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 Tuesday, June 17, 2008 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


New classics and old traditions at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival
by Mell McDonnell, CSF PR/marketing director

As CSF celebrates its golden anniversary (1958-2008), the campus community may wonder if there can be anything new at the Shakespeare Festival. Shakespeare did, after all, write only 37 plays and CSF has produced all of them more than once.

But new things are happening.

In 2007, Producing Artistic Director Philip C. Sneed began to expand the repertory of plays to other classic writers from other centuries and other cultures.

This summer, in addition to three fully-produced Shakespeare plays (Macbeth, Henry the Eighth and Love’s Labour’s Lost), Sneed has added American and French classics: Woody Guthrie’s American Song (adapted from the words and songs by Peter Glazer, with orchestration and vocal arrangements by Jeff Waxman) and The Three Musketeers (adapted from the Alexandre Dumas novel by Linda Alper, Douglas Langworthy and Penny Metropulos). The Woody Guthrie is a bio-stage play—a joyous romp through America with significant social overtones and a good deal of relevance to today; and the Musketeers has enough swashbuckling, romance and intrigue to delight everyone.

For Shakespeare buffs, Director Jim Symons' Henry the Eighth is a “must see.” Patrons from all parts of the United States and from overseas are coming to see this play because it is so seldom produced. Symons and year-round staffer Ray Kemble have given the play a shape that makes it clear and comprehensible to a contemporary audience, while remaining true to the original text. Love’s Labours Lost has a new setting and gorgeous costumes. It’s a play that with its witty language and bittersweet ending leaves a taste for more. And for something that’s truly new for CSF, Producing Artistic Director Philip Sneed will play the title role in Macbeth. Sneed has played the role twice before, once at the Indiana Repertory Theatre (1989) and again at the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival (2005) and is well seasoned, ready to take on this extraordinary part.

Adding to CSF's performances this summer are two special one-night-only events: MacB: the Macbeth Project, presented by the African-American Shakespeare Company from San Francisco on August 1 and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jeff Winfield and presented by the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company on August 11.

In MacB, Macbeth is reincarnated as a record industry mogul and his struggle is the battle to become the top dog in the music biz. This upbeat version of the timeless tragedy is set to music and choreographed to the rhythms of the spoken word. As many are aware, The Complete Works has taken Boulder by storm with sold out performances at the Dairy Center for the Arts this spring. This reprise on campus is a great opportunity to see the show again or for the first time. The three actors playing the parts, Geoffrey Kent, Matt Mueller and Stephen Weitz, are members of CSF's Core Company. Both of these special events are are staged in celebration of CSF's 50 years of providing the experience of live theatre to the community.

To cap the celebrations for the year, there will be a fundraiser Gala Dinner in Koenig Alumni Center on August 2 before the performance of Macbeth. Those wanting to attend should contact Development Director Tara Olney at 303-492-6018 or by email.

Also new at the festival are the larger number of Equity actors on stage from all over the country and the appointment of a “core” company—a group of local actors with exceptional credentials and a following among theatre-goers in the metro area. As Sneed explains, the artistic quality of any production can only be enhanced when actors work together and understand one another’s style over time.

And finally, for those who enjoy lovely summer evenings and picnicking on the Green in front of the theatres, CSF has now introduced gourmet picnic food available to order when you arrive on campus. The food (Falstaff’s Fare) can also be ordered ahead of time by calling the CSF box office at 303-492-0554 or online.

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