Oregon Shakespeare Festival Opens Outdoor Stage, 6/15


The Oregon Shakespeare Festival opens its flagship theatre the weekend of June 15–17, with two Shakespeare productions, Henry V and As You Like It, and a Shakespeare-inspired adaptation, The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa, by Alison Carey, director of OSF's American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle.

"This season's outdoor stage offerings provide audiences the opportunity to visit three vastly different worlds," said Artistic Director Bill Rauch. "The gritty, nightmarish battlefields of Henry V, a Victorian fantasy world for As You Like It, and the city of Windsor, Iowa, and its surrounding cornfields in Alison Carey's witty adaptation, The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa."

The opening performance of the weekend begins at 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 15, with William Shakespeare's Henry V, directed by Joseph Haj. Hal, the disaffected prince becomes the resolute legendary king in the triumphant conclusion of a three-year journey begun on our stage in 2010. JOHN TUFTS continues his role as Prince Hal, now King Henry V, who leads his troops to improbable victory over the French, but at a huge cost.

Brent Hinkley returns for the third time in the role of Bardolph, and also returning for the third time in this Henry trilogy are Richard Howard, Jeffrey King, Howie Seago, Christine Albright and Daisuke Tsuji. Other cast members include U. Jonathan Toppo as Pistol, Bernard White as the King of France, Brooke Parks as The Princess of France and Judith Marie Bergan as Mistress Quickly. 

Designers are Richard L. Hay (sets), Jan Chambers (costumes), Justin Townsend (lights), Todd Barton (music and sound). The dramaturg is Alan Armstrong, David Carey is voice and text director and Sara Becker is voice and text assistant.

Henry V runs through October 12. The lead sponsor of Henry V is The Pigott Family.

On Saturday, June 16 at 8:30 p.m. the Elizabethan Stage will be filled with the denizens of a small, fictitious Midwestern town in Alison Carey's rapid-fire adaptation of the Shakespeare play, The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa, directed by Christopher Liam Moore. After losing the Iowa caucuses, Senator John Falstaff tries to recoup his financial war chest. Plotting to seduce not one, but two wives (one married to a man, the other to a woman, this being Iowa, where gay marriage is legal), to gain access to their spouses' coffers, he finds that the town doesn't take too kindly to such shenanigans by an oily outsider who doesn't honor love and commitment. Falstaff gets his comeuppance at the eagerly awaited Iowa State Fair, but not before he has a fateful run-in with a recycling bin.

Senator John Falstaff is played by David Kelly, Margaret Page by Terri McMahon, George Page by Ted Deasy, Alice Ford by Gina Daniels, and Robin Goodrin Nordli is Francie Ford. Other cast members include Isabell Monk O'Connor as Roberta Shallow, Miles Fletcher as Fenton, and Tala Ashe as Anne Page.

Designers are Christopher Acebo (sets), Alex Jaeger (costumes), Jane Cox (lighting), Paul James Prendergast (music/sound), Ken Roht (choreography) and Lynn Jeffries (puppets). Lezlie Cross is dramaturg and Rebecca Clark Carey is voice and text director.

The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa runs through October 13. The Production Sponsor is Jim Collier and Production Partners are The Hobbes Family and Katie Farewell.

On stage Sunday evening June 17 at 8:30 p.m. is As You Like It. Jessica Thebus directs Shakespeare's romantic comedy about two runaway young women who find love and a fuller sense of identity in the magical Forest of Arden. Disguised as a man, Rosalind instructs the man she loves how to woo the woman he loves-her! Rustics, a melancholy fool, homeless noblemen and several mismatched couples add color and comedy to life in the forest. Rosalind stage-manages everybody until all find the love that transforms them into their best selves.

Rosalind is played by Erica Sullivan, Celia by Christine Albright, Orlando by Wayne T. Carr, Oliver by Kenajuan Bentley, Duke Senior by Howie Seago, Duke Frederick by Michael J. Hume, Jacques by Kathryn Meisle, Touchstone by Peter Frechette.

Designers are Todd Rosenthal (sets), Linda Roethke (costumes), Jane Cox (lighting) and Andre Pluess (music/sound). Lezlie Cross is dramaturg and Sara Becker is voice and text director visit the OSF website.

As You Like It runs through October 14. Production Sponsors are Jed and Celia Meese; Production Partner is the Rogue Valley Manor.

Tickets remain available for previews, openings and the run of the show and may be purchased online at www.osfashland.org or by calling the Box Office at 541-482-4331. For better seating and savings buy earlier.

The outdoor productions join six productions already in repertory at OSF. Playing in the Angus Bowmer Theatre are Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet; the Marx Brothers' farce Animal Crackers, by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, with songs by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby; The White Snake, an ancient Chinese tale adapted by Mary Zimmerman (closes July 8); Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella, an adaptation by Bill Rauch and TraCy Young of stories by Euripides, Shakespeare and Rodgers & Hammerstein. In the New Theatre are Chekhov's Seagull, adapted by Libby Appel (closes June 22), and Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida.

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