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OSF Opens 80th Year with MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, 2/27

The Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival will open its 80th year with preview performances beginning on February 20 and the season officially kicking off Friday night, February 27, in the Angus Bowmer Theatre with Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing (director, Lileana Blain-Cruz). On Saturday afternoon, Shakespeare's Pericles (Joseph Haj) takes the stage in the Thomas Theatre, and the classic musical Guys and Dolls (Mary Zimmerman) opens in the Bowmer Theatre that evening. Sunday afternoon the world-premiere production of Fingersmith (Bill Rauch) by Alexa Junge, based on the novel by Sarah Waters, opens in the Bowmer Theatre.

"Each season brings with it the thrill of offering 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 in 2015, our 80th year, I am delighted to open our season with two Shakespearean classics, a Golden Age American musical and an exciting world premiere. And that's just the first four plays.

"In March and April we'll open the stunning American drama Long Day's Journey into Night and the U.S. premiere of Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, the most popular contemporary play in China and Taiwan. In June on the outdoor stage, we'll present Shakespeare's burnished Antony and Cleopatra, Alexandre Dumas' epic The Count of Monte Cristo, and another world premiere, this one by Oregon's own Jeff Whitty. Head Over Heels is an Elizabethan dress-up party with songs from the 1980s rock band the Go-Go's-a not-to-be-missed extravaganza. And in July, we bring you two works by contemporary Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights: The Happiest Song Plays Last, the final play in Quiara Alegría Hudes' beautiful semi-autobiographical trilogy, along with new work from the American Revolutions cycle, Sweat, by Lynn Nottage (Ruined, Intimate Apparel, Crumbs from the Table of Joy)."

In this 80th year, OSF will also begin its commitment to produce the entire Shakespearean canon in a decade. OSF will stage three Shakespeare plays this season and is already outlining its course for Shakespeare productions for 2016 and 2017. Audience members will be able to tick off their plays in the Shakespeare canon by purchasing a Shakespeare Passport at the Tudor Guild Gift Shop.

OSF's 2015 season runs from February 20 through November 1 and is sponsored by U.S. Bank. Malia Wasson, President of U.S. Bank for Oregon and Southwest 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 2015 season promises both expected and unexpected pleasures."

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