Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2010

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Bill Rauch announced the 2010 75th anniversary season at a member event Friday in the New Theatre. Rauch made it clear at the outset that the process of choosing the plays for the 75th season was somewhat daunting.

"We did not finalize this slate until two days ago," Rauch said. "We wanted to honor the legacy of 75 years and to look forward. We weighed our choices very carefully."

Rauch called attention to the plays in the current season that talk to each other, particularly "Macbeth," Henry VIII" and "Equivocation." He added that for the 75th anniversary, "We wanted plays talking across the seasons."

The season will be anchored by four plays by William Shakespeare, and in a nod to OSF's first season, the two plays produced by Angus Bowmer in 1935 will be staged on the Elizabethan. "The Merchant Of Venice," directed by Rauch, and "Twelfth Night," with the director to be announced, will open in June. Also playing in repertory on the outdoor stage will be "Henry IV, Part One," directed by Penny Metropulos, a longtime veteran with OSF, former associate artistic director, and the first woman to direct this play at OSF.

"Hamlet," directed by Rauch, will open in the Angus Bowmer Theatre and run throughout the season. Rauch pointed out that it's been 12 years since OSF has staged "Henry IV, Part One" and 10 since "Hamlet" was performed.

Also opening in February in the Angus Bowmer Theatre will be "Pride and Prejudice," an adaptation based on Jane Austen's hugely popular romantic tale of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Artistic Director Emerita Libby Appel will direct. Rauch called the play "a great vehicle for the women in our acting company."

Alongside this great British classic, OSF, after 26 years, will bring back Maggie, Brick, Big Daddy and Big Mama in Tennessee Williams's American classic "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof." Christopher Liam Moore, director of this season's "Dead Man's Cell Phone," will stage this turbulent tale of the decay of a Southern family.

The fourth show to enter the repertory in the Angus Bowmer Theatre will be the delightfully frothy and romantic musical "She Loves Me" (written in 1963 with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, book by Joe Masteroff) based on the Hungarian play "Parfumerie" — which also gave rise to the 1940 film "The Shop Around the Corner" and Nora Ephron's 1998 remake "You've Got Mail." The production will be directed by award-winning artist Rebecca Bayla Taichman, a self-confessed lover of musicals and winner of the Harold Prince Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical. Rauch said he is committed to musicals as an art form, but won't necessarily include one every year.

Staying true to OSF's mission of bringing world classics to OSF stages, Rauch commissioned New York-based and internationally recognized director and writer Ping Chong to adapt "Throne Of Blood," Akira Kurosawa's 1957 film, for the stage. 2010 is the 100th anniversary of Kurosawa's birth. The film is an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" set in feudal Japan. Ping Chong will also direct. After the play closes at OSF, it will have a brief run at Brooklyn's Academy of Music in New York, which will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2010.

In the New Theatre, Lisa Kron's "Well" will open directed by OSF Associate Artist and actor James Edmondson. The play follows a daughter's comic metatheatrical journey to understand her mother's illness. Opening in March is Lynn Nottage's acclaimed new drama "Ruined," about a tough businesswoman, Mama Nadi, and the women she protects and profits from amidst a bloody conflict that rages outside. OSF has also produced Nottage's "Crumbs from the Table of Joy" in 2000 and "Intimate Apparel" in 2006. The director is to be announced.

The final show to open in the New Theatre is the first of the commissions for "American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle," announced in June 2008. "American Night" by Culture Clash will be directed by New York-based and Obie Award-winning artist Jo Bonney. Culture Clash is a three-man team of contemporary Latino writers, two of whom will be in the cast. The play weaves multiple narratives about ordinary people who, in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, resist the status quo and sacrifice their well-being for the benefit of others.

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