OSF sets records for second year in a row

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival closed its 2010 season with record-breaking numbers for tickets and revenue.

OSF sold and gave away 414,783 tickets to its plays and brought in $18,473,563 in revenue — breaking last year's record of 410,034 tickets and $17,098,115 in revenue, OSF officials reported Monday.

Overall, OSF's three theaters played to 94 percent capacity for the season, up from 89 percent capacity in 2009, officials said.

The musical "She Loves Me" was the most popular at 100 percent capacity.

Shakespeare's "Hamlet" — anchored by the strong performance of Dan Donohue in the title role — played to 99 percent capacity.

"American Night: The Ballad of Juan José" was the first play to emerge from OSF's multi-year project to commission plays about the nation's history. The play sold to 99 percent capacity.

OSF added four performances to help meet demand, said Media and Communications Manager Amy Richard.

Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" played to 98 percent capacity, while "Pride and Prejudice" — based on the novel by Jane Austen — finished at 97 percent capacity and Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" played to 95 percent capacity.

Of OSF's 11 plays, 10 finished at 91 percent capacity or better. Shakespeare's "Henry IV, Part One" trailed at 70 percent capacity.

OSF marked its 75th anniversary this year by staging "Twelfth Night" and "The Merchant of Venice," the plays OSF founder Angus Bowmer put on stage in summer 1935.

OSF's season has since grown to stretch from late February through October.

Artistic Director Bill Rauch said in a press release that this year's performances and the audience's passionate response to the plays represented a joyful celebration of OSF's milestone 75th anniversary.

While roughly 85 percent of OSF's patrons come from beyond the Rogue Valley, the festival has worked to reach out to locals through Flex Pass package deals, the 19.35 club for people age 19 through 35, $20 C section seats, Family Days and Internet offers for people who sign up via OSF's website.

OSF will hold play premieres for the 2011 season beginning on Feb. 18, with the official opening of the season on Feb. 25.

Highlights for 2011 will include Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," the Pulitzer Prize-winning "August: Osage County," an adaptation of Harper Lee's classic book "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Gilbert and Sullivan's musical "The Pirates of Penzance" — complete with a 14-piece band.

"Ghost Light," the second play commissioned for OSF's project on American history, will premier next year.

The ticket pre-sale period for OSF members begins Nov. 8, with general ticket sales beginning Nov. 29. The Box Office will reopen on Nov. 8.

For more information, call 541-482-4331 or 800-219-8161, or visit www.osfashland.org.

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