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Guest Director Takes BFA Acting Students to New Heights

Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2017

Sean Peters, Kinsey McCabe, Claire Harlan, Max Falls

The cast of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike includes, top row (L-R) is Sean Peters and Kinsey McCabe. Bottom is Claire Harlan and Max Falls.

The 2013 Tony Award-winning best play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang, takes stage at Utah State University’s Caine Lyric Theatre on March 18. The play runs nightly March 18, 21-25 at 7:30 p.m. Brian Vaughn, artistic director of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, is directing the show. He has previously acted and directed many shows at the festival.

After the recent death of their parents, siblings Vanya and Sonia receive a surprise visit from their movie star sister, Masha. She and her younger boyfriend, Spike, are in town under the guise of attending a costume party. Mayhem and hilarity are unleashed over the course of a weekend when sibling rivalries, regrets, hopes and dreams are revealed.

“I was excited about the opportunity to work on this Tony Award-winning play and to work with the students from the Caine College of the Arts,” Vaughn said. “It’s a fabulous program that develops very gifted actors and the opportunity to collaborate with them and the wonderful faculty was too good to turn down.”

Vaughn hopes to give students an eye into the professional world of putting on a show.

“As an artistic director at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, we are bringing hundreds of artists to Cedar City every season to produce eight or nine plays in rotating rep,” Vaughn said. “I’m hoping this experience will give students a glimpse into the process of working with an outside director as well as collaborating on a really wonderful play.”

The hope is for the audience to leave the play with a desire to connect with those they love.

“The play is a comedy loosely based on the plays of Anton Chekhov and is very much about moving forward during trying times and our deep desire as human beings to find hope in an ever-changing world,” Vaughn said. “The play is broad at times and very funny, but the heart of the piece is about connection and empathy toward those you love. This is a theme that will always be relevant, necessary and rewarding.”

Tickets for Vania and Sonia and Masha and Spike are $13 adults, $10 seniors/youth, $8 USU faculty/staff and free for USU students with ID. For more information or tickets, contact the CCA Box Office in room L101 of the Chase Fine Arts Center on USU’s campus, call 435-797-8022, or go online to

Writer and contact: Whitney Schulte,, 435-797-9203

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