It's February and the stage is set for the return of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Celebrating 78 years, the festival's 2013 season features a mix of contemporary and classic plays that truly offers something for everyone.
The season kicks off this week with preview performances of four plays: William Shakespeare's “The Taming of the Shrew” (through Nov. 3) and “King Lear” (Feb. 21-Nov. 3), August Wilson's “Two Trains Running” (Feb. 16-July 7) and Lerner and Loewe's “My Fair Lady” (Feb. 17-Nov. 3). The plays officially open the weekend of Feb. 22.
“These four opening productions celebrate the full range of stories that reflect Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 78-year commitment to classical work,” said artistic director Bill Rauch in a news release. “There's a heartfelt and fresh take on a Shakespeare comedy, a searing American classic by the great August Wilson, an innovative rendition of one of the most beloved musical comedies, and an intimate encounter with Shakespeare's most epic tragedy.”
Highlights of the season include three world premieres — “The Unfortunates” by 3 Blind Mice (March 27-Nov. 2), “The Liquid Plain” by Naomi Wallace (July 2-Nov. 3) and “The Tenth Muse” by Tanya Saracho (July 24-Nov. 2). The great American classic “A Streetcar Named Desire” (April 17-Nov. 2), Shakespeare's “Cymbeline” (June 4-Oct. 11) and “A Midsummer Night's Dream” (June 6-Oct. 13) and David Farr's “The Heart of Robin Hood” (June 5-Oct. 12) are also in production during the festival.
The 2013 season also marks the debut of the newly christened Thomas Theatre (formerly the New Theatre). Named in honor of the late Oregon Shakespeare Festival development director Peter D. Thomas, the building offers an “intimate and extremely versatile stage” according to the festival's website.
Ticket prices for the preview performances range from $25 to $69, depending on seat location. Prices for the regular season are $25 to $86 for adults and $25 to $60 for youth (ages 6 to 17). For more information on the plays and to purchase tickets, visit www .osfashland.org or contact 800-219-8161.