Today I devote my entire Wall Street Journal drama column to a glowing report on my recent visit to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival:
Founded in 1935 by Angus Bowmer, a local college teacher who presented “The Merchant of Venice” and “Twelfth Night” in a rundown old Chautauqua theater, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has since blossomed into a full-scale operation with an eight-month season, a staff of 450 and an annual budget of $22.5 million. Each year’s productions are presented in rotating repertory, making it possible to take in a lot of theater in a short span of time (I saw five plays in two and a half days). Add in the natural beauties of the Rogue River Valley, which offers visitors to Ashland endless opportunities for outdoor fun, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a stage-oriented vacation.
None of this would matter if the shows weren’t worth seeing, but the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which won a Tony Award in 1983 for outstanding achievement in regional theater, turns out to be well worth the time and trouble it takes to get there….
No link, so if you care to read the whole thing–of which there’s much, much more–pick up a copy of today’s Journal at your local newsstand, or go here to subscribe to the Online Journal, which will give you instant access to the complete text of my review, plus other reviews and art-related stories.