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Good fun and good seats at Utah's Shakespeare festival.

Utah's premier theatrical event, the 30-year-old Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, is so popular that its opening weeks are sold out up to six months ahead. But what few people realize is that good seats are available at the door during the last three weeks of its run.

Why? A big reason is that the final weeks of the festival's July 1 through September 7 run are too late for most Utah families, who traditionally take early summer vacations to get their children back home in time for a school year that begins in late August.

Throughout its run, the festival offers more for children than you'll find at most theater events, making it popular with families. You can take advantage of child-oriented tours and entertainment, and even child care.

A new backstage tour of the Randall Theater takes youngsters into prop and costume rooms. Here, they might heft Hamlet's sword or doff Falstaff's hat; the 1-hour tour is given at 11 Tuesdays through Saturdays ($5).

Free preperformance entertainment on the greensward next to the outdoor theater has more for children now, with puppet shows, acrobats, jugglers, storytellers, and Elizabethan-style magicians; it all begins at 7. If you're picnicking, arrive early to blanket the best spot.

If your child is too young for the play (no tickets sold to children under age 5), or not interested in theatergoing, consider the festival's child care services ($6 per child), which include movies and games. Sign up at the box office well before curtain time.

The 763-seat Randall Theater opened in 1989, nearly doubling festival capacity; the outdoor Elizabethan-style Adams Theater seats 781 people. A matinee and two evening performances are now held daily except Sundays.

To get the best seats, call ahead; telephone number is (801) 586-7878. Six shows are presented in rotation. This year's are Twelfth Night, Volpone, Hamlet, Death of a Salesman, Misalliance, and The Taming of the Shrew. Tickets for the matinees range from $8 to $16, evening performances from $14 to $20.

Cedar City is about 175 miles northeast of Las Vegas on Interstate 15.
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Date:Aug 1, 1991
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