What places the Utah Shakespearean Festival several cuts above other summer theater festivals in the region is the caliber of the artistic and technical staff - directors with credentials from the leading theaters across the country and the very best sound, lighting, scenery and costume designers available.
Directors for this season's shows are Paul Barnes, "Tartuffe"; Robert Cohen, "Timon of Athens"; Kathleen F. Conlin, "Richard II"; James F. Christy, "A Midsummer Night's Dream"; William Leach, "Our Town"; Howard J. Millman, "The Royal Family," and Eric Charles Stein, the Greenshow and the Royal Feaste.Due to its specialized limitations, scenery in the outdoors Adams Shakespearean Theatre is rarely as spectacular as that designed for the state-of-the-art Randall L. Jones Theatre across the street.
Festival founder and executive producer Fred C. Adams does have one ground rule for the outdoor theater: All plays presented there must be staged within Elizabethan perimeters. No fancy fly system. No lasers. Keep it simple.
But even within these guidelines, scenic designer Anne Gibson has crafted some handsome backgrounds for "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Timon of Athens" and "Richard II."
Sound effects and lighting also add to the drama in the Tudor-style amphitheater, such as the entire backdrop being bathed in red light to signify the carnage at the climax of "Timon of Athens."
Thomas C. Umfrid, who has designed the scenery for a number of major opera companies and for several regional musicals and plays, has considerably more leeway in the Randall, which was designed specifically for the efficient staging of repertory shows.
"Our Town," of course, is designed just as it's supposed to be - a few tables and chairs, a couple of ladders, a fairly sparse stage. No wonder "Our Town" is so popular as a school production. The budget for scenery is minuscule.
But wait'll you see what Umfrid came up with for "Tartuffe" and "The Royal Family." These sets are truly spectacular.
Daniel I. Robinson designed the scenery for the three Greenshow productions and the Royal Feaste.
Well deserved kudos also go to costumers Bill Black for "Midsummer"; James Berton Harris, both "Tartuffe" and "The Royal Family"; Rosemary Ingham, "Our Town"; Kimberly L. Instenes for both the Greenshow and the Royal Feaste; Janice Stauffer, "Richard II," and Janet L. Swenson, "Timon of Athens."