OSF to Open 2016 Season with TWELFTH NIGHT

The Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival will launch its 81st year with preview performances beginning on February 19, and the season officially kicking off Friday night, February 26 in the Angus Bowmer Theatre with Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (director, Christopher Liam Moore). On Saturday afternoon, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard with a country-western twang (director, Sean Graney) takes the stage in the Thomas Theatre, and a new adaptation of the classic Dickens tale Great Expectations (director, Penny Metropulos) opens in the Angus Bowmer Theatre that evening. On Sunday afternoon, the world-premiere production of The River Bride (director, Laurie Woolery) by Marisela Treviño Orta opens in the Angus Bowmer Theatre.

The 2016 season is dedicated to the memory of beloved actor and longtime company member Catherine E. Coulson, who passed away in September 2015. "Catherine is in our hearts every day as we create this thrilling new season," said OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch. "As devastating as her loss is personally and artistically, her light shone so brilliantly that it will continue to inspire us for many years to come."

In this year of worldwide Shakespeare celebrations commemorating the 400th anniversary of his passing, OSF continues its commitment to produce the entire Shakespearean canon in a decade with five titles from the Bard - Twelfth Night, The Winter's Tale, Hamlet, Richard II and Timon of Athens. Audience members will be able to tick off their plays in the Shakespeare canon by purchasing a Canon in a Decade Passport at the Tudor Guild Gift Shop.

"In addition to celebrating the genius of Shakespeare, audiences will be thrilled by the diversity of offerings and artists in our other six productions," continued Rauch. "We'll take you on a mysterious journey to the Brazilian jungle in The River Bride, to the heart of Dickensian London in Great Expectations, and to a mirthful milieu where Gilbert and Sullivan co-exist happily with country-western stylings in The Yeomen of the Guard. Later in the season we'll ease on down the road to Oz in The Wiz, enjoy the subversive comic joyride of Qui Nguyen's Vietgone, and discover the powerfully illuminating stories in Lisa Loomer's Roe."

Patrons entering the Angus Bowmer Theatre will see significant upgrades to the main lobby. An elevator has been installed, enabling patrons with mobility issues to access the auditorium and wheelchair seating areas. Other modifications include wider hallways and a wheelchair-accessible restroom. These changes are part of the first phase of renovations to the bricks and surrounding areas, with phase two scheduled for completion in February 2017.

Gloria Schell, U.S. Bank Region President for Southern Oregon and Northern California, said, "For nearly 40 years, we have joined the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to celebrate the power of the possible. We are honored to participate in the OSF's mission of inspiring, educating and entertaining, which is so much a part Oregon's cultural heritage. This 2016 season is rich with a remarkable lineup of plays and performances, including five of Shakespeare's finest works."

Twelfth Night (February 19 - October 30) by William Shakespeare

Producing Sponsor: Roberta and David Elliott/Buffett Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County; Lead Sponsor: U.S. Bank; Production Sponsor: Amy and Mort Friedkin; Production Partners: Jim Collier, Kelly Bulkeley and Hilary Krane.

Christopher Liam Moore directs one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies, transporting us to 1930s Hollywood, a glittering, aspirational metropolis full of romantics and eccentrics. "Twelfth Night is as close to a perfect play as has ever been written" says Moore. "The Hollywood setting is a great thematic match in terms of an era of reinvention of the self, which we see throughout Twelfth Night. And 1930s Hollywood is one of my favorite time periods in terms of the phenomenally beautiful fashion styles that we have not equaled since, and the great films and movie stars of that period."

The cast features Sara Bruner as Viola/Sebastian, Gina Daniels as Olivia, Elijah Alexander as Orsino, Ted Deasy as Malvolio, Daniel T. Parker as Toby Belch, Danforth Comins as Andrew Aguecheek, Rodney Gardiner as Feste, Kate Mulligan as Maria, Barret O'Brien as Antonio, Richard Elmore as Sea Captain/Priest, Briawna Jackson as Catherine, Ashley D. Kelley as Valeria, Sean Jones as Curio, Jonathan Luke Stevens as Valentine and Ron Ochs as Fabian/musician.

Scenic design is by Christopher Acebo; costumes by Susan Tsu; lighting by Robert Wierzel; video and projection design by Shawn Duan; music composition and sound design by David Reiffel and choreography by Jaclyn Miller. Alison Carey is dramaturg, Rebecca Clark Carey is voice & text director; Christopher DuVal is fight director and Mandy Younger is stage manager.

The Yeomen of the Guard (February 24-October 30) Music by Arthur Sullivan, libretto by W.S. Gilbert; Adapted by Sean Graney, Andra Velis Simon, and Matt Kahler; World Premiere Adaptation

Producing Sponsor: McMurtry Family Foundation; Lead Sponsor: Yogen and Peggy Dalal; Production Sponsor: Charlotte Lin and Robert P. Porter; Production Partners: The Goatie Foundation, Jim Collier, Katie Farewell.

Director Sean Graney and his Chicago-based theatre company The Hypocrites have developed a national reputation for their delightfully zany adaptations of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore featuring a promenade-style staging that invites the audience to become part of the action. For The Yeomen of the Guard, Graney and his creative team will turn OSF's Thomas Theatre into a country-western fantasia that promises to be a rollicking, immersive theatrical party unlike anything OSF audiences have seen before.

The cast features Jeremy Peter Johnson as Fairfax, Joseph Anthony Foronda as Major Meryll, Anthony Heald as Deputy Dick Chumlee, Michael Sharon as Shadbolt, Kate Hurster as Elsie, Britney Simpson as Phœbe, K.T. Vogt as Warden Carruthers, Leah Anderson as Jan Point, Michael Caruso as Happy Yeoman/Musician and Jesse Baldwin as Charming Yeoman/Musician.

The scenic designer is Regina García, costumes are by Alison Siple, lighting by Heather Gilbert, music director is Andra Velis Simon. Associate music director is Matt Kahler; sound design is by Ray Nardelli and choreography is by Jaclyn Miller. Lydia G. Garcia is dramaturg; voice and text director is Robert Ramirez; fight director is Christopher DuVal and Jill Rendall is stage manager.

Great Expectations (February 20 - October 30) Adapted by Penny Metropulos and Linda Alper from the novel by Charles Dickens; World Premiere Adaptation

Lead Sponsor: Helen and Peter Bing; Production Partners: The Goatie Foundation, Carole Howard, Jerry and Jeanne Taylor Family Foundation, Jim Collier, Anonymous

Director/co-adapter Penny Metropulos and co-adapter Linda Alper return to OSF with their version of Charles Dickens' thrilling tale of friendship, love, the price of revenge and the true nature of generosity. The story of the young orphan Pip and his encounters with some of Dickens' most memorable characters, including the eccentric Miss Havisham, the lovely and mysterious Estella, the convict Magwitch, Joe the blacksmith and many others, has entertained and enthralled generations of readers. "There's almost nothing I'd rather see than a Dickens story" says Alper. "The world, the characters, the energy and theatricality of his stories are just irresistible."

The cast features Benjamin Bonenfant as Pip, Judith-Marie Bergan as Miss Havisham, Nemuna Ceesay as Estella, Derrick Lee Weeden as Magwitch, Michael Elich as Mr. Jaggers, Cindy Im as Biddy, Al Espinosa as Joe Gargery, Richard Howard as Wemmick, Dylan Paul as Herbert Pocket, Cristofer Jean as Mr. Wopsle/Aged Parent, Paul Juhn as Matthew Pocket/J. Trabb, Brent Hinkley as Uncle Pumblechook, Daniel Duque-Estrada as Bentley Drummle/Compeyson, Erica Sullivan (through April 24) and Amy Newman (April 25 - Oct. 30) as Mrs. Joe/Miss Skiffins, Rebecca L. Curtis as Clara, Bodhi Johnson as Young Pip, Preston Mead as Young Herbert, and Flora Chavez as Young Estella.

Scenic design is by Collette Pollard; costume design by Deborah M. Dryden; lighting design by Jaymi Lee Smith; the composer and sound designer is Andre Pluess. Alan Armstrong is dramaturg; David Carey is voice & text director; Christopher DuVal is fight director; and D. Christian Bolender is stage manager.

The River Bride (February 21- July 7) by Marisela Treviño Orta; World Premiere

Lead Sponsor: The Robert and Star Pepper Foundation; Production Sponsor: Sid and Karen DeBoer; Production Partner: Marian and Richard Baldy

OSF is honored and delighted to present this world-premiere production directed by Laurie Woolery in the Angus Bowmer Theatre. OSF Illuminations writer Tiffany Ana López says playwright Orta is "a new voice in the American theatre who writes from a wide range of influences, from folklore and myths to poetry and television. With her training rooted in poetry, she is an image-driven writer who creates worlds filled with magic and fantasy."

In The River Bride, Helena is dreading her sister's wedding. The groom, Duarte, should have been hers. And she knows that her sister, Belmira, only wants to escape their quiet Brazilian town for an exciting new life in the city. But three days before the wedding, fishermen pull a mysterious stranger out of the river-a man with no past who offers both sisters an alluring, possibly dangerous future. In this world premiere, Amazon folklore and lyric storytelling blend into a heartrending tale of love, grudges, transformation... and the ever-present river, giving and taking away.

The cast features Nancy Rodriguez as Helena, Jamie Ann Romero as Belmira, Armando McClain as Moises, Carlo Albán as Duarte, Triney Sandoval as Sr. Costa and Vilma Silva as Sra. Costa.

Scenic design is by Mariana Sanchez; costumes by Raquel Barreto, lighting by David Weiner, and the composer and sound designer is Bruno Louchouarn. Video and projection design is by Mark Holthusen. The dramaturg is Nakissa Etemad; Robert Ramirez is voice & text director; Christopher DuVal is fight director; movement director is Sarah Lozoff, and Moira Gleason is stage manager.

Biographies of directors, designers and actors for the 2016 season can all be found at www.osfashland.org/.

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