News Column

Summer spotlight

May 16, 2014

By Nick Morgan, Mail Tribune, Medford, Ore.

May 16--Whether it's a picnic under the stars with a favorite band, a fresh take on Shakespeare, dinner and a show or community theater off the beaten path, there's something for everyone in the Rogue Valley this summer.

Harry and David Field events

2929 S Pacific Highway, Medford

541-973-2883; hwww.roguesevents.com/home.html

The Medford Rogues have livened up Harry & David Field since the West Coast League baseball team came to town last year.

But this year, the action will extend beyond baseball with a concert and festival line-up that includes five shows this summer.

On Wednesday, May 21, country will rule the night when American Young -- featuring the duo of Jon Stone and Kristy Osmunson -- comes to town, with local band Billy Lund & Whiskey Weekend opening the show.

On Saturday, June 7, 1970s rock band Ambrosia will play, with Los Angeles-based The Janks opening.

On Sunday, June 8, Little Texas will headline, and Billy Lund & Whiskey Weekend will open.

On Friday, Aug. 22, it'll be '80s Flashback Night, featuring A Flock of Seagulls, Tommy Tutone and Amimotion.

On Saturday, Sept. 27, the daylong Rogue Valley Irish Festival is planned, featuring The Young Dubliners, Brother, Whiskey Dicks and Patchy Sanders.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

15 S. Pioneer St., Ashland

Box office: 541-482-4331 or www.osfashland.org

For Shakespeare under the stars, Oregon Shakespeare Festival offers performances on its Elizabethan Stage ranging from a traditional production of "Richard III" to Shakespeare's "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" with an all-female cast and a dog.

But the destination repertory theater offers much more than just Shakespeare. OSF marketing and communications manager Amy Richard highlighted its production of "A Wrinkle in Time," based on the novel by Madeline L'Engle, as a top choice for family entertainment. Other lighthearted choices in its summer lineup include the musical comedy "The Cocoanuts" and Shakespeare's comedy "The Comedy of Errors."

The professional repertory theater offers 11 plays and 780 performances running February to November.

OSF's world-renowned productions need not be expensive, Richard says. The festival offers $25 tickets for all shows, but they tend to sell out early. She also encourages people to sign up at www.osfashland.org for emails about specials.

Craterian Theatre

23 S. Central Ave., Medford

Box office: 541-779-8195 or www.craterian.org

The Craterian Theater, one of Southern Oregon's cultural jewels, pretty much takes the summer off following an events calendar that runs from fall through spring.

But there will be a few opportunities to enjoy the historic theater in coming weeks.

May 18: Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon, 3 p.m.

May 24: Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band, 7:30 p.m.

May 29-31: Craterian Performances' Next Stage Repertory Company's production of "The Spitfire Grill," 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 1-2, 7-8: Teen Musical Theater of Oregon's production of "Shrek: The Musical," 7:30 p.m. (Matinee production at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9)

Oregon Cabaret Theatre

241 Hargadine St., Ashland

Box office: 541-488-2902 or www.oregoncabaret.org.

Enjoy a chef-prepared meal on site and prepare to be entertained.

Shows this summer include the musical revue "Wonderettes Caps & Gowns," which runs through May 25. Set in 1958 and 1968, the colorful production features classic pop tunes such as "The Look of Love" and "You Keep Me Hangin' On."

Running June 6 to Aug. 31 is "Ain't Misbehavin'." Set in 1930s Harlem, the production shows the life and music of Thomas "Fats" Waller and his stride piano playing. Numbers will include "Jitterbug Waltz" and "This Joint is Jumpin'."

Performances for "Caps & Gowns" run Thursday through Monday at 8 p.m. (no evening performance May 11).

"Ain't Misbehavin'" runs Wednesday through Monday at 8 p.m. (no show July 4).

Sunday brunch matinees are at 1 p.m.

Meals are served 90 minutes prior to showtime.

Camelot Theatre Company

101 Talent Ave., Talent

Box office 541-535-5250 or www.camelottheatre.org

Camelot Theatre in Talent showcases Rogue Valley talent in its 164-seat playhouse.

"We've come up with a tagline, 'Broadway quality in a state-of-the-art setting,' " says Camelot Artistic Director Livia Genise.

The local theater company will stage productions of Neil Simon's Pulitzer- and Tony-award winning play, "Lost in Yonkers," through June 1.

A musical revue, "Spotlight on Edith Piaf," will run from June 5-15.

"Les Miserables" will run from June 25 to July 27.

The theater's conservatory will produce "Annie Get Your Gun" Aug. 7-10.

The musical "Pump Boys & Dinettes" will run Aug. 20 to Sept. 21.

"There's not a bad seat in the house, and it manages to stay intimate," Genise says.

Randall Theatre Company

10 E. Third St., Medford

Box Office: 541-632-3258 or www.randalltheatre.org

As one of only four "pay what you want" theater companies in the country, the Randall Theatre Company strives to make theater affordable for all.

The atmosphere in its intimate, 57-seat, converted-warehouse venue is inviting and relaxed, and patrons are encouraged to dress up, dress down, come as they are and enjoy concessions in their seats.

Reserved seats cost $15.

Shows this summer:

June 19-July 6: "Death of a Salesman"

Aug. 1-17: "Godspell" (2012 Broadway revival version)

Britt Festivals

350 First St., Jacksonville

Box Office: 541-773-6077 or www.brittfest.org

If you're into music (and who isn't?) Britt covers all the notes, from rock 'n' roll with Joan Jett to the up-tempo act of Fitz and the Tantrums and the soaring sounds of the Classical Festival.

"We just try to get a signature mix of a lot of genres, so there's a little something for everybody," says Britt Marketing Manager Sara King Cole.

But it's the concert's laid back, under-the-stars, picnic-basket-in-tow environment in historical Jacksonville that sets the Britt experience apart, King Cole says.

"It's this intimate space where there's really not a bad seat in the house," King Cole says. "People have this relaxed, intimate experience."

The casual, comfortable nature of Britt's outdoor setting and audience draws acts back to the venue frequently.

"What we hear from the artists is it's a special place for them to perform," King Cole says. "They're closer to the audience. They can see them."

The venue's location, perched atop a hill in a historical town, can make parking a challenge, so plan ahead.

King Cole suggests concertgoers first check out the Britt website, which includes maps, and look to catch a trolley ride on their way up the hill.

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(c)2014 the Mail Tribune (Medford, Ore.)

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Source: Mail Tribune (Medford, OR)