Oregon Shakespeare Festival prepares for 2013 season

Kevin Kenerly plays Sterling in August Wilson's TWO TRAINS RUNNING.
Kevin Kenerly plays Sterling in August Wilson’s TWO TRAINS RUNNING.

If you’re an OSF fan, the beginning of the 2013 season is just around the corner.

Previews start February 15-17, followed by opening weekend on February 22-24.

The first four plays that will be up and running are:

MY FAIR LADY Book & Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, Music by Frederick Loewe
KING LEAR by Bill Shakes

OSF seems to have been struggling a bit to find its footing the last two years. After the record-breaking season (in terms of both attendance and revenues) of 2010, with lifetime highs like RUINED and PIRATES OF PENZANCE featured, 2011 took a significant hit when the Bowmer Theatre closed for weeks to repair a large supporting beam.

But 2012, when the festival was back at full capacity, was still about the same as 2011. For the first time I can remember, all through the peak summer season this year there were thousands of unsold seats each week, with big outdoor shows like THE VERY MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, IOWA and HENRY V having hundreds of empty seats many performances.

Something was definitely different in the summer of 2012 – people were not coming in the usual numbers.

An average week during the summer of 2012.
An average week during the summer of 2012. Source: OSF ticket availability page.

What explains the recent speed bumps? One important factor could be cost. Prices are expensive at OSF. Sure, some shows are excellent and occasionally outstanding, but others are not. When you factor in the cost of getting and staying there, ticket prices (especially during peak season) seem high.

But as any OSF vet knows, rush tickets, especially in a year like 2012, are the way to go. If you don’t mind waiting until you get there, you can usually get some deals the day of at the box office.