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Wild Oats, Richard II and a Midsummer Night's Dream Share the Elizabethan this Season


Previews Begin June 10; Shows open June 20, 21 and 22

ASHLAND, ORE.—The Oregon Shakespeare Festival opens its outdoor season on the Elizabethan Stage with Shakespeare’s masterful history Richard II (June 20), John O’Keeffe’s humorous and quirky Wild Oats (June 21) and Shakespeare’s delightfully comic A Midsummer Night’s Dream (June 22).
     OSF Artistic Director Libby Appel, who directs Richard II, notes that “on the Elizabethan Stage this season, audiences can experience the infinite variety of Shakespeare, who wrote Richard II and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (and Romeo and Juliet) the same year. They can also enjoy John O’Keeffe’s Wild Oats, a rollicking spoof and loving tribute to the great dramatic literature of his past. I’m particularly pleased about returning a non-Shakespeare to the Elizabethan stage, and Jim Edmondson has brought to fruition some smashing ideas for this 18th century comedy.”
     The three outdoor productions will join six other productions in the repertory. Currently playing at the New Theatre are Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra and David Edgar’s Mothers Against [Continental Divide]; playing in the Angus Bowmer Theatre are William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Noël Coward’s Present Laughter, David Edgar’s Daughters of the Revolution [Continental Divide], and Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler.
     June also heralds the opening of the outdoor Green Show, under the artistic direction of David Hochoy and the musical direction of Sue Carney and Patricia Maureen O’Scannell. The Green Show features OSF’s resident music ensemble, the Terra Nova Consort, and resident dance ensemble, Dance Kaleidoscope. The show is free and held in the courtyard prior to each outdoor performance on the Elizabethan Stage. Performances begin at 7:15 p.m., June 10-August 31, and at 6:45 p.m., September 2-October 12.
     The traditional Feast of Will, celebrating the arrival of summer and the opening of the Elizabethan Stage, is sponsored again this year by the Ashland Lions. The event will be held in Lithia Park at 6:00 p.m. Friday, June 20. The Lions will provide a barbecue dinner (vegetarian lasagna also available). Profits from the dinner will be donated to projects benefiting Lithia Park. Tickets to the Feast of Will are $12.00 and available through the OSF Box Office.


Richard II, sponsored by Harry and David

     The outdoor season opens on June 20 with William Shakespeare’s Richard II, directed by OSF Artistic Director Libby Appel. Written in 1595 and composed entirely in verse, the play focuses on Richard II’s ineptitude as a monarch and the fatal political consequences of his neglect. This is Shakespeare’s mature historical tetralogy, followed by Henry IV, Parts One and Two and Henry V (his first tetralogy is Henry VI, Parts One, Two and Three and Richard III). The play is set in England in the 14th century. Set design is by Resident Scenic Designer William Bloodgood, who has also designed this season’s Continental Divide and Lorca in a Green Dress. Costumes are by guest artist Elizabeth Novak. Lighting is by OSF Resident Lighting Designer Robert Peterson, who will be lighting all three Elizabethan productions this season. Composition and sound design is by OSF Resident Composer and Music Director Todd Barton.
     The cast of 22 includes David Kelly as King Richard II, James Newcomb as Bolingbroke, Barry Kraft as John of Gaunt, Kenneth Albers as the Duke of York and William Langan as Northumberland.

Wild Oats, sponsored by OSF Business Alliance

     The 2003 production of John O’Keeffe’s English comedy, Wild Oats, is directed by OSF Associate Artist James Edmondson, who directed last season’s Titus Andronicus and the 2001 production of Fuddy Meers. Mr. Edmondson also performed in OSF’s enormously successful 1981 production of Wild Oats. Wild Oats was first performed in 1789 and is something of an 18th century version of today’s Forbidden Broadway, the spoof of Broadway shows. Wild Oats has its own spoofing aspects and references to just about every famous play since the Restoration, and is liberally sprinkled with quotations from Shakespeare. As Mr. Edmondson notes, “The tale is a love story held together by the love of language and specifically the love of Shakespeare.”
     The setting is the late-18th century. Scenic design is by OSF Principal Scenic and Theatre Designer Richard L. Hay, who also created the set for the 1981 production. Costumes are by OSF Resident Costume Designer Deborah M. Dryden, who has also designed this season’s Continental Divide and Lorca in a Green Dress. Todd Barton is creating the sound design.
     The cast of 23 includes Michael J. Hume as Sir George Thunder, Linda K. Morris as Lady Amaranth, Jeff Cummings as Harry Thunder, Gregory Linington as Jack Rover, John Pribyl as John Dory, Richard Elmore as Farmer Gammon and Mark Murphey as Ephraim Smooth.  

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, sponsored by The Pigott Family
     The third play on the Elizabethan Stage is Shakespeare’s popular comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Kenneth Albers, who directed last season’s production of Noises Off. This is OSF’s 10th production of the play. In this magical romance, all is not right in Athens. Hermia loves Lysander but must marry Demetrius, whom her best friend Helena yearns after. And Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and Hippolyta, the Queen of the Amazons, are at odds as their wedding day approaches. The mysterious origins of their conflict lie in the fairy world where Oberon, King of the Fairies, and his consort, Titania, have fallen into dissension.  Love eventually is set aright through fairy magic, but not before some impish twists take the lovers and some aspiring actors on a humorous midsummer night journey.
     Scenic design is by guest artist Michael Ganio, who created the set for last season’s production of As You Like It, and costumes are by guest artist Susan E. Mickey, designer of last season’s Playboy of the West Indies. Todd Barton has composed the music.
     The cast features James Newcomb as Theseus and Oberon, Catherine Lynn Davis as Hippolyta and Titania, Julie Oda as Hermia, Kim Rhodes as Helena, Shad Willingham as Demetrius, Christopher DuVal as Lysander, Sandy McCallum as Puck and Philostrate, William Langan as Bottom and James Edmondson as Peter Quince.
The Green Show

     Green Show performances are held in the OSF courtyard on the outdoor stage at 7:15 p.m. before each Elizabethan show.
     Prior to Richard II, The Green Show dancers and musicians will perform Water Music, set to two suites of the famous composition by Georg Friederich Handel. The music is arranged and directed by Patricia Maureen O’Scannell. Musicians and vocalists are Ms. O’Scannell, Bruce Dresser, Robert DuBow, Jim Rich, David Rogers, Nicholas Tennant and Michael Vannice. Dancers are H. Bradley Cope, Liberty Harris, Jessica L. Howard, Rebecca Jones, Lisa Long, André Megerdichian, Kenoth Shane Patton and Aaron Selissen.
     Ol’ King Cole will precede Wild Oats. This jazzy, light-hearted show revels in Cole Porter’s marvelous music. Sue Carney is the Music Director and co-arranger with Michael Vannice. Ms. Carney also performs vocals and on percussion, and Mr. Vannice plays keyboard. Dancers are H. Bradley Cope, Jessica L. Howard, Rebecca Jones, Aaron Selissen and Jaclyn Virgin.
     The Spirit Within, performed prior to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, takes audiences on an inward journey. Music is composed, directed and arranged by Sue Carney, and musicians are Robert DuBow, Bruce McKern, Patricia Maureen O’Scannell, David Rogers and Kathy Staller. Dancers are Liberty Harris, Lisa Long, André Megerdichian, Kenoth Shane Patton and Jaclyn Virgin.


     Theatregoers can save 25 percent on preview performances that run June 10 through June 19 on the Elizabethan Stage (please see the schedule below). Check ticket availability on-line at Tickets are available by calling 541-482-4331 or by visiting the Box Office at 15 South Pioneer Street, Ashland.
     The schedule of preview and opening shows is as follows. All performances begin at 8:30 p.m. There is no late seating.

Richard II   (June 10 - October 10)
 Previews: June 10, 13, 17
 Opening: June 20

Wild Oats   (June 11- October 11)
 Previews: June 11, 14, 18
 Opening: June 21

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (June 12 - October 12)
 Previews: June 12, 15, 19
 Opening: June 22

The 2003 season is sponsored by U.S. Bank.

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