Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Photo by Jenny Graham

Dorothy Velasco reviews the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of Off the Rails, the first play by a Native American to be performed at OSF.

This is KLCC. I’m Dorothy Velasco with the Ashland Theater Review.

“Off the Rails,” the first play by a Native American to be performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is a mishmash — part comedy, part musical, part history lesson, and part morality tale loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure.”

Dorothy Velasco reviews the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Dorothy Velasco reviews Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, the first play by Jiehae Park.

Dorothy Velasco reviews Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of UniSon, a musical based on the poetry of August Wilson.

Dorothy Velasco reviews the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of The Odyssey, adapted for the stage by Mary Zimmerman.

Photo by Jenny Graham

Guilt, anger, revenge. Riotous hilarity, mortal enemies, Falstaff bigger than life, Prince Hal in a hoody. Yes, it’s “Henry IV, Part One” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s intimate Thomas Theatre, to be followed in the summer by “Part Two.”

As directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, Shakespeare’s great history play, peppered with surprises, is staged in the round and set in modern times. We can almost reach out and touch the actors, and the actors certainly touch us with their electrifying emotions.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

President Trump is weighing deep cuts in his budget plan, including all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).  A major theater group in Oregon fears that could affect children’s access to one of history’s greatest playwrights. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Photo by Jenny Graham

In “Mojada, A Medea in Los Angeles,” playwright Luis Alfaro manages an impressive feat, melding a Greek tragedy with a heartbreaking story of Mexican immigrants.

Now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, with sensitive direction by Juliette Carrillo, this play follows the life of Medea, a young indigenous woman from Michoacán now residing in Los Angeles with her beloved Jason, pronounced Ha-sohn, their son Acan, and Tita, an old family friend. All are mojados, wetbacks, illegal.

Photo by Jenny Graham

When I studied Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in high school it seemed like ancient history having nothing to do with me. Well, now it’s ancient history that relates perfectly to our times.

  Dorothy Velasco reviews the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Timon of Athens and the controversial Play On! Project, which aims to translate Shakespeare into modern language. 

  Dorothy Velasco reviews the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's productions of Richard II and The Winter's Tale.

photo: Jennie Graham

“The Wiz,” a surprise Broadway hit over 40 years ago, has now landed on the outdoor stage at Ashland’s Allen Theatre. This funky black version of “The Wizard of Oz” won a Tony for best musical, but “Hamilton” it’s not.

photo: Jennie Graham

“Vietgone,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is a lively new comedy about Vietnamese refugees creating their version of an American life from scratch.

Ashland Review: Roe

Jul 12, 2016
Photo: Jennie Graham

Lisa Loomer’s new play, “Roe,” about the Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion in 1973, may well be this year’s most important American play. 

photo: Jennie Graham

Many people consider Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” the greatest play ever written. They must be right because a full house sat through the play’s rainy opening night at Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s outdoor Allen Theatre.

photo Jenny Graham

Dorothy Velasco has this review of "The Yeomen of the Guard" at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.

photo Jenny Graham

“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens is a grand novel. And it grandly fills the stage of the Bowmer Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

photo Jenny Graham

Shakespeare’s much loved comedy, “Twelfth Night,” is a joyful choice for the new season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
According to director Christopher Liam Moore, joyful is the operating word for the play. It begins with a shipwreck and the presumed death of Viola’s brother Sebastian.

Jennie Graham

Who would have dreamed that a theater company in remote Ashland, Oregon, so far from New York, would be sending shows to Broadway and major theaters across the country?
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, now in its 81st year, is renowned for producing not only all of Shakespeare’s plays, but for developing new works that will likely stand the test of time.
One of those new plays is “The River Bride” by young poet-playwright Marisela Treviño Orta. This enchanting fairy tale inspired by Brazilian folklore takes place in a small village on the Amazon.

  Four hundred years after William Shakespeare’s death, one copy of the first collected works of his material is on display at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

Photo Jenny Graham

The last play to open at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival this season is one of the very best. “Sweat,” a deeply satisfying new work by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, was commissioned as part of the Festival’s United States History Cycle.

Photo Jenny Graham

“The Happiest Song Plays Last,” now at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Thomas Theatre, is part three of a trilogy by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Last year the Festival presented part two, “Water by the Spoonful,” directed, like this play, by Shishir Kurup.
The author, inspired by her cousin Elliot, the youngest Marine to be deployed to Iraq, has stitched his story to others, creating a colorful quilt of present-day issues.

photo Jenny Graham

Take two plays, one an ancient farce and the other a modern tale of lost love. Accidentally schedule them for a dress rehearsal on the same stage at the same time, and you have the starting point for “Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

photo Jenny Graham

“Antony and Cleopatra,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is one of Shakespeare’s most confounding plays. Directors have a hard time deciding what it is. Battles, politics, lust, suicides, a little comedy, and a lot of short scenes alternating between Egypt and Rome.

photo Jenny Graham

“Long Day’s Journey into Night,” Eugene O’Neill’s gut-wrenching family drama, is playing in a superlative production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Thomas Theatre.
When O’Neill fashioned this play based on his miserable youth, he stipulated it could not be published until 25 years after his death, and never be performed. But after he died in 1953 his widow soon had it produced on Broadway, and it earned Pulitzer and Tony Awards.

Christopher Acebo, Associate Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, will give a talk called “Guiding Space: An Exploration of Set Design in the Theater,” as part of Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalk on Friday, June 5th at 5:30 p.m. It will be at Oregon Contemporary Theatre, moderated by Bob Keefer. Christopher Acebo speaks with Eric Alan about using minimalism to engage the audience’s imagination, and the beauty of limitations.

Photo by Jenny Graham, Oregon Shakespeare Festival

REVIEW OF MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

by Dorothy Velasco

March 31, 2015

There is much to enjoy in the production of “Much Ado About Nothing,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Bowmer Theatre. There is just as much to criticize.

Photo by Jenny Graham, Oregon Shakespeare Festival

                     

REVIEW OF FINGERSMITH

by Dorothy Velasco

March 24, 2015

“Fingersmith,” the acclaimed Victorian crime novel by Sarah Waters, has been described as “Oliver Twist with a twist.”

In the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s new stage adaptation, we see more twisting than Chubby Checker ever dreamed of.

Photo by Jenny Graham, Oregon Shakespeare Festival

REVIEW OF GUYS AND DOLLS

by Dorothy Velasco

March 17, 2015

I’ve got a tip for all you fun-loving guys and dolls. Put your money on the musical, “Guys and Dolls,” now playing in the Bowmer Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Photo by Jenny Graham, Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

REVIEW OF PERICLES

by Dorothy Velasco

March 10, 2015

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s spring season, in its 80th year, offers a lavish theatrical bounty. Perhaps the most surprising is the splendid production of Shakespeare’s “Pericles” in the Thomas Theatre.

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