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Oregon Cabaret Theatre announces 2022 season

Arthur Hanket and Katrina Ferguson in the North Coast Repertory Theatre's production of "Moon Over Buffalo" in Solana Beach, California. Photo by Aaron Rumley via KenLudwig.com

The Oregon Cabaret Theatre has announced its 37th season, including an expansion to a sixth show in 2022, “White Christmas,” to be performed at the Thomas Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

The first show of the Cabaret’s 2022 season, “Moon Over Buffalo,” is a stage farce by comic mastermind Ken Ludwig, author of theatrical hits “Lend Me a Tenor,” “Leading Ladies” and “Baskerville.” In the show, George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950s, are playing “Private Lives” and “Cyrano De Bergerac” in rep in Buffalo, New York, with five actors. On the brink of a disastrous split-up caused by George’s dalliance with a young ingénue, they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinee, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his movie remake of “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” Unfortunately, for George and Charlotte, everything that could go wrong does go wrong, abetted by a visit from their daughter’s clueless fiancé and uncertainty about which play they’re actually performing. “Moon Over Buffalo” opens Feb. 10 and plays through April 10, 2022.

The Cabaret’s spring show will be the 2008 Tony award winner for Best Musical, “In the Heights.” Before “Hamilton,” Broadway wunderkind Lin-Manuel Miranda created this musical that takes place in a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood — a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open, and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It takes place in a community on the brink of change, and its lead characters grapple with what they will take with them and what they’ll leave behind. “In the Heights” will play from April 21 through June 19.

Playing from June 30 through Sept. 4, the Cabaret is bringing a musical that it originally promised audiences in 2020 — “The Full Monty.” While spying on their wives at a “Girls’ Night Out,” a group of unemployed steelworkers from Buffalo see how much the women enjoy watching male strippers. Jealous, out of work, and feeling emasculated, the men come up with a bold and unclothed way to make some quick cash — a strip show of their own. Based on the hit film of the same name, “The Full Monty,” was nominated for 10 Tony Award nominees when it arrived on Broadway in 2002.

The fourth show of the season will be the world premiere adaptation, “Sherlock Holmes and the Final Adventure.” Sherlock Holmes’ skills are put to the test when he goes head-to-head with his intellectual equal, criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty. After repeated attempts on his life, Holmes is rejoined by his recently married friend Dr. Watson and the two attempt to thwart the professor’s plans on a continent-spanning theatrical adventure that takes the audience from the safety of Holmes’ flat at 221B Baker Street to the heights of Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. “Sherlock Holmes and the Final Adventure” will run from Sept. 15 to Nov. 6.

The holiday show that will be performed in the Cabaret will be “A Christmas Carol,” running from Nov. 17 to Dec. 31. Charles Dickens’ famous holiday ghost story is a haunting tale of that fateful Christmas Eve when miserly curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by his old business partner, Jacob Marley. Scrooge is told to expect three spirits to haunt him — spirits of Christmas past, present, and future — intended to set Ebenezer on the unlikely path to redemption.

In addition to the five shows slated for production at the Cabaret, the company is producing a sixth show, “White Christmas,” to be performed at the Thomas Theatre at OSF from Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, 2023. Veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis have a successful song-and-dance act after World War II. With romance in mind, the two follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters en route to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil’s former Army commander, who is in desperate need of help with his struggling lodge. The Irving Berlin score features well-known standards including “Blue Skies,” “I Love A Piano,” “How Deep Is the Ocean” and the perennial favorite, “White Christmas.”

“Both the Cabaret and OSF are excited about making Ashland a destination during the holiday season,” says OCT managing director Rick Robinson. “Our little town, lit up for the season is magical at that time of year, and now with three professional shows playing at the same time here during the holidays, people can come to town and get their fill of belly laughs with ‘It’s Christmas, Carol,’ at OSF, the delightful music of ‘White Christmas’ produced by the Cabaret in the Thomas Theatre of OSF, and the classic redemption story of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Cabaret — all in one weekend. It’s our combined hope that more theater will mean more tourists — and more people in Ashland’s shops and restaurants.”

“Our theme for our 2022 season is dreaming big,” says artistic director Valerie Rachelle. “The realities of building back post-COVID would suggest we stick to smaller stories and smaller casts, but that’s not really who we are. We want to do extraordinary things next year — things you wouldn’t think possible.”

The box office located at the corner of First and Hargadine streets in Ashland is currently closed to walk-in traffic due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, tickets and further information on current shows and the 2022 lineup are available online at oregoncabaret.com or by calling 541-488-2902.