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Bravo! - Eugene Weekly's Guide to the Performing Arts

January 21, 2016 12:00 AM
January 21, 2016 12:00 AM

When we think of live performance, we probably picture actors or dancers — the people we regularly see onstage. But where would a production be without the tireless, behind-the-scenes magicians who create the sets, lighting and sound?

January 21, 2016 12:00 AM

Once upon a time, it seemed as though music, like the Willamette, flowed mainly to the north: Eugene bands worked hard to play Portland, but the favor wasn’t always returned, especially in the classical and jazz arenas. More and more, though, we’re seeing Portland performers recognizing the value of the Eugene market and, accordingly, this winter and spring brings a parade of Portlanders here to perform additional, even exclusive concerts.

January 21, 2016 12:00 AM

A subtle aesthetic is starting to emerge at Oregon Contemporary Theatre, which for the past couple of seasons has mounted a series of tight, powerful works by playwrights (some with ties to Eugene or the Northwest in general) who tackle the prickly issues of what it means and how it feels to live in this world right now.

January 21, 2016 12:00 AM

For half a century, Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird has held an immovable place on the American bookshelf by using humor and grace to tackle one of our nation’s ugliest ongoing realities: racism. 

The Very Little Theatre has mounted a winning production of this evergreen tale. 

January 21, 2016 12:00 AM

Like a lot of people, Corvallis-based theater director and educator Elizabeth Helman watched Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos series on Netflix.

“I just happened to see a tiny little biography,” Helman tells EW, “a 10-minute segment of the Cosmos series and it had this mini-biography about Henrietta Leavitt.”

October 15, 2015 12:00 AM

This year, Eugene Opera will be twice as nice, boasting an expanded production schedule.

The run kicks off with two performances of Benjamin Britten’s classic The Turn of the Screw, Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, at the Hult Center.

“This is a new direction for us,” director Mark Beaudert tells EW. “It’s exciting to increase our presence in the community.” 

October 15, 2015 12:00 AM

There’s no excuse for staying home — well, OK, that’s allowed, but should you want to venture out, there are plenty of world-class options this season at Eugene’s Hult Center for the arts lover in all of us. 

October 15, 2015 12:00 AM

In this month’s Symphony magazine cover story detailing the resurgence of new music in American orchestras, three of the dozen or so featured orchestras — in Baltimore, Nashville and Eugene (the only Oregon orchestra listed) — are led by current or former Eugene Symphony music directors.

October 15, 2015 12:00 AM

Oregon Contemporary Theatre artistic director Craig Willis has a keen curatorial vision, one that’s helping to shape the landscape of what’s possible for the arts in Eugene. 

“My predecessor had done a good job of trying to provide interesting, challenging work,” Willis says, referring to OCT in its Lord Leebrick days, before he took the helm in 2003.

January 22, 2015 12:00 AM

In theater as in life, timing is everything, though just showing up is a good start. And at the Healing Trauma Project on Coburg Road, where performers have been rehearsing in anticipation of its Feb. 7 show at Wildish Theater, the cast of Transformational Personal Theatre has definitely shown up, in itself a small miracle. These are people who, all things being equal, might not have shown up at all.

As well as being newfound actors and dancers and singers and poets, the folks at this rehearsal are addicts in recovery. They have had their struggles with drugs and alcohol and food addiction. Now they have gathered to transform their personal stories of pain and renewal into the stuff of performance.

January 22, 2015 12:00 AM

Not to mince words, but Evynne and Peter Hollens are kind of a big deal. Evynne Hollens is a singer and performer who directs and teaches. Peter Hollens is a singer-songwriter, producer and entrepreneur. Together, they’ve built a life in music and, from their cozy base in Eugene, shared it with the world. 

January 22, 2015 12:00 AM

Acclaimed “foodie” and TV personality Alton Brown has been teaching Americans how to cook for decades. The author of seven cookbooks, Brown created the Peabody Award-winning series Good Eats, has hosted Iron Chef America and has been a mentor and judge on Food Network Star.

January 22, 2015 12:00 AM

No American playwright — and perhaps no playwright ever — was as adept as Tennessee Williams at pulling apart the icky, sticky tangle of hurt that one furiously guarded secret can exact on a family. In the humid atmosphere of a Williams play, a single skeleton in the closet can level an entire clan for generations down the line, by way of recrimination, jealousy, resentment, obsession, addiction and, most of all, fear.

January 22, 2015 12:00 AM

Just a few hours south on I-5 exists a dulcet community that my family has re-named “The Magical Twinkly Fairyland.” For the uninitiated, the village I’m referring to is Ashland, where good restaurants abound, creeks babble, deer wander and, from February through November, some of the finest theater glimmers across the stages of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 

January 22, 2015 12:00 AM

When the community loses an artist, it’s first felt acutely in his mortal absence, and then in the slow, aching realization that he will never again be there to sing another song or paint another picture — or dance just one more dance.

January 22, 2015 12:00 AM

In the iconic 1980 movie 9 to 5, workaday heroines Doralee Rhodes, Judy Bernly and Violet Newstead (played by Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) suffer under — and ultimately triumph over — their “sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot” boss, Mr. Hart (rendered to oily perfection by Dabney Coleman). It’s a classic film, with a title song that’s been scientifically proven to be the foremost go-to karaoke anthem of all time.

October 9, 2014 07:34 AM

“A  costume designer is a bit of a hoarder,” says Sandy Bonds, professor of costume design at the University of Oregon since 1979, adding, “an organized hoarder.”  “This is our own Value Village!” Bonds says as she unlocks a storage room in the basement of Villard Hall on the UO Campus. Inside hangs a huge collection of wearable treasures, mostly hand-constructed and all lovingly preserved. 

October 9, 2014 12:00 AM
October 9, 2014 12:00 AM

Once upon a time, families across this nation gathered around the radio at the appointed hour, eagerly awaiting the next installment of such classic shows as Gunsmoke, Superman, Burns and Allen or Arch Obler’s creepy Lights Out. This was the “Golden Age of Radio,” an era stretching roughly from the 1930s through the end of the Second World War, and it was no less vital for being cast now in an aura of quaint nostalgia.

October 9, 2014 12:00 AM

The Fab Four, Four Seasons, Four Tops, Gang of Four, Emerson Quartet, Takacs Quartet: Why do foursomes get all the musical attention? Everyone composes for string quartets and bands made up of two guitars, bass and drum. But in classical music as well as jazz and rock, trios offer more transparency and a lighter, often tighter sound. A trio of trios heading our way this fall reveals the power of three.

October 9, 2014 12:00 AM

The Very Little Theatre is among the oldest community theaters in the country. Quietly successful, the unassuming venue boasts some of the most reliable ticket sales in town. From them we’ve come to expect the earnest Arthur Miller drama, British farce and classic musical comedy — comfortable chestnuts staged by a representative slice of the Eugene community.

January 23, 2014 12:00 AM

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival kicks off once again Feb. 14. Our internationally recognized theater down I-5 is entertaining with plays ranging from 400 years old to fresh off the press, dark dramas to Marx brothers comedies. I got in touch with a few notable theater artists from Eugene to see what’s on their list to see this season.