Greta Oglesby is making a return visit to Ashland where she graced the stages of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Oglesby will perform an all-gospel concert at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11, at the Black Swan Theatre, Main St. at Pioneer St., Ashland. Accompanying Oglesby will be Sanford Moore, minister of music at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis.




Oglesby describes gospel music as her roots. She and her siblings were the choir for her father's little storefront church that boasted about 50 members. In Minneapolis, Oglesby still sings in the church choir. "I sing in church all the time," she said, especially at the Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis where her husband, Dennis Oglesby, Jr., is pastor. In a former life, Oglesby was an accountant for the city of Chicago for 16 years.




Oglesby was most recently seen in Minnesota in the Penumbra Theatre's production of "The Piano Lesson," where her portrayal of Bernice Charles garnered her much critical acclaim. Other recent Minneapolis credits include the musical "Once on This Island," and "Black Nativity."




"I got started on 'Black Nativity' right after I got here," Oglesby said. She got home to Minnesota on Nov. — after finishing the season at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. "Once on This Island" was produced by the Ten Thousand Things Theater Company. "The woman who is artistic director wanted to do theater for people who don't get to see theater: people is prisons, shelters, nursing homes," Oglesby said. "These people were so gracious and grateful." That was her third time working for that company.




She spent the summer teaching theater to high school students and will appear in the premier of "Five Fingers of Funk" at the Children's Theatre.




At OSF, Oglesby was seen as Aunt Ester in "Gem of the Ocean." Other roles at OSF include Antonia in Shakespeare's "The Tempest," Ma Rainey in August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," Paulina in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale," and Antonia in Shakespeare's "Two Gentlemen of Verona". In the recent Broadway production of Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun," she understudied Phylicia Rashad for the part of Lena Younger.




Honors Oglesby has received for her acting include the Black Theatre Alliance Award (BTAA) for her portrayal of Miss Shepard in Chicago Theatre Company's "Train Is Comin"; the Joseph Jefferson Award and BTAA for her role in Chicago Theatre Company's "Do Lord Remember Me"; and a BTAA nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Ester in "Gem of the Ocean."




"I miss everybody," Oglesby said of her friends at OSF. She will be performing as part of OSF's Green Show at 7:15 Friday-Sunday, Aug. 8-10 on the bricks on the OSF campus, 15 S. Pioneer St., Ashland. She will be singing a selection of blues and jazz songs. She says being a part of the Green Show will give her a chance to hang out with the people she misses.




Oglesby will be releasing a CD. It is a compilation of some of the songs she performed at the Black Swan last year in October that featured jazz standards and gospel music.




Tickets to Oglesby's Ashland concert are $15 and are available at Paddington Station, Ashland.