R. Scott Phillips is festival director for the Utah Shakespearean Festival (bard.org) which just began its summer season in Cedar City.
How would you characterize the annual miracle that involves opening six plays in six days?
tIt’s hellacious. As far as I know, no other theater company in America does this, because it’s hell. But we recognized years ago, in order to capture that destination traveler, we needed to make sure we had the whole enchilada. You’re not going to travel 250 or 300 miles to see one play and then go back two weeks later to see the other play. But that means the theater has been in operation 24 hours a day. The actors leave at midnight, the painters come in until 8, then the electricians take over till noon, then the actors come back into it. So it’s been crazy. There’s lots of fast food.
Do you have a personal favorite show this year?
tI have to say that I am inclined toward Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker. I think Wilder captures a piece of Americana. He does it with farce and humor in this particular play but there’s great warmth underneath it all.
Why a world premiere of Lend Me a Tenor: The Musical?
tPart of the greatest contribution the American theater has made to world theater is the musical comedy. It really began here and is our legacy. It makes sense that we should be doing it even though we’re doing Shakespeare. It is our stamp as an American theater company.
Since actor Brian Vaughn is in Milwaukee and won’t appear this summer, who will be this festival’s heart-throb?
tYou mean, besides me? There’s a young boy [Tony Carter] who plays Barnaby Tucker [in The Matchmaker] who is a cute sparky kid. I think there are lots of young girls that are going to have their heads turned.