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‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’ opens at Grizzly Peak Winery

ASHLAND — The Rogue Theater Company launches its 2021 season this week with “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” an outdoor, physically distanced live performance at Grizzly Peak Winery at 2 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, May 6-16. Live music starts a half-hour before each show.

The cast for “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” a Tony Award-nominated comedy and drama written by Lucas Hnath, includes Peter Alzado, Audrey Cirzan, Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors Robin Goodrin Nordli and KT Vogt, and composer Federico Behncke.

Visit roguetheatercompany.com or call in to 541-205-9190 to purchase tickets.

This season brings eight OSF artists to the outdoor stage — the ideal backdrop for this season’s performance lineup, said artistic director Jessica Sage. Each show connects to a broader theme: hope.

OSF actors and directors were pleased to find work with RTC while the Festival hangs in limbo, she said. For next season, Sage intends to bring on associate artistic directors to help manage the company’s growth.

“Everything has bumped up a notch with this incredible cast,” Sage said. “[Audience members] are so excited to be experiencing theater where they could feel safe, in an outdoor environment, and to get back to somewhat of a normal cultural event. The enthusiasm has been overwhelming, really and truly.”

Set in 1879 Norway, “A Doll’s House, Part 2” is threaded together with a juxtaposition of period costume and contemporary language — a sequel that stands on its own, Sage said. The dialogue evokes an examination of marriage, gender inequality and the meaning of liberation, experienced through 90 minutes of sharp, seamless comedy.

“We have assembled a dream cast,” director Caroline Shaffer said. “The role of Nora is tailor-made for Robin Goodrin Nordli’s range and depth, and she is mesmerizing. KT Vogt’s comedic genius is showcased to perfection in the play. Peter Alzado is riveting as always, and Audrey Cirzan continues to grow as a consummate actor.”

May 7 serves as a benefit for the Resolve Center for Dispute Resolution and Restorative Justice, a nonprofit based in Medford. Money raised will support youth programs in Rogue Valley schools and the juvenile justice system, according to executive director Deltra Ferguson.

Ferguson said she is pleased RTC adhered to a pre-pandemic commitment to support the organization with a benefit performance, despite how live performing arts organizations have suffered financially since March 2020.

While indoor venues close their doors this week in line with state mandates, RTC’s season will proceed outdoors as planned, continuing with a production of “Tiny Beautiful Things” in July, directed by OSF actor and director Michael Hume. The cast includes Renée Hewitt, Geoffrey Riley, Mia Gaskin and Carlos-Zenen Trujillo.

In September, Barry Kraft — a 30-year OSF actor and reigning expert on The Bard — will lead a Shakespeare series focused on “Romeo and Juliet,” “Julius Caesar,” and “Hamlet.” The season ends in October with the one-woman show “Mala,” written by Melinda Lopez, directed by Penny Metropulos and featuring OSF actor Vilma Silva.

“Tiny Beautiful Things” centers around themes of healing and courage, while the main character in “Mala” explores “how to be everything to the people you love most,” Sage said.