Young actors at Oregon Stage Works

This weekend at Oregon Stage Works is all about young people and the theater.

Ashland Children's Theatre will present "A Key to Her Heart," a mystery comedy, at 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, at 191 A St., Ashland.

After last summer's success of "A Laughing Matter," Ashland Children's Theatre will present a new mystery script written specifically for its Children's Mystery Theatre Camp by Eve Smyth. "A Key to Her Heart" is a comedy with all the classic film noir characters: a hard-boiled detective, a femme fatale and a man with a strange accent.

The show will feature 10 Ashland Children's Theatre student actors. Eli Piccarreta plays Hank Keyes, a private eye trying to get the goods on The Big Man, played by Tejas Leier Heyden. Blake Rosenthal and Kyle Storie portray a couple of thugs, while Jacquie McVarish plays the Big Man's femme fatale girlfriend. Aubyn Heglie is the "capable good girl" and Heather Rosenthal, the common sense waitress at the Donut Diner. Rowan Heglie is the partner gone bad, Brianna Berryessa his sister, the actress, and Zoe Varner is the enigmatic mystery woman.

"A Key to Her Heart" is directed by Eve Smyth, assisted by Kate Sullivan and Richard Heller. Smyth and Sullivan are the co-directors of Oregon Stage Works' Ashland Children's Theatre that is about to celebrate its fifth birthday. Heller has been involved in theatre for 30 years as a producer, writer, actor and director. The idea of Children's Mystery Theatre was brought to Ashland Children's Theatre by John Javna and his daughter, Sophie, who were both integral to the creation of the first Children's Mystery Theatre show.

Tickets are $5 at the door. (Working Title) Acting Troupe, a local teen-driven acting company, will present "Relationship Status: It's Complicated" from 7 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16. Directed by Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Tyrone Wilson, the show will be a benefit for Oregon Stage Works. Wilson has directed local youth theater for 10 years.

The teen actors will perform personally selected scenes from a collection of plays: "The Importance of Being Earnest," "Spring Awakening," "Our Town," "Rabbit Hole," "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and "The Laundromat." Cast members include Jazmine Dake, Jane Excell, Aurelia Grierson, Sophie Javna, Brianna Lewis, Ford Murawski-Brown, Clementine von Radics, Uri Wolfe-Blank and Drew Woods.

They are part of a new, teen-driven, company-based acting troupe for advanced young actors.

Tickets are $5 at the door

For more information about either production, see or call 482-2334.

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