Portland Opera Puccini

Oregon Spotlight: Spring breaks from Shakespeare to Caravaggio

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We’ve set the clocks ahead, spring is coming, and that means Oregonians are tentatively emerging from their abodes with a mind to hit the road for day and weekend trips. What’s on the state’s cultural menu?

Mark Murphey (holding book) plays William Joad, who meets unexpected relative Martin Jodes, played by Tony Sancho (on ground), in Octavio Solis’ “Mother Road” at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Photo by: Jenny Graham/Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Mark Murphey (holding book) plays William Joad, who meets unexpected relative Martín Jodes, played by Tony Sancho (on ground), in Octavio Solis’ “Mother Road” at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Photo by: Jenny Graham/Oregon Shakespeare Festival

For starters, it’s showtime at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Right out of the gate, four options: Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band in the Thomas Theatre, while the Angus Bowmer hosts As You Like It, Hairspray: The Broadway Musical and Mother Road, a new play by Octavio Solis, inspired by John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and featuring OSF favorite Mark Murphey as William Joad. Solis is an Oregon playwright, and he’s calling this a “sequel” to Steinbeck’s classic, although it continues the story from an immigrant’s perspective. This is a world premiere directed by outgoing artistic director Bill Rauch and likely to be a play you’ll be proud to say, years from now, “I saw it first at OSF in Ashland.” Tickets and more info here.

Meanwhile, a few other options beyond Portlandia:

ROSEBURG: “What Needs to Be Said?” Find out beginning Friday, March 15, at the Umpqua Valley Arts Center and The Art Gallery at Umpqua Community College. They’re partnering with the Hallie Ford Museum of Art (at Salem’s Willamette University) for this visual art extravaganza that runs through May 8. Get the scoop here.

“Companion Species (What’s Going On)” by Marie Watt (2017), one of the pieces in a show at Bend Arts Center
“Companion Species (What’s Going On)” by Marie Watt (2017), one of the pieces in a show at Bend Arts Center

BEND: Avantika Bawa, Marwin Begay, Modou Dieng, Demian DinéYazhi’, Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, James Lavadour, and Marie Watt are among the artists whose lithographs and monoprints completed during a residency at the Crow’s Shadow Institute of Arts on the Umatilla Indian Reservation are showing in the Bend Art Center through April 28. Admission is free. Details here.

CORVALLIS: The Community Band Plays the classics at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, in the LaSells Stewart Center of Oregon State University. The Willamette Apprentice Ballet will be featured along with trumpet soloist Ken Saul. For a complete concert schedule, click here.

“Portrait of Caravaggio” by Ottavio Leoni (ca. 1621), Bibliotecha Marucelliana, Florence. Wikimedia Commons
“Portrait of Caravaggio” by Ottavio Leoni (ca. 1621), Biblioteca Marucelliana, Florence. Wikimedia Commons

MEDFORD: It’s Celtic Celebration time at the Rogue Gallery & Art Center in Medford on Sunday, March 17. Art, music, and traditional Irish music. Pat O’Scannell and Friends and the Southern Oregon Scottish Bagpipe Band will perform. Tickets $35. Check it out.

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CMNW Council

NEWPORT: Fans of the tormented Italian artist Caravaggio take note: The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts’ Great Art on Screen series offers a hi-def screening of Caravaggio: The Soul and the Blood on Sunday, March 17, at the Newport Performing Arts Center. Tickets available here.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

David Bates is an Oregon journalist with more than 20 years as a
newspaper editor and reporter in the Willamette Valley, covering
virtually every topic imaginable and with a strong background in
arts/culture journalism. He has lived in Yamhill County since 1996 and
is working as a freelance writer. He has a long history of involvement in
the theater arts, acting and on occasion directing for Gallery Players
of Oregon and other area theaters. You can also find him on
Substack, where he writes about art and culture at Artlandia.

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