Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Live on Stage

By Katie Mitchell | Photo by Rozarii Lynch, courtesy of Portland Opera

That cool breeze and clouds overhead may signal the end of yet another summer, but if there’s one thing to look forward to this fall, it’s the exciting line-up of performances scheduled for Portland’s stages this season.

Fred Meyer Broadway Across America kicks off their season with 2007 Tony Award Winner for Best Musical Spring Awakening (Oct 21–26), a rock-musical which documents the trials and tribulations of German teens in the late nineteenth century. Later in the season, catch The Color Purple (Dec 30-Jan 4). Presented by Oprah Winfrey herself and based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple uses jazz, gospel and blues to tell the story of one woman’s journey to find herself. Rounding out Broadway Across America’s season are Movin’ Out (Jan 16–18), Wicked (Mar 4–Apr 5), Grease (April 21–26) and Rent (June 9–14). Visit portlandopera.org to learn more.

Portland Center Stage
, which is bringing back its popular 30 and under discount, also has lots of musicals in its lineup. The season begins with quintessential American musical Guys and Dolls (Sept 23–Oct 6) followed by the world premiere of Storm Large’s autobiographical musical Crazy Enough (Mar 31–June 7) which documents her life in rock and roll, Hollywood, and on the small screen as a reality TV veteran. Capping of the season is Grey Gardens (May 26–June 21), a musical about Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ eccentric relatives Edith Bouvier Beal and her daughter “Little Edie.” For ticketing information, go to pcs.org.

If the old song and dance isn’t quite your thing, there’s plenty of drama to go around as well. Portland Center Stage offers a number interesting plays including the American premiere of Fin Kennedy’s How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found (Jan 27–Mar 22), Oscar Wilde’s classic The Importance of Being Earnest (Feb 24–March 22), and Frost/Nixon (Apr 14–May 10, an examination of Nixon’s last hours of presidency. PCS has also included some inventive productions this season including R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe (Sept 23–Oct 6), a one man show that takes the audience inside the mind of one of the leading scientists and philosophers of the 20th century. Later in the season, the New Year brings the world premiere of Nancy Keystone’s Apollo (Jan 13–Feb 8), a multi-media production that explores such events as the dawn of the U.S. space program and the Civil Rights Movement.

The Artists Repertory Theatre has some heavy hitters as well. The season begins with Blackbird (Sept 2-Oct 12), winner of the 2007 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play in London and hearded as “a new take on Lolita.” Also making an appearance this season is Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice (Sept 16–Oct 26), Stephen Karam’s Speech and Debate (Oct 15–Nov 23), Irish Playwright Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer (Jan 6–Feb 15), and Three Sisters (May 5–June 14), Tracy Letts’ adaptation from the original Russian play by Anton Chekhov. Go to artistsrep.org to find out more.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary season, Miracle Theatre Group has a spectacular selection of original and bilingual works. The season begins with Dos Pueblos (Sept 19–Oct 4), a collaboration with Hand2Mouth Theatre of Portland and La Comedia Humana of Mexico City which explores the overlapping cultural histories of Mexico and the US. Also coming to the stage are the bilingual productions of La Carpa Del Maestro: El Dia De Los Muertos Festival (Oct 24–Nov 9) and El Ăšltimo (Jan 9–17), Te Llevo en La Sangre (Jan 30–Feb 21), a Spanish language dark comedy from Argentina, and English language productions of El Grito Del Bronx (Apr 3–25) and The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa (May 8–30). Visit milagro.org for more information.

Portland Opera presents a number of powerful operas this season starting with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata (Sept 26–Oct 4). Later in the season, catch Fidelio (Nov 7–15), The Turn of the Screw (Feb 6–14), La Calisto (Mar 13–21), and Rigoletto (May 8–16). Find out more at portlandopera.org.

For all those theatre buffs in the making, Oregon Children’s Theatre and Tears of Joy Theatre have lots of kid-friendly shows in the works. Along with some other great productions, Oregon Children’s Theatre brings Roald Dahl’s beloved book to life with James and the Giant Peach (Nov 1–23). For a new take on an old tale that tots are sure to enjoy, check out Petite Rough: A Cajun Red Riding Hood (Apr 25–May 17). Tears of Joy Theatre celebrates their 35th year of remarkable puppetry with productions of Pinocchio (Nov 9–Dec 1), Petrouchka (Dec 28–30), Anansi the Spider (Jan 26–Feb 10) and Stellaluna (Apr 4–20). Also, don’t miss the 10-years-and-up- appropriate Comedy Sportz Puppetz vs. People (Nov 23–24), a battle of wits between Tears of Joy puppets and ComedySportz actors. Head to octc.org and tojt.com to learn more.

Last, but certainly not least, White Bird and OBT promise some fantastic performances for all you dancin’ fools. White Bird’s busy season includes 12 companies from places like Finland, Israel, Australia and Brazil as well as White Bird Uncaged, a new series that brings four groundbreaking companies to perform throughout the season at adaptable venues around Portland. Oregon Ballet Theatre also has an impressive line-up this season starting with Swan Lake (Oct 11–18) and including Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (Dec 12–24), Lambarena (Feb 21–28), a fusion of Bach and African Dance.

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