Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2014 Previews Begin Tonight

The Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2014 preview performances begin tonight, February 14, and the season will open Friday night, February 21 in the Angus Bowmer Theatre with Shakespeare's The Tempest (director, Tony Taccone). On Saturday, Lorraine Hansberry's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window (Juliette Carrillo) takes the stage, as does the classic Marx Brothers musical The Cocoanuts (David Ivers), and Sunday afternoon Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors (Kent Gash) opens in the Thomas Theatre.

"Each season I'm thrilled with the opportunity to offer our audiences the work of the world's foremost playwrights brought to life by our amazing Acting Company," said OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch. "And this season, our 79th year and Shakespeare's 450th birthday, I find it very exciting that our classical theater is opening with four different types of classics: one of Shakespeare's most exuberant early works, The Comedy of Errors, his final masterpiece, The Tempest, the revival of the anarchic genius of the Marx Brothers in The Cocoanuts, and the special 50th anniversary production of a neglected classic by Lorraine Hansberry, The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window.

"I'm proud, too, that we have deliberately selected a playbill where the majority of our non-Shakespeare plays are written or co-written by women. In addition to the uniquely American story by Lorraine Hansberry, we are presenting the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Water by the Spoonful, by Quiara Alegría Hudes; a world premiere musical, Family Album, with musicco-written by Heidi Rodewald, and a world premiere adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time by TraCy Young.

"We're rechristening our outdoor space the Allen Elizabethan Theatre this season and presenting an amazing outdoor playbill that includes Richard III, with Dan Donohue in the title role, the debut at OSF of a Sondheim musical, Into the Woods, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, with an all-female cast. And the final play to open this season is the world premiere of Robert Schenkkan's The Great Society, the second part of the LBJ story that began brilliantly with All the Way in 2012."

OSF's 2014 season runs from February 14 through November 2 and is sponsored by U.S. Bank. Malia H. Wasson, president, U.S. Bank - Oregon & SW Washington, said, "For more than 30 years, U.S. Bank has been honored to support the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as a part of its commitment to artistic and cultural enrichment in the communities it serves. An icon in the Oregon arts world, OSF offers its audiences that most amazing of gifts, rich and emotional experiences. The 2014 season promises both expected and unexpected pleasures."

The Tempest (February 14 - November 2) by William Shakespeare
Lead Sponsors: U.S. Bank, Roberta and David Elliott; Production Sponsor: The Goatie Foundation; Production Partners: Lynne Carmichael, Jim Collier, Cynthia Muss Lawrence

Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre, returns to direct another Shakespeare production at OSF after directing the memorable and highly popular Othello (1999) and Coriolanus (1996). This production will feature a long-absent company member, actor Denis Arndt, who will play the role of Prospero. Mr. Arndt had a long career at OSF from 1973 to 1988.

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