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Arts / Entertainment

Shakespeare at Sunset: Twelfth Night

June 29, 2011

Colorado State University's School of the Arts performs Shakespeare masterfully, as evidenced by its sold-out productions in recent years. Shakespeare at Sunset is back for the summer of 2011 with Twelfth Night. This production features an all-female cast in a play whose original cast was all-male.

'In a play that  hinges on disguise,' Director Walt Jones says,  'androgyny seems to fit like a costume.'University Theatre
University Center for the Arts
1400 Remington Street

Twelfth Night: A mid-winter romp

Turnabout is fair play, especially in a Shakespeare comedy. So what if the original cast of Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, a rich tapestry of illusion, was male?  

In a play that hinges on disguise, androgyny seems to fit like a costume. Set on the night of Epiphany, which Elizabethan England celebrated as a mid-winter romp where rules were broken, loves confessed and wrongs repaid, the comedy encourages such artful transformations.

Thus, our version, with live music, features an all-female cast depicting a production in late Victorian times at the British Music Hall.

Circular and comic interplay

After being shipwrecked, the leading character, Viola, disguises herself as a young page and becomes employed by Duke Orsino, who asks her to go to Lady Olivia and profess his love for her. But when Viola (under the name Cesario) appears before Lady Olivia, Olivia becomes smitten with her. These plot points are supported by a subplot of other relationships that spawn mischief and confusion.

The fascinating sexual ambiguity of the play exists within a tangled web of relationships and misunderstandings. Feste (a professional jester) accompanies the on-stage action at a baby grand piano, giving a bleary, cynical, Vegas-style comedic performance.

Shakespeare at Sunset <em>Twelfth Night</em> performances run through Aug. 28.Whiskery, bursting-at-the-seams Sir Toby (Olivia's drunken uncle), and an Ichabod Crane-ish Sir Andrew (a simple-minded companion of Sir Toby's) are gender stereotypes, sharply skewering the vanity and buffoonery of male “types.”

Guest musician George Nelson

Shakespeare at Sunset is excited to announce that Denver/Boulder jazz and blues pianist George Nelson will appear as the musician-half of our Feste, playing blues and standards throughout the performance. Audio stream George Nelson's music.

George has been performing solo for nearly 40 years in venues across Colorado, California, and Arizona.  His longevity as a solo artist is testimony to his appeal and the loyalty of his fans who seek him out on scant publicity.  Wherever George plays, from prestigious clubs and hotels to backwater bars, George’s fans are sure to come.


  • $8/General admission
  • Free/Under 8

Purchase tickets


This project was made possible, in part, through a grant from the Lilla B. Morgan Memorial Fund, which was established to enhance the cultural development and atmosphere of Colorado State University. Additional sponsorship was provided by the City of Fort Collins Fort Fund.

Tour the art museum and picnic on our lawn!

Enjoy a family-friendly evening at the University Center for the Arts! Patrons are invited for a pre-show picnic on the lovely grounds of the UCA. Additionally, the University Art Museum at the UCA is offering free guided tours at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights during Shakespeare at Sunset.

Contact: Jennifer Clary
Phone: (970) 491-3603