OSF program honors veterans

"Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter," opening on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's New Theatre stage Feb, 22 and playing through June 20, tells the story of one female Marine's return home from Iraq. Playwright Julie Marie Myatt placed the action of the play in Slab City, Calif., after Jenny Sutter returns to the States. Myatt wanted to look at the challenges that confront veterans when they return to civilian life, as well as the challenges that confront civilians: what is our responsibility to those coming home and how do we welcome them?

The play has inspired OSF to create new partnerships and programs around the production with the hope that OSF company members and audiences will engage in discussions about those questions.

Also, in an effort to remain true to the experience of active duty military in Iraq and those returning home, OSF recognized the need to work with consultants on the play.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, Grizzly Post 353, agreed to become a community partner for the production, and Melissa Steinman, a member of the Post and a veteran of the Iraq war, agreed to be OSF's military advisor on the play. She has been of invaluable help to the dramaturgical department as it works with the design team and members of the cast, according to an OSF press release.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center Clinics in White City has also offered its resources and assistance to the company.

When he announced in March 2007 that "Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter" would be on the 2008 playbill, new artistic director Bill Rauch was resolute that OSF offer two complimentary tickets to active duty military, reservists and veterans as a way of saying thank you and welcome home.

Complimentary tickets are available throughout the run of the show, Feb. 19 to June 20. Patrons can check availability online at or call the Box Office at 482-4331 or (800) 219-8161. In addition to the complimentary tickets, OSF's "C" section seats are all $20 throughout the season and can also be purchased on the Web or by calling the box office.

For more information about the play or to watch interviews with the playwright and director, please visit /plays/video/.

Members of the local Ashland BB Network, on hearing about the play and OSF's ticketing program, decided to offer reduced room rates on weeknights to those who have served in the military. For more information about participating BB's see /militarydiscount.htm

"Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter" will tour to the Kennedy Center after closing at OSF. The tour is part of the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, which annually showcases a new work of an American playwright staged by an American theater company. "Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter" will run July 19-27 in the Terrace Theater. All tickets are $25 and will go on sale April 11.

The Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays has awarded grants totaling nearly $4 million to more than 125 playwrights, 60 not-for-profit theaters across the country and 130 new plays. Those awarded include Pulitzer Prize winners Tony Kushner for "Angels in America," Robert Schenkkan for "The Kentucky Cycle," and Wendy Wasserstein for "The Heidi Chronicles."

Other notable productions supported by the Fund include "Incommunicado" by Tom Dulack, "The Last of the Thorntons" by Horton Foote, "Golden Child" by David Henry Hwang, which was co-produced by the Kennedy Center in Washington and on Broadway, and "The Magic Fire" by Lillian Garrett-Groag, which premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, then played at the Kennedy Center and at other prominent regional theaters including the Guthrie Theatre and The Old Globe.

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