Archive for the ‘Theatre’ Category

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.

Fabulous Fresh Raspberry Bar’s

July 30th, 2015 by Julie

   Fabulous Fresh Raspberry Bar’s

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These Fabulous Fresh Raspberry Bars are so delicious they won’t last long. For all of our guests at the Blue Moon who love these bars, here is the recipe especially for you.

Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt to combine. Add the butter and pulse just until the dough comes together. Transfer to a bowl and gently knead in the oats.
  2. Press all but 1/2 cup of the dough into the prepared pan. Spread the jam evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges. Scatter the raspberries over the jam and sprinkle with the remaining dough.
  3. Bake until the edges are golden, 25 to 28 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing.
  4. Makes 16 servings.

 

Blue Moon Apple Espalier Tree

July 3rd, 2015 by Julie

 

 

photo (6) Blue Moon Espalier Apple Tree. But when you come to the Blue Moon this year you will probably notice that we have cut the Apple Espalier trees on the Hersey Street side of the cottage, unfortunately the foliage and branches were so diseased that we had to do something!

A Espalier tree is a tree that is trained along a wire system so the branches of the tree grow at a 45 degree angle from the main stem. The term Espalier describes the process of training the tree.

This is what it is supposed to look like….

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We contacted an espalier expert, she said that the roots were strong so the best thing to do was to cut them down to one foot stumps. It looks so sad and bare with no espalier climbing along the wires but she tells us that they should grow stronger and hopefully produce some apples in the future. The stumps are already starting to sprout and the trees should grow back in about three years. We will keep you posted on the progress.

Oregon Cabaret Theatre presents “Cabaret” the Musical

June 25th, 2015 by Julie

 

The Oregon Cabaret Theatre presents the much loved musical ” Cabaret”

The Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland presents musicals, revues and comedies. The shows are presented in an elegant, nightclub setting in a restored, historically registered former church.

The stars of the ” Cabaret” show… Jillian Van Niel, Galloway Stevens, Paul Michael Garcia, Tamara Marston, Matt Brown and John Lambie transform the Cabaret Theatre into the Kit Kat Klub in 1930’s Berlin.

“Cabaret” the musical has been performed on stage and screen many times,  this is the first time that “Cabaret” has been performed at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre. The cast and crew at the Theatre know how to put on a good show you won’t be disappointed.

The show promises to be a thrilling treat with lots of Razzle-Dazzle and hit songs. The Cabaret Theatre serves dinner and drinks before the show, come and have lots of fun and enjoy a fabulous meal too.  The show runs from May 28th until August 30th.

For tickets and information go to oregoncabaret.com

Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2015 Much Ado About Nothing

June 12th, 2015 by Julie

Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2015 Much Ado About Nothing

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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

Blue Moon Bed and Breakfast Kitchen Garden

June 10th, 2015 by Julie

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 The first week in May was a perfect time to plant our kitchen garden at the Blue Moon B&B.

At the Blue Moon kitchen garden last year we only had one raised bed and planted it with both tomatoes and herbs, the tomatoes took over the bed and there was not really room for the herbs. This year we added another raised bed just for the herbs.

We have four tomato plants growing in one bed, two of them are cherry tomatoes one red and one yellow, also an early tomato and a heirloom verity, we hope to have lots and lots of tomatoes for breakfast at the Inn this summer.

In the herb raised bed we have thyme, chives, sage, parsley and 13 sweet basil plants, so we should have more than enough herbs for the kitchen.

When you are in Ashland Oregon. Come to see our garden at the Blue Moon Bed & Breakfast.

Agave Restaurant in Ashland Oregon

June 9th, 2015 by Julie

 

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AGAVE RESTAURANT IN ASHLAND

Ashlands’ much loved Mexican restaurant  Agave has moved from it’s former location on North Main Street to just around the corner at 5 Granite Street in the space that used to house the now closed Greek restaurant  “Blue”   This space is much bigger says owner Jacob Brown-Van Ausdall,   “we are going from a 20 seat restaurant to 99 seats”. The fare will be just as good, serving fresh house made gourmet Mexican inspired food.

In Agave’s former space will be a new restaurant called Flip,  they will serve: burgers, shakes and fries among other things. Grand opening soon.

agavetaco.net

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
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