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Shakespearean Festival lightens up

Romance and humor take center stage in 3 plays

While the summer season at the Utah Shakespearean Festival has its serious side (the recently-closed "Richard III" was dark and treacherous), the 4 1/2-week fall season is dedicated to humor and romantically frivolous pursuits.

Well, maybe "Little Shop of Horrors" has its unique dark side (the central character is a jive-talking plant that's more vampire than vegetable), but patrons in Cedar City in the next month or so will be treated to wit and romance nearly as colorful as the region's fall landscape.

The three productions, opening this week and continuing through Oct. 18, are Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" (with a set of identical twins portraying the look-alike Dromios), Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest" and the hit musical, "Little Shop of Horrors."

The directors of all three productions have previously directed USF shows.

John Neville-Andrews is directing "The Comedy of Errors." His cast includes Paul Riopelle as Dromio of Syracuse, with Paul's twin brother, Peter, portraying Dromio of Ephesus.

The comedy's other set of twins — the Antipholus boys (one from Ephesus, the other from Syracuse) — are being played by non-twin actors Shelby Davenport and Rex Young.

J.R. Sullivan is directing "The Importance of Being Earnest," the classic British comedy about entangled relationships involving two fun-loving "gentlemen," a prim governess and a mother anxious to find a suitable match for her daughter.

The cast includes Rex Young as John Worthing, Paul Riopelle as Algernon, Lauren Klein as Lady Bracknell, Tyler Layton as Gwendolen and Katie Kozlowski as Cecily.

Paul Barnes is directing "Little Shop of Horrors," the musical version of Roger Corman's classic "B movie" flick in the 1950s.

His cast includes Peter Riopelle as the nerdish Seymour Krelborn, Tina Stafford as Audrey, his girlfriend, Timothy Casto as the owner of Mushnik's Flower Shop, and Andy Patterson in six different roles, including Orin Scrivello, a sadistic dentist. Daniel Gibson provides the voice of the exotic, man-devouring plant, Audrey II, with Benjamin Reigel as the plant's manipulator.

The festival's usual array of related activities — literary seminars conducted by Ace G. Pilkington and Jerry L. Crawford, actor seminars and backstage tours — are scheduled during the season, along with daily Punch and Judy shows.

A number of other activities and events are being coordinated to dovetail with the festival — nearby Brian Head's annual Oktoberfest during the opening weekend, the Cedar City Arts Festival on Sept. 26-27, the Color Country Quilt Gathering, Oct. 3-4; the annual Utah Shakespearean Festival High School Shakespeare Competition, Oct. 9-11, and the Great Pumpkin Festival on Oct. 18.

The festival's three productions will rotate in repertory Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays.


E-MAIL: ivan@desnews.com

If you go . . .

What: Utah Shakespearean Festival fall season (three plays in repertory)

Where: Randall L. Jones Theatre, Cedar City

When: Thursday-Oct. 18

How much: $16-$32

Phone: 435-586-7878 or 800-752-9849

Web site: www.bard.org