OSF's Allen Elizabethan Theatre Opens June 7-9
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival invites audiences to enjoy two plays by William Shakespeare-plus one about a young girl with a crucial superpower, curiosity, and the beloved fantastical dream adventure in which she tries to figure out how to stay true to who she is-under the stars when its flagship outdoor theatre opens the weekend of June 7-9, 2019. The Allen Elizabethan Theatre will feature Macbeth, directed by José Luis Valenzuela; Alice in Wonderland, adapted from Lewis Carroll by Eve Le Gallienne and Florida Friebus, directed by Sara Bruner; and All's Well That Ends Well, directed by Tracy Young. Previews begin May 28, and all three shows will run through the weekend of October 11-13.
OSF's popular Green Show, featuring free live entertainment on the Courtyard Stage four nights a week at 6:45 p.m., will return on June 7 and continue through September 28. The 2019 Green Show schedule is available at osfashland.org/GreenShow. This summer's lineup will feature music, dance, circus and theatre by artists new to the Courtyard Stage, such as Levity Circus Collective, DJ Prashant and the Jai Ho! Dance Troupe, and SURRIJA (Jane Lui of Cambodian Rock Band), as well as Green Show returning favorites such as Phoenix and Four Directions, Medford-based Ballet Folklórico Ritmo Alegre (a collaboration with Jarabe Mexicano), Charya Burt Cambodian Dance and many more.
The Ashland Lions Club will celebrate the opening of the Allen Elizabethan Theatre on Friday, June 7, from 5:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. with its Feast of Will, an evening of food and entertainment featuring a full dinner of BBQ chicken or vegetarian lasagna and dessert, coupled with music by the Jefferson Pipe Band and Siskiyou Singers. The Lions Club donates profits to projects benefiting Lithia Park and many other organizations. Tickets are $15, and are available online, at the OSF Box Office or by phone at 800-219-8161.
The 2019 season is dedicated to the memory of Paul Allen and all those who have chosen to make a difference in the world through their generosity. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has supported multiple OSF programs and helped construct both the Thomas Theatre and the current iteration of OSF's flagship Allen Elizabethan Theatre.
Macbeth opens at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, June 7. Inspired by the powers of human psychology and character attributes shared by all contemporary society, including how we respond to acquiring power, this intriguing and ritualistic take on Shakespeare's evocative tragedy is directed by José Luis Valenzuela.
"It's a great love story, the greatest love story ever, I believe," says Valenzuela. "This idea that these two honorable people become cruel murderers because of their love for each other allows the story to evolve and develop, while both the characters and the audience explore their own humanity."
Renowned for making the epic feel operatic, Valenzuela, who directed OSF's wildly successful 2018 production of Destiny of Desire, is also a theatre and film director and tenured professor at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
The Macbeth creative team includes Christopher Acebo (scenic design), Chrisi Karvonides-Dushenko (costumes), Pablo Santiago (lighting), Micah J. Stieglitz (projection design), John Zalewski (composer and sound designer), Amrita Ramanan (production dramaturg), Rebecca Clark Carey (voice and text director), Kareem Fahmy (Phil Killian directing fellow), U. Jonathan Toppo (fight director) and Jeremy Eisen (production stage manager).
Playing the title role is Danforth Comins, with Amy Kim Waschke as Lady Macbeth, Chris Butler as Macduff, Al Espinosa as Banquo, Robin Goodrin Nordli as First Witch, Miriam A. Laube as Second Witch, Erica Sullivan as Third Witch, Rex Young as Duncan/Doctor/Porter, William Thomas Hodgson as Malcolm, Cameron Davis as Donalbain, WIll Wilhelm as Fleance, MacGregor Arney as Lennox, Russell Lloyd as Ross, Michele Mais as Hecate/Lady Macduff/Nurse, Lilia Houshmand as First Murderer, Torrin Kelly as Second Murderer, Eric Solis as Third Murderer and Nicolai Moore as Macduff Child.
Macbeth is supported by Producing Sponsor The Pigott Family; Sponsors Jim Collier and Ann P. Wyckoff; Partners Karen Easterbrook and Alex Sutton with Phyllis Sutton, and Steven and Priscilla Weaver. Development of Macbeth was supported by a grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. This production of Macbeth is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
Opening Saturday, June 8, at 8:00 p.m., is Alice in Wonderland. This faithful adaptation of Lewis Carroll's classic books (that's right, this story includes both Wonderland AND Looking-Glass) was conceived for a company just like OSF. Sometimes delightful, sometimes dangerous, Wonderland is a fantastical, nonsensical dream adventure.
Alice in Wonderland is directed by five-season OSF actor Sara Bruner, who brings her strong sense of curiosity, playfulness and theatricality to the music-filled, ensemble-driven celebration of Lewis Carroll and the OSF company.
"This is a play that kids can enjoy. It has all of those layers and it has that joy to it," Bruner says. "But there are deeper implications, like all of these stories that function on multiple levels. There's comedy, parody, satire, fantasy and allegory, as [Eva] Le Gallienne names it, for audiences age 8 to 80."
Says Amrita Ramanan, OSF's director of literary development and dramaturgy and the play's production dramaturg, "I love that in his heroine, Lewis Carroll has given her a full sensory experience. We have humans, animals, characters that are both human and animal, objects that are personified, food that's personified, imaginative and invented characters by Lewis Carroll, and also imagined and invented characters by other sources. Through the exploration of this, Alice tastes, sees, touches, smells, and feels her way through the world, and I think that was just such a great invitation to put it in the theatre."
The Alice in Wonderland creative team includes Jaclyn Miller (movement director and associate director), Cedric Lamar (composer), Matthew Webb (composer and sound designer), Richard L. Hay (scenic designer), Helen Q. Huang (costume designer), Mary Jo Dondlinger (lighting designer), Cherelle D. Guyton (wig designer), Amrita Ramanan (production dramaturg), David Carey (voice and text director), U. Jonathan Toppo (fight director) and Amy Miranda Bender (production stage manager).
The cast includes Emily Ota as Alice, Danforth Comins as Mad Hatter/Gentleman Dressed in Paper, Katy Geraghty as Eaglet/Five of Spades, Anthony Heald as Mouse/King of Hearts, Brent Hinkley as Caterpillar/Knave of Hearts, Cristofer Jean as Dormouse/Guard/White Knight, David Kelly as Cook/Seven of Spades/Humpty Dumpty, Miriam A. Laube as Frog-Footman/Red Queen, Shyla Lefner as White Rabbit, Eddie Lopez as March Hare/Goat, Lauren Modica as Duck/Cheshire Cat/Two of Spades, Kate Mulligan as Duchess/Tweedledee, Robin Goodrin Nordli as Lory/Fish-Footman/White Queen, Daniel T. Parker as Mock Turtle/Tweedledum, Matthew Ranaudo as Ace of Hearts/Mutton, Vilma Silva as Gryphon/Sheep and Amy Kim Waschke as Dodo/Queen of Hearts.
Alice in Wonderland is supported by Sponsor The Chautauqua Guild; Partners Kelly Bulkeley and Hilary Krane,
Peter and Jane Carpenter, Samuel Dakin and Skye Taplin Dakin, Shirley and David Urdal, and Anonymous.
The final opening-weekend show at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, is All's Well That Ends Well. Tracy Young, a frequent OSF guest artist, directs this humorous, inventive and edgy production of Shakespeare's nuanced love story, with original compositions and movement. When Helen cures an ailing king, he rewards her with the mate of her choosing. She only has eyes for Bertram, but the young man does not return her love. What will become of Helen as she navigates this complex comedy of courtships, class, mistaken identities, pain, loss, war and love?
Young says, "The play is centered from the heart. It's been said that the heart wants what it wants, and in All's Well the characters pursue their hearts' desires with a fervor. The heart yearns for love, and suffers without it."
Says Lydia G. Garcia, production dramaturg, "To be human is to contradict oneself. We say we will do one thing, and then do the complete opposite of what we just said we were going to do. We aspire to be our best selves, and then we mess it up. Fortunately, the next breath we draw in is the next chance to try again. And again. And again. And that is what these characters are trying to do."
The All's Well That Ends Well creative team includes Mariana Sanchez (scenic design), Alex Jaeger (costume design), Carolina Ortiz Herrera (lighting design), Amy Altadonna (composer and sound design), Jane Lui (live score compositions), Kjerstine Rose Anderson (movement director), Lydia G. Garcia (production dramaturg), Ursula Meyer (voice and text director), U. Jonathan Toppo (fight director) and Mandy Younger (production stage manager).
The cast features Vilma Silva as Countess of Rossillion, Daisuke Tsuji as Bertram, Cristofer Jean as Lafew, Royer Bockus as Helen, Jonathan Luke Stevens as Rynaldo, Jane Lui as Maudlin, Al Espinosa as Parolles, Kevin Kenerly as King of France, Moses Villarama as First Lord Dumaine, Joe Ngo as Second Lord Dumaine, K. T. Vogt as Clown, Tyrone Wilson as Duke of Florence, Torrin Kelly and Jonah Thorpe-Kramp as Soldiers, Lauren Modica as Widow of Florence, Brooke Ishibashi as Diana and Jessica Ko as Mariana.
All's Well That Ends Well is supported by Lead Sponsor Hitz Foundation. Development of All's Well That Ends Well was supported by a grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. This production of All's Well That Ends Well is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
All's Well That Ends Well runs through Oct. 13, 2019. More information is available osfashland.org/AllsWellThatEndsWell.
The three Allen Elizabethan Theatre plays join five productions already running in the Angus Bowmer and Thomas Theatres: Mother Road, As You Like It, Cambodian Rock Band, Hairspray-The Broadway Musical and world-premiere American Revolutions commission Between Two Knees. Still to come in the 2019 season are Indecent, a Tony Award-winning American Revolutions commission by Paula Vogel, directed by Shana Cooper; the West Coast premiere of Christina Anderson's How to Catch Creation, directed by OSF Incoming Artistic Director Nataki Garrett; and the world premiere of La Comedia of Errors, a bilingual adaptation of Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, adapted by Lydia G. Garcia and Bill Rauch from a Play on! translation by Christina Anderson.