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West Valley City Journal

Step into the romance: A look into ‘Shakespeare in Love’ at West Valley Arts

May 06, 2024 11:11AM ● By Grace Simpson

West Valley Arts hosts many community-engaging performances that span from the visual arts to local events to professional theater. 

“Shakespeare in Love” recently ran at West Valley Arts through May 4. A play based on the 1998 movie, it promises audiences drama and intrigue that is finely balanced with comedy and love. 

Kate Rufener, a director for 31 years, described the show by saying, “If you take ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,’ ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,’ and ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ and you mash them up into a show, you will have something that is this plotline. Only I think this plotline is more beautiful.” 

Rufener is a lifelong patron of the arts and feels a close connection to “Shakespeare in Love” which fueled her excitement to direct the play here in Utah. “I remember watching the movie and identifying with the character of Viola…That meant a lot to me and at a time when I was feeling very disconnected from theater,” she said.

“I say be bold, and remember that we're cheering for you. We want you to succeed,” Rufener says as she emphasizes the importance of being gutsy when contemplating auditioning or becoming involved with theater. 

Under the direction of Rufener is the actress Sonia Maritza Inoa-Rosado Maughan. Maughan explains how she found herself auditioning for the role. “I'm challenging myself to step outside of the box and do different things that are not just musical theater. I usually shy away from anything that is Shakespearean…so I thought it would be a good practice to audition for it,” she said.

Maughan offers advice to wishful actors by advising beginners to "just try going for it" and to not feel like they can't get into theater simply because they haven't done it before. She suggests starting by asking questions in the community about where to begin and by checking which websites and theaters are good for starters.

 “This is not a show that's done very often,” Maughan said. 

Stephen Kerr is a Utah-based actor who has spent his life studying theater and performing and plays Philip Henslowe in this production. Kerr has been a fan of the character since he saw Geoffery Rush portray him in the 1998 film. He says, “When West Valley Arts announced ‘Shakespeare in Love’ for the season, I immediately was like, ‘I want to play Philip Henslowe.’” 

“It's so important that more and more people come and support [West Valley Arts] because it's quality theater,” Kerr said. “This place deserves to have a big audience to come to the shows here.” 

Check out to purchase tickets for upcoming performances along with other productions and events. You can follow West Valley Arts on Instagram @wvcarts or find them on Facebook.  λ