Creative Teams and Casts Announced For 2022 Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Productions include Once on This Island,

By: Mar. 02, 2022
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Creative Teams and Casts Announced For 2022 Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The imminent start of the 2022 Oregon Shakespeare Festival season-Artistic Director Nataki Garrett's first full season-marks a celebratory return to repertory producing. The 2022 lineup features eight on-stage plays and musicals, from classic Shakespeare to works by some of today's most exciting playwrights, performing in OSF's three theaters and, as an integral part of Garrett's bold vision for the 86-year-old company, an ambitious expansion into digital and immersive storytelling forms. With a growing commitment to centering of BIPOC stories and artists (73% of the season's actors and musicians and 61% of its creative team members are BIPOC), more equitable and sustainable theater-making practices, and a simplified and accessible ticketing pricing and structure, 2022 inaugurates a new era for the celebrated institution.

"It has been an extremely challenging time for OSF and theaters across the country, and it is no small feat that we are opening an expansive repertory season full of exciting, timely work and classics beautifully interpreted through a 21st Century lens, including digital projects that reimagine the future of liveness and theatrical storytelling," says OSF Artistic Director Nataki Garrett. "This season is a testament to the hard work of everybody who works at and supports OSF. I look forward to welcoming artists and audiences of all backgrounds to be a part of this triumphant moment with us."

The first three shows of the repertory season start performances on April 12, and include Lili-Anne Brown's staging of a Tony Award-winning musical celebrating Afro-Caribbean community and joy (Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Once on This Island), Mona Mansour's unseen, a beautifully human look at the impact of American foreign policy in the Middle East, directed by OSF Associate Artistic Director and Director of Artistic Programming Evren Odcikin; and August Wilson's poignant theatrical memoir How I Learned What I Learned, helmed by celebrated Wilson interpreter and OSF alum, Tim Bond. The Cymbeline Project, an episodic, transmedia production of the Shakespeare play, conceived by Nataki Garrett and created by OSF Associate Artistic Director and Director of Innovation and Strategy Scarlett Kim, has been in development throughout 2021 and will premiere in November of 2022 on the O! Digital Stage. For more information on these shows and the rest of the 2022 Season, to purchase tickets, and to support OSF through its new Change Makers Program, please visit osfashland.org.

Once on This Island

A Musical

Book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens

Music by Stephen Flaherty

Based Upon the Novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy

Directed by Lili-Anne Brown

April 12 - October 30 • Opening night: April 16

Angus Bowmer Theatre

OSF reopens the Angus Bowmer Theatre with celebrated director Lili-Anne Brown's new staging of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's big, joyous Tony Award-winning musical Once on This Island, featuring an all-Black cast and lead creative team.

Once on a golden and verdant Caribbean island, a little girl is rescued from a disastrous storm by four gods-Asaka, Mother of the Earth; Agwé, god of Water; Erzulie, goddess of Love; and Papa Ge, demon of Death. So starts the myth at the heart of this breathtaking story of Black joy and sorrow, the aftermath of colonization and isolation, and the triumph of love against all forces. Based on the novel My Love, My Love by Rosa Guy, Once on This Island is a testament that a beautiful tale simply told has the power to inspire and heal all-a perfect show to celebrate OSF's full return.

Brown harnesses the Haitian roots of this beloved story, leading a creative team that includes choreographer Breon Arzell, music directors S. Renee Clark and Mark Meadows, scenic director Arnel Sancianco, costume designers Samantha C. Jones and Yvonne Johnson, lighting designer Jason Lynch, sound designer Ray Nardelli, dramaturg Gabrielle Randle, fight director U. Jonathan Toppo, intimacy director Charlie Baker, assistant director Jaz Hall, associate sound designer Stephanie Farina, voice and text coach Nathan Crocker, cultural consultant Florencia "Fofo" Pierre, translator Daphnee Boncoeur, cultural consultant assistant Djenane Saint Juste, production stage managers Marie Jahelka and Heather Brose, assistant stage managers Emily Robinson and JC Widman. Once on This Island is produced by Festival Producer Donya Washington, Line Producer Heath Belden, and Artistic Associate Liz Lanier, and production managed by Production Manager Ben Jones.

The Once on This Island cast includes Chuckie Benson as Papa Ge, Ciera Dawn as Ti Moune, Phyre Hawkins as Asaka, Patricia Jewel as Mama Euralie, Dominique Lawson as Daniel, Camille Robinson as Erzulie, JD Webster as Tonton Julian, Michael Wordly as Agwe, Hannah Rose Honoré as Andrea Devereaux/Chorus, J.R. Whittington as Armand/Chorus, Christine Wanda and Emmanuel Kikoni as members of the ensemble, and Katherine Thomas and Omar Madden as swings. Ayvah Johnson and Sasha Jewel Weymouth share the role of Little Ti Moune. Jaz Hall joins Kikoni, Madden, Rose, Thomas, Wanda, and Whittington in the amazing understudy team for the production.

The musicians for Once on This Island include Karl Iverson (synth, and keyboard-conductor understudy), Patrick Manville (bass), Otis Gould (percussion/drums), Lorin Groshong (woodwinds), and Perry Cowdery (guitar).

unseen

By Mona Mansour

Directed by Evren Odcikin

West Coast Premiere

April 12 - July 31 • Opening day: April 16

Thomas Theatre

In unseen, Mia, an American conflict photographer, wakes up at the site of a massacre in Syria, not sure how she got there. With her Turkish girlfriend Derya and her Californian mother Jane, Mia must slowly piece together the details of her past to find out what happened. This deeply human and surprisingly humorous play asks what it would mean for our souls-personally and as a nation-if we were to truly see the impact of our actions.

Evren Odcikin's production is part of a banner season for Mansour, whose work The Vagrant Trilogy makes its New York premiere, directed by Mark Wing-Davey, at The Public Theater April 8 - May 8.

Odcikin leads a creative team including scenic designer Mariana Sanchez, costume designer Dina El-Aziz, lighting designer Solomon Weisbard, composer / sound designer Avi Amon, projection designer Kaitlyn Pietras, dramaturg Sonia Fernandez, intimacy director Charlie Baker, fight director U. Jonathan Toppo, voice and text coach Rebecca Carey, assistant director Hala Baki, production stage manager Wesley Apfel, assistant stage manager JuanCarlos Contreras, and production assistant Hal Day. unseen is produced by Associate Producer Ken Savage and Artistic Associate Liz Lanier, and production managed by Production Manager Rachel Maize.

The all-female unseen cast features Helen Sadler (Mia), Nora el Samahy (Derya/Salima/Aisha), and Caroline Shaffer (Jane/Marian/Nancy). Understudies include Erica Sullivan (Mia understudy), Gloria Imseih Petrelli (Derya/Salima/Aisha understudy), and Kate Wisniewski (Jane/Marian/Nancy understudy).

August Wilson's

How I Learned What I Learned

Co-Conceived by Todd Kreidler

Performed by Steven Anthony Jones

Directed by Tim Bond

May 3 - July 30 • Opening night: May 7

Angus Bowmer Theatre

August Wilson's How I Learned What I Learned, originally performed by Wilson himself, is a heartfelt theatrical memoir charting one man's journey of self-discovery through adversity, and what it means to be a Black artist in America. Helmed by celebrated Wilson director Tim Bond and performed by master actor Steven Anthony Jones (handpicked by the August Wilson estate), this solo work brings Wilson's necessary voice and gorgeous poetry back to OSF. Steven Anthony Jones is understudied by beloved OSF performer Tyrone Wilson.

The creative team includes scenic designer Nina Ball, dramaturg and costume designer Constanza Romero, lighting designer Xavier Pierce, sound composer and projection designer Rasean Davonte Johnson, choreographer Tanya Birl, intimacy director Charlie Baker, voice and text coach Rebecca Carey, assistant director Elizabeth Carter, production stage manager Moira Gleason, assistant stage manager Devonte E. Washington, and stage management understudy Emily Robinson. How I Learned What I Learned is produced by Festival Producer Donya Washington and Line Producer Heath Belden, and production managed by Production Manager Ben Jones.

The Cymbeline Project

By William Shakespeare

Conceived by Nataki Garrett

Created by Scarlett Kim

Premiering November 2022

O! Digital Stage

Alongside reactivating its three physical theaters, OSF continues to create work for the O! Digital Stage, centering transmedia storytelling at the heart of the organization. The Cymbeline Project, conceived by Nataki Garrett and created by OSF's new Associate Artistic Director & Director of Innovation and Strategy, multihyphenate artist Scarlett Kim, will premiere and be available on-demand online this November.

The Cymbeline Project brings to life a rarely performed "problem play" that explores timeless themes of power and agency through a characteristically layered narrative, in a 10-episode transmedia series.

The Cymbeline Project interweaves theatrical performance captured from bespoke green screen studios in performers' homes across the country with striking visual layers rendered through digital and analog processes, creating a hybrid form-part theatre, part film, and part visual art collage-that resonates with our complex contemporary experience of media. Each episode, created in collaboration with iconoclastic guest artists hailing from diverse disciplines and mediums, engages a unique form of immersive technology-VR film, interactive fiction game, pop-up book puppetry, hand-drawn animation, and more. Guest artists are: Tara Ahmadinejad, Chicago Puppet Studio (Myra Su & Jaerin Son), Monty Cole, Nataki Garrett, Diana Oh, ruth tang, and Eric Ting.

As showrunner, Scarlett Kim leads the creative team which includes production designer Alexander Grover, composer/sound designer T. Carlis Roberts, costume designer X. Hill, creative technologist Sangmin Chae, dramaturgs Paul Adolphsen and Raphael Massie, Associate Designer Melissa Torchia, and Director of Artistic Sign Language Monique "MoMo" Holt. The OSF Innovation and Strategy team leads the hybrid production process that draws from both theatre and film production practices: Ken Savage and Liz Lanier as producers and Josh Horvath as production manager, joined by project managers and coordinators, Roxana Kahn, Jordan E. Moore, Dani Bae, and Patrick Mahoney. A team of ASL interpreters, Stephanie Feyne, Janice Evans, and Amanda Welly, are core collaborators in the creative team.

The acting ensemble filming from their homes across eight cities including Ashland, Oregon and spanning both US coasts includes many beloved actors seen on OSF live stages: Caro Zeller as Imogen, James Ryen as Posthumus, Tyrone Wilson as Cymbeline, Monique "MoMo" Holt as the Queen, Jessica Ko as Pisanio, Shyla Lefner as Iachimo, Stephen Michael Spencer as Cloten, Rachel Crowl as Belarius, Lauren Modica as Arviragus, Carolina Vargas Romero as Guiderius, ERIKA ROSE as Caius Lucius/Jupiter/Jailer, Daniel T. Parker as Cloten's Lords/Ensemble, and Cristofer Jean as Cornelius/Philario/Soothsayer/Ensemble.

Scarlett Kim, OSF Associate Artistic Director & Director of Innovation and Strategy, says, "The Cymbeline Project realizes Nataki Garrett's trailblazing vision for OSF as a home for innovation across the theatrical omniverse. Experimenting with hybridizing theatre and interactive technology in our virtual rehearsal studio, the artistic team has found new ways of connecting and holding community, which has felt acutely life-affirming during this time of isolation. We look forward to inviting global audiences to our O! Digital Stage this fall, to enter into this special digital Shakespearean experience that is equal parts timeless and timely."

About Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Led by Artistic Director Nataki Garrett and Executive Director David Schmitz, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) expands access to the transformational power of art and art-making. A global entity and an ever-evolving container for the future that responds to changing tides, the organization is committed to co-liberation through radically inclusive, accessible, and collaborative practices. OSF centers and nurtures artists and multimodal, multidisciplinary work.

OSF was founded in 1935 and has grown from a three-day festival of two plays to a nationally renowned theatre arts organization that presents a rotating repertory season of up to 8 plays and musicals, including both classics and new work. OSF productions have been presented on Broadway, internationally, and at regional, community, and high school theatres across the country. In 2020, the organization launched O!, its new digital stage featuring performances of groundbreaking art and mind-expanding discussions that can be accessed from anywhere in the world. O! attracts more than 10,000 views per month from audience members in over 50 countries.



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