Works by Tennessee Williams and August Wilson, an indoors “Taming of the Shrew,” “King Lear” set in the round and three world premieres highlight the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2013 season, announced Wednesday.
In the Angus Bowmer Theatre
“Taming of the Shrew.” For the first time in 78 years, the “Shrew” is going indoors. The previous 13 productions all were presented on the Elizabethan Stage. It will run throughout the season under the direction of David Ivers, co-artistic director at Utah Shakespeare Festival. Ivers received his bachelor's degree at Southern Oregon University and worked as an actor at OSF in 1991.
"My Fair Lady." The Tony Award-winning musical, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, is based on George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion." A fiercely determined flower girl named Eliza Doolittle goes head-to-head with the equally irascible Professor Higgins. Directed by Amanda Dehnert ("All's Well that Ends Well," "Julius Caesar") will direct the musical, which runs throughout the season. Two grand pianos will grace the stage and provide orchestration
"Two Trains Running." August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-nominated drama is set in Pittsburgh in 1969, a year after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. A restaurant owner fighting the city for a fair price on his building and the diner's customers find their battles for respect and fairness echoing in a national conversation about equality. Running February through July, it is directed by Lou Bellamy, one of the premier interpreters of Wilson's work and the founder and artistic director of Penumbra Theatre Company. (Correction: This listing has been updated to reflect the award nominations this play has garnered.)
"A Streetcar Named Desire." Tennessee Williams' powerful, Pulitzer Prize-winning drama will open in April and be directed by Christopher Liam Moore. A fragile Southern belle, Blanche DuBois, visits her sister Stella and her working-class husband, Stanley, in New Orleans, complicating their lives in disturbing ways.
"Dreams of the Muse." (Working title). This world premiere by Tanya Saracho, commissioned by OSF as part of its American Revolutions cycle, is set in 1715 in a Mexico convent where nun and writer Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz had lived — and died — 20 years before. Three young women arrive at the convent and discover Sor Juana's works in a locked and off-limits wardrobe. Intrigued by Sor Juana's play, "The House of Desires," the girls begin secretive evening rehearsals, hoping to perform it at an impending feast for visiting dignitaries, little knowing the upheaval their activities will cause. Director is yet to be announced for the play, which will open in July.
In the New Theatre
"King Lear." For the first time, the New Theatre will run three plays in repertory, including the season-long "King Lear," directed by Rauch. It also is the first time Shakespeare's towering tragedy, set in the round, will be staged in OSF's most intimate space.
"The Unfortunates." This world premiere musical, with book, music and lyrics by 3 Blind Mice (Jon Beavers, Ian Merrigan, Ramiz Monsef) and Casey Hurt, will open in March. The play has been workshopped over the past two years at OSF, and Monsef has been a member of the OSF acting company for five seasons. The production will be directed by Ashland native Shana Cooper ("Love's Labor's Lost"). The musical follows a group of condemned soldiers in an enemy prison who sing the "St. James Infirmary Blues" to steel themselves against their fates.
"The Liquid Plain." Commissioned through American Revolutions, this world premiere by internationally-acclaimed playwright Naomi Wallace will be directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, a British actor, playwright and director, and artistic director at Baltimore's Centerstage. Set in 18th-century Providence, R.I., two runaway slaves find love and a near-drowned sailor. As the mysteries of their identities come to light, painful truths about the past and present collide and flow into the next generation.
On the Elizabethan Stage
"Cymbeline." Shakespeare's rarely staged romance, directed by Bill Rauch, last was produced in 1998. Rauch confesses that he has a special love of Shakespeare's last plays, in which the improbable logic of fairy tales allows impossibly tragic situations to bloom into gloriously happy endings.
"The Heart of Robin Hood." David Farr's revisionist version premiered last year at the Royal Shakespeare Company. This U.S. premiere will be directed by Joel Sass, a Twin Cities director and winner of Theatre Communication Group's 2007 Alan Schneider Award honoring an outstanding freelance director.
"A Midsummer Night's Dream." Shakespeare's hit comedy will be directed by Christopher Liam Moore.
The 2013 season will begin previews on Wednesday, Feb. 15, and open the weekend of Feb. 22-24. The previews for performances on the Elizabethan Stage will begin June 4. Opening weekend is June 14-16. The season will run through Nov. 3.