Artistic Director Bill Rauch announced the Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2014 playbill today.
"Next season is packed with characters trying to figure out how to live their lives responsibly in relation to their rapidly changing societies," Rauch said. "Our Shakespeare productions are a robust quartet of comedy, romance and tragedy in all three theatre spaces. OSF is also continuing to explore its commitment to musicals, American classics and plays from the American Revolutions cycle. In many ways, next season is a response to and deepening of the programming in the current and past few years. We are excited to be presenting the first of our Edgerton musical commissions, and we are set to rediscover a neglected play by Lorraine Hansberry. We will continue the LBJ story begun in 2012 with Robert Schenkkan's ALL THE WAY. We are also expanding our playbill to include a popular musical outdoors as well as a world premiere adaptation of a beloved American novel. Four of our projects are written wholly or in part by five extraordinary female writers. We are proud to offer projects for multiple generations of families to enjoy together, including journeys to forests, an island, and other planets."
In the Angus Bowmer Theatre
The season will open with William Shakespeare's last great romance, THE TEMPEST. The banished Duke of Milan, Prospero, has been waiting for the right circumstances to use his magic arts to lure his usurping brother to his island. What begins as an act of revenge ends as a surprising act of forgiveness. This fairytale-like play with its powerful and transcendent message will run all season.
Playing all season in repertory with THE TEMPEST is the Marx Brothers farce THE COCOANUTS, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and book by George S. Kaufman, with additional text by Morrie Ryskind, and adapted by Mark Bedard. When last we left the boys (ANIMAL CRACKERS, 2012), they were dismantling the Long Island estate of Mrs. Rittenhouse. This time, they take on the booming Florida real estate market. And we all know who's going to win that game!
Also opening at the top of the season and playing through early July is the neglected classic drama THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN'S WINDOW, by Lorraine Hansberry, author of LES BLANCS and A RAISIN IN THE SUN (produced at OSF in 1998 and 2004). THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN'S WINDOW originally opened on Broadway in 1964 and ran for 101 performances, closing on the night Hansberry died. This production honors the 50th anniversary of that opening. Set in the early 1960s in a Greenwich Village apartment, the story focuses on Sidney, an erstwhile newspaper publisher and devotee of the bohemian lifestyle, and his wife, Iris, an aspiring actress. Their constant bickering belies their affection for each other, but politics and a family tragedy remind them that compassion is the way to fight an uncaring and self-indulgent community.
Opening in April is the world premiere adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's award-winning book A WRINKLE IN TIME, adapted by TraCy Young. This enduring and epic science fiction fantasy tale has at its center a young woman and her clairvoyant little brother who must find their mysteriously absent father. With help from supernatural beings, they must confront IT, an evil force that threatens to conquer the universe. This story about the power of love and the strength of family has long held appeal for the young and young at heart.
In July, the final show to open in the Bowmer is the world premiere by Robert Schenkkan, THE GREAT SOCIETY. THE GREAT SOCIETY continues the story begun in Schenkkan's ALL THE WAY (2012). President Lyndon Baines Johnson is in his second term-his legitimate term-but crises mount as the Vietnam War escalates out of control and domestic unrest threatens to boil over at home, putting the legislation and social change so dear to his heart in jeopardy. Schenkkan gives us Johnson and his time as they were-epic and Shakespearean. THE GREAT SOCIETY, commissioned by and co-produced with Seattle Repertory Theatre, is being developed by American Revolutions.