THEATRE NEWS FOR THE SAN FRANISCO BAY—NEW OF OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL week of November 12
THEATRE NEWS FOR SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
The Prince of Egypt
MAKES HISTORY AS THE HIGHEST-SELLING MUSICALIN THEATREWORKS SILICON VALLEY’S 48 YEARS
World-premiere musical closed November 5 in Mountain View, follows with international premiere at Denmark’s Fredericia Teater in April 2018
– TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has announced that The Prince of Egypt has become the highest-selling musical of the 48-year-old theatre company’s history. This new work from Grammy-and-Oscar-winning composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) and book writer Philip LaZebnik (Pocahontas, Mulan), directed by Broadway’s Scott Schwartz, presented a soaring celebration of the human spirit recounting one of the greatest stories ever told: the saga of Moses, his Pharaoh brother Ramses, and the indomitable people who changed both their destinies. With a total of seven previews and 28 performances, The Prince of Egypt at TheatreWorks grossed nearly $715,000 in ticket sales, surpassing the previous record-holder, another TheatreWorks world-premiere musical, Jane Austen’s EMMA by Paul Gordon.
NEARLY 1,700 PEOPLE WATCH FINAL PERFORMANCE AND LIVE SIMULCAST OF THE HIT SHOW AIN’T TOO PROUD — THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONS AT BERKELEY REPERTORY THEATRE AND BAMPFA’S OUTDOOR SCREEN
Highest number of attendees to see a Berkeley Rep show at one time
—Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) today announced that nearly 1,700 people watched the final performance and the first-ever live simulcast on BAMPFA’s outdoor screen of Berkeley Rep’s hit musical Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations. With 600 patrons attending the sold-out final performance at Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre and an additional 1,100 patrons at the free outdoor simulcast, the 7pm Sunday, November 5 performance set the mark for the most patrons to watch a Berkeley Rep show at the same time. Also, Berkeley Rep is the first regional theatre in the country to have done a live simulcast.
“We were able to pull this together very quickly because of so many great partners,” says Berkeley Rep’s Managing Director Susan Medak. “I really have to thank the city of Berkeley for fast-tracking the permits, BAMPFA for being a great partner and allowing us to use their terrific outdoor screen and space, and for people in this community. Had it not been for their unbridled enthusiasm for “Ain’t Too Proud” this would not have happened.
New Conservatory Theatre Center EXTENDS Le Switch by Philip Dawkins WHIMSICAL MARRIAGE ROMANTIC COMEDY EXTENDED BY 5 PERFORMANCES
–New Conservatory Theatre Center is thrilled to extend the regional premiere of Le Switch by Philip Dawkins and directed by Tom Bruett. Following the success of NCTC’s production of Dawkins’ play The Homosexuals in its 2013-14 Season, NCTC brings the play that has been hailed by Chicago Tribune as “another significant play from one of the Chicago’s theater’s brightest talents.” Le Switch follows David, a self-possessed New York librarian with a need for classification, a love for collecting rare books he never opens and a strong ambivalence about marriage. What happens when his best friend’s bachelor party takes him to Montreal, and he is swept off his feet by a charming young florist? A witty and whimsical romantic comedy tied in knots.
Le Switch runs October 27 – December 10, 2017 (Originally Dec 3rd). Tickets are $25–50 and available at nctcsf.org, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (415) 861-8972.
Word for Word’s First Production of the 2018 Season Lucia Berlin: Stories By Lucia Berlin Directed by Nancy Shelby and JoAnne Winter February 14-March 11 Z Below, 470 Florida St.
Word for Word’s first production of the 2018 Season is Lucia Berlin:Stories running February 14-March 11, in the Z Below Theater in San Francisco. The stories are from Lucia Berlin’s posthumously published, critically acclaimed, A Manual for Cleaning Women featuring the stories “Her First Detox”, “Emergency Room Notebook 1977”, “Unmanageable”, “502” and “Here It Is Saturday”. Directed by Nancy Shelby and JoAnne Winter, Lucia Berlin:Stories is set to an evocative jazz score by Marcus Shelby. Author Lydia Davis in The New Yorker described Berlin’s work: “Lucia Berlin’s stories are electric, they buzz and crackle as the live wires touch….This is exhilarating writing”
Lucia Berlin’s 5 harrowing, comic stories feature very complex women, balancing motherhood, relationships, and a working life. Set in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, Berlin’s stories paint a woman’s journey through alcoholism and the unlikely places it takes her. These redemptive stories feature Bay Area actress and Word for Word charter member Jeri Lynn Cohen and a strong, diverse group of Bay Area actors.
OREGON SHAKESPEARE NEWS
OSF closes 2017 season Festival’s 82nd year featured 793 performances of 11 plays
Ashland, Ore.— The Oregon Shakespeare Festival wrapped up its 2017 season on October 28 with the final performances of Shakespeare in Love, Henry IV, Part Two, and Julius Caesar. Preparations for the 2018 season and this month’s 2018 Member Presale are already underway. The 2018 opening weekend is February 23-25; preview performances begin February 16.
The season closed with attendance of 381,378—82% of capacity. Ticket revenue was $21.9 million. The season included 11 productions, with a total of 795 performances. Student attendance was close to 55,000 and about 21,000 tickets were processed for educational events, generating approximately $432,000 in revenue. In total, contributed income was up 14% in 2017.
“This dedicated, talented OSF company consistently rose to the occasion this season with passion and grace, as they always do,” OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch said. “It is a joyful, humbling, invigorating challenge to produce almost 800 performances of 11 plays in three theatres each season, and our smart, savvy audiences always inspire us to do our best work.”
Rauch continued, “It’s impossible to name a favorite highlight of the season, but I must mention the thrilling success of our first play by a Native writer, Randy Reinholz’s Off the Rails, and our audience development efforts in partnership with the Native community. I look forward to continuing that journey with the world premiere of Native writer Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Manahatta next season.”
Smoke from Southern Oregon wildfires played a role during the Festival’s summer season, as it did in the summers of 2013-15. A total of nine performances were canceled in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre, resulting in approximately $300,000 in ticket refunds and an estimated loss of over $100,000 in slower walk-up sales during the affected weeks.
2017 Season Sponsor U.S. Bank’s Gloria Schell, region president of U.S. Bank for Southern Oregon and Northern California, said, “We recognize the importance of supporting the arts—and live theatre in particular. We are proud to support the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and honored to play a part in OSF’s quest to inspire, educate and connect communities through the arts. Congratulations on a season of incredible performances.”
The 2017 playbill included Julius Caesar, Shakespeare in Love, Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, UniSon, Off the Rails, Henry IV, Parts One and Two; Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Odyssey and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
The 2017 season was dedicated to beloved longtime acting company member Judith-Marie Bergan, who passed away in August 2016.
New work at OSF and beyond
OSF’s American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle play commissioning program scored an impressive series of successes in 2017. Lynn Nottage’s Sweat and Paula Vogel’s Indecent both played on Broadway, with Tony Awards going to Rebecca Taichman for her direction of Indecent and frequent OSF guest artist Christopher Akerlind for his lighting design. Sweat and Indecent were the only works by living female playwrights on Broadway this season, and marked the Broadway debuts for both Nottage and Vogel. In September, playwright Lisa Loomer was honored with the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Drama for her play Roe, which debuted at OSF in 2016 and went on to successful runs in Washington D.C. and Berkeley, CA. The final five plays in the American Revolutions commissioning cycle will be announced in 2018.
In April, OSF hosted its fourth biennial Latinx Play Project (LxPP) which featured readings of Mother Road by Octavio Solis and The Refugee Hotel by Carmen Aguirre, as well as panel discussions, a variety show and other events. The mission of the Latinx Play Project (LxPP), supported in part by Latino Producer Action Network (LPAN) founder Sandra Quintana, is to develop and present new plays and provide a forum for artists, producers and audiences to discuss and advance Latinx theatre at OSF and nationwide.
In September, Play on! 36 playwrights translate Shakespeare hosted its second annual convening in Ashland. Playwrights and dramaturgs spent a three-day weekend discussing and analyzing the writing process, as well as sharing portions of their work. Of the 39 commissions that were announced in fall 2015, 15 have been completed and 19 are in first draft. Four Play on! commissions have already been produced (Timon of Athens and The Tempest at Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Pericles at Orlando Shakespeare Festival; The Two Noble Kinsmen at University of Utah), with Troilus and Cressida to be produced by the Prague Shakespeare Company next April.
The 2018 season will open on Friday night, February 23, with Shakespeare’s Othello in the Angus Bowmer Theatre, directed by Bill Rauch. The conclusion to Shakespeare’s Henriad quartet, Henry V—directed by Rosa Joshi—will open in the Thomas Theatre on Saturday afternoon, February 24. Joining the rep that evening is Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in the Bowmer Theatre, directed by Hana Sharif. Opening Sunday afternoon, February 25, in the Bowmer Theatre is Destiny of Desire by Karen Zacarías, directed by José Luis Valenzuela.
On April 1, the world premiere of Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Manahatta comes to the Thomas Theatre under the direction of Laurie Woolery, and April 22 will see the opening of Bill Rauch’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! in the Bowmer Theatre, featuring same-sex couples in leading roles in a delightful celebration of love in its many forms.
The outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre opens the weekend of June 15-17 with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (directed by Dámaso Rodríguez), Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will (directed by Christopher Liam Moore) and Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost (directed by Amanda Dehnert).
Opening Saturday, July 14 in the Thomas Theatre is the American Revolutions-commissioned world premiere of Idris Goodwin’s The Way the Mountain Moved (directed by May Adrales), and the final show to join the 2018 rep is the U.S. premiere of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s Snow in Midsummer (directed by Justin Audibert) opening August 5 in the Bowmer Theatre.
Previews begin on February 16, and the season runs through October 28.
2018 Presale for membership begins November 8, and general ticket sales for the 2018 season start December 12. For information call (800) 219-8161 or visit www.osfashland.org.