Music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, book by Jeff Whitty at the Center Stage Theatre
The 2004 winner of Tony’s triple crown of Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. Avenue Q is a coming-of-age comedy where the real world defines the facts of life. Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers move over as eleven wacky puppets and three humans enact this zany, all too real, insightful extravaganza. Intended for mature audiences.
For performance days and more details go to SOU theater department
Eclectic Music Ashland Oregon
Ellis Paul plays live music Ashland Oregon, he could be the most mainstream-friendly folk songwriter to emerge from Boston since Tom Rush. He has won an unprecedented 14 Boston Music Awards, sung at Fenway Park for the Red Sox, The Boston Garden for the Celtics and even had the mayor of Boston, Thomas M. Menino, proclaim it “Ellis Paul Day in Boston” on July 9th, 2010 when Ellis celebrated his 20th year in making music.
The Unfortunates is a world premiere, created by Jon Beavers, Ramiz Monsef, Ian Merrigan, and Casey Hurt; additional material by Kristoffer Diaz. Directed by Shana Cooper.
A review by Angela Allen
The Unfortunates: Edgy or over the Edge?
Full disclosure: I love edgy theater. Not that OSF doesn’t do Neil Simon or August Wilson up right, or even Shakespeare in period dress, but I prefer the small-theater, risk-prone productions.
So The Unfortunates, playing at the newly named Thomas Theatre, wasn’t a huge stretch for me, but it could be for many. (As one playgoer, who prides himself on enthusiasm for works by Chekhov, Strindberg, et al, said, “the whole thing was entirely unfortunate – the music, the acting, the play.”)
To be sure, the play is anything but linear, pretty darn plot-less (minus a love story between Big Joe and armless prostitute Rae), and fluid about time. So, if you prefer a story spooling out logically to an avalanche of metaphors about suffering, this play will impress you as barely cohesive, experimental as hell, and moodier than most.
And here’s the deal that contributes to that feeling: The Unfortunates is a collaborative effort among a number of actors-turned-playwrights-turned-musicians, all of whom play large parts in the play, and all of whom are fabulous actors and musicians (if not playwrights).
The play/musical is mercifully 90 minutes short, without intermission. It begins in a prison camp, travels to a New Orleans-style bar and flirts with the underworld.
The piece brushes with war, the plague, hell in all versions, and misfortune of all stripes – including armlessness and addictions. Its characters are bigger-than-life comic-book versions, from the bar “madame” to onetime bar-owner King Jesse, to dazed and bedazzled Big Joe with his over-sized craps-throwing hands, to pitiful songbird Rae whose wings are clipped. Everyone endures a miserable life, but without the trajectory or development of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.
Still, if I wasn’t wild about the show, I liked the music. You’ll hear strains of the blues, rap, rock and spirituals, including good old Amazing Grace and St. James Infirmary, with which the play begins and ends. (Keep in mind the song’s first line is, “It was down in Old Joe’s barroom” and the play might make some sense.)
I doubt The Unfortunates will go to Broadway or to off-Broadway, but I admire OSF for taking risks and producing such a wild and woolly ensemble piece.
— Angela Allen is a Portland-based journalist, photographer and poet, who drinks in as many plays as she can when visiting Ashland and staying at the Chanticleer.
Ashland New Plays Festival presents …
A new play Quietus by Richard Manley, read/performed on Monday April 15, ’13, Unitarian Church 87 4th St. Ashland.
From perspectives of three characters: a medical researcher, an entrepreneur, and a bio-ethicist, the play explores the ability, and ramifications therein, to keep a body functioning after brain death.
Ashland New Plays Festival tickets are $15 for general admission. Call 541 488-7995, or purchase tickets at Paddington Station or the Music Coop. For more information go to their website.
NW Dance Project
This young Portland-based company has become a critics’ favorite with its fresh, adventurous approach to modern dance, mixing free-wheeling innovation and classical technique.
Under the visionary leadership of Sarah Slipper, NWDP specializes in bold new work by the most exciting young choreographers in the world. In the words of Dance International Magazine, they are “changing the way dance is created.”
13 April 2013 at 7:30 PM
Presented by: Craterian Performances
Ashland Plaza Gets Spruced Up with Ceramic Friezes by Sue Springer
While walking about downtown, I decided to check out how the new plaza project was progressing. Lucky me! Sue Springer was in the middle of setting the tile into the grout on the side of a bench. One side (not shown) already had all the tile, held up by blue tape and the other side was ready for grout. I told Sue the blue tape was fetching and should consider keeping it there. She agreed. An wonderful artist with a good sense of humor too.
We’re lucky to have her design on the Ashland Plaza.
For more information about Sue Springer, visit her website
Jesse Cook, Guitarist
Widely acclaimed guitarist Jesse Cook plays an engaging emotional “world music” based on his specialty, rumba flamenco.
Unique to the music world, Cook has top both the Jazz and New Age charts. He has performed world-wide, toured extensively with The Chieftains, and opened for jazz greats like B.B. King and Ray Charles. Don’t miss this guaranteed sizzler of a show!
9 April 2013 at 7:30 PM
Presented by: Craterian Performances
Eclectic Music Ashland Oregon
“On Ensemble” plays live music Ashland Oregon, with Japanese drums at the foundation of its world fusion mix, On Ensemble takes the ancient instruments of taiko into new realms. Infusing the powerful rhythms of ensemble Japanese drumming with elements of hip-hop, rock and electronica, On Ensemble’s unique sound has been praised as “completely original and brilliantly conceived.” Modern Drummer magazine calls On Ensemble “an exciting taiko ensemble looking at new ways to apply traditional Japanese drums.”
I want to recommend a new book “Bouncing Back” by Linda Graham, my friend and dear guest at the Chanticleer Inn!
Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being offers new tools and techniques to help us recover our innate capacities to meet life’s challenges, whether everyday disappointments or extraordinary disasters, with calm, clarity, flexibility and courage.
Bouncing Back shows readers how to harness the neuroplasticity of their own brains to strengthen the structures of the brain they need to “bounce back” and not only get through hard times but thrive in their midst.
The neuroscience is accessible; the exercises are powerful — a worth while read for all.
My friends Janet and Art want to get the word about the movie “42”. So in their words here’s the scoop …
Hi Friends, We hope you can make this event (see below). It’s a benefit screening of the new movie “42” about Jackie Robinson at the Varsity Theater on Monday April 15th at 6pm. “42” stars Harrison Ford as Dodger’s General Manager Branch Rickey, the MLB executive who first signed Jackie Robinson, played by Chadwick Boseman. The film is written and directed by Academy Award winner Brian Helgeland. There will also be a raffle of Brooklyn Dodgers memorabilia and speakers including John Cypher of Hill Street Blues and, of course, popcorn (can’t watch a movie about baseball without it!). Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling 541-488-7716. Proceeds will support Havurah Shir Hadash’s “Burn the Mortgage” capital campaign. Please come see a great film and support the Havurah all at the same time. You Brooklyn Dodger fans especially won’t want to miss it!