OSF Celebrates 80 Years as 2015 Season Opens

Previews begin Feb. 20; season opens Feb. 27

ElizabethanHenryVIII_09_smaller

The Tony Award–winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival will open its 80th year with preview performances beginning on February 20 and the season officially kicking off Friday night, February 27, in the Angus Bowmer Theatre with Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing (director, Lileana Blain-Cruz). On Saturday afternoon, Shakespeare’s Pericles (Joseph Haj) takes the stage in the Thomas Theatre, and the classic musical Guys and Dolls (Mary Zimmerman) opens in the Bowmer Theatre that evening. Sunday afternoon the world-premiere production of Fingersmith (Bill Rauch) by Alexa Junge, based on the novel by Sarah Waters, opens in the Bowmer Theatre.

"Each season brings with it the thrill of offering our audiences the work of the world’s foremost playwrights brought to life by our amazing acting company,” said OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch. “And in 2015, our 80th year, I am delighted to open our season with two Shakespearean classics, a Golden Age American musical and an exciting world premiere. And that’s just the first four plays.

“In March and April we’ll open the stunning American drama Long Day’s Journey into Night and the U.S. premiere of Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land, the most popular contemporary play in China and Taiwan. In June on the outdoor stage, we’ll present Shakespeare’s burnished Antony and Cleopatra, Alexandre Dumas’ epic The Count of Monte Cristo, and another world premiere, this one by Oregon’s own Jeff Whitty. Head Over Heels is an Elizabethan dress-up party with songs from the 1980s rock band the Go-Go’s—a not-to-be-missed extravaganza. And in July, we bring you two works by contemporary Pulitzer Prize–winning playwrights:The Happiest Song Plays Last, the final play in Quiara Alegría Hudes’ beautiful semi-autobiographical trilogy, along with new work from the American Revolutions cycle, Sweat, by Lynn Nottage (Ruined, Intimate Apparel, Crumbs from the Table of Joy)."

In this 80th year, OSF will also begin its commitment to produce the entire Shakespearean canon in a decade. OSF will stage three Shakespeare plays this season and is already outlining its course for Shakespeare productions for 2016 and 2017. Audience members will be able to tick off their plays in the Shakespeare canon by purchasing a Shakespeare Passport at the Tudor Guild Gift Shop.

OSF’s 2015 season runs from February 20 through November 1 and is sponsored by U.S. Bank. Malia Wasson, President of U.S. Bank for Oregon and Southwest Washington, said, “For more than 30 years, U.S. Bank has been honored to support the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as a part of its commitment to artistic and cultural enrichment in the communities it serves. An icon in the Oregon arts world, OSF offers its audiences that most amazing of gifts—rich and emotional experiences. The 2015 season promises both expected and unexpected pleasures.”

Much Ado about Nothing
(February 20 – November 1)
by William Shakespeare

masthead-much-ado-746x420
In her debut at OSF, Lileana Blain-Cruz directs one of Shakespeare’s most beloved stories, featuring the witty and frustratingly endearing Beatrice and Benedick. Benedick has returned from war, along with his friend Claudio and the rest of Don Pedro’s army. They all land at the estate of Leonato, Beatrice’s uncle and father to Hero, whom Claudio hopes to wed.

But all is not well in this Shakespearean comedy, which Ms. Blain-Cruz describes as a contemporary love story that unfolds as soldiers deal with the demands of a return to civilian life. Not all is as it appears to be, and while Beatrice and Benedick exchange barbs to hide their mutual attraction for each other, Claudio, egged on by a malcontent, levels a shocking accusation against Hero. Everyone’s world is changed, but some semblance of order is restored when the plot is uncovered and Hero is saved by the linguistically challenged Dogberry and his sidekicks.

The cast features Christiana Clark as Beatrice, Danforth Comins as Benedick, Jack Willis as Leonato, Cristofer Jean as Don Pedro, Leah Anderson as Hero, Reynaldo Piniella as Claudio, Regan Linton as Don John, Barret O’Brien as Borachio/Ensemble, Armando McClain as Conrade/Ensemble, Allison Buck as Margaret/Ensemble, Robin Waisanen as Ursula/Ensemble, Rex Young as Dogberry/Ensemble, Tyrone Wilson as Friar/Ensemble, Eileen DeSandre as Verges, Lucas Caldwell as Seacole/Ensemble and Cesar Perez Rosas as Oatcake/Ensemble.

Scenic design is by Scott Bradley; costumes by Kara Harmon; lighting by Yi Zhao; music and sound by Chad Raines. Lydia G. Garcia is dramaturg; Susan Sweeney is voice & text director; U. Jonathan Toppo is fight direction; and Jill Rendall is stage manager.

Pericles
(February 26–November 1)
by William Shakespeare

masthead-pericles-746x420
Shakespeare’s first romance, Pericles, was last produced at OSF in 1999 and staged in the Angus Bowmer Theatre. Joseph Haj (Henry V, 2012) will direct this production in the Thomas Theatre, where it will run the duration of the season.

This production will be based on Haj’s 2008 staging at PlayMakers Repertory Company, where he is producing artistic director. A new cast and a few new designers have joined Haj and members of the original design team to help recreate a similar vision in the new space. Haj describes Pericles as a “sophisticated and spiritual play,” which he feels needs a strong musical element. Composer Jack Herrick will refashion his score from the 2008 staging for this production.

Pericles is epic theatre, the story of the Prince of Tyre, who sets out to woo a princess but ends up in the midst of a harrowing adventure. He is pursued by an evil king, blown from port to port, finds the love of his life, then loses her and their infant daughter. But this is a romance, so the miraculous can and does happen, the lost are found and joyous reunions occur.

The cast features Wayne T. Carr as Pericles, Armando Durán as Gower/Ensemble, Brooke Parks as Thaisa/Dionyza/Ensemble, Scott Ripley as Antiochus/Simonides/Pandar/Ensemble, Jennie Greenberry as Marina/Antiochus’ Daughter/Ensemble, Michael J. Hume as Helicanus/Bawd/Ensemble, U. Jonathan Toppo as Thaliard/Boult/Ensemble, Emily Serdahl as Lychorida/Diana/Ensemble, Michael Gabriel Goodfriend as Lysimachus/Lord/Ensemble, Barzin Akhavan as Cleon/Cerimon/Ensemble, and Zlato Rizziolli, Samuel L. Wick and Cedric Lamar as Ensemble. Darcy Danielson is the musician.

The scenic designer is Jan Chambers, costumes are by Raquel Barreto, lighting by Rui Rita, music by Jack Herrick, sound design by Amadon Jaeger and video projections by Francesca Talenti. Rebecca Clark Carey is voice and text director; U. Jonathan Toppo is fight director; Dawn Monique Williams is associate director; Gwen Turos is stage manager.

Guys and Dolls
A Musical Fable of Broadway (February 22 – November 1)
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser; Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows; based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon

masthead-guys-and-dolls-746x420
Director Mary Zimmerman (The White Snake, 2012) returns to OSF to direct this classic 1950s musical based on stories by Damon Runyon. Accustomed to transforming ancient tales, Zimmerman feels she’s on familiar ground because Guys and Dolls has its own share of transformation and unexpected outcomes for its characters. Nathan Detroit runs the oldest established permanent floating crap game in New York, and his fiancée, Adelaide, has been waiting 14 years to walk down the aisle with him. Nathan is not sure what to do with his own life, but he is gambling that a date between the high-rolling Sky Masterson and a straight-laced Salvation Army doll, Sarah Brown, might pay him big dividends. Yet it turns out that life and love throw some unexpected results to all of them.

The cast features Jeremy Peter Johnson as Sky Masterson, Rodney Gardiner as Nathan Detroit, Kate Hurster as Sarah Brown, Robin Goodrin Nordli as Miss Adelaide, Daniel T. Parker as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, David Kelly as Benny Southstreet, Joe Wegner as Rusty Charlie, Richard Howard as Arvide Abernathy, Tony DeBruno as Harry the Horse, Robert Vincent Frank as Lt. Brannigan, Richard Elmore as Big Jule, Al Espinosa as Angie the Ox, Eugene Ma as Joey Biltmore, Catherine E. Coulson as Gen. Matilda Cartwright and the following ensemble members: Briawna Jackson, Britney Simpson, Kristin Glaeser, Alyssa Birrer, Curtis Holland, Jonathan Luke Stevens.

Musicans are Michael Vannice, Gordon Greenley and Daryl Fjeldheim on woodwinds; Bruce Dresser, Mark Jacobs on brass; Bruce McKern on bass and Jim Malachi on drums.

Choreographer is Daniel Pelzig and music director is Doug Peck. Scenic design is by Daniel Ostling, costume design by Mara Blumenfeld; lighting by T.J. Gerckens; sound design by Ray Nardelli. Susan Sweeney is voice & text director; U. Jonathan Toppo is fight director; and Jeremy Eisen is stage manager.

Fingersmith
(February 21– July 9)
by Alexa Junge, based on the novel by Sarah Waters

masthead-fingersmith-746x420
OSF is honored and delighted to present this world-premiere production in the Angus Bowmer Theatre. Bill Rauch will direct, and as he noted in an interview about the play, the fact that playwright Alexa Junge proposed this adaptation and British novelist Sarah Waters agreed is a great gift to OSF.

The story is a theatrical page-turner set in a startling, vivid world of Victorian con artists and thieves. Pickpocket Sue Trinder has a simple task: cheat a gullible young heiress out of her fortune for a con man. But in this world nothing is what it seems, and the twisting story lands Sue in a stifling mansion, madhouses and squalid London streets.
The cast features Sara Bruner as Sue, Erica Sullivan as Maud, Elijah Alexander as Gentleman, Kate Mulligan as Mrs. Sucksby and in a number of roles; Peter Frechette, Terri McMahon, Nancy Rodriguez, K.T. Vogt, Peter Laughlin, Carlos N. Lopez, Bruce A. Young, Brent Hinkley, Moira Todd and Sofia Villareal.

Scenic design is by Christopher Acebo; costumes by Deborah M. Dryden; lighting by Alan Edwards; music and sound by Andre J. Pluess; and projections by Shawn Sagady and Daniel Cariño. Dramaturgs on the project are Lydia G. Garcia and Christopher Liam Moore; David Carey is voice & text director; U. Jonathan Toppo is fight director; Mandy Younger and Karl Alphonso are stage managers.

Previews, Openings and Tickets
Tickets remain available to previews and most opening performances. Patrons can save 15 percent on preview tickets. Please check ticket availability atwww.osfashland.org or call the Box Office at 541-482-4331 or 800-219-8161.