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By The Skanner News
Published: 15 February 2006

Greta Oglesby stars as Paulina in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's

2006 production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.

Mark Peterson, left, and Josiah Phillips star as shepherds in The Winter's Tale.

ASHLAND—The Tony Award-winningOregon Shakespeare Festival opens its 2006 season with four productions on two stages this month.

Kicking off the festivities is William Shakespeare's tale of transgression and forgiveness, The Winter's Tale, directed by festival Artistic Director Libby Appel. The show opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, in the Angus Bowmer Theatre.

Opening at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, in the Angus Bowmer Theatre is the haunting drama The Diary of Anne Frank, directed by festival Associate Artist James Edmondson.

At 8 p.m. Feb. 25, audiences will be treated to Oscar Wilde's masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Peter Amster. Completing the weekend's performances is Bridget Carpenter's family drama UP, directed by Michael Barakiva, and opening at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, in the New Theatre.

The festival's three stages — the outdoor Elizabethan Stage, the Angus Bowmer Theatre and the intimate New Theatre — will see the opening of seven more plays in 2006, including three additional Shakespeare productions: The Merry Wives of Windsor, featuring one of Shakespeare's comic creations, Sir John Falstaff, directed by Andrew Tsao, opening June 16 on the Elizabethan Stage; The Two Gentlemen of Verona, including Shakespeare's canine scene-stealer Crab the dog, directed by Bill Rauch, opening June 18 on the Elizabethan Stage; and the rarely performed history play King John, directed by John Sipes, opening July 8 in the New Theatre.

The festival's 2006 season runs from Feb. 17 through Oct. 29 and offers 776 performances of 11 productions.
"I adore planning a season where we can range from the majesty of The Winter's Tale, with its universal themes of reconciliation, redemption and salvation, to Bridget Carpenter's latest work UP, which captures a modern family in crisis, with liberal doses of love and humor laced throughout," said Appel.

"Together with our other nine plays this season, we'll span the vast range of human experience, with something for every theatre-goer's taste."

The 2006 season also features the return of Edmond Rostand's classic swashbuckling tale of love and mistaken identity, Cyrano de Bergerac. Last seen at the festival in 1989, the 2006 production will feature returning festival favorite Marco Barricelli in the title role, opening June 17 on the Elizabethan Stage, directed by Laird Williamson.

Along with the three February opening productions, the Angus Bowmer Theatre will see Lynn Nottage's IntimateApparel, opening at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 22. Nottage's compelling tale of Esther Mills, a hard-working, independent Black seamstress in 1905 Manhattan, won five major awards, including the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for the Best Play of the 2003-04 season. Associate Artistic Director Timothy Bond will direct.

Beginning July 29 in the Angus Bowmer Theatre, audiences will be transported back to the chilly, damp, menacing streets of Victorian London, where Dr. Henry Jekyll attempts to control his tortured alter ego Edward Hyde in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Associate Artistic Director Penny Metropulos and her cast, featuring James Newcomb (last season's Richard III) playing both Jekyll and Hyde, will bring playwright David Edgar's script, based on the classic novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, to life.

The New Theatre, in addition to UP, will be the scene of an American classic and a rarely performed Shakespeare history play. William Inge's slice of the American Midwest, Bus Stop, featuring a love-struck cowboy, a sultry chanteuse and other dreamers spending a long, snowbound night in a Kansas diner, opens at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 1. Appel will direct.

Shakespeare's King John, last produced at the festival in 1985, opens at 2 p.m. July 8. Former festival movement director and fight choreographer John Sipes will direct this tale of intrigue and conspiracy at the highest levels of the English monarchy.

For more information about the plays, schedule and biographies, visit www.osfashland.org. Tickets remain available to previews and most opening performances and can be purchased online or by calling 541-482-4331.

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