Dorothy Velasco

Theater Reviewer

Dorothy Velasco has reviewed productions at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for KLCC since 1985.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

In its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, “The Way the Mountain Moved” takes us to the western frontier of the 1850s, when traveling across the continent was almost as mysterious and dangerous as traveling to another planet in our time.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Snow in Midsummer,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is a modern adaptation of a classic Chinese drama written in the late 1200s.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Love’s Labour’s Lost,” an early comedy by Shakespeare now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s outdoor theater, has a simple plot that points toward greater works like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Jennie Graham/Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The intimate Thomas Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is the place to discover new plays that explore important but under-exposed issues.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

What better place to see “The Book of Will” than at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Allen Elizabethan Theatre?

If you’ve seen too many high school productions of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!,” you may think it’s a tired old horse. The glorious production at Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival will change your mind.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Sense and Sensibility,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, certainly pleases the high school students who travel to Ashland for a taste of live theater.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare’s “Othello,” now playing in a well nuanced production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is always painful to watch. The Moor is a brilliant admiral who succeeds in protecting Venice from the Ottomans. But, like the hero of a Greek tragedy, his fatal flaw, being born black, guarantees his downfall.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Oh for a muse of fire.” Reminiscent of Homer’s Iliad, so begins “Henry V” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. As directed by Rosa Joshi, this compelling and inventively stylized production is a fine example of ensemble work.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Hola, mis amigos! I just saw a play by Karen Zacarias at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival called “Destiny of Desire,” and it’s more fun than a Mexican telenovela. Well, it is a telenovela, a Latin-style soap opera, but it’s in English, with added soundbites about dating and other vital social issues.

Photo by Jenny Graham

Dorothy Velasco reviews the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of Off the Rails, the first play by a Native American to be performed at OSF.

This is KLCC. I’m Dorothy Velasco with the Ashland Theater Review.

“Off the Rails,” the first play by a Native American to be performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is a mishmash — part comedy, part musical, part history lesson, and part morality tale loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure.”

Dorothy Velasco reviews the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Dorothy Velasco reviews Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, the first play by Jiehae Park.

Dorothy Velasco reviews Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of UniSon, a musical based on the poetry of August Wilson.

Dorothy Velasco reviews the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of The Odyssey, adapted for the stage by Mary Zimmerman.

Photo by Jenny Graham

Guilt, anger, revenge. Riotous hilarity, mortal enemies, Falstaff bigger than life, Prince Hal in a hoody. Yes, it’s “Henry IV, Part One” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s intimate Thomas Theatre, to be followed in the summer by “Part Two.”

As directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, Shakespeare’s great history play, peppered with surprises, is staged in the round and set in modern times. We can almost reach out and touch the actors, and the actors certainly touch us with their electrifying emotions.

Photo by Jenny Graham

If you wake up each morning worried about the world, relief is available at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “Shakespeare in Love,” a stage adaptation of the award-winning 1998 film, will dazzle you with raucous wit, inspired bedlam, pleasing music and sumptuous costumes.

Photo by Jenny Graham

In “Mojada, A Medea in Los Angeles,” playwright Luis Alfaro manages an impressive feat, melding a Greek tragedy with a heartbreaking story of Mexican immigrants.

Now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, with sensitive direction by Juliette Carrillo, this play follows the life of Medea, a young indigenous woman from Michoacán now residing in Los Angeles with her beloved Jason, pronounced Ha-sohn, their son Acan, and Tita, an old family friend. All are mojados, wetbacks, illegal.

Photo by Jenny Graham

When I studied Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in high school it seemed like ancient history having nothing to do with me. Well, now it’s ancient history that relates perfectly to our times.

photo: Jennie Graham

“The Wiz,” a surprise Broadway hit over 40 years ago, has now landed on the outdoor stage at Ashland’s Allen Theatre. This funky black version of “The Wizard of Oz” won a Tony for best musical, but “Hamilton” it’s not.

photo: Jennie Graham

“Vietgone,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is a lively new comedy about Vietnamese refugees creating their version of an American life from scratch.

Ashland Review: Roe

Jul 12, 2016
Photo: Jennie Graham

Lisa Loomer’s new play, “Roe,” about the Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion in 1973, may well be this year’s most important American play. 

photo: Jennie Graham

Many people consider Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” the greatest play ever written. They must be right because a full house sat through the play’s rainy opening night at Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s outdoor Allen Theatre.

photo Jenny Graham

Dorothy Velasco has this review of "The Yeomen of the Guard" at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.

photo Jenny Graham

“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens is a grand novel. And it grandly fills the stage of the Bowmer Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

photo Jenny Graham

Shakespeare’s much loved comedy, “Twelfth Night,” is a joyful choice for the new season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
According to director Christopher Liam Moore, joyful is the operating word for the play. It begins with a shipwreck and the presumed death of Viola’s brother Sebastian.

Jennie Graham

Who would have dreamed that a theater company in remote Ashland, Oregon, so far from New York, would be sending shows to Broadway and major theaters across the country?
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, now in its 81st year, is renowned for producing not only all of Shakespeare’s plays, but for developing new works that will likely stand the test of time.
One of those new plays is “The River Bride” by young poet-playwright Marisela Treviño Orta. This enchanting fairy tale inspired by Brazilian folklore takes place in a small village on the Amazon.

Photo Jenny Graham

The last play to open at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival this season is one of the very best. “Sweat,” a deeply satisfying new work by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, was commissioned as part of the Festival’s United States History Cycle.

Photo Jenny Graham

“The Happiest Song Plays Last,” now at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Thomas Theatre, is part three of a trilogy by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Last year the Festival presented part two, “Water by the Spoonful,” directed, like this play, by Shishir Kurup.
The author, inspired by her cousin Elliot, the youngest Marine to be deployed to Iraq, has stitched his story to others, creating a colorful quilt of present-day issues.

photo Jenny Graham

Take two plays, one an ancient farce and the other a modern tale of lost love. Accidentally schedule them for a dress rehearsal on the same stage at the same time, and you have the starting point for “Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

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