The Utah Shakespeare Festival!

Well it looks like the Bard festival is gearing up for another fantastic season!

Summer Season 2008
June 19 – August 30, 2008

The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Othello
Cyrano de Bergerac
The Taming of the Shrew
Fiddler on the Roof
The School for Wives

Brian Vaughn and Melinda Pfundstein
Cast in Cyrano de Bergerac :

One of the Utah Shakespearean Festival’s favorite couples (on stage and in real life) will be returning this summer in the lead roles in Cyrano de Bergerac. Brian Vaughn and his wife, Melinda Pfundstein, will be performing in the roles of Cyrano and his timeless love, Roxane.

“We are excited for them to be returning to Cedar City,” said R. Scott Phillips, Festival executive director. “They both have performed here many times over the years and have become a favorite of our patrons. The fact that as a married couple they are deeply in love will add another layer to this romantic and beautiful play.”

Both Vaughn and Pfundstein attended Southern Utah University in Cedar City, and both have acted in numerous roles at the Festival (Vaughn in over forty roles since 1991, and Pfundstein in over twenty roles since 1996).

Director David Ivers is also excited for the chance to work with Vaughn and Pfundstein. “There was never any question about casting Brian as Cyrano and his wife Melinda as Roxane,” he said. “Our great, personal friendship aside, Brian and Mel are two of the most versatile, authentic and generous actors in the country. Their language skills, integrity, and work ethic are astonishing.”

Vaughn’s first role at the Festival was as Castrone in Volpone (1991). He has followed that up since with such diverse roles as Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1994), Smudge in Forever Plaid (both 1997 and 2004), Laertes in Hamlet (1997), the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance (2001), Cloten and Posthumus Leontus in Cymbeline (2002), Prince Arthur in Camelot (2005), and Charlie in Stones in His Pockets (2005).

He is also remembered for his critically acclaimed turn in the title role of the troubled Danish prince in Hamlet (2006), a production which Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, called the best Hamlet he had ever seen.

Vaughn is currently performing as Mellersh Wilkins in Enchanted April at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre where he is a resident acting company member. He has performed in over twenty-five productions there, including The Nerd, The Voysey Inheritance, A Month in the Country, Laughing Stock, Bach at Leipzig, Arsenic and Old Lace, Proof, Wit, Buried Child, The Leenane Triology, Inventing Van Gogh, The Glass Menegerie, The Tavern, The Shaughraun, and Amadeus.

He has also appeared at the Arizona Theatre Company, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Kennedy Center, the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, PCPA Theatrefest, Phoenix Theatre, and Red Bull Theatre.

Pfundstein’s first role at the Festival was in the chorus of The Mikado in 1996. Since then she has appeared as Gloria Tharpe in Damn Yankees (1999), Rose in Pirates of Penzance (2001), Audrey in As You Like It (2002), Clarice in The Servant of Two Masters (2003), Ronette in Little Shop of Horrors (2003), Martha Jefferson in 1776 (2003), Lady Percy in Henry IV Part One (2004), Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (2004), The Princess of France in Love’s Labour’s Lost (2005), Emma in Johnny Guitar (2006), and many others.

She recently appeared at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre as Betty Haynes in White Christmas and as Tansy McGinnis in The Nerd and she has appeared in numerous roles in regional theatres across the country.

In addition to their roles in Cyrano de Bergerac, Vaughn will be playing Launce in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Pfundstein will play Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof.

David Ivers to Direct Cyrano de Bergerac :

One of the Utah Shakespearean Festival’s best-known actors will be returning this summer to the Adams Shakespearean Theatre, but he won’t be on the stage. David Ivers, a long-time actor at the Festival, will instead be directing Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand.

Ivers’s connections to the Festival and Cyrano de Bergerac are numerous and varied. “In many ways, this seems a natural extension of my tenure with the Festival,” he said. “Sixteen years ago, I made my Festival acting debut in Cyrano de Bergerac in the Randall L. Jones Theatre. Randy Moore, a terrific actor who is a close colleague and fellow resident company member with me at the Denver Center Theatre Company, played Cyrano. I am now deep in rehearsal, directing a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which Randy Moore is also in.”

Ivers also mentioned that he met his wife, Stephanie, in Cedar City, as well as the real estate agent who two years ago helped them find a new house in Colorado. And, if that isn’t enough, he is also directing two old friends in this year’s production: Brian Vaughn as Cyrano and Melinda Pfundstein as Roxane, both of whom he has acted with at the Festival.

“I have had an evolving relationship with Cyrano de Bergerac since the Festival 1992 production, and it remains, for me, the greatest play ever written,” said Ivers. “Its poetry, in harmony with its examination of love, death, selflessness, and introspection give it unparalleled status in the canon of dramatic literature.”

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