Posts Tagged ‘Angus Bowmer Theatre’

Oregon Shakespeare Festival new play ” Sweat “

August 24th, 2015 by Julie

 

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Welcome to ‘Sweat’  a World Premier play by Lynn Nottage now playing at the Bowmer Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The play set between 2000 and 2008 in Reading Pennsylvania, one of the poorest cities in America.  It’s a sad story of what happens when good paying factory jobs go away and the devastating financial consequences that unemployment brings.

We meet three woman factory workers:  Tracey ( Terry McMahon) Cynthia (Kimberly Scott)  and Jessie ( K.T Vogt) in the local tavern after work, gossiping and laughing about everyday things with the bar tender Stan ( Jack Willis). You notice they are drinking excessively, especially Jessie who’s life has been taken over by alcohol and seems to be drunk most of the time, also working at the bar is Oscar an natural born American from the Dominican Republic, he would really love a good job at the factory but has no skills.

Cynthia and Tracey have sons who are friends,  both have good jobs at the plant, while Tracey’s son Jason (Stephen Michael Spencer ) is happy to work at the plant for the rest of his working life Cynthia’s son Chris ( Tramell Tillman) is saving his money to go to college.

At the beginning of the play they are all working shifts at the plant with good money and benefits but their middle class lives are about to change as management wants the union to agree to longer working hours and loss of some vital benefits. Tracey, Cynthia and their sons vote NO. What happens next is the management lock out the workers from the plant and bring in an unskilled workforce, Oscar from the tavern is happy to be one of the unskilled workers to get a job.

Cynthia and Tracey who thought they had good paying jobs until they retired suddenly find themselves without work and their American Dream shattered.

Things will change dramatically for Jason and Chris because of one indecent of anger, rage and racial tension, one late night at the Tavern.

This play is very powerful, you feel their desperation, hopelessness and profound sadness as they struggle to find any minimum wage jobs they can get.  They long to return to the way things were but unfortunately will never be again.

 

Love “Head Over Heels” a new musical

August 5th, 2015 by Julie

Detail_2015_HOH_746x420 Oregon Shakespeare Festival ” Head Over Heels”
On a hot evening last week Jean-Pierre and I joined more than 1000 other excited playgoers to see  ” Head Over Heels” at the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre.
This is a world premier play taken from a 16th century poem “Arcadia” by Sir Phillip Sidney.  Adapted for the stage by Jeff Whitty, directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar with music and lyrics by the Go Go’s.
This seems like a very unlikely mashup of a 1580’s poem and music from the 1980’s group The Go Go’s….. yes it seems strange but it really works.
 
Before the play really starts the marvelous and wildly funny John Tufts as ” The Fool” Philanax comes onto the stage, he engages with us the audience, checking the script and telling us all about the mythical world of Arcadia, and of the wonderful characters we are about to see, then the story begins!
The Elizabethan poem by Sir Phillip is about romance and the meaning of love in all forms,
and so is this play,  settle into your seat and enjoy the ride.
 The King of Arcadia Basillius ( Michael Sharon)and his Queen Gynecia ( the always amazing Mirium Laube)  love each other but have fallen temporarily out of love. Their eldest daughter Pamela ( Bonnie Mulligan)has many suitors but loves none, their younger daughter played by Tala Ashe and the local Shepard boy played by Dylan Paul as Philoclea and Musidorus are an absolutely adorable couple very much in love but unable to be together.
As the play goes on the story gets more and more complicated and brilliantly silly with mistaken identities, lots of romantic surprises and wildly funny non stop jokes that will have you constantly laughing.
The fabulous songs from the Go Go’s and the story intertwine beautifully together with gorgeous costumes, a terrific live orchestra and an exuberant cast belting out the wonderfully familiar foot tapping songs.
It’s an over the top non stop party and well worth the trip to Ashland just to see this play.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2015 Much Ado About Nothing

June 12th, 2015 by Julie

Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2015 Much Ado About Nothing

much ado about nothing

There is a lot to enjoy in Oregon Shakespeare’s 2015 production of Much Ado about Nothing. Shakespeare has created an imaginary world to delight us and for the next three hours it does just that.   Directed beautifully by Lileana Bain-Cruz,  she moves us along on a journey full of comedy, tragedy, triumphs, infidelity and of course love!

At the beginning of the play the stage is full of roses cascading down over the actors, we see Don Peadro and his men arrive in the make believe kingdom of Messina back from the war, among them are Claudio ( Carlo Alban) and Benedick (Danforth Cummins), the mates are ready for some fun and R&R.

The naive and  jealous Claudio quickly falls in love with his hosts daughter Hero ( and just as quickly falls out of love with her when her virtue is spoiled by Don Pedro’s evil sister.)

Benadick meets the lovely Beatrice ( Christiana Clark ) they really are in love with each other but would never admit it, he is stubborn and pig headed and she is equally so. There is a lot of witty banter going on between them until they finally come to the conclusion that they actually are in love!

There are very funny comic interludes where Dogberry  (Rex Young)  and his inept band of men enter the stage. Dogberry is goofy and hilarious as he zips around on his Segway dropping Malaprop’s as he goes, constantly followed by his enthusiastic mother.

Spend a wonderful evening at the Bowmer Theatre. This play is a must see, it’s Shakespeare at his best. A joy to watch, full of high energy, charming likable characters and sparkling wit.

For tickets go to osfashland.org

Oregon Shakespeare Festival presents Fingersmith

May 19th, 2015 by Julie

 The 2015 Oregon Shakespeare Festival presents Fingersmith. The play is a brilliantly perfect adaptation of Sarah Waters best selling Victorian mystery. It is Alexa Junge an Emmy nominated play-write who has taken the book to the OSF stage beautifully. Director Bill Rauch brings the characters to life with imaginative staging and subtle direction.

This is an extremely complex story about two orphans, one  Maud Lilly ( played by Erica Sullivan) is an heiress living in a country house with a rich uncle.  The other Sue Trinder (played by Sara Bruner) who was raised by  “baby farmer” Mrs Sucksby (played by Kate Mulligan). Sue was taught to become a fingersmith ( slang for a pick-pocket ) She lives with Mrs Sucksby  and her band of thieves in the slums of London. Their lives could not be more different …..
or so you think!

 Some fascinating facts about life in Victorian England, women of all walks of life had very few choices and a rigid class structure to deal with. They could not vote, own property or get an education in many cases.

From the women of lower part of society in the slums, to the privileged women who lived luxury, most were at the mercy of the men in their lives.

This is the backdrop for Fingersmith, Sue meets charming scoundrel and con man (Gentleman) Richard Rivers ( Elijah Alexander) who needs Sue’s help him in a scam to marry and steal from the wealthy Maud, but all is not what it seems!

Over the next three hours with two intermissions you will be amazed at what happens:  There is a surprising love story and lots of double crosses, it’s full of plot twists and turns, fascinating characters and getting rave reviews from the audience and critics alike.  The first intermission ends on a cliff hanger with audible gasps from the audience.

And so it goes… there will be many gasps of surprise along the way. Enjoy the ride, but don’t give away the plot to your friends!

To get your tickets go to osfashland.org

Guys and Dolls at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

April 22nd, 2015 by Julie

Guys and Dolls at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 2015 production of Guys & Dolls is a much loved musical with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser.  It has been performed many times and made into a movie too. I have seen the movie and also a couple of stage productions but this production is by far and away the best I’ve seen.

Mary Zimmerman  directs the top notch cast through a fast paced and uproariously funny show with witty dialog and foot tapping and beloved songs.

The play opens in Times Square New York with gambling crazy Nathan Detroit ( played with comic exuberance by Rodney Gardiner ) trying to find a spot for his floating crap game.

We then meet Adelaide, a night club dancer and Nathans long suffering fiancee who after 14 years wonders if she will ever become a bride. As Nathan ties to find a place for the crap game, along comes Sky Matherson a handsome sinner and gambler who will bet on just about anything. Nathan bets Sky that he can’t take Sarah a straight laced goody two shoes Salvation Army Mission doll to Havana for a night. Sky sets about wooing Sarah, but he unexpectedly falls in love with her.

Guys and Dolls never misses a beat with heavenly vocals and great choreography and an enormously talented cast.

 Especially endearing is  Robin Goodrin Nordli  who gives a absolutely adorably ditsy performance as Adelaide. She stops the show with her renditions of songs ” Sue Me” and ” Take Back Your Mink ” but the most funny and charming song is  “Adelaid’s Lament ” (A Poyson Could Develop a Cold) together with sneezing and wheezing, it’s a hoot.

Sky Matherson  (played by Jeremy Peter Johnson ) and Sarah Brown  (played by Kate Hurster) win the hearts of the audience as the unlikely lovers,  they dazzle and delight with songs ” I’ve Never Been in Love before ” and   ” I’ll Know “.

You will be humming the tunes all the way home, and probably like us would love to see it for a second time.

For tickets go to  www.osfashland.org

“The Great Society” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

August 1st, 2014 by Julie

“The Great Society” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

bill rauch and robert schennkeanRecently we were privileged to join an audience of OSF volunteers at the Music Hall on the campus of Southern Oregon University for an evening with Bill Rauch, Robert Schenkkan and Tom Bryant. They talked about the Broadway production of  “All the Way” and the new sequel to All the Way, Robert Schenkkan’s new work “The Great Society”.

This play will be just as powerful and tumultuous as All the Way. In The Great Society, we start from LBJ’s landslide victory in 1965 until 1968. We see how Lyndon Johnson has to come to grips with the increasingly unpopular Vietnam War, and how he is able to push through great legislation such as the Voting Rights Act and Medicare.

Jack Willis again reprises his role as LBJ,  and Kenajaun Bentleyas Dr. Martin Luther King. The cast is still in rehearsals, guided by Bill Rauch as Director and Robert Schenkkan, they are getting ready for the world premier opening on July 23rd.

We are so excited to see The Great Society, to revisit the 1960’s and to remember what Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King fought for. and what they achieved in difficult times in our history.

Another snippet fresh off the presses… Robert Schenkkan told us that he is in negotiations with a movie company to make a film of All the Way!!  We will look forward to seeing it in the future at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland.

“Cocoanuts” now playing in the Bowmer Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland Oregon

July 15th, 2014 by Julie

CocoanutsCocoanuts is now playing in the Bowmer Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland Oregon through November 2nd 2014.

Mark Bedard who is again absolutely brilliant, as the zany, crazy Groucho Marx.

Cocoanuts is a jazz age gem and a wildly funny romp full of sun, sand, superb fun and shtick. Groucho as Mr Hammer, the owner of a failing hotel in Florida the “Cocoanuts Beach Hotel”.

Groucho tries to peddle some worthless real estate in a get-rich-quick scheme by taking advantage of one his guests in the hotel a wealthy society widow Mrs. Potter, superbly played by K.T Vogt….. comic mayhem and uproarious fun ensue as Groucho tries to relieve Mrs. Potter of her money.

At one point there is a land auction in which the audience is invited to bid, the evening we saw the play, the audience went crazy and bid millions of dollars in ever increasing excitement.

Of course there are Groucho’s more than willing sidekicks.. Zeppo ( who is the hotel clerk ) deftly played by Eduardo Placer and Chico and Harpo played hilariously by John Tufts and Brent Hinkley.

Cocoanuts castThis is musical comedy at it’s best with wonderful songs and lyrics by Irving Berlin, including “Always” and “Lucky Boy”.

Cocoanuts is a madcap musical full of mayhem, mischievousness,silliness and spontaneous improvisations, anything can happen, and it usually does, no two performances are alike.The audience is definitely part of the whole experience. The cast are having a great time, always looking for the next ad lib. It’s a sheer joy… you come away from the theatre, singing the songs and chuckling to yourself for days afterwards!

 

Summer in Ashland Oregon

July 10th, 2014 by Julie

ashland oreegon townAshland Oregon has so much to offer visitors, it’s a small town bursting with sophistication but also wacky and wonderful too, it’s a friendly place, where everyone has time to chat!!

 Ashland is home to the Tony Award Winning and world famous “Oregon Shakespeare Festival ” the jewel in the crown of our town.  With it’s three iconic and beloved Theatres all in the center of downtown Ashland.

It’s not only a great Get-a-way from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but as you arrive in Ashland you take a deep breath ready for renewal, restoration and the healing power of our glorious and famous small town.

 There are so many things to do when you come to visit Ashland, it’s an art lovers dream, has lots of music events,  fabulous dining, boutique wineries, river rafting, birding, hiking trails and Lithia Park which is on the list of “National Register of Historic Places”.

Talking with Author of “The Great Society” Robert Schenkkan and Director Bill Rauch

July 4th, 2014 by Julie

Recently we joined an audience of OSF volunteers at the Music Hall on the campus of Southern Oregon University for an evening with Bill Rauch, Robert Schenkkanand Tom Bryant. They talked about the Broadway production of  “All the Way” and the new sequel to All the Way, Robert Schenkkan’s new work “The Great Society”.

bill schenkken and Bill RauchThis play will be just as powerful and tumultuous as All the Way. In The Great Society, we start from LBJ’s landslide victory in 1965 until 1968. We see how Lyndon Johnson has to come to grips with the increasingly unpopular Vietnam War, and how he is able to push through great legislation such as the Voting Rights Act and Medicare.

Jack Willis again reprises his role as LBJ,  and Kenajaun Bentley as Dr. Martin Luther King. The cast is still in rehearsals, guided by Bill Rauch as Director and Robert Schenkkan, they are getting ready for the world premier opening on July 23rd.

We are so excited to see The Great Society, to revisit the 1960’s and to remember what Lyndon Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King fought for that made our country a better place

.Another snippet fresh off the presses… Robert Schenkkan told us that he is in negotiations with a movie company to make a film of All the Way!!  We will look forward to seeing it in the future at the Varsity Theatre in Ashland.

Ashland Oregon is one of the ten “Best small towns” in America

June 16th, 2014 by Julie

ElizabethanHenryVIII_09_smaller OSFAshland Oregon has always been special, now it’s official according to Fodor’s annual list of the best of the best ” Best Ten Small Towns”.

CNN reports that some of the best towns in the US are the small towns.   Arabella Bowen, executive editorial director of Fodor’s Travel reports  “There has been a big uprise in traveling to smaller towns that have some quirky and regional appeal”

Ashland has much to offer visitors, it’s the home to the Tony Award Winning and world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival”  with it’s three iconic and beloved Theatres  all in the center of downtown Ashland.  Coming to visit  Ashland  is an Event!!

There are many other things to do in and around Ashland… Oregon Cabaret Theatre , the Green Show, many boutique local wineries, art galleries, River rafting, birding, quaint and unique shops in downtown Ashland, fabulous world class restaurants, and the beautiful Lithia Park listed on ” The National Register of Historical Places” which has more than 90 acres of pristine trails for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.

ashland oreegon townAshland has some of the best small Inns and Bed and Breakfasts in Oregon and the country.

Jean-Pierre and Julie at the Blue Moon Bed and Breakfast  a unique and historic beautifully restored farm house built in 1855.  We at the Blue Moon endeavor to give our guests a very warm welcome,  a concierge experience with a personal touch and a sumptuous three course gourmet breakfast every morning.

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