‘Romeo and Juliet’ replaces ‘West Side Story’ at Utah Shakespeare Festival and you won’t believe the reason why

A flood damaged sound equipment needed to produce musicals at the outdoor Engelstad Shakespeare Theater

(Karl Hugh | Utah Shakespeare Festival) Betsy Mugavero, right, plays Juliet and Shane Kenyon plays Romeo in the Utah Shakespeare Festival's 2017 production of "Romeo and Juliet." Mugavero will direct a new production of the tragic romance at the festival this summer — a late replacement for a production of "West Side Story" that has been canceled because of a water pipe break at the Engelstad Shakespeare Theater in Cedar City.

The Jets and the Sharks won’t be rumbling in Cedar City next summer — because of a burst water pipe that changed the schedule of the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

The water pipe froze over the holidays at the outdoor Engelstad Shakespeare Theater at Southern Utah University, the festival announced Friday. The pipe then burst, causing flooding that damaged sound equipment — including microphones and mixing equipment — beyond repair.

Without that sound equipment, the festival can’t produce musicals in the outdoor theater, organizers said in a news release. Because of supply chain issues, the festival said, they won’t be able to replace the equipment before the festival’s season starts on June 21.

The festival said that because of the broken pipe, it is canceling its planned production of “West Side Story,” the acclaimed musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” set amid New York street gangs.

The outdoor theater can accommodate non-musical plays — and the festival still plans to produce Shakespeare’s farce “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In place of “West Side Story,” the festival will add a production of “Romeo and Juliet,” directed by Betsy Mugavero, who played Juliet when the festival last did the play in 2017.

“It is poetic that this production of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is the brilliant solution to this challenge,” Michael Bahr, the festival’s interim managing director, said in a statement. “Despite the trials this incident has caused, we are thrilled with the opportunity it provides: telling this timeless tale in this beautiful space for our audiences.”

Festival officials are notifying ticket holders about the change, the release said.

The indoor Randall L. Jones Theatre will stage a musical next summer: An adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma.” The Jones also will feature Lorraine Hansberry’s classic drama “A Raisin in the Sun,” and the farce “The Play That Goes Wrong.” In the smaller Studio Theatre, the festival will present two lesser-known Shakespeare plays: the satiric “Timon of Athens” and military drama “Coriolanus.”

The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s 62nd season runs June 21 to Oct. 7, at Southern Utah University in Cedar City. For information, go to bard.org.