The Oregon Shakespeare Festival expands its ongoing commitment to the development and production of new work with five new commissions announced today. American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle adds Tanya Barfield, Bill Cain, and collaborators Rebecca Taichman and Paula Vogel to its roster, while The Edgerton Foundation will support works by Michael John LaChiusa and Shaina Taub.
"We are incredibly proud to support the work of these extraordinary artists," says Artistic Director Bill Rauch. "I am so glad to add these new American Revolutions and musical commissions to the growing family of dynamic projects that we are developing. Our commissioning efforts are bearing beautiful fruit." In 2012, the Festival is producing a record five OSF-commissioned works.
American Revolutions is supported by three-year grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation (its second grant to American Revolutions), and a two-year grant from The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Trust. The Edgerton Foundation of Los Angeles, California awarded a four-year grant in 2009 for the creation of five new American musicals.
Ms. Barfield is the writer of The Blue Door, Of Equal Measure, Dent and more. She is a recipient of the Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, and has received commissions from numerous theaters, among them Playwrights Horizons and Center Theatre Group. Barfield is a native Oregonian and first became interested in theater when an OSF school tour visited her high school.
Mr. Cain is well known at OSF for his play, Equivocation, produced in 2009 at OSF and directed by Bill Rauch, who will remount the production at Arena Stage later this year. Mr. Cain is the winner of two Steinberg/ACTA New Play Awards for Equivocation and 9 Circles and he is the only writer to have the distinction of winning that prestigious award two years in a row. His new play How to Write a New Book for the Bible will premiere this coming season at Berkeley Rep and Seattle Rep.
Ms. Vogel is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Lortel Prize, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and two Obie Awards; she has further been honored by having two awards named after her which support emerging playwrights. Her plays include The Baltimore Waltz, How I Learned to Drive, A Civil War Christmas, and more. She is the Playwright-in-Residence at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Ms. Taichman is an Obie and Barrymore Award winning director, whose work was seen here at OSF with 2010's She Loves Me. She has also directed world-premieres by Theresa Rebeck, Sarah Ruhl and others, and was co-creator and director of The Green Violin with Elise Thoron and Frank London. Ms. Vogel and Ms. Taichman's collaboration will chronicle the stormy journey of Sholem Asch's play, God of Vengeance. Continuing the OSF and American Revolutions commitment to partnering with other theaters, this project is a co-commission with the Yale Repertory Theatre.
Mr. LaChiusa is one of the "greats" in modern musical theatre. Past works include See What I Wanna See, Chronicle of the Death Foretold, and the Obie-award winning Hello Again and First Lady Suite. His musicals, The Wild Party and Marie Christine were represented on Broadway during the 1999-2000 season, both earning Tony nominations for Best Book and Best Original Score. His new musical adaptation of Edna Ferber's 1952 novel, Giant, recently had its world premiere at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA.