The Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival launches its 84th year and Bill Rauch’s final season as artistic director this weekend.
Opening Friday, March 8, and running through Oct. 27, the 2019 season is dedicated to the memory of philanthropist and benefactor Paul Allen and “all those who have chosen to make a difference in the world through their generosity,” the festival stated in a press release.
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has supported multiple OSF programs and helped construct both the Thomas Theatre and the current iteration of OSF’s flagship Allen Elizabethan Theatre.
The full 2019 playbill includes “As You Like It,” “Mother Road,” “Hairspray — The Broadway Musical” and “Indecent” in the Angus Bowmer Theatre; “Cambodian Rock Band,” “Between Two Knees” and “How to Catch Creation” in the intimate Thomas Theatre; and “Macbeth,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “All’s Well That Ends Well” in the outdoor Elizabethan.
“La Comedia of Errors,” a bilingual (Spanish and English) adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s zaniest comedies, will be performed at a variety of showtimes an in a variety of spaces, including OSF’s Thomas Theatre and Hay-Patton Rehearsal Center, and in local communities.
There are four plays opening in March.
The world premiere of “Mother Road,” directed by Bill Rauch, opens Sunday, March 10, and runs through Oct. 26.
Playwright Octavio Solis, commissioned by the Steinbeck National Center, journeyed along the original path the Joads traveled in John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” — from Sallisaw, Oklahoma, to migrant farmworker camps in California. His play finds hardworking and hard-living William Joad with no blood kin to inherit the family farm. No one, that is, until he finds an unexpected relation: Martín Jodes — a young Mexican-American man descended from Steinbeck’s protagonist Tom Joad.
The cast features Mark Murphey as William Joad, Tony Sancho as Martín Jodes, Jeffrey King as William’s father and Catherine Castellanos as William’s mother. Scenic design is by Christopher Acebo; costume design is by Carolyn Mazuca and lighting design is by Pablo Santiago.
‘Cambodian Rock Band’
The show runs from Saturday, March 9, through Oct. 27, and features songs by Dengue Fever.
Playwright Lauren Yee and director Chay Yew explore the brutality and genocide of millions of people in 1970s Cambodia and the aftermath that still reverberates. The play follows a young woman trying to piece together her family history 30 years after her father fled Cambodia. Unfolding over three decades, the musical features a mix of contemporary Dengue Fever hits and classic Cambodian oldies, bringing to life the Cambodian rock scene of the ’60s and ’70s that was cut short by the Khmer Rouge.
The cast features Joe Ngo as Chum, Moses Villarama as Ted/Leng, Daisuke Tsuji and James Ryen (selected performances) as Duch; Brooke Ishibashi as Neary/Sothea; Abraham Kim as Rom; and Jane Lui as Pou. Music direction by Matt MacNelly, scenic design by Takeshi Kata, costume design by Sara Ryung Clement and lighting design by David Weiner.
‘As You Like It’
The Shakespeare comedy runs from Friday, March 8, through Oct. 26, directed by Rosa Joshi.
“Exiled from the controlling confines of the court, Duke Senior and her daughter Rosalind seek refuge — and find much more — in the unconstrained Forest of Arden. Also fleeing danger at home, Orlando encounters a young man named Ganymede and seeks help in love — unaware that Ganymede is actually his heart’s desire, Rosalind, in disguise.
The cast features Jessica Ko as Rosalind; Kate Hurster and Nancy Rodriguez (selected performances) as Celia; Rachel Crowl as Duke Senior; Kevin Kenerly as Duke Frederick; Rex Young as Touchstone.
Scenic designer is Sara Ryung Clement; costume designer is Christine Tschirgi; lighting designer is Christina Watanabe; and composer is Palmer Hefferan.
‘Hairspray — The Broadway Musical’
Directed by Christopher Liam Moore, the musical will be performed from Saturday, March 9, through Oct. 27.
It’s 1962, and Baltimore teenager Tracy Turnblad lives in a world that tells her plus-sized gals shouldn’t be dancing on television and that racial segregation is here to stay. When she wins a spot on The Corny Collins Show, Tracy becomes a star and teams up with her friends Penny, Seaweed, Motormouth Maybelle and hunky Link Larkin to use her newfound fame to challenge the status quo.
The cast of features Katy Geraghty as Tracy Turnblad, Eddie Lopez as Corny Collins, Jenna Bainbridge as Penny Pingleton, Jonathan Luke Stevens as Link Larkin, Christian Bufford as Seaweed J. Stubbs and Greta Oglesby as Motormouth Maybelle.
Music director is Gregg Coffin, choreography by Jaclyn Miller, scenic design by Nina Ball, costume design by Susan Tsu, lighting design by Jason Lynch.
For tickets see osfashland.org, call 800-219-8161 or stop by the box office, 15 S. Pioneer St., Ashland.