Celebrate Live Performance
Theater openings mark full winter season
by Suzi Steffen
Good news! Good news!
The outlook for many small arts organizations across the country may be dark, but for the UO’s Department of Theatre, light dawns this winter term when the newly built Hope and newly renovated Robinson Theatres open their doors. “We wanted to do celebratory scripts,” says department chair John Schmor, so the family-friendly Around the World in 80 Days opens at the rerigged and reappointed Robinson on Jan. 23. The Shakespearean romp As You Like It, opening Feb. 27, inaugurates the Hope Theatre a month later.
|Clean House opens Jan. 9 at the Lord Leebrick|
Though LCC doesn’t have a new theater to show off, it does have the uplifting Godspell, opening Feb. 6, in the beautiful Performance Hall and the intellectual comedy of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, opening April 2. For another take on Arcadia, head to OSU’s Main Stage Theatre during the first two weekends in February; you’ll be familiar with its intricacies and intelligence by the time you hit the LCC production two months later.
In other local theaters, there’s much to generate both laughter and tears (though, we hope, not tears of finanical woe). The Lord Leebrick Theatre kicks into its winter season with the comedy Clean House by hot young playwright Sarah Ruhl, opening Jan. 9, and continues with the emotionally challenging Rabbit Hole, opening Feb. 27. Schmor, who’s directing Clean House and planning for the UO’s new theaters’ openings at the same time, says that Clean House is a whimsical “lyric comedy.” He adds, “It’s heartwarming, and it has a dark edge, but it’s a loving dark edge.”
In the Very Little Theatre’s first show of 2009, Noel Coward’s Present Laughter should light the darkness beginning on Jan. 16. Fred Gorelick, fresh from directing the Leebrick’s successful West Moon Street in November, will no doubt create the right mood for Coward’s play. Then there’s the treat of a Sondheim musical coming to the VLT March 13 with the poignant A Little Night Music. Speaking of musicals, the Actors Cabaret of Eugene doesn’t take much of a break from its crazed December schedule with the introduction of Where the Heck’s the Plot?, a musical by local playwright Charles Nathan, opening Jan. 9, and the Christian boy-band musical (seriously!) Altar Boyz, opening Jan. 30.
Out of town, the Cottage Theatre opens the Agatha Christie classic, Deathtrap, Jan. 30. Corvallis Community Theatre will give us yet another opportunity to debate priestly conduct with the Feb. 13 opening of Doubt, and at Albany Civic Theater, the 1950s guys who really will not die enter stage left (and right) in Forever Plaid, opening Jan. 9. For serious fare, head to Ashland during the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s inexpensive ticket season, starting with Macbeth Feb. 13, Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman Feb. 14 and (OK, not serious fare!) the Bill Rauch-directed Music Man, opening Feb. 15.
Tickets for most of these shows (er, not including the OSF) cost no more than a movie with popcorn and a soda, certainly less than a night of cocktails or even (yes, I’m willing to say it!) a few days’ total for lattes and barista tips. So enjoy!