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Britt Orchestra and OSF band together for 'Shakespeare and Song'

The Britt Orchestra and performers from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2016 musical "The Yeomen of the Guard" will present "Shakespeare and Song" in the Britt Pavilion in Jacksonville.

Along with music from Gilbert and Sullivan's "Savoy Opera," hear Rodgers' and Hammerstein's "This Nearly Was Mine" from "South Pacific," Charlie Smalls' "Believe in Yourself" from "The Wiz" and other songs from musicals produced by OSF, along with Bard-inspired music by composers Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, William Walton, Claude Debussy and Hector Berlioz.

"Shakespeare and Song" will be presented at 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8, in the Britt Pavilion, 350 S. First St., Jacksonville. Tickets are $47 for reserved seating, $32 for lawn, $10 for ages 12 and younger, and can be purchased online at brittfest.org, at the box office, 216 W. Main St., Medford, or by calling 541-773-6077.

“I've dreamed of collaborating with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival since I arrived as music director at Britt,” Teddy Abrams said in a press release. “OSF is world-renowned as one of the great, adventurous and boundlessly creative theater companies. I deeply admire and find inspiration from OSF productions and the festival's artistic director, Bill Rauch. It will be an honor to share the stage with actors from the company.

"We've created a program that celebrates OSF's recent programs, along with a wide range of musical tributes to Shakespeare. The show has a dramatic narrative and story of its own, which follows the work of the Bard, the creative spirit of our four guest actors and the journey of our artistic neighbor and partner.”

Company members Kate Hurster, Jeremy Peter Johnson, Michael Sharon and Britney Simpson perform in OSF’s current production of "The Yeomen of the Guard," adapted as a country-western sendup directed by Sean Graney.

Hurster plays Elsie in "Yeomen." She is in her sixth season with OSF, portraying Sarah Brown in "Guys and Dolls," Yun in "Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land," Ariel in "The Tempest," Mrs. Murry in "A Wrinkle in Time," Lady Anne in "Richard III," Marion in "The Heart of Robin Hood," and Elizabeth Bennet in "Pride and Prejudice."

Simpson plays Phoebe and Krazy Kate in "Yeomen" and Glinda in "The Wiz." In mid-August, she will step into the role of Dorothy in "The Wiz." In 2015, she appeared in OSF's "Guys and Dolls" and "Head Over Heels."

Johnson appears as Fairfax in "Yeomen" and the Duke of Aumerle in "Richard II." This is his seventh season at OSF, and roles have included Sky Masterson in "Guys and Dolls," first agent and first jailer in "The Count of Monte Cristo," Archbishop of York, Scrivener and Sir James Blunt in "Richard III," Cinderella's prince and the voice of the wolf in "Into the Woods," Hortensio in "The Taming of the Shrew," and Lord Boxington in "My Fair Lady."

Sharon is Shadbolt, the jailor, in "Yeomen." He also plays Thomas Mowbray and Bishop of Carlisle in "Richard II." In his third season at OSF, his roles include Basilius in "Head Over Heels" and Fernand in "The Count of Monte Cristo," along with roles in "Richard III," "Othello," "As You Like It" and "Henry VI."

Songs from Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" and "Sweeney Todd," Leonard Bernstein's "Candide" and Frank Loesser’s "Guys and Dolls" will be showcased along with Shakespeare-inspired works such as Berlioz' The Queen Mab Scherzo from "Roméo and Juliette," Tchaikovsky's Overture for "Hamlet," Debussy's Fanfare from "King Lear," and Walton's "Touch Her Soft Lips and Part” from "Henry V."