Summer Bucket List 2017: 20 Fun Things to Do Across the U.S.

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by CNT Editors

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Here are 20 of our favorite reasons to get out of town this summer.

17. Honor the Bard in Ashland
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the attractive town of Ashland has been going strong for more than 80 years. Although plays are staged from February through early November in two indoor theaters, the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre is only open from early June to mid-October. This summer, catch a production of Shakespeare in Love or Julius Caesar. Fun fact: The festival has run through the Bard's entire repertoire of 37 plays three times over and is one play (Timon of Athens) away from completing it a fourth time.

Read the full report in Conde Nast Traveler >

Variety, high quality abound at Oregon Shakespeare Festival

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by JUDY RICHTER

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Staging nine plays in three theaters, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland is in full swing. Four plays are on the boards in the Angus Bowmer Theatre, two in the Thomas Theatre and three in the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre. With so many choices, it’s possible to see two plays a day.

It’s also possible to see the same actor in different roles, a testament to the talents of the acting company. Also evident are outstanding design elements like sets, costumes, lighting and sound. It appears that OSF is trying to appeal to the younger set with music and dance. It also is continuing its commitment to diversity with color- and gender-blind casting and is employing actors with disabilities.

By the time of the final bows on Oct. 29, the festival will have staged 11 plays, starting with the two indoor theaters in mid-February. Here’s a rundown on six recently seen plays.

3 big reasons why southern Oregon is a hot vacation destination right now

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by KATHY CHIN LEONG

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Have you heard of Ashland, Medford, Jacksonville and Grants Pass? Perhaps overshadowed by Portland, this affordable, seven-county region in southern Oregon just above the California border beckons to wine geeks, culture mavens and nature lovers everywhere.

Read the full report in the Dallas Morning News >

How an Oregon Theater Got the Attention of the Tonys, the Pulitzers and Broadway

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by GORDON COX

This story first appeared in the June 06, 2017 issue of Variety.

The small town of Ashland, Ore., lies just over the California border in the forested foothills of the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges. It has a population of 20,000, a bustling restaurant scene and great hiking trails. It also has a large-scale nonprofit theater that has spawned two current Tony-nominated plays and one recent Tony winner.

For most of its 82-year existence, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has been something of an insider secret, best known among the West Coast theater fans who flock there to catch shows during its nine-month annual season. But as its robust commissioning programs have yielded new plays that have gone on to runs around the country — along with a string of recent successes on the theater awards circuit — OSF is fast becoming an important incubator of new stage work beyond the New York City limits.

Read the full report in Variety >

Cool summer getaways: Ashland, Oregon

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by ALAYNA SHULMAN

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If William Shakespeare, Bob Marley and Daniel Boone were planning a vacation together, they’d probably be able to agree on Ashland, Oregon.

Home to world-famous rafting and hiking trails (featured in "The River Wild" and "The Wild," respectively), a hippie-college-town atmosphere and the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the small city in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley is as well-rounded as it is enjoyable.

Read the full report on AZCentral >

Southern Oregon: Five terrific wine-tasting stops

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by MARY ORLIN

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When people think of Oregon and wine, it’s the Willamette Valley — the famed chardonnay and pinot noir mecca just south of Portland — that springs to mind. But Southern Oregon boasts an appealing wine region near Medford, with more than 150 wineries producing 70 varieties of wine. If you’re planning a trip to Crater Lake or Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival, add a day or two to your itinerary and explore some wineries, too. Here are five great spots to try.

Read the full report featuring Dancin Vineyards, Quady North, Plaisance Ranch, Schmidt Family Vineyards and Serra Vineyards in the San Jose Mercury News.

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The Top 12 Underrated Wine Regions To Visit In 2017

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by LAUREN MOWERY

A Month-By-Month Guide


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Winemakers Greg & Kara of Wooldridge Creek Vineyard & Winery

August: Rogue and Applegate Valleys, Southern Oregon

Oregon is often confused as being a misty gray place full of lush forest, Pinot vineyards, and affected hipsters. Yes, those conditions exist, but mostly in the northern rain shadow between the coast and the Cascade Range. Much of the state has a dry and sunny clime, including down south where the diverse vineyards of the Rogue and Applegate Valleys lie. And wine diversity defines the Valleys—the range of micro-climates allows for everything from Riesling to Cabernet to ripen. Add outdoor sports like hiking, rafting, fishing, and biking to museums, theater, live music venues, and restaurants, plus a stroll through a preserved, gold-rush era town and the activities prove as varied as the wine.

Read the full report on Forbes.com >

Gerry Frank's picks: For fine-dining in Ashland try Coquina or Amuse

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by GERRY FRANK

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When I think of Southern Oregon, good cheese and good wine come to mind…

Read the full report on OregonLive.com >

The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, 2016

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Photo by Al Case, Ashland Daily Photo

In case you’ve forgotten, sometimes movies can just be about fun.

Welcome to the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World. A companion list to our definitive “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” list released in spring, “Coolest Fests” is where things get a little looser, a little funkier, a little weirder. Think of it this way: While that list is all about bang for moviemaking bucks, this list is, simply, about having the best time at a festival imaginable—whether that means incredible atmosphere, superb repertory programming or choice victuals.

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12 places to see fall color in Oregon

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by JAMIE HALE

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Oregon is known as an evergreen state, full of that iconic Douglas-fir and all its coniferous brethren. Evergreens are so prevalent here, that you should feel free to excuse yourself if seeing the fall colors isn't usually at the top of your autumn to-do list. While most abundant in urban areas, deciduous trees make up about 10 percent of Oregon's 30 million acres of forest, accordingto data from the U.S. Forest Service. That includes huge stands of oak and red alder, significant populations of maple and the coniferous western larch, and stray patches of aspen, ash and cottonwood. If you time a fall vacation for late-September to mid-October, and you know where to go (a few ideas are below), you can witness a spectacular showing of color bursting forth from our otherwise-evergreen forests. You can always settle for the sights of the cities – where fall color is as abundant as pumpkin-flavored lattes – but consider an adventure into Oregon's other autumnal settings: sprawling forests that offer more scenic diversity than you ever knew.

Read the full report on OregonLive.com >

Ease on down to Ashland for Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 'The Wiz'

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by LINCOLN KAY

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Lincoln Kaye is visiting Ashland Oregon, home to Southern Oregon University and the award-winning and internationally-known regional theatre company, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The closest approximation of a homegrown, made in U.S.A.  uhr-myth has to beThe Wizard of Oz. The L. Frank Baum children’s classic – the saga of a Kansas pre-teen, tornado-tossed into a surreal dream world where she befriends talking beasts and mannequins, quells witches, frees slave-elves and debunks a phony godman – melds all the ingredients of an archetypal hero-quest. The story has given rise, over the past century, to a series of books, as well as multiple stage plays, musicals and films. In the 1970’s, at the trailing edge of a decade of Civil Rights Movement triumphs, the music-and-lyrics duo of Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown came out with an all-black version, The Wiz, which was then parlayed into a hit movie with an all-star Motown cast. But now the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) has revived The Wiz in what may be its unlikeliest incarnation yet: a full-dress masque in the grand 17th century tradition, as befits the Tudor splendour of Ashland’s outdoor Elizabethan Theatre.

Read the full report on VancouverObserver.com >

Great Wineries of Oregon's Applegate River Valley

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The Applegate Valley AVA is a 275,000 acre wine appellation located along the Applegate River north of the California border.

Amongst the forested hillsides and fertile valley are nearly 20 wineries producing an array of high-quality wines.  Sunset Magazine calls this area “The New Napa” and “Wine country the way it should be”. Playing off this bit of press is a wine club called New Napa that sources great wine picks from the southern Oregon region. New Napa’s Tracy Davis kindly recommended the following wine tasting itinerary for one day in the Applegate River AVA.

Read the full report featuring Wooldridge Creek, Longsword, and South Stage Cellars >

A Playwright Finds Drama, and Humor, in Roe v. Wade

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by KATIE TAYLOR

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ASHLAND, Ore. — Lisa Loomer has written plays about how women’s bodies are tortured in the name of beauty and about the relationship between white mothers and their Latina nannies in Los Angeles. Taking on the politics of abortion would seem right up her alley. But when her friend Bill Rauch, the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, first asked if she would be interested in writing a play about Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case establishing abortion rights, she wasn’t so sure.

Read the full review in The New York Times >

OSF announces new commissions

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A commitment to the development and production of significant new theatrical work is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's impetus to commission eight new plays as part of American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle. The newly commissioned artists are sketch comedy group 1491s; writer, actress and director Aditi Brennan Kapil; award-winning playwright Basil Kreimendahl; playwrights Mona Mansour and Carlos Murillo; novelist, playwright and human rights activist Susan Nussbaum; playwright and director Robert O’Hara; and performer and award-winning playwright Jiehae Park.

Read the full report on DailyTidings.com >

Other summer Shakespeare and theater festivals

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by CHRISTOPHER SMITH

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Photo by T. Charles Erickson

More summer theater festivals

North America has four other major summer theater festivals, each a multi-theater complex with multiple productions in repertory running into the fall:

Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, Ore.: The festival is 81 years old, but this southern Oregon site traces roots to the late-1800s Chautauqua movement, which brought culture and entertainment to rural America.

Read the full report on LATimes.com >

American playwrights try to reinvent the history play

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by DANIEL POLLACK-PELZNER

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When Bill Rauch applied to become the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in 2007, he pitched an ambitious ten-year project: the festival would commission thirty-seven new plays about moments of change in American history, on the model of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven-play canon. “Shakespeare wrote the history of his people onto the stage,” Alison Carey, who directs what became American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle, told me. “Why don’t we do that?” Last week, O.S.F. announced eight more commissions, bringing the total to thirty-two, with five to go. So far, the commissioned playwrights—who include David Henry Hwang, Paula Vogel, Lynn Nottage, and Young Jean Lee—have written dramas about immigration, Presidential elections, the slave trade, Roe v. Wade, radical politics, and the decline of American industry. The results have raised a tricky question: Is Shakespeare still a useful guide, or do playwrights need to create a new kind of drama if they want to depict American history?

Read the full original report on NewYorker.com >

At Oregon Shakespeare Fest, generous helpings of classics and new works

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By MISHA BERSON

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Reviews of four of the plays running in repertory in the 2016 OSF season: “The Winter’s Tale,” “Richard II,” “Roe” and “Vietgone.”

Though increasingly focused on presenting contemporary dramas and an array of musicals, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival can’t, won’t and shouldn’t abandon its original mission: the plays of its celebrated namesake. That’s still the main draw of the Ashland, Ore., company, which has the acting and design resources no other Northwest theater can muster for the task.
Under the leadership of current artistic director Bill Rauch, and his predecessor Libby Appel, OSF has kept faith with the Bard of Avon while gradually but firmly steering away from straightforward, Elizabethan-style mountings of the canon. Today OSF (like many classic companies) tends to reconceptualize and reconfigure and pop-musical-ize Shakespeare, with a modern slant — sometimes to a play’s detriment, at best with a bracing vigor that makes the audience rethink and reconnect to this theatrical treasure trove.

The 2016 OSF season, which runs through October, offers a “Twelfth Night” in Hollywood musical mode; a popular, grungy “Hamlet,” with heavy- metal-guitar accompaniment; and an update of the rarely performed riches-to-rags fable, “Timon of Athens.” Two other Shakespeare works, “Richard II” and “The Winter’s Tale,” are also on tap. Seen back to back, they illuminate the power of an incandescent text, as well as the mixed blessings of an awkward retrofit.

Read the full report on SeattleTimes.com >

Oregon Shakespeare Festival is more than Shakespeare on stage

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by MARCUS CROWDER


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The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is now in full swing with all three of its theaters in operation and a total of 10 plays running in repertory six days a week. I went up to Ashland for a long weekend, saw four plays, spent part of a day wandering through the town and then drove out into the southern Oregon countryside. As always, I wanted more time to spend in the spectacular outdoors there, particularly at the nearby Rogue River, but maybe next time. Here are my reviews of the plays I saw.

Read the full report on SacBee.com >

Scarpetta in Ashland is a locavore's heaven

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by ELISE HERRON

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Locavore has become so commonplace in dining that it is surprising that the term is really only a eleven years old, coined by Berkeley-based author and chef Jessica Prentice who fused together two words to describe her month-long experiment in eating only local food; locus, meaning place andvorare, meaning to swallow—a locavore is “one who swallows (or devours) the place,” according to Prentice.

Read the full report on RogueValleyMessenger.com >

5 stops on the Bear Creek Wine Trail

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By HANNAH GOLDEN for Revels

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Southern Oregon boasts rich terrain for the cultivation of wine grapes, and Rogue Valley vineyards have picked up awards from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the 2016 Oregon Wine Awards. The region makes Wine Enthusiast's list for the "10 Best Wine Travel Destinations for 2016."

The Bear Creek Wine Trail Passport capitalizes on the area’s offerings with a lineup of local vineyards and wineries. This passport — which can be purchased at any of 12 stops on the wine trail — includes Belle Fiore Winery, Ledger David Cellars, Roxy Ann Winery, Paschal Winery, Grizzly Peak Winery, DANCIN Vineyards, PebbleStone Cellars, StoneRiver Vineyard, Weisinger Family Winery, Trium Wines, Aurora Vines and Dana Campbell Vineyards.

The passport costs $25 and buys three tastings at each of the 12 stops. Best of all, the passports are valid for a full year. Patrons can take time to enjoy the particular features that each winery has to offer on this marathon tasting tour.

Read the full report on DailyTidings.com >

This Summer's Bucket List: 18 Fun Things to Do Across the U.S.

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Here are 18 of our favorite reasons to get out of town this summer.

17. HONOR THE BARD IN ASHLAND

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the attractive town of Ashland has been going strong for more than 80 years. Although plays are staged from February through early November in two indoor theaters, the mock-Tudor outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre is only open from early June to mid-October. This summer, catch a production of Hamlet or The Winter's Tale. Fun fact: The festival has run through the Bard's entire repertoire of 37 plays three times over.

Read the full list on CNTraveler.com >

Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Green Show is a win-win for audiences and performers

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by SUZI STEFFEN

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No tickets required. No money required. No age limit. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Green Show is a dream come true for audiences.

On a greyish-white stage on the Bricks, the space between the open-air Allen Elizabethan Theatre and the indoor Angus Bowmer Theatre in Ashland, the Green Show runs before each summertime Elizabethan Theatre show, weather and forest fires permitting. Depending on who's scheduled, the 45-minute performance might set the mood for Elizabethan or Bowmer Theatre plays, or simply provide high-quality local, regional, national or international entertainment for anyone who's in town.

7 Up-and-Coming Winetasting Regions in the West

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by SHERIDAN WARRICK

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Wine Country no longer just means Napa or the Willamette. Here are seven places in the West where you can get hip to some amazing sips.

If the idea of a weekend in wine country brings to mind only California's Napa or Oregon's Willamette Valley, think again. Alternative getaways—with great wine, yes, but also outstanding places to eat, play, and shop—are blooming around the West. Pluck your favorite from this tour of the best.

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Ashland more than a dramatic destination in Oregon

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by MOLLY GILMORE

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Photo from Alchemy Restaurant at The Winchester Inn

In Ashland, Oregon, the plays are the thing — with apologies to William Shakespeare — but they’re not the only thing.

The small Southern Oregon town is best known as the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the nation’s largest and oldest professional regional rotating repertory theater.

The abundance of theater — which extends beyond the bard to include both contemporary and classic productions — is certainly the main reason to visit. The festival runs for nine months of the year and produces 11 plays on three stages.

You can’t see all of them in one visit, because most don’t run for the full season, but since the plays rotate, you can catch many of them if you stay long enough. And once you start hearing the buzz — you’re likely to find yourself dining near actors as well as enthusiastic theatergoers — you’re likely to wish you were seeing more than you’d planned to.

Catch at least one in the 1,190-seat Elizabethan Theatre, an outdoor theater inspired by London’s 1599 Fortune Theatre. The experience of being in the theater under the open sky, hearing the trumpet sound and watching the flag go up to mark the start of the show, is not to be missed.

And if theater ever becomes too much of a good thing (another phrase Will coined), there are lots of other adventures to be had.

Forthwith, here’s The Olympian’s handy guide to the top pastimes in the town where all the world’s a stage:

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BrittFest packs 2016 lineup with music legends

Britt Festival

Britt Music & Arts Festival, the Pacific Northwest's premier outdoor summer performing arts festival, has packed this year's lineup with some of the biggest names in music. Located in the historic 1850s gold rush town of Jacksonville, Oregon (USA), Britt presents dozens of summer concerts, featuring world-class artists in classical music, jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, world, pop and country music. Britt's performance venue is a naturally formed amphitheater set among majestic ponderosa pines and native madrones on the beautiful hillside estate of 19th century photographer Peter Britt. Britt is a convenient day's drive from Seattle or San Francisco, and is located just five miles west of Southern Oregon's largest metropolitan area, Medford, and only 15 miles north of Ashland and the world-famousOregon Shakespeare Festival. Oregon's only National Park, Crater Lake, is a scenic two-hour drive from Britt.

Check out the 2016 lineup at BrittFest.org >

Smithsonian names Jacksonville one of top small towns to visit

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by JACKI MANSKY

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In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, our top picks this year are all towns close to America’s natural splendors

Jacksonville’s gold deposits were discovered in the 1850s, and the town’s past still glitters today, literally. The famed Jacksonville Inn was actually built out of sandstone that had specks of gold in it.

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Bill Rauch Announces OSF’S 2017 Season

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Playbill features a diverse, celebrated array of playwrights and directors

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) Artistic Director Bill Rauch announced the 2017 playbill today.

Rauch said, “It brings me such joy to share these eleven amazing, powerful stories with our audiences. The sense of adventure, discovery and revelation is palpable in every play. The 2017 season represents our ever-growing passion and dedication to represent voices and stories that reflect the cultural richness, and at times the painful legacy, of our country. The season also takes us deeper into our commitment to our namesake playwright and the exciting Canon-in-a-Decade project, with a particularly enticing opportunity in our most intimate theatre space. Patrons will have the rare opportunity to see both parts of HENRY IVin the Thomas Theatre, perhaps as part of a same-day marathon!”

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OSF’s 2017 Season to Feature Disney-Affiliated Shows, New August Wilson

American Theatre

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

ASHLAND, ORE.: Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) artistic director Bill Rauch announced the festival’s 2017, season today, including a diverse array of classics, new work, and musicals.

“It brings me such joy to share these 11 amazing, powerful stories with our audiences,” said Rauch in a statement. “The sense of adventure, discovery, and revelation is palpable in every play. The 2017 season represents our ever-growing passion and dedication to represent voices and stories that reflect the cultural richness, and at times the painful legacy, of our country. The season also takes us deeper into our commitment to our namesake playwright and the exciting Canon-in-a-Decade project, with a particularly enticing opportunity in our most intimate theatre space: Patrons will have the rare opportunity to see both parts of Henry IV in the Thomas Theatre, perhaps as part of a same-day marathon.”

Read the full report in American Theatre Magazine >

Oregon Shakespeare Fest Opens With Country-Western Tunes and Hollywood Glam

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by REBECCA JACOBSON

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At age 81, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival hasn’t lost its knack for reinvention. Last year, we reported how OSF “has become a national instigator of bold contemporary drama,” with 29 world premieres over the last decade. Then, in the fall, the festival announced it would be giving the Bard a facelift, commissioning 36 playwrights to translate 39 Shakespeare plays into contemporary modern English. (Freakouts ensued.) As OSF prepares to open its 81st season—instantly transforming Ashland from a sleepy southern Oregon burg to a bustling hive of blue-hairs and teenagers on school trips—let’s zoom in on the first four shows hitting the stage.

Read the full report on PortlandMonthly.com >

Southern Oregon wines’ gaining clout

The Washington Times
by GREG STILES

Southern Oregon Wine Region

The winsome wines of southern Oregon are gathering acclaim far beyond the Cascades and Siskiyous. An industry once summed up by a collection of one-offs in Ashland, Cave Junction, Roseburg and Ruch during the 1970s now boasts 121 wineries and 226 vineyards on 5,886 planted acres in Jackson, Josephine and Douglas counties. The fruit of the region’s vines has drawn accolades from the Atlantic to Pacific, capturing the hearts of wine columnists and judges. Reports in the New York Times, Sunset magazine and Wine Enthusiast, plus an avalanche of medals in January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, are creating reasonable expectations the coming travel season will attract more and new wine tourists.

Read the full report on WashingtonTimes.com >

A Taste of Ashland 2016

A Taste of Ashland

 
17 Galleries + Wine + Food = One delicious art experience!
 
Saturday and Sunday, April 23rd and 24th from noon to 4 P.M.
 
Celebrating its twenty-seventh year, the Ashland Gallery Association’s signature fund-raising event is A Taste of Ashland. This annual walking tour of Ashland galleries pairs local restaurants and regional wineries to create Ashland’s most delicious art experience!
 
This year’s A Taste of Ashland takes place on Saturday and Sunday, April 23rd and 24th from noon to 4 p.m.  Foodies and wine connoisseurs from all along the west coast follow a map to 17 galleries, to discover Ashland’s best restaurants and the region’s best wines. The trolley will be circulating the Plaza, Railroad District, and out-skirting galleries to give you a ride!

“A Taste of Ashland is the ultimate Ashland experience!” says Jeff Jones, Event Coordinator. “Tasters stroll leisurely through the quaint town of Ashland all afternoon, experiencing the best of Ashland art, food and wine, then have time to relax and attend an Oregon Shakespeare Festival performance in the evening. What could be better?”

Purchase your tickets before February 1st for Early Bird rates! This event sells out each year, so get your tickets now!

For a complete list of pairings and to purchase tickets, visit at ATasteofAshland.com
 
A Taste of Ashland is HOSTED by: Ashland Gallery Association and SPONSORED BY: Southern Oregon Public Television, Jefferson Public Radio, the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, Southern Oregon Media Group, Ram Offset Lithographers, and Southern Oregon Magazine.

Enter to win "Ashland Oregon Day Trips" by Barbara Tricarico

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Photo by Sean Bagshaw, Outdoor Exposure Photography


Ashland Day Trips
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Many wonder, “What else can we do while in town?” The answer lies in this book, a photographic essay of natural, historic, and iconic sites within a three-hour drive. Fifty-five area photographers capture notable landmarks such as Crater Lake National Park, the wild and scenic Rogue River, giant redwoods, the Klamath Wildlife Refuge, and Lassen Volcanic National Park. On-the-road and armchair travelers alike are invited to take in the idiosyncratic culture of towns such as Jacksonville, Yreka, Bandon, and Brookings. There’s plenty here for history buffs, too. Readers are invited to savor the culture and biodiversity of Ashland, but also step out into its spectacular surroundings.

Enter Content to Win a Free Copy >
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Wine now steals the show in Ashland

Wine Enthusiast

Loft Brasserie & Bar, Ashland, Oregon
Loft Brasserie & Bar

Once known for its Shakespeare festival, wine now steals the show in Ashland.

The story of Oregon wine no longer begins and ends with the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, as many of the state's most exciting new offerings hail from Southern Oregon. The region's six American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) begin at the California border and extend north nearly to Eugene, with many of the 120 wineries clustered around the town of Ashland, famous for its annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Crater Lake, the Oregon Caves, Rogue River rafting and miles of pristine seashore are among southwest Oregon's plentiful year-round attractions, rounding out a visit for any wine lover.

Read the full report on WineEnthusiast.com >