The Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced Thursday the company would resume in-person performances in July.
The festival closed its theaters on March 12, 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The musical “Fannie” will be its first show back in front of live audiences.
The show, inspired by the life of civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, is directed by Henry Godinez with musical direction from Felton Offard. It will star E. Faye Butler from July 1 to Aug. 28, and Greta Oglesby from Sept. 1 to Oct. 9.
“‘Fannie’ is a perfect show with which to reconvene in-person at OSF after a year of theater shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and of urgent social uprisings,” said the festival’s artistic director Nataki Garrett in a press release.
“Fannie” is written by Cheryl L. West and will be staged outdoors at the Allen Elizabethan Theatre.
“This music-filled play about a towering figure in the fight for civil rights is an inspiring call to action to continue Hamer’s work,” Garrett said. “With virtuosic singer-actresses and a rousing live score, ‘Fannie’ will provide audiences with so much of what we have been missing in the absence of live theatre. We are tremendously moved to have artists back on stage in the Elizabethan, performing work that speaks to the moment, and for our local communities and travelers to Ashland join us in this joy.”
A ticket presale for festival members and donors starts on June 15, and sale to the general public starts on June 18. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by visiting osfashland.org or calling the box office at 800-219-8161.
The festival said it would announce “special ticketing offers for wildfire first responders and COVID-19 essential workers soon.”
Safety measures will still be in place when the theater opens in July.
“While the State of Oregon has loosened its requirements for outdoor performances, audiences must wear masks and seating is planned to allow for physical distancing, as required by OSF’s union partners,” said the press release. “These requirements will likely shift throughout the run as circumstances continue to develop.”
Audience members will also be required to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
After “Fannie,” the festival will present its “first-ever holiday-season special,” called “It’s Christmas, Carol!” from Nov. 28, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival will also present outdoor concerts on many Wednesdays throughout the run of “Fannie.” Tickets to those concerts are $15.
Here is the line up for those summer concerts:
July 21 & 22: Urban Jazz Dance Company
July 28: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Aug. 4: Phoenix and Four Directions
Aug. 11: Hollis Peach
Aug. 18: Brother Angus
Aug. 25: Ballet Folklórico Ritmo Alegre
Sept. 8: Chic Street Man
Sept. 15: The Singer and The Songwriter
Sept. 22: Dancing Spirit Drum
Sept. 29: TBA
Oct. 6: Flamenco Pacifico
This story published with permission as part of the AP Storyshare system. Salem Reporter is a contributor to this network of Oregon news outlets.