Oregon Shakespeare Fest announces 2020 season lineup

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced its 2020 season on Tuesday, promising shows that “celebrate OSF’s ongoing commitment to the work of Shakespeare, imaginative adaptations of beloved classics and illuminating new plays.” The 2020 season is also a Jubilee year – a time when theatres across the United States commit to producing plays generated by individuals that have traditionally been excluded from the country's stages.

OSF Incoming Artistic Director Nataki Garrett shared, “I’m thrilled to be coming onboard at OSF as we plan in 2020 to celebrate a Jubilee year—the nationwide effort to get theaters to diversify the voices of the writers they produce, with a focus on women, people of color, LGBTQIA writers and playwrights with disabilities.”

OSF announced that the 2020 season will emulate the current year’s production schedule, including a slightly later season opening weekend and earlier starts for the Allen Elizabethan productions. “Best of all, no show will close before the end of the season,” OSF said.

Productions for the 2020 season include, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Peter and the Starcatcher,” “The Copper Children,” “Poor Yella Rednecks,” “Bring Down the House,” “Confederates,” “Everything That Never Happened,” “The Tempest,” “Black Odyssey,” and “Bernhardt/Hamlet.”

• “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” directed by will be directed by Joseph Haj, artistic director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. He previously headed up OSF’s “Pericles” in 2015.

• “Peter and the Starcatcher,” by Rick Elice, is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, with music by Wayne Barker. With both Broadway and Off-Broadway runs in recent years, this joyful theatrical adaptation provides an inventive backstory for how the characters of Peter Pan, Mrs. Darling, Tinker Bell and Captain Hook all came together in Neverland.

• “The Copper Children,” written by Karen Zacarías and directed by Shariffa Ali is one of two American Revolutions commissions at OSF this year and is a world premiere. It’s inspired by true events involving an Irish “orphan train” that arrives in a mixed-race Arizona mining community in 1904.

• “Poor Yella Rednecks” is a sequel to “Vietgone” that explores the next chapter in Tong and Quang’s journey as they build new lives in a foreign land called rural Arkansas.

• “Bring Down the House” is two-part adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy, featuring an all-female cast.

• “Confederates,” written by 2018 MacArthur Fellow Dominique Morisseau and directed by OSF’s incoming artistic director, Nataki Garrett. The play leaps through time as it traces the identities of two black American women living over a 150 years apart and explores the reins racial and gender bias still hold on American educational systems today. “Confederates” is an American Revolutions co-commission with Penumbra Theatre and world premiere.

• “Everything That Never Happened” takes place between The Merchant of Venice and the realities of Jewish culture, law and history. It’s a play about a father, a daughter, disguise, assimilation, pomegranates and everything Shakespeare left out.

• “The Tempest” is an extraordinary blend of tragedy, comedy, spectacle, politics and psychologically nuanced family dynamics. Directed by Nicholas C. Avila, the only of Shakespeare’s plays to bear the title of a natural event returns to inaugurate the Allen Elizabethan Theatre season in late spring.

• “Black Odyssey” is a heart-stopping interpretation of Homer’s “The Odyssey,” directed by Monty Cole in his OSF debut.

• “Bernhardt/Hamlet” is directed by Dawn Monique Williams, who helmed OSF’s production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in 2017. It tells the story of Sarah Bernhardt, the French stage actress who starred in some of the most popular French plays of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and her determination to tackle one of the greatest male roles in the dramatic canon, Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

The 2020 season will begin previews on February 28 and open the weekend of March 6-8. The official opening weekend in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre will be June 5-7. The season will run through November 1. Tickets for the 2020 season will go on sale in November 2019 for members, and general sales will begin in early December.