Remember Live Theater? Jackson and Josephine County Theaters Don’t Disappoint
Making a comeback after two years of COVID, local theater companies are bringing the laughter and the tears back to the stages of the Rogue Valley. We caught up with the Collaborative Theatre Project in Medford, Camelot Theatre in Talent, Barnstormers Theatre in Grants Pass, and Rogue Theater Company in Ashland for previews of their spring shows.
The fun begins this month with Peter and the Starcatchers put on by the Collaborative Theatre Project in Medford.
“When we craft a season, we look at what’s going on in the world and try to fit things to the prevailing emotions,” Artistic Director Susan Aversa says. “Peter is about the boy who became Peter Pan. It’s a fantasy about creating a new world. We think it’s a perfect fit for coming back into the world after COVID-19 restrictions.”
Aversa said that Peter and the Starcatchers (based on the 2004 children’s novel of the same name by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson) is a musical “a wonderful piece that I think will bring a lot of joy to people.”
As with many adaptations of Peter Pan throughout the decades since the show first premiered, Peter will be played a young-looking adult: Zaq Wentworth. Aversa said the show is actually written for adults to perform it.
The rest of the cast is filled with local actors: Lauren Taylor will play Molly, while the rest of the cast consists of Alex Boyles, Braydon Simmons, Elliott Anderson, Renee Hewitt, Trevor Pekas, Rebecca Campbell, Brianna Gowland, Ryder Kole Emerson and Haley Forsyth.
Peter and the Starcatchers
April 7 – May 1
Collaborative Theatre Project
555 Medford Center, Medford
Out in Talent, Camelot Theatre is set to bring back previously sold-out show Spotlight on Roy Orbison. Camelot’s popular “Spotlight on” music shows pay tribute to the songs and lives of the beloved performers of yesteryear. Roy Orbison was known for his moody, distinct voice tailor-made for the ballads he wrote including woeful “Only the Lonely” (1960) and the crooning “Oh, Pretty Woman” (1964).
Spotlight on Roy Orbison
April 14 – May 8
101 Talent Avenue, Talent
Also debuting in April will be Becky’s New Car at Barnstormers Theatre in Grants Pass.
“Becky’s New Car is a comedy about Becky who works at a car dealership and is in the middle of a mid-life crisis,” says Director Denise Baker. “Her life is just kind of in a rinse and repeat cycle. She starts to wonder if there’s more to life. Then she gets a new car, fully loaded, and she has an adventure.”
The play includes a lot of audience participation where Becky asks the audience questions, and there is also a lot of improv based on the answers Becky receives.
“Barnstormers is the perfect venue for this play,” Baker says. “It’s kind of an intimate story and on a bigger stage, you would lose some of that.”
Becky’s New Car stars Shannon Kase in the eponymous role. Her husband Joe is played by Ryon Lane while her son is played by Kyle Barragan. The rest of the casts consists of Robert Pyle, Setven Corellis, Zymri Anderson and Nancy Callaway.
Becky’s New Car
April 22 – May 8
112 NE Evelyn Ave., Grants Pass
Meanwhile, out in Ashland, the Rogue Theater Company plans to premier Chapatti starring Robin Goodrin Nordli and Michael Elich.
“Two Oregon Shakespeare Festival legends will be appearing in Chapatti,” says Artistic Director Jessica Sage. “We’ve been working exclusively with OSF actors, designers and directors.”
She explains that Rogue Theater Company is a small equity theater company, meaning it only works with equity actors: actors that are part of the Actors Equity.
The official opening performance on May 6 will feature a benefit for FOTAS (Friends of the Animal Shelter), followed by wine and discussion with the actors and director.
May 5 – 15
Rogue Theater Company
Performance outdoors at Grizzly Peak Winery
1600 E Nevada St., Ashland