Approximately 14 performances of the comedy sold out or nearly sold out this season, prompting the festival to add matinee performances. Fred Adams, USF founder and director of “Taming of The Shrew,” shared some insight on the rousing success of this play that will close out the Adams Shakespearean Theatre’s last year of USF performances.
It was an easy answer for Adams, after all, he knows what successful theatre looks like.
“It is a comedy set alongside a tragedy and history. It has Brian Vaughn and Melinda Pfundstein and they are really popular,” said Adams as the obvious reasons that audiences have flocked to this play this season. But there is more to the magic that has created a theatre buzz around this particular play this season.
First of all, the Adams Theatre is steeped in nostalgia this year as it will close on its final play Sept. 5. Adams has seen many people making a special trip to attend the plays in the Adams Theatre.
“Every night on the patio, I had guests say ‘We had to make it down, because we had to say goodbye to this theatre,’” Adams said. Many of those same guests wanted to bring their children to experience Shakespeare in this theatre and “Taming of the Shrew” is a perfect play with a simple and comical plot said Adams.
Despite the fact that many theater lovers made a pilgrimage to see this play, Adams said “I feel sorry that more of our Cedar people didn’t see it.” Adams’ first play as a director and founder for the Utah Shakespeare Festival was “Taming of the Shrew.” Yet, it was a very different take on the play for him this time. Fifty-four years ago the play had six members of the football team in the cast. Adams says it was more rough and rowdy. This time Fred had a different vision.
“I wanted it to be a love story,” he said. “I wanted to find the inner nuances and clues Shakespeare left. Petruchio is making the journey with Kate. He doesn’t let her sleep, but he doesn’t sleep either. He doesn’t let her eat, but he does not eat either. It’s in the script but is so subtle that I missed it when I was 30.”
Adams also wanted to create a unique experience for his actors with this version on the play. I wanted my actors to go away with the sense of ‘Wow. I was able to do that on the Adams Theatre stage in its last year.’ I hoped their last experience in this delightful theatre is that they would remember it crammed with audiences, laughter and applause.”
Turns out Adams got his wish. The theatre has been packed during “Taming of the Shrew” and there has been laughter and applause with Sold Out performances.