ASHLAND, ORE.: Oregon Shakespeare Festival has announced its 2016 repertory season. It will feature a world-premiere Gilbert and Sullivan adaptation by Sean Graney and world premiere plays by Marisela Treviño Orta and Lisa Loomer, as part of the ongoing American Revolutions Cycle. In addition, OSF will complete the Shakespeare canon for the fourth time in 2016.
“The 2016 season reaffirms our identity as a language-based classical theatre even as it continues to expand the boundaries of the types of artistic adventures that we will offer our ever-curious and passionate audiences,” said artistic director Bill Rauch in a statement.
The season will open with Shakespeare’s gender-bending Twelfth Night (Feb. 19–Oct. 30, 2016). This will be OSF’s 17th production of the play, including the version that launched the festival’s inaugural year in 1935. The 2016 version will be set in 1930s Hollywood and will be directed by Christopher Liam Moore, who has directed a number of OSF productions, including Long Day’s Journey Into Night, August: Osage County and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
Opening the day after Twelfth Night will be the world premiere adaptation of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (Feb. 20–Oct. 30, 2016) by Penny Metropulos and Linda Alper. Metropulos, a former OSF associate artistic director, will also direct the production.
The River Bride by Marisela Treviño Orta (Feb. 21–July 7, 2016) opens next. The play, about two sisters who live in a small Amazon river village, will be directed by Laurie Woolery, who has directed The Tenth Muse and The Language Archive for OSF.
The final show to open in February will be the world-premiere adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard (Feb. 24–Oct. 30, 2016), adapted and directed by Sean Graney, best known as the artistic director of the Hypocrites in Chicago. This adaptation will feature reorchestrations of Gilbert and Sullivan’s songs with a Country & Western flavor. The Hypocrites, who have become specialists in adaptating Gilbert and Sullivan chestnuts, will be taking their shows to various theatres next season, from Berkeley Repertory Theatre to Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Opening in March is Vietgone by Qui Nguyen (March 30–Oct. 29, 2016). The play is based on the real-life story of Nguyen’s parent’s exodus from Vietnam in 1975 and their subsequent meeting and romance in a refugee camp in Arkansas. Vietgone will be directed by May Adrales, who will also direct the world premiere production of Vietgone at South Coast Repertory this fall.
Artistic director Rauch will direct the world premiere of Roe by Lisa Loomer (April 20–Oct. 29, 2016). A commission of OSF’s Americans Revolutions cycle of U.S. history plays, Roe will examine the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, which legalized abortion. Loomer’s play Distracted was produced at OSF in 2007. Previous plays commissioned for American Revolutions include Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way and Party People from UNIVERSES.
Up next will be Hamlet, last produced at OSF in 2010 (June 7–Oct. 14, 2016). Then director/playwright Robert O’Hara will helm The Wiz, William F. Brown and Charlie Smalls’ soul version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (June 8–Oct. 15, 2016).
Finally, Desdemona Chiang will take a look at Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, setting it in dynastic China and the American Old West (June 8–Oct. 16, 2016). Chiang was previously assistant director on the 2013 OSF production of King Lear.
Next, Rauch will direct Shakespeare’s Richard II (July 5–Oct. 30, 2016), last produced at OSF in 2003.
To close the season, OSF will complete the Shakespeare canon with Timon of Athens (July 27–Oct. 29, 2016), directed by Amanda Dehnert, who has helmed Julius Caesar, All’s Well That Ends Well, My Fair Lady and Into the Woods at OSF. The last OSF Timon of Athens was in 1997. “With Timon of Athens next season, OSF will have produced the entire 37-play canon a staggering four times, and our current Canon in a Decade project means that we hope to have completed the canon a fifth time by 2024,” said Rauch in a statement.
In addition to its mainstage season, OSF will also present the fifth annual National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival (Sept. 29–Oct. 9, 2016), presented by the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1935 and produces contemporary plays and musicals alongside Shakespeare and other classic works.