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By The Skanner News
Published: 15 March 2006

ASHLAND—From classic, proven plays to quirky newly minted premieres, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival plans a variety of offerings in the 2007 schedule.

Artistic Director Libby Appel said she believes she has come up with a "wonderful list for all three theatres. I'm always filled with anticipation as we develop plans for the new season, but 2007 has the added thrill of great expectations as we celebrate our 72nd year and my final season as artistic director."

Included on the schedule are two commissioned works: a new adaptation by Appel of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (from a literal translation by Allison Horsley, literary manager at the La Jolla Playhouse), which she will direct; and Tracy's Tiger, a chamber musical adapted from a William Saroyan novel by the festival's Associate Artistic Director Penny Metropulos, actor Linda Alper, former festival DirectorofLiterary Development and Dramaturgy Douglas Langworthy and composer Sterling Tinsley.

Tracy's Tiger, like the 2005 productionofRobert Schenkkan's By the Waters of Babylon, was commissioned for the festival company. The play has a cast of 10 actors, with three to four musicians, and will be directed by Metropulos in the New Theatre.

All three plays in the New Theatre next season are contemporary,cutting-edge works. David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole, a drama about a couple dealing with an agonizing loss, premiered earlier this year to greatacclaimatthe Manhattan Theatre Club. It will open at the top of the season. Lindsay-Abaire's quirky comedy, Fuddy Meers, was produced at the festival in 2001 and directed by festival Associate Artist James Edmondson. Edmondson also will direct Rabbit Hole.

Opening in July in the New Theatre will be Lisa Loomer's Distracted, one mother's wild journey to figure out if her son has attention deficit disorder, what it is and what to do about it. Distracted will premiere in early 2007 at the Mark Taper Forum, where Loomer's plays The Waiting Room, Expecting Isabel and Living Out also premiered.

Appel describes the plays staged in the Angus Bowmer Theatre next season as "classic" in nature — all of enduring excellence. At the top of the season will be William Shakespeare's As You Like It, directed by J.R. Sullivan, who directed the festival's 2005 production of Room Service. From Tom Stoppard, author of Rough Crossing, will be his comedy, On the Razzle, directed by guest artist Laird Williamson.

The third play to open will be the world premiere adaptation of The Cherry Orchard. August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean, the ninth and penultimate play of his canon, will open in April. Directed by Associate Artistic Director Timothy Bond, the cast will feature Greta Oglesby in the role of Aunt Ester. The final show to open will be Molière's Tartuffe, a comic tale of hypocrisy and deception directed by guest artist Peter Amster.

An outdoor season of some of William Shakespeare's most popular plays will be produced on the Elizabethan Stage. Guest artist Bill Rauch will direct Romeo and Juliet; Kate Buckley, a newcomer to the festival, will direct The Taming of the Shrew; and Appel will return to the Elizabethan Stage one last time to direct The Tempest.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has four productions running in repertory: William Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Goodrich and Hackett's The Diary of Anne Frank and Bridget Carpenter's UP.

For more information about the 2006 season and ticket availability,visit www.osfashland.org or call 541-482-4331.

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