The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR, will stage Maurine Watkin's rarely seen 1926 black comedy Chicago as part of its 1999 season. The Watkin tale of a feckless murdering flapper inspired the Ginger Rogers film Roxie Hart, and, later, the 1975 Kander-Ebb-Fosse musical Chicago, which is currently enjoying a successful second life on Broadway, in London and on tour. Kenneth Albers will pilot the OSF rendition.
The original production opened at the Music Box Theatre on Dec. 30, 1926, under the direction of George Abbott, and ran for 172 performances.
The comedy will be preceded in OSF's Angus Bowmer Theatre by Shakespeare's Othello, directed by Tony Taccone; and Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan, stage by Penny Metropulos. Chicago will fill the third slot, to be followed by August Wilson's Seven Guitars, directed by Alliance Theatre Company Artistic Director, Kenny Leon. Another Shakespeare, Pericles, directed by Laird Williamson, will close the Bowmer season.
Three plays will be shown in OSF's Black Swan Theatre during 1999. OSF Artistic Director Emeritus Jerry Turner will set the Swan sailing, directing his own translation of Ibsen's Rosmersholm. Octavio Solis' El Paso Blue, mounted by Timothy Bond, and Ellen McLaughlin's Tongue of a Bird will complete the line-up.
The festival's outdoor Elizabethan Theatre will open in June with the James Edmondson-directed Much Ado About Nothing. Libby Appel will then stage Henry IV, Part II. Finally, Metropulos and John Sipes will co-direct Dumas' The Three Musketeers. Design teams and production schedule will be announced at a later date.
-- By Robert Simonson