Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare Play’

Oregon Shakespeare Festival new play ” Sweat “

August 24th, 2015 by Julie

 

Detail_2015_Sweat_746x420 (1)

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

A Taste of Ashland

April 10th, 2015 by Julie

A Taste of Ashland

taste of ashland artist gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Taste of Ashland will this year commence on Saturday and Sunday, April 25th and April 26th 2015. The annual event will go from Noon to 4 pm each day. Tickets for the whole weekend are $60 per person or for Saturday only $50 and Sunday $40.

A Taste of Ashland is one of the premier events and one of the most important fund raisers for The Ashland Gallery Association, money raised will support art and artists in the region. The Taste of Ashland weekend showcases the best of local art, food and wine. Foodies and Art lovers will follow the event map to over 20 art galleries and at each gallery they will be treated with amazing art works and also delicious food from some of Ashlands’ best restaurants and delectable wines from local boutique wineries even perhaps some music to serenade you through the day.

It will be an easy stroll from one Gallery to the next but if you need a little help along the way,there is an complimentary shuttle bus to take you in comfort to each venue.

While in Ashland for the weekend, there are lots of things to do in the evening, catch a play at one of the theatres at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or a dinner theatre treat at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre.  Music of all kinds can be heard at the many of Ashlands’ restaurants and bars.

2015 taste of ashland

 

It’s all about the Art !!!

Come join in the fun… for tickets and information go to www.atasteofashland.com

 

 

 

“Pericles” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

March 26th, 2015 by Julie

” Pericles” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Detail_2015_Pericles three pirates
pericles drowning
Pericles by William Shakespeare is a play not often performed these days, in Shakespeare lifetime it was wildly popular, but over the years it has fallen out of favor with audiences.
The play is a swashbuckling adventure fairy tale with rich characters of pirates, wicked Queens and bawdy brothel keepers.
 It is a story of birth, death, resurrection and love.
 It’s both romantic, comic and tragic, a veritable roller coaster ride in which Pericles the Prince of Tyre ( played superbly  by Wayne T. Carr ) takes you, the audience with him on a journey to find his destiny. Along the way he finds and marries then loses his Princess and his daughter at sea. He faces ambition, hatred and loss. With many implausible events and complicated twists and turns to the plot.
In a very compelling scene, Pericles is drowning at sea, it really feels like you are being tossed as he is by the stormy  rolling waves.
   The director Joseph Haj has done wonderful job of producing a mesmerizing and dynamic spectacle. It is a visually and musically stunning  play with lush original music and songs and luminous staging.
We both loved this play, it grabbed us from the beginning. The play is immensely moving. At times it is very sad, also hilariously funny and like all good fairy tales, has a happy ending.
 A play definitely  not to be missed.
For tickets and information about plays at Oregon Shakespeare Festival go to osfashland.org

Mountain Bird Festival in Ashland Oregon

March 12th, 2015 by Julie

white headed woodpeker

 

 

The Klamath Bird Observatory  is pleased to announce the   2015 Mountain Bird Festival in beautiful  Ashland Oregon  starting on May 29th through May 31st.

Birders from all over the US will be able to go on guided bird walks either full day or half day walks on Saturday and Sunday.  At the Festival there will be food and wine from local vendors, fine art and talks on Mountain Birds. This year the keynote speaker will be Brian Sullivan from Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Brian is an International eBird project leader, bringing birding and technology together, making it easier to catalog and find birds in your own area and habitat.

The Klamath- Siskiyou region of southern Oregon and northern California is one of the most diverse regions in the world, it’s a must visit area for naturalists and bird enthusiasts and all of us to enjoy. You can see the White-Headed Woodpecker, Spotted Owls, Calliope Hummingbirds, nesting Sandhill Cranes and the Mountain Bluebirds and many others. Last year birders saw more than 170 varieties of birds.

2014_MBF_Participant

The Klamath Bird Observatory has many events during the year, it’s mission is to advance bird and habitat conservation through science and education. There is always lots to learn for the novice bird enthusiast and veteran birders.

Festival goers can enjoy all that Ashland Oregon has to offer during their stay. See a play at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, stroll through town and visit unique shops, galleries and spas and have a delicious meal at one of Ashland’s world class restaurants. To complete your weekend, stay at a fabulous B&B.  At the Blue Moon B&B  we are delighted to offer you a warm welcome with personalized attention to detail making your stay comfortable and relaxing. Every morning wake up to a cup of locally roasted coffee and a mouth watering home cooked gourmet breakfast, also afternoon tea and freshly baked cakes or cookies.

To learn more about the Mountain Bird Festival or to register for the event go to www.Klamathbird.org

 

Richard 111 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

September 19th, 2014 by Julie

Richard 111

 

Richard 111 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland Oregon is a triumph.

The play is takes place during the 30 year long War of the Roses between the houses of York and Lancaster. It is a story of the lust for power, and how Richard spirals into corruption, hatred, revenge and evil.

So says Richard, with Shakespeare famous words ” Now is the winter of our discontent”. Nearly every character in the play longs for a better future, after a long period of upheaval and discontentment.

Richard’s lust for power leads him to murder and to destroy peoples live. He becomes so despicable, villainous and evil, in his quest to have no one left in the country to challenge him. But of course he will always have enemies and he finds it hard to trust anyone. Richard is constantly haunted by the ghosts of those he has had killed.

Director James Bundy and his brilliant cast have the audience captivated from the start of the play until the end. Dan Donohue as Richard 111 steals  the show with a masterfully outstanding performance. You love to hate him, but you also can have some sympathy for him as he struggles with his deformities and descends into ruthless brutality.

Shakespeare’s masterpiece will shock and delight at the same time, with Richard as the most astonishingly entertaining character to take center stage.

Jean-Pierre and I were intrigued by Shakespeare’s artistry, seeing the play under the stars is wonderful. We talked about it for days afterwards.

This is a must see, but  there is not too much time left before the Elizabethan Stage closes and Richard 111 will be no more.

Get thee to the box office now…

For Tickets…..Oregon Shakespeare Box Office

“Into the Woods” is playing in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre in Ashland Oregon until October 11th.

August 20th, 2014 by Julie

into-the-woodsInto the Woods” is playing in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre in Ashland Oregon until October 11th

The Elizabethan stage is the perfect venue for “Into the Woods” a play written by James Lupine with mesmerizing music by Stephen Sondheim. The musical was inspired by Grimms Fairy Tales stories… Cinderella,  Little Red Riding Hood,  Jack and the Beanstalk,  Rapunzel and others.

On stage is a full 25 piece orchestra, you may recognize Matt Castle playing the grand piano, he also played the piano on stage in last years “My Fair Lady”. He was very much part of My Fair Lady and he is also quite a presence in Into the Woods playing Sondheim’s delightful music.

The two Prince Charming’s played by John Tufts and Jeremy Peter Johnson are hilarious, they  also sing some really wonderful lusty songs.   Another stand out is the riveting Miriam A. Laube who plays the humorously menacing witch, she is a fantastic combination of good and evil!

‘Into the Woods’ is beautiful to look at, the OSF multi talented acting company breath new life into the fairy tales we all grew up with. Of course all good fairy tales start with the words… Once upon a time… then the story begins.

What follows is a gorgeously rich Broadway worthy musical spectacular with a unique Oregon Shakespeare Festival flair.

Does it all end Happily Ever After..   You will have to go and see for yourself..

Go to  osfashland.org/productions/2014-plays/into-the-woods.aspx

 

 

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