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Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2019 Season

Our intent in posting these reviews (see below) is to provide insight to the OSF productions. Hopefully this will help our guests when making decisions on what plays to see when visiting Ashland.  Keep in mind that these reviews are unavoidably biased even though based in our own theatrical knowledge and lifelong experiences of attending plays, and Corbet's Theater Arts background. Enjoy and see you at the theater.

Don't forget to visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Company's website (www.osfashland.org) for more information, cast lists and video clips relating to the OSF 2019 Season's plays.  

 As You Like It  

  • February 1- October 26, 2019      
  • Angus Bowmer Theatre      
  • By William Shakespeare | Directed by Rosa Joshi
"It's aliiiive!" In one of the most surprising turnabouts this writer can think of, OSF's 2019 Season opener has turned one of my least liked Shakespeare comedies into one that I now love most. It's been quite a few years since the Festival has created such a joyful and exuberant production that practically has the language leaping off the stage and into our heads and, more importantly, our hearts. To single out any player of the incredibly well-tuned cast would be a disservice, but there is no doubt that the entire experience is due, in no small part, to director Rosa Joshi's amazing vision of exactly what this play can be - a clockwork machination of dark and light that weaves itself into something fresh and new and… Aliiiive! To say more would, I fear, take away from the joy and excitement of seeing a production that can unabashedly compare itself to the best of Broadway experiences. But this isn't Broadway - it's Ashland, Oregon - and I daresay, you'll be missing a landmark production if you miss seeing this offering of As You Like It!


  • March 2 - October 27, 2019
  • Angus Bowmer Theatre  
  • Book by Scott Wittman and Mark Shaiman
  • Music by Mark Shaiman
  • Lyrics Scott Wittman and Mark Shaiman+6
  • Based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters
  • Directed by Christopher Liam Moore
It's extremely hard to put into words the joy and exuberance one will feel after seeing Christopher Liam Moore's colorfully playful production of a piece that's probably better known by more folks these days than not. Having made the journey from independent film to stage to musical film and now here, to the OSF stage, Hairspray is one of those rare pieces of theater that never seems to go flat or lose its tease. With a dynamically energetic and diverse cast giving the audience everything they might hope for, this production has immediately placed itself in the limited top roster of OSF's "Best Of - Ever" offerings. However, special note must be made of the triumphant return of Greta Oglesby to the OSF stage as Motormouth Maybelle. It's been far too long since she's graced our stage and a most welcome return. It's also the first time in this reviewer's memory that any actor has graced OSF's audiences with a musical number that, quite literally, stopped the show with a spontaneous standing ovation. Bravo to her and to this amazingly fun, joyfully unforgettable production!  

 Mother Road

  • March 3 - October 26, 2019
  • Angus Bowmer Theatre 
  • By Octavio Solis
  • Directed by Bill Rauch
  • World Premiere
Octavio Solis has become one of the most prominent voices in contemporaryAmerican theater, due in no small part to his use of accessibly poetic language to communicate the disparities existing within our contemporary society. Mother Road exemplifies this in a tale told with straightforward storytelling, mixed with intermittent vibrantly symbolic interludes expressing the greater, unseen forces at work. This is not something that's easy to pull off, as was evident in the performance I saw. But I have no doubt this production will rise to the call and what was a little shaky and unstable in preview was more than made up for by a play that's not only timely, but expresses the battle over diversity that exists in every single one of us. Although you might want to wait a bit for the production to work out it's kinks, this play is definitely worthwhile and will provide more than enough food for thought in this age where more than physical walls are actively being built.

Cambodian Rock Band  

  • March 5 - October 27, 2019 
  • Thomas Theatre  
  • By Lauren Yee
  • Featuring songs by Dengue Fever
  • Directed by Chay Yew
What would one be willing to do to stay alive? What would the music world have become if Cambodian rock's unique blending of Eastern and Western styles had not been nearly obliterated by the Khmer Rouge? These are just two of the questions Lauren Yee's new play poses. Hailed as a modern masterpiece by many, OSF's initial offering this season in the Thomas Theater may challenge some, but is nothing, if not provocative. With uniformly impressive performances - both in acting and musicianship - the versatile cast doesn't miss a beat under Chay Yew's tight, uncompromising direction. Ultimately, however, in what might initially be viewed as one of the darkest offerings to currently hit the OSF stage, instead will leave the audience with what is, essentially, a joyful and rebellious rock show - expressing not only the horrors of wartime incarceration, but the healing and transformative power of music.

Between Two Knees  

  • April 3 - October 27, 2019 
  • Thomas Theatre      
  • By the 1491's
  • Directed by Eric Ting
  • World Premier - American revolutions
"IT'S OKAY TO LAUGH" With a tagline like that, who wouldn't be a little curious, albeit cautious? Unfortunately, this is the problem with OSF's first American Revolutions offering of the 2019 Season: it's a little too instructive in telling us "white folk" how we're supposed to respond to the atrocities and injustices heaped upon America's Native American population throughout history. It also implies - comedically - that it's okay for the audience to laugh at itself, whites taking in a healthy dose of white guilt. Although not nearly as inappropriately awkward as this might sound (and, even hysterically funny at times), BTK never completely crosses the line: remaining just this side of respectful for an audience that's paid to witness its shenanigans. Ultimately, however, this "play" is really nothing more than a two hour SNL skit. So, be prepared.

  • May 28  - October 12, 2019  
  • Allen Elizabethan Theatre   
  • By William Shakespeare
  • Directed by Jose Luis Valensuela
 Check back here for review. We will post shortly after play opens 

  • May 29  - October 11, 2019  
  • Allen Elizabethan Theatre   
  • By Eva Le Gallienne and Florida Friebus
  • Adapted from Lewis Carroll
  • Directed by Sara Bruner
Check back here for review. We will post shortly after play opens.

All's Well That Ends Well 

  • May 30 - October 13, 2019
  • Allen Elizabethan Theatre
  • By William Shakespeare
  • Directed by Tracy Young
Check back here for review. We will post shortly after play opens.

  • June 28 - October 26, 2019     
  • Performed in a variety of Spaces - check website     
  • By William Shakespeare
  • Play On Project: Bilingual adaptation by Lydia G. Garcia and Bill Rauch
  • Translation by Christina Anderson
  • Directed by Bill Rauch
  • World Premiere
Check back here for review. We will post shortly after play opens.

  • June 4 - October 27, 2019    
  • Angus Bowmer Theater   
  • By Paula Vogel
  • Directed by Shana Cooper
  • Original Broadway Production conceived and directed by Rebecca Taichman
  • Score and original music by Lisa Cutkin and Aaron Halva
  • An American Revolutions play
Check back here for review. We will post shortly after play opens.

How To Catch Creation

  • July 23 - October 26, 2019  
  • Thomas Theatre 
  • By Christina Anderson
  • Directed by Nataki Garrett
  • West Coast Premiere
Check back here for review. We will post shortly after play opens.