Ashland's Oregon Stage Works theater is closing

Oregon Stage Works is closing its doors. Artistic Director Peter Alzado said the nonprofit theater's lease in Ashland's A Street Market Place was up several months ago and will not be renewed. He said the theater struggled with costs for years.

"It's never been affordable," Alzado said.

"First Monday in October," by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee, originally scheduled to open March 23, has been canceled. OSW's production of Agatha Christie's "Mouse Trap" last week finished a month-long run during which it played to 90 percent of capacity.

But it was too little too late. A recent production of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glenn Ross" filled fewer than 25 percent of the 100-seat theater's seats.

Alzado said he hopes OSW will be able to mount new productions in rented venues. He said the five-member OSW board of directors remains intact.

He said the Ashland Children's Theatre and OSW's Playwrights Unit will continue to operate under OSW's aegis. The former offers classes and performances, the latter a setting for developing playwrights to meet and work on new plays.

Alzado opened the $150,000 theater in June 2004 after more than a year of producing plays in locations such as a restaurant and a hotel. OSW's mission statement called for "staging both classic and original works of artistic merit that entertain, challenge, and educate. ..."

Sometimes considered an off-Broadway-type theater, it produced plays ranging from Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" to Michael Frayne's "Copenhagen" to lighter fare such as "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" and "A Christmas Carol."

But Alzado said the theater always struggled to make ends meet. He said the monthly cost of the lease, utilities and insurance was nearly $5,000.

— Bill Varble, for the Mail Tribune

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