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Oregon Shakespeare Festival Opens 2012 Season 2/24


The Tony Award–winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2012 preview performances begin February 17, opening a season dedicated to Executive Director Paul Nicholson, who is retiring at the end of the season after 33 years at OSF. Nicholson assumed the position of Executive Director in November 1995. He joined the Festival in 1980, serving as general manager for 16 years.

The season will open Friday night, February 24 with Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, directed by Laird Williamson. On Saturday, the world premiere of The White Snake, adapted and directed by Tony Award-winning Mary Zimmerman, takes the stage, as does George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind's Animal Crackers, directed by Allison Narver. Sunday afternoon in the New Theatre, a new adaptation of Anton Chekhov's Seagull by Libby Appel opens, and Appel will also direct.

"This season celebrates the adventurous spirit of our company and our audience," Artistic Director Bill Rauch notes, "and I can't wait to share these productions. They are a delicious blend of old and new, tragedy and comedy, and the vastly divergent settings will transport audiences around the globe."

Romeo and Juliet (February 17 – November 4) by William Shakespeare
Lead Sponsor: U.S. Bank, Julie Strasser Dixon and Rocky Dixon; Production Sponsors: Robert Dohmen, Amy and Mort Friedkin, Betty and Jack Schafer

The timeless tragedy of Romeo and Juliet comes once again to OSF's stage, this time in the Angus Bowmer Theatre. Director Laird Williamson has set the star-crossed lovers and their feuding families in the late 1840s Alta California-a period of California history rich with the culture of the Spanish-speaking Californios-whose lifestyle is perched precariously on The Edge of collapse as the United States military invades the Mexican territory, changing it forever.

The cast of Romeo and Juliet features Alejandra Escalante as Juliet, Daniel José Molina as Romeo, Jason Rojas as Mercutio, Fajer Al-Kaisi as Tybalt, Kevin Fugaro as Benvolio, Tony DeBruno as Friar Laurence, Isabell Monk O'Connor as Nurse, Elijah Alexander and Vilma Silva as Don and Doña Capulet, and Barzin Akhavan and DeLanna Studi as Don and Doña Montague. A complete cast list is located the Romeo & Juliet Artists section.

Scenic design is by Michael Ganio; costumes by Susan Tsu; lighting by Don Darnutzer; music and sound by David Reiffel. Lydia G. Garcia is dramaturg; David Carey is voice & text director.

The White Snake adapted from the ancient Chinese fable by Mary Zimmerman

(February 18 – July 8). World Premiere

Production Sponsor: Deedee and Burt McMurtry; Production Partner: Mrs. Donald Hare
In this beloved Chinese legend, a snake spirit disguised as a beautiful woman falls in love with a young scholar. White Snake keeps her true identity secret from him, but a disapproving monk persists in unmasking her. With the help of her maid, Green Snake, White Snake summons all her magic powers to defeat the spirits and monsters threatening her life and her great love. Staged by Tony Award-winning director Mary Zimmerman, this is sure to be a not-to-be-missed production.

The cast features Amy Kim Waschke as White Snake, Tanya McBride as Green Snake, Christopher Livingston as Xu Xian and Jack Willis as Fa Hai. Ensemble cast members include Cristofer Jean, Lisa Tejero, Emily Sophia Knapp, Gina Daniels, Ako, Richard Howard and Vin Kridakorn. A complete cast list of this production is located in the The White Snake Artists section.

Scenic design is by Daniel Ostling; costumes are by Mara Blumenfeld; lighting by T.J. Gerckens; music and sound by Andre Pluess; projection design by Shawn Sagady; Rebecca Clark Carey is voice & text director.

Animal Crackers (February 19 – November 4) Book by George S. Kaufman & Morrie Ryskind; Music and lyrics by Bert Kalmar & Harry Ruby; Adapted by Henry Wishcamper
Production Sponsors: Jerry and Jeanne Taylor Family Foundation: Production Partners: Cynthia Muss Lawrence, Avista.

Hold on to your hats and watch out for flying pies because Captain Spaulding and his cronies will stop at nothing to upset Mrs. Rittenhouse as they take center stage in a posh Long Island mansion. Allison Narver directs this raucous 1930s vaudevillian musical farce made famous by the Marx Brothers-and yes, it will be funny!

The cast features Mark Bedard as Captain Spaulding (Groucho), Eddie Lopez as Jamison (Zeppo), JOHN TUFTS and Daisuke Tsuji as Ravelli (Chico), Jonathan Haugen as Hives, Jeremy Peter Johnson as Winston and Brent Hinkley as The Professor (Harpo). K.T. Vogt plays Mrs. Rittenhouse, Mandie Jenson plays Arabella Rittenhouse, Kate Mulligan is Mrs. Whitehead and Laura Griffith is Grace Carpenter. A complete cast list is located in the Animal Crackers Artists section.

Scenic design is by Richard L. Hay, costume design by Shigeru Yaji; lighting by Geoff Korf; musical direction by David O; sound design by Matt Callahan and choreography by Patti Colombo. Lue Morgan Douthit is dramaturg; and Scott Kaiser is voice & text director.

Seagull (February 23-June 22) by Anton Chekhov and adapted by Libby Appel
Production Sponsor: Yogen and Peggy Dalal; Production Partner: Carole Howard

OSF's Artistic Director Emerita Libby Appel continues her life-long passion and relationship with Chekhov and both adapts and directs this humorous, heartbreaking and achingly human story. Set in 19th century Russia, two generations of self-doubting artists hope for recognition from those they love. With fresh material from Chekhov's original version, Appel delivers a sexy, full-blooded adaptation of this tale of unfulfilled desire.

The cast features Al Espinosa as Trigorin, Tasso Feldman as Konstantin Treplyov, Michael J. Hume as Sorin, Armando Durán as Dr. Dorn, John Pribyl as Shamrayev, Kathryn Meisle as Irina, Nell Geisslinger as Nina and Kate Hurster as Masha. A complete cast list is located in the Seagull Artists section.

Associate Artistic Director and scenic designer Christopher Acebo has created the set. Costumes are by Deborah M. Dryden; lighting design by Alexander V. Nichols, and music by Todd Barton. Allison Horsley is dramaturg on the project, and has done the literal translations from the Russian for all of Appel's adaptations. Rebecca Clark Carey is voice & text director. The Phil Killian Directing Fellow is Nelson Eusebio III.

Shakespeare offerings opening later this season include Troilus and Cressida in the New Theatre, directed by Rob Melrose. On the outdoor Elizabethan Stage, OSF stages the final episode in the saga of Prince Hal in Henry V, directed by Joseph Haj, and As You Like It, directed by Jessica Thebus. Also on the Elizabethan Stage will be Alison Carey's world premiere adaptation The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa, based on Shakespeare's play and directed by Christopher Liam Moore.

The fourth show to open in the Angus Bowmer Theatre will be the three-ring tour de force, Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella, adapted by Bill Rauch and TraCy Young from the plays by Euripides, Shakespeare and Rodgers and Hammerstein. Directed by Rauch and Young, it's a one-of-a-kind theatrical musical adventure. The final show to open in the Bowmer is a world premiere play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan, All the Way, also directed by Rauch. Part of American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle, the play looks at the tumultuous first year of Lyndon Baines Johnson's presidency.

Also playing in the New Theatre is Party People, another world premiere production that is part of American Revolutions. Created by Universes (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz Sapp and William Ruiz, a.k.a. Ninja), the play digs into the story and legacy of the Black Panthers and Young Lords through a mix of theatre, poetry, jazz, blues, hip-hop, boleros and salsa.

OSF's 2012 season runs from February 17 through November 4, offering 790 performances of 11 productions. The season is sponsored by U.S. Bank.

Previews, Openings and Tickets

Tickets remain available to previews and most opening performances. Patrons can save 40 percent on preview tickets. Please check ticket availability online or call the Box Office at 541-482-4331 or 800-219-8161. This season all "C" tickets are $21 for all performances. Preview and opening times and dates are as follows:

Romeo & Juliet Friday, Feb. 17, 8 p.m. (preview)
Romeo & Juliet Tuesday, Feb. 21, 8 p.m. (preview)
Romeo & Juliet Friday, Feb. 24, 8 p.m. (opening)

The White Snake Saturday, Feb. 18, 8 p.m. (preview)
The White Snake Wednesday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m. (preview)
The White Snake Saturday, Feb. 25, 1:30 p.m. (opening)

Animal Crackers Sunday, Feb. 19, 8 p.m. (preview)
Animal Crackers Thursday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m. (preview)
Animal Crackers Saturday, Feb. 25, 8 p.m. (opening)

Seagull Thursday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m. (preview)
Seagull Friday, Feb. 24, 8 p.m. (preview)
Seagull Sunday, Feb. 26, 1:30 p.m. (opening)

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