Robert Schenkkan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Kentucky Cycle, will see his new play, Arturo and Catherine, commissioned by the festival. Directing is Cornerstone Theater Company artistic director Bill Rauch in the OSF New Theatre in Ashland, OR.
The new play "touches on the lives of a recent widow and a Cuban immigrant and how the power of redemption, forgiveness and creativity helps to heal them."
Octavio Solis' Gibraltar was also commissioned by OSF and will be directed by Liz Diamond, who directed OSF's The Trojan Women in 2000. Solis' El Paso Blue was staged at OSF in 1999. His plays include Santos & Santos, La Posada Magica and Dreamlandia.
Gibraltar "is a contemporary fable about a woman whose husband has recently died under mysterious circumstances," according to the announcement. "When a stranger enters her life, the two find their worlds merging in the stories they weave together and the characters they bring to life."
Also playing in the New Theatre with Gibraltar and Arturo and Catherine is August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, part of the award winning playwright's 10-play cycle and nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play (1985). The world premiere translation of Eduardo De Filippo's Napoli Milionaria is by OSF actor Linda Alper and guest artist Beatrice Basso, who also collaborated on a new translation of De Filippo's Saturday, Sunday, Monday that was staged at OSF in 2002 and directed by Appel. She will also direct this production, playing in the Angus Bowmer Theatre. "Though billed as a comedy, Napoli Milionaria also takes a critical look at the culture of Italy during World War II. The story is about family, community, survival and basic instincts for good as well as greed."
Also playing in the Angus Bowmer Theatre and opening at the top of the season are William Shakespeare's Richard III, directed by Appel; John Murray & Allen Boretz's three-act comedy Room Service (later made into a classic Marx Brothers film), directed by guest artist J.R. Sullivan; and George Bernard Shaw's The Philanderer, directed by OSF associate Artistic director Penny Metropulos.
The final show in the Angus Bowmer Theatre is Hannah Cowley's The Belle's Stratagem, directed by Davis McCallum, who also directed a reading of the play at OSF in 2003. "The Belle's Stratagem was written in 1780 and recently had its first full staging in more than a century at New York's Prospect Theatre Company. "The play merges two stories: Letitia Hardy's paradoxical scheme to win the heart of her betrothed, Doricourt; and the introduction of Lady Frances Touchwood to London society, to the dismay of her jealous husband, Sir George."
Opening in June 2005 on the Elizabethan Stage, are Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and Love's Labor's Lost. Peter Amster, director of four popular productions in the Angus Bowmer Theatre, will stage Twelfth Night on the outdoor stage, and OSF actor and director Kenneth Albers will direct Love's Labor's Lost.
OSF associate artist James Edmondson will direct Christopher Marlowe' The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, last produced at OSF in 1979.
Dates will be announced.
OSF currently has four productions running in repertory: William Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, George S. Kaufman & Edna Ferber's The Royal Family, Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Visit (a world premiere adaptation by Kenneth Albers) and Suzan Lori Parks' Topdog/Underdog. For more information about OSF visit www.osfashland.org .