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The Little Stages That Can

Sunday 20 December 2009

Ashland is probably best known for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a huge undertaking that has dozens of actors, hundreds of staff and volunteers, and sells hundreds of thousands of tickets during its season that runs roughly from Valentine’s Day through Halloween. When it’s over, the city justifiably blows off a lot of steam, starting with the Halloween parade and sliding through a long Christmas season.

But there are other venues in Ashland, which complement the main stages at OSF with more offbeat productions. “Offbeat” is relative to OSF; in this context, it can mean more conventional . The Oregon Cabaret Theater stages productions that are almost always child-friendly, never more than PG-13. Its current production, Holiday Memories, is a nostalgic show based on two Truman Capote stories, and will appeal mainly to the over-60 set. The schmaltz factor is high all the way through, but really spikes with the “November, December, Remember” chorus.

In the Railroad District is Oregon Stage Works. The productions here are less kitschy and more substantive; they’ve put on or are planning productions of Glengarry Glen Ross, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and Frozen. They also do a fair amount of less edgy shows–Mousetrap, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, and the current production of A Christmas Carol. This is a straight-up production of the original text, no modern interpretation or snarky remake here. The closest film version would be the Alastair Sim production of 1951. If you can leave this production without a tear in your eye at the transformation of Scrooge’s character, expect a visit by three ghosts. I’d definitely go see this show again.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday 12 January 2010 12:53 AM

    A little bird told me that OSW is being forced to move out by the new owners of the A street market. Where will they go? I dunno.

    • Tuesday 12 January 2010 1:15 AM

      Oh, that would certainly stink if true.

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