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The Utah Shakespearean Festival, the most prestigious in the region and considered among the finest in the country, lures theatergoers from near and far with its itinerary of six classic plays.

Under the careful guidance of founder Fred C. Adams, the USF draws experienced directors and performers who add to the professionalism of this well-run festival.The first week (July 2-7) and the final week (Sept. 2-8) are completely different from one another, but during the middle eight weeks (July 9-Sept. 1), the six productions are presented at specific times.

During opening week, the six plays will have their official premieres, all at 8:30 p.m.

On Monday, July 2, "Romeo and Juliet" will open, followed by "Titus Andronicus" on Tuesday, July 3, and "Two Gentlemen of Verona" on Wednesday, July 3, all in the Adams Memorial Shakespearean Theatre. Over the next three days, Thursday-Saturday, "Romeo," "Titus" and "Verona" will rotate in the same order, with the three newer plays premiering in the Randall L. Jones Theatre: "Ghosts" on Thursday, July 5, "Waiting for Godot" on Friday, July 6, and "The Importance of Being Earnest" on Saturday, July 7.

The schedule for the next eight weeks:

- "Romeo" at 8:30 p.m. on Mondays, 2 p.m. on Wednesdays, 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays (evenings in the Adams theater and matinees in the indoor Auditorium Theatre).

- "Titus Andronicus" on Tuesdays and Fridays, both at 8:30 p.m.

- "Verona" on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 8:30 p.m.

- "Ghosts" on Mondays and Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Fridays at 2 p.m.

- "Waiting for Godot" on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8:30 p.m. and Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m.

- "Earnest" on Mondays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. (except there will be no performance on Monday, July 9), and Wednesdays and Saturdays at 8:30 p.m.

The three Shakespearean productions will not be presented after Sept. 1.

During the week of Sept. 3-8, "Earnest" will be staged on Tuesday and Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Monday and Thursday at 2 p.m.; "Godot" will be performed on Tuesday and Friday at 2 p.m. and Wednesday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m., and "Ghosts" will be presented on Wednesday and Saturday at 2 p.m. and Monday and Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

There are daily Greenshow activities along with frequent backstage tours and literary, costume and actor/production seminars.

Other activities running concurrently with the festival include the eight-day Utah Midsummer Renaissance Faire, July 6-14; exhibits in the Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery; the Children's International Folk Festival, Aug. 1-4 at Brianhead; performances by the American Folk Ballet, Aug. 9-18; Homesteader Days, July 23-24, and the annual Iron County Fair, Aug. 31-Sept. 3.

The Junior Shakespeare Company of Salt Lake will present two workshops the week of July 9-13, one for students 11-15 and the other for adults working with youths. The JSC troupe will perform in the Adams Theatre on Sunday, July 14, at 4 p.m. For tickets, contact the festival box office.

Festival ticket prices: Evening performances in the Adams Shakespearean Theatre range from $14 to $18, with Auditorium matinees ranging from $6 to $14. Evening prices in the Jones Theatre range from $12 in the upper balcony to $18 in the imperial circle, with matinees ranging from $8 to $14.

For latest ticket information, call the festival box office in Cedar City at at 586-7878, Mondays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.