OSF has been collaborating with other theaters for years
I read with interest the stories about the success of Oregon Shakespeare Festival's "All the Way," the Robert Schenkkan play about the first year of LBJ's presidency, which opened in Broadway to critical and popular acclaim. I see Bill Rauch directed both the Ashland version and the Broadway show. How often do OSF plays travel elsewhere? Do their directors often go with them?
— Victoria B., Talent
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has collaborated with other theaters in producing shows for years, Victoria.
In 2003, for instance, OSF teamed up with the Berkeley Repertory Theatre to produce the world premiere of "The Continental Divide" — actually two plays, "Daughters of the Revolution" and "Mothers Against" — written by Tony Award-winning British playwright David Edgar. Both plays were directed by Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Rep. The two plays opened first at OSF, then eight actors joined Berkeley Rep actors for the Bay Area shows that fall.
Collaboration has ratcheted up quite a bit since the arrival of Rauch as artistic director in 2007. He launched the ambitious American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle, a 10-year program of commissioning up to 37 new plays focusing on moments of change in United States history. Bringing together artists, historians and other theaters from around the country, it's the largest commissioning and production project in OSF’s history, according to its website, osfashland.org.
Seven of the 23 American Revolutions plays commissioned so far have been produced, some at OSF, some at other theaters only. When shared between theaters, the productions often share the same director and many of the same cast members.
"All the Way" is a crowning achievement for the festival. OSF's first commission to have made it all the way to Broadway, it won two Tony awards in June — for Best Play and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Bryan Cranston). Schenkkan's second and final LBJ play, "The Great Society," now playing in Ashland, was co-produced with Seattle Repertory Theatre. Will it make it to Broadway, too? Stay tuned.
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