OSF’s Allen Elizabethan Theatre Opens June 12-14

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Previews begin June 2 with Antony and Cleopatra, Head Over Heels and The Count of Monte Cristo

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival opens its outdoor theatre the weekend of June 12-14 with Shakespeare’s ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, directed by Bill Rauch; the world-premiere musical by Jeff Whitty with music and lyrics by the Go-Go’s, HEAD OVER HEELS, directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar; and Alexandre Dumas’s THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, directed by Marcela Lorca. The shows will close the weekend of October 9-11.

Previews begin June 2, as do Green Show performances. The Green Show features free live entertainment on the Courtyard Stage six nights a week at 6:45 p.m. throughout the run of the Allen Elizabethan Theatre productions.

Antony and Cleopatra opens at 8:00 p.m. Friday, June 12. Among the first of William Shakespeare’s works to be staged as part of OSF’s commitment to complete our namesake playwright’s entire canon in 10 years, Rauch describes this epic, historical play as a “mature Romeo and Juliet” that delves into the intrigue of world politics. 
                     
“In a time when our world is ever more global, and tension between East and West and our relationship to the Middle East are so rich and complex and disturbing—to look at Shakespeare’s rendition of events from 2,000 years ago, written 400 years ago, through the lens of the 21st century and through the lens of the United States, is completely fascinating.”

The play’s setting is timelessly modern and the design team includes Richard L. Hay (set), David C. Woolard (costumes), Jane Cox (lighting), Paul James Prendergast (sound), Barry Kraft (dramaturgy), David Carey (voice & text), Dawn Monique Williams (associate director), U. Jonathan Toppo (fight director), Sarah Lozoff (movement) and D. Christian Bolender (stage manager). 

The cast includes Miriam A. Laube as Cleopatra, Derrick Lee Weeden as Antony, Raffi Barsoumian as Octavius Caesar, Rex Young as Lepidus/Scarus, Christiana Clark as Charmian, Brooke Parks as Iras, Armando McClain as Alexas, Cedric Lamar as Mardian/Ensemble, Paul Juhn as Diomedes, Joseph Anthony Foronda as Soothsayer, Leo Decker as Caesarion, Jeffrey King as Domitius Enobarbus, Sara Bruner as Eros, Allison Buck as Canidius/Ensemble, John Tufts as Maecenas, Michael J. Hume as Agrippa, Erica Sullivan as Dolabella, Jennie Greenberry as Octavia/Ensemble, Will Dao as Demetrius/Ensemble, Wayne T. Carr as Pompey/Decretas, Scott Ripley as Menas/Proculeius/Ensemble, Brent Hinkley as Varrius/Clown/Ensemble and Ensemble members Michael Hays and Zlato Rizziolli. Antony and Cleopatra is supported by Lead Sponsor, The Goatie Foundation; Production Partners Peter and Jane Carpenter, Jim Collier, the Hitz Foundation, and Bill Meehan and Randi Zeller.

The following night, Saturday, June 13 at 8:00 p.m., an Elizabethan love story is turned on its head when the inventive, irreverent talent of Oregon-born playwright Jeff Whitty (Tony Award-winner for Avenue Q) meets the beats of 80s pop icons the Go-Go’s in Head Over Heels, a world- premiere musical.

“I think what I love most about Jeff’s work is that he’s obviously wickedly, wickedly funny,” director Ed Sylvanus Iskandar shares in a series of co-interviews with Whitty, “but he comes at everything with this reservoir of heart, and with such a sincere intention to understand why people do what they do. And when you place tears in a place where it’s surrounded by music—which is always going to be the portal to the divine—you’re going to set the audience up for a completely transformative experience.”

Inspired by Arcadia, Sir Philip Sidney’s 16th-century pastoral romance the mashed up world of Head Over Heels is created by a design team featuring Carmel Dean (music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements), Sonya Tayeh (choreography), Christopher Acebo (sets), Loren Shaw (costumes), Jane Cox (lighting), Mark Holthusen (video), Kai Harada (sound), Geraldine Anello (music director), Lue Morgan Douthit (dramaturgy), David Carey and Rebecca Clark Carey (voice and text), U. Jonathan Toppo (fight director) and Albert Blackstone (associate choreographer), Mandy Younger (stage manager) and Amy Miranda and Roxana Khan (assistant stage managers).

The cast includes Michael Sharon as Basilius, Miriam A. Laube as Gynecia, Bonnie Milligan as Pamela, Tala Ashe as Philoclea, Dylan Paul as Musidorus, John Tufts as Philanax, Britney Simpson as Mopsa, David Kelly as Dametas, Michele Mais as The Oracle, Rodney Gardiner as Undertaker, Barret O'Brien as Undertaker, and Ensemble members Shanti Ryle, Briawna Jackson, Ashley D. Kelley, Alyssa Birrer, Curtis Holland, Jonathan Luke Stevens and Kyle Hines.

Musicians include Matt Goodrich (piano/conductor), Kimberly Fitch (violin), Nancy Martin (cello), Bruce McKern (bass), Lorin Groshong (woodwinds), James Fletcher (guitar), Jessie Baldwin (guitar) and Tom Berich (drums), Head Over Heels is supported by Lead Sponsor, the Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards, Production Sponsors Amy and Mort Friedkin and Charlotte Lin and Robert P. Porter, and Production Partners Sandy Farewell and an anonymous patron.

The final show to open that weekend at 8:00 p.m. Sunday is The Count of Monte Cristo, based on the novel by Alexandre Dumas and adapted by Charles Fechter and James O'Neill, with additional restoration by William Davies King. “I’m very excited about doing an outdoor play in an epic space,” Marcela Lorca says in her director’s interview. “I like the physicality that it invites. It invites a certain amount of panache and style and a strong relationship with the audience.”

The production will be set in the novel’s period and place, 1815-1838 in France, but with a “modern edge,” according to Lorca. The design team includes Sibyl Wickersheimer (set), Ana Kuzmanic (costumes), Karin Olson (lighting), Sarah Pickett (composition and sound), Dylan Paul (additional lyrics), Lydia G. Garcia (dramaturgy), Rebecca Clark Carey (voice and text) ,Christopher DuVal (fight direction), Moira Gleason (stage manager), Roxana Khan (assistant stage manager).

The cast features Al Espinosa as Edmond Dantès, Michael Winters as Father Dantès, Vilma Silva as Mercedes/Ensemble, Michael Sharon as Fernand Mondego/Ensemble, Richard Howard as Morel/Ensemble, Raffi Barsoumian as Danglars/Ensemble, Richard Elmore as Caderousee/Ensemble, Kate Mulligan as La Carconte/Ensemble, Robin Goodrin Nordli as Noirtier/Ensemble, Peter Frechette as Villefort/Ensemble, Derrick Lee Weeden as Faria, Jeffrey King as Governor/Ensemble, Jeremy Peter Johnson as Germaine/Ensemble, Daniel T. Parker as Brigadier/Second Jailer/Ensemble, Kyle Hines as Germain/Ensemble, Dylan Paul as Albert Mondego/Sentinel/Ensemble, Kristin Glaeser as Sophie Danglars/Ensemble, Michele Mais as Singer/Ensemble, Bonnie Milligan as Singer/Ensemble and Ensemble members Sean Jones and Erin O'Connor.