The Theatre Arts program of the Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University (SOU) presents the Tony Award-winning Peter and the Starcatcher at the Craterian Theater in Medford. Performances will take place Friday, May 26 at 7:30 PM, Saturday May 27 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM, and Sunday, May 28 at 2:00 PM.

Based on Peter and the Starcatchers, the popular children’s book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatcher serves as a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, providing answers to such questions as, “where exactly is Neverland? How did the Lost Boys become lost? And when did Peter learn to fly?”

Written by Rick Elice, Peter and the Starcatcher was a huge hit on Broadway, winning five Tony awards in 2014, and earning nearly universal critical acclaim. New York magazine called it “miraculous,” exclaiming, “spectacle, wit, and joy spill out of this play like treasure from a magic pocket.”

Beyond the play’s appeal as a Peter Pan prequel, Peter and the Starcatcher also wins audiences with its do-it-yourself, story-theater aesthetic, according to David McCandless, SOU Professor of Theater, who is directing the production. “The play has a delightful, catch-as-catch-can quality,” McCandless explains. “At its heart, it’s just a bunch of actors with a few props telling a story. It’s a great show for audiences of all ages.”

The play is also genuinely witty, according to McCandless. “It’s full of cheeky humor and dazzling language,” he remarks. “It’s the funniest play I’ve read in a long time.” In addition, while not exactly a musical, the play boasts hearty, catchy songs composed by Wayne Barker. According to McCandless, “the play is also a love story, as Peter comes into his own through his close friendship with the extraordinary Molly Aster, the play’s heroine.”

Peter and the Starcatcher will play at the Craterian Theater in Medford because SOU’s theatre building is being readied for a long-delayed renovation. “To paraphrase a line from Shakespeare in Love, SOU had a play, and we had a theater,” said Stephen McCandless, Executive Director of the Craterian. The McCandless brothers grew up in Medford and pursued careers in other locales until their separate professional trajectories returned them to the Rogue Valley.

The cast of Peter and the Starcatcher includes Bernard Hefner, Ethan Hennes, John Alan Hulbert, Grant Luecke, Alex Magni, Samantha Miller, Meghan Nealon, Nolan Sanchez, Kyle Sanderson, Eric Solis, Jonah Thorpe-Kramp, Krista Unverferth, and Tavis Williams. The design team consists of Sean O’Skea (set), Michael Stanfill (lighting), Estrella Page-Lopez (costumes), and Reilly Schrader-Dee (sound). Jennifer Schloming provides musical direction, and Cailey McCandless choreography.   Melissa Hampton serves as stage manager, with Andy Palstring as technical director.

Performances take place Friday, May 26 at 7:30 PM, Saturday May 27 at 2:00 PM and 7:30 PM, and Sunday, May 28 at 2:00 PM at the Craterian Theater in Medford, at 23 S Central Ave, Medford, OR 97501.

Tickets are being sold through the Craterian Theater Box Office. Tickets are: $22 general admission and $10 for youth (ages 6-20). Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.craterian.org/ or by calling 541-779-3000.

 

The Oregon Fringe Festival is underway! The festival kicked off Wednesday to host a variety of local art, film, music, and theater student-driven acts. A mixture of innovatively produced happenings, installations, and curated works from artists at Southern Oregon University, the Oregon Fringe Festival breaks boundaries and takes art out of its traditional venues. The Festival’s student producers are particularly excited to present headlining performances this weekend by special guest artists Mark Applebaum and James Donlon.

Key Fringe events are listed below – for a full schedule of Fringe events, please see www.oregonfringefestival.org. All events are FREE and open to the public.

Mark Applebaum and James DelPrince: Concerto for Florist
Friday, May 5, 6:00 PM, SOU Music Recital Hall
Saturday, May 6, 3:00 PM, Lithia Park Butler Bandshell

Mark Applebaum’s Concerto for Florist is a daring composition that exemplifies his unconventionality. Featuring floral designer James DelPrince, the piece blends floral design, musical composition, and performance work. Mark Applebaum is an internationally renowned musician and composer whose solo, chamber, choral, orchestral, operatic, and electroacoustic work has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, Africa, and Asia. www.markapplebaum.com.

James Donlon: Monsters
Friday, May 5, 10:30 PM, SOU Music Recital Hall
Saturday, May 6, 10:00 PM, SOU Music Recital Hall

James Donlon presents a devised theater piece, entitled Monsters, that changes in each manifestation. Donlon has partnered with students from the SOU Theater, Music, and Visual Arts Departments to bring this provocative work to the Oregon Fringe Festival.  James Donlon has been a celebrated master teacher, international performer, and director since 1970. The New York Times describes his work as “an extraordinary blend of skill and lunacy!” jamesdonlon.com

Visual Arts Exhibitions

Opening Receptions – Coinciding with First Friday Trolley: Friday, May 5th, 5-8pm

Exhibition Dates: May 5 – 28, 2017

Stevenson Union Gallery

figure.ground, David Bithell, Solo Exhibition

Center for the Visual Arts Galleries

Dancing with Alchemy, Mara Reinhardt, Solo Exhibition

Imagined: 30 Years of Performance Mask, James Jesse Peck, Solo Exhibition

Works by Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, Solo Exhibition

[i s h], Samuel Lindley, Solo Exhibition

Revelation, Charlie Howarth, Solo Exhibition

 

The Oregon Center for the Arts at Southern Oregon University Theatre program proudly presents Maxim Gorky’s depiction of turn of the century Russia, Summer People. This homage to Anton Chekov, runs May 11-14, 2017 at Southern Oregon University’s Stevenson Union Arena.

Something of a de facto sequel to Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, Summer People depicts the ordeals and aspirations of Russia’s new middle class, represented by several families vacationing in their summer homes. They play chess, meet for picnics, and entangle themselves in perilous romances, all while facing the unmistakable specter of change—a change some fear, some welcome, and none can avoid.

Summer People is written by Maxim Gorky, and the translation of the play is by Nicholas Sanders and Frank Dwyer. According to dramaturg Tamar Peterson, “Maxim Gorky (1868-1936), a Russian and Soviet writer, born under the name Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, got his start writing as a journalist, favoring the alias, “Gorky,” which means “the bitter one.” Gorky’s career breakthrough came when he published his first book, Essays and Stories, in 1898. He believed that literature should be a form of political commentary and protest. His best-known work, The Lower Depths, which debuted at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1902, depicts the plight of down-and-out Russians living in a shelter near the Volga River.”

Summer People is directed by James Edmondson, a long-time resident director and actor with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “We are particularly excited about the production of Summer People because it showcases the outstanding depth and skills of our student performers. It has been a rewarding experience to work with actors who demonstrate such dedication and discipline,” states Edmonson.

Performances take place Thursday-Saturday, May 11 through 13 at 8 PM; Saturday-Sunday, May 13 through 14 at 2 PM at the Stevenson Union Arena on the Southern University Campus at University Way. Tickets are: $21 regular, $18 senior, $6 student, general admission.

Tickets are being sold through the Oregon Center for the Arts Box Office. The box office is located in the SOU Music Building, off South Mountain Avenue, adjacent from the Theatre building which is currently under construction. Remaining tickets will be on sale one hour prior to performances at the entrance to the Stevenson Union Arena. OCA Box office hours are noon to 6 PM Monday through Friday. Tickets can be purchased with a credit card over the phone by calling 541-552-6348 or online at oca.sou.edu/box-office.

Shakespeare America will present a special event entitled, “The Woman’s Part in Shakespeare” at Southern Oregon University on Saturday, April 22 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM in the Meese Room in Hannon Library. The event will include a performance by Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) actress Robin Goodrin Nordli of her acclaimed one-woman show, “Virgins to Villains: My Journey with Shakespeare’s Women,” as well as a panel discussion featuring Lisa Wolpe, director of the Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company. There is no admission charge.

According to David McCandless, Director of Shakespeare’s Studies at SOU and organizer of the event, “The Woman’s Part in Shakespeare” will address the challenges of being a female performer of Shakespeare’s plays. “Robin’s show addresses that topic in a uniquely personal way,” he explains, “and the panelists will also consider how being a woman in 2017 shapes their approach to characters created over 400 years ago—especially those women considered shrewish or villainous.” Additionally, the panel will discuss “the rewards and risks of women taking on male roles.” Wolpe is a specialist in cross-gender performance who, according to American Theatre magazine, has played more Shakespearean male roles than any woman in history.

Joining Wolpe on the panel are OSF actress Christiana Clark, who has played both male and female Shakespearean characters, including Proteus in The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, and Dawn Monique Williams, OSF Artistic Associate whose upcoming production of The Merry Wives of Windsor will feature many women in male roles, including that of Falstaff. Professor Pamela Brown, a Shakespeare scholar from the University of Connecticut, will kick off the event with a brief lecture on Shakespearean actresses from a historical perspective, entitled “For what’s a play without a woman in it?

The public is welcome to attend “The Woman’s Part in Shakespeare” on Saturday, April 22 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM in the Meese Room in Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University. This event is free of charge with no RSVP required. For more information, please contact Helen Eckard at 541-552-6346 or at eckardh@sou.edu.

broadwayworld.com Sacramento – Posted Nov. 9 12016

Darek Riley, who received his bachelor of fine arts degree in acting/performance from SOU, plays Robin Hood in Greg Banks’ adaptation of “Robin Hood” at Sacramento’s B Street Theatre.

Learn more about B Street Theatre’s ROBIN HOOD on the full article.

Mail Tribune – Posted Nov 8, 2016

Small-time gangster Arturo Ui sets out to take over the Chicago cauliflower trade by ruthlessly disposing of the opposition in Bertolt Brecht’s surprisingly contemporary and comical take on the rise of fascism in a free society.

“The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” — written in just a few weeks in 1941 by the German playwright while he waited for a visa to leave Finland for America — is a satirical allegory of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany prior to World War II.

Learn more about SOU’s ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’ on the full article.

Ashland Daily Tidings – Posted Nov. 7 2016

Bertold Brecht left Germany shortly after Hitler came to power in 1933. But Brecht’s dislike of Hitler waned little in self-exile, resulting in the play “The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui.”  Audiences recognize a Hitler-like figure in Arturo Ui, a Chicago mobster trying to monopolize the cauliflower market.  Yes, cauliflower.

Learn more about ‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’ on the full article.

Mail Tribune – Posted Nov. 5 2016

CENTRAL POINT — About 40 students from two local high schools got a concentrated taste of the play production process Friday and Saturday nights.

For the first time, Crater Renaissance Academy’s annual 24 Hour Play Cabaret event, in which students perform short plays written only the night before, has expanded to include a second high school’s drama students, Rogue River High School’s troupe, the Arden Ensemble.

Learn more about the 24 Hour Play Cabaret on the full article.