Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon

Strutting and fretting along the Oregon Coast


Theater fans could do worse than to find themselves on the Coast this summer. Performers are taking the stage in multiple venues from Newport to Cannon Beach.

Ed Asner is scheduled to make an appearance as God twice next month in Newport.

Let’s start with a reminder that tickets are still available, but going fast, for God Help Us!, the play starring Emmy-award-winning actor Ed Asner and scheduled for just two performances – Aug. 10 and 11 – at the Newport Performing Arts Center.

Inspired by the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton debates of the summer of 2016, the play, written by Samuel Warren Joseph and Phil Proctor, premiered in Chicago last August.  The 90-minute show is described as “a political comedy for our times, and centers on two opposite-leaning pundits who are transported to purgatory by the Supreme Being himself for the purpose of debating today’s political and social issues.”

Asner’s daughter, Liza Asner, is the show’s producer.  Local actors Marc Maislen (New Visions Arts) and Darcy Hogan (Red Octopus Theatre Company) will play the roles of Larry and Randi, politically opposite media pundits who were a couple in college. Students Kylie MacDonald and Cole Theodore play angels.

Tickets are $50 and $75, with proceeds benefiting the Performing Arts Center’s Entertain the Future! Capital Campaign and helping fund renovations to the newly named David Ogden Stiers Theatre, previously known as the Studio or Black Box theater.   

Stay tuned for my planned interview with Asner next week.

ALSO ON STAGE AT THE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, in the Alice Silverman Theatre, is Red Octopus Theatre Company’s production of On Golden Pond, July 19 through Aug. 4. Directed by Barbara Berge, the play by Ernest Thompson tells the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to the beautiful tranquility of their summer home on Golden Pond for the 48th year. Their peaceful solitude is interrupted when their daughter, her fiancé, and his teenage son pay a visit on Norman’s 80th birthday – changing all their lives in ways that are both moving and heartwarming.


Portland Opera The Snowy Day Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon

“What I love about this play,” Berge said, “is how it deals with age, regret, disappointment, love – both spoken and unspoken – and ultimately acceptance, forgiveness, and renewal in a way that is humorous, tender, and sweet. Most of all, I love the humor and love that seeps into every scene.”

Opening night is July 19. Ticket information is here.

Orson Welles frightened listeners in 1938 with his radio broadcast of “The War of the Worlds.” Riverbend Players promise to thrill and chill audiences with their production this month. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

MOVING NORTH TO NEHALEM, at the North Coast Recreation District Performing Arts Center, the Riverbend Players present War of the Worlds. Originally broadcast from New York’s Mercury Theatre in 1938, the radio play was based on the novel by H.G. Wells. Some frightened listeners believed the performance, narrated by Orson Welles, was live coverage of an actual alien invasion, although claims that it launched a mass panic have been refuted.

Showtimes in Nehalem are 7 p.m. July 12 and 13, and 2 p.m. July 14. You can buy tickets through this link.


AT THE COASTER THEATRE Playhouse in Cannon Beach, Nunsense continues through Sept. 1. The summer musical centers on the Little Sisters of Hoboken. Their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, who  succumbed to botulism after eating vichyssoise. In dire need of money for burials, the sisters decide to put on a variety show in the school auditorium, currently set up for the eighth-grade production of Grease. The audience will meet Reverend Mother Regina, a former circus performer; Sister Robert Anne, a streetwise nun from Brooklyn; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who is a wannabe ballerina; and the “delightfully wacky” Sister Mary Amnesia who “lost her memory after a crucifix fell on her head.”



Chamber Music Northwest Beethoven's Complete Piano Trios The Old Church Portland Oregon

This story is supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust, investing in Oregon’s arts, humanities and heritage, and the Lincoln County Cultural Coalition.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Lori Tobias is a journalist of many years, and was a staff writer for The Oregonian for more than a decade, and a columnist and features writer for the Rocky Mountain News. Her memoir “Storm Beat – A Journalist Reports from the Oregon Coast” was published in 2020 by Oregon State University press. She is also the author of the novel Wander, winner of the 2017 Nancy Pearl Book Award for literary fiction and a finalist for the 2017 International Book Awards for new fiction. She lives on the Oregon Coast with her husband Chan and rescue pup Gus.

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