but now I do! I don't know why it never occurred to me before.

Now I want to learn how to belly dance with my baby in the Moby.

How I would love to see a 400 year old copy of Romeo and Juliet! And now I crave A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Jealous, much? Yes, yes I am. If only I had a tart to soothe my envy!

emandtrev said... [reply]

I'm trying to decide if I should comment on all the fun things you did or if I should whine about not being there. :)

I'll be a sport and comment on the fun things! It looks and sounds like such an excellent time. And everything is better with the addition of tarts...

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