Here’s how to enjoy Utah’s summer arts, from Shakespeare to the symphony

Utah’s major arts organizations often go outdoors to perform in the summertime.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Maypole dance at the Greenshow at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, on Saturday, July 3, 2021.

Even lovers of highbrow arts tend to loosen up a little in the summer — often enjoying their theater and symphony outdoors in a festival setting.

Here are details on two of Utah’s more popular summer events — the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City and the Utah Symphony’s Deer Valley Music Festival in Park City — as well as a roundup of what other arts groups are doing on their summer “vacation.”

Utah Shakespeare Festival

The beloved celebration of William Shakespeare fills Cedar City with theater lovers every summer. This year’s festival runs from June 17 to October 5. Go to bard.org for ticket information. This year’s plays are:

“Henry VIII” • (June 17-September 5) Shakespeare’s historical drama, which hasn’t been performed at USF in nearly 30 years, follows the king as he considers defying the church and divorcing his first wife.

“The Winter’s Tale” • (June 18-September 6) When Leontes accuses his wife, Hermione, of infidelity with his closest friend, bad things follow, in Shakespeare’s romantic drama.

“The Taming of the Shrew” • (June 19-September 7) Shakespeare’s comedy about the fierce Katherina and the blustering Petruchio is one of his best known works — adapted in everything from “Kiss Me Kate” to “10 Things I Hate About You.”

“Much Ado About Nothing” • (June 21-October 5) More romantic comedy from Shakespeare, with the lovers Hero and Claudio planning to marry — if only they can get their feuding friends, Beatrice and Benedick, to come to the inevitable conclusion that they, too, are meant for each other.

“The 39 Steps” • (June 22-October 5) Playwright Patrick Barlow adapts this classic mystery from John Buchan’s novel and Alfred Hitchcock’s movie.

“Silent Sky” • (July 12-October 5) Lauren Gunderson’s play follows the true story of Henrietta Leavitt, the 19th-century scientist and astronomer who changed the way we see the universe.

“The Mountaintop” • (July 13-October 5) Katori Hall’s play presents a fictional account of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, in the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, preparing a speech and engaging in conversation with a hotel maid.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” • (July 30-August 3) A short run of Shakespeare’s fantasy-based romantic comedy, part of the festival’s artist exchange program with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Deer Valley Music Festival

The Utah Symphony’s annual summer program — at the Snow Park Outdoor Amphtheater, 2250 Deer Valley Drive South, Park City — celebrates its 20th anniversary. Tickets and passes, as well as information about the festival’s more intimate chamber music concerts, at deervalleymusicfestival.org.

Friday, July 5 • “Patriotic Pops,” a selection of works celebrating America and American composers. Evan Roider conducts the Utah Symphony, with vocalist Lisa Howard.

Saturday, July 6 • “Christmas in July,” with music of the yuletide. Conner Gray Covington conducts, with William Hagen on solo violin.

Thursday, July 11 • “The Music of Whitney Houston,” with Broadway performer Rashidra Scott singing Houston’s hits, with Brent Havens conducting.

Friday, July 12 • “Trailblazing Music of Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Carly Simon,” celebrating the ‘70s singer-songwriters. Ted Sperling conducts; Morgan James, Capathia Jenkins and Shayna Steele are the vocalists.

Friday, July 19 • The iconic ‘60s band The Rascals — known for such songs as “Beautiful Morning” and “How Can I Be Sure” — performs with the Utah Symphony, conducted by Martin Herman.

Saturday, July 20 • “Disney in Concert: Once Upon a Time,” featuring songs from Disney films, with Jerry Hou conducting the symphony.

Friday, July 26 • Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture is the program highlight, along with two other of the composer’s works: His Piano Concerto No. 1 (with pianist Aristo Sham) and the Suite from “Swan Lake.” Steven Jarvi conducts the symphony.

Saturday, July 27 • Funk legends Tower of Power performs with the Utah Symphony, conducted by Steven Jarvi.

Friday, August 2 • The Boogie Wonder Band performs disco classics with the Utah Symphony, conducted by Martin Herman.

Saturday, August 3 • Singer-actor Leslie Odom Jr., best known for his Tony-winning performance as Aaron Burr in the original production of “Hamilton,” performs with the Utah Symphony, conducted by Enrico Lopez-Yañez.

Thursday, August 8 • “The Music of John Williams,” featuring the composer’s film scores, with David Newman conducting the Utah Symphony.

Friday, August 9 • Multi-instrumentalist Cody Fry performs with the Utah Symphony, conducted by Enrico Lopez-Yañez.

More performing arts

Ballet West • The troupe, one of America’s leading ballet companies, serves up one major event for the summer: The sixth annual Choreographic Festival. This year’s theme is “Asian Voices,” and features world premieres of works by choreographers Zhongjing Fang and Caili Quan, as well as Phil Chan’s “Amber Waves” and Edwaard Liang’s “Seasons. Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City. Tickets available at BalletWest.org.

Broadway at the Eccles • The touring production of “Girl From the North Country,” a jukebox musical featuring 20 songs by Bob Dylan, runs June 11-16. Then, from July 31 to Sept. 1, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” returns for an extended run. Eccles Theater, 131 S. Main St., Salt Lake City. Tickets available at saltlakecity.broadway.com.

Hale Centre Theatre • Utah’s durably popular community theater organization is programming year-round on its two stages. The Centre Stage has the country musical “May We All” running through June 5, followed by a new musical based on “The Nutty Professor” from July 1 to August 17, a special engagement of “Freaky Friday: The Musical” (the one-act version) from July 22 to August 2, and then the U.S. premiere of the musical “The Magician’s Elephant” from September 16 to October 19. On the Jewel Box Stage, an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “The Time Machine” runs through July 20, followed by a musical tribute to Elton John and Billy Joel from July 25 to August 3, and “The Addams Family” from August 19 through November 16. Mountain America Performing Arts Centre, 9900 S. Monroe St., Sandy. Tickets available at hct.org.

Moab Music Festival • The annual series of concerts and related events happens at various locations in Moab and the neighboring red rocks — a unique pairing of music and nature. Runs August 28 to September 14. Go to moabmusicfest.org for information and tickets.

Salt Lake Acting Company • SLAC again spends the summer looking at the peculiarities of living in Utah. This year’s show, “Close Encounters in the Beehive,” follows two aliens sent to Earth to see if the planet is worth saving — and, of course, they land in Salt Lake City. The play, witten by Olivia Custodio, David Knoell and Penelope Caywood, runs June 26 to August 18. SLAC, 168 W. 500 North, Salt Lake City. Tickets available at SaltLakeActingCompany.org.

Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre • The long-running summer program this year includes productions of “Cats,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Guys & Dolls” and “Anything Goes.” The festival runs from July 5 to August 3, at the Ellen Eccles Theatre and the Utah Theatre in Logan. Go to utahfestival.org for information and tickets.