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Rogue Theater Company Hires OSF Veterans for Ambitious 2022 Season – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

The Rogue Theater Company’s 2022 season features veteran OSF actors, left to right, (top row) Danforth Comins, Robin Goodrin Nordli, Michael Elich, (bottom row) Al Espinosa, Kate Hurster and Barry Kraft .

All Rogue Theater Company plays will be performed at Grizzly Peak Winery near Ashland. “Frankie and Johnny” and “Every Brilliant Thing” will be presented in theaters. “Chapatti” will be on the outdoor stage.

Kate Hurster and Al Espinosa will star in RTC’s first production of the season, the Terrence McNally classic “Frankie and Johnny at Moonlight,” which opens March 3.

Michael Hume, director, “Frankie and Johnny”

Caroline Shaffer, Director, “Every Brilliant Thing”

Robynn Rodriguez, Director, “Chapati”

With a cast and director lineup that resembles a who’s who of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Rogue Theater Company’s 2022 season promises to be a remarkable callback to a 2021 season that itself exceeded expectations for a year. pandemic.

RTC Artistic Director Jessica Sage’s excitement for the new season isn’t just in the awesome company she’s assembled, but also in the shows themselves.

“Our 2022 season is filled with amazing pieces and amazing artists,” she said. “Our theme this year is connection – with each other, with ourselves, and even with our pets.”

All productions will be presented at Grizzly Peak Winery, 1600 E. Nevada St., Ashland. Plays will run Thursday through Sunday at 2 p.m.

RTC hosted a 2022 announcement party on January 29 to reveal the lineup for the season.

‘Frankie and Johnny’

RTC opens the season March 3-13 with the Terrence McNally classic, “Frankie and Johnny at Moonlight,” directed by Michael J. Hume. Kate Hurster and Al Espinosa play lovers struggling with intimacy and vulnerability in tender and often boisterous ways.

The play opened off Broadway in 1967 with F. Murray Abraham and Kathy Bates. It finally arrived on Broadway 35 years later, starring Stanley Tucci and Edie Falco.

Hurster, in 11 seasons at OSF, starred in “The Copper Children”, “As You Like It”, “The Book of Will”, “The Odyssey”, “Julius Caesar”, “Guys and Dolls”, “The Pirates of Penzance”, “Pride and Prejudice” and many others. She has performed with several theater companies from coast to coast.

Espinosa, a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, has done extensive work in television, film and on stage. In nine seasons at the OSF, he starred in ‘Macbeth’, ‘All is well that ends well’, ‘Destiny of Desire’, ‘Shakespeare in Love’, ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ and ‘Great Expectations’. to name a few. .

Hume, a distinguished OSF actor for 26 seasons, directed “Tiny Beautiful Things” for RTC last year, and has also directed for OSF, SOU, Ashland High School, Oregon Cabaret Theater and the Ashland New Plays Festival.

Also a playwright, Hume is collaborating with writing partners Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner on “Marvellini’s Magic Mansion” and an Irish Christmas musical, “Parcel from America,” both of which will be produced in Charlotte, Orlando, Milwaukee and Chicago.


Robin Goodrin Nordli and Michael Elich will take the stage for the RTC’s second performance, May 5-15, in “Chapatti” by Christian O’Reilly, directed by Robynn Rodriguez. Goodrin Nordli and Elich play animal lovers who are more comfortable with their pets than with humans.

“‘Chapatti’ will tickle your funny bone and warm your heart,” Sage promised. Sparks begin to fly between the two and they begin to realize that they don’t have to be alone, that being connected with humans is more rewarding than safe interaction only with animals.

Goodrin Nordli, a 26 season veteran of the OSF, played 76 roles in 58 productions for the company. Her credits include ‘Macbeth’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’, ‘Hedda Gabler’, ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ and ‘Into the Woods’. .

Elich has 20 OSF seasons under his belt and has performed regionally, off-Broadway and internationally. He played 59 roles in 47 OSF productions, with starring roles in ‘The Pirates of Penzance’, ‘The Heart of Robin Hood’, ‘The Music Man’, ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘The Taming of the Shrew”, “Richard III” and more.

Rodriguez is an OSF veteran with 21 seasons as an actor in works such as “August, Osage County”, “The Cherry Orchard”, “King John”, “The Taming of the Shrew”, “The Man Who Came to Dinner”, “Othello” and “Uncle Vanya”. She has also worked at the Kennedy Center in England and several regional theaters across the country. Rodriguez has also directed many theatrics.

Shakespeare sessions

In June, Barry Kraft will lead his popular Shakespeare Workshops, this year covering comedies ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and ‘The Tempest’.

“If you like Shakespeare, there are few people on this planet who know more about the bard than Barry,” Sage said.

Kraft was an OSF actor and speaker for 31 seasons, including as playwright for nearly 60 productions. He appeared in 88 complete productions of Shakespeare’s 38 plays, performing over 100 roles.

Kraft will host six comedy sessions that can be viewed live, live or on video.

“Every Shiny Thing”

After taking a hiatus during the smoky season, RTC will return in the fall with Duncan MacMillan’s “Every Brilliant Thing” from November 3-13, featuring Danforth Comins and directed by Caroline Shaffer.

In the one-character play, a son tries to heal his mother’s chronic depression by creating a list of the best things in the world worth living for. The HBO film scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The Guardian said it was “one of the funniest plays you’ve ever seen about depression – and possibly one of the funniest plays you’ve ever seen, period”.

Comins worked 15 seasons at OSF. He recently performed during the 2021 season at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, where he played Pericles in “Pericles” and Tyrell in “Richard III.” His OSF CV includes title roles in “Macbeth”, “Hamlet” and “Coriolanus”, as well as memorable roles in “Twelfth Night”, “Much Ado About Nothing”, “Long Day’s Journey into Night”, “A Streetcar Named Desire”. “, “Cat on a hot roof”, “Bus stop”, “King John” and more.

Shaffer directed “A Doll’s House, Part 2” for RTC in 2021 and “‘night, Mother” the previous season. She has also staged for the former Actor’s Theater, SOU, Ashland High School and the Ashland New Plays Festival.

She was cast in OSF’s 2022 “invisible” production and, in 11 seasons with the festival, she starred in “Great Expectations”, “As You Like It”, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “The Winter’s Tale” and many more. .

In addition to several television and film gigs, Shaffer has performed off-Broadway and at many regional theaters.

Pre-show music

Classical pianist Joel Wizansky will perform pre-show music before each performance and perform throughout the production of “Frankie and Johnny.” His father lives in Ashland, but Wizansky will come from New Haven, Connecticut, for the performances.

He has won prizes at international piano competitions, performed internationally in recital and with orchestras, and served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory and the Yale School of Music.

For tickets and updates, go to or call 541-205-9190.

Contact Ashland writer Jim Flint at [email protected]