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Summer Theater Festivals Arrive In America's Ski Towns

Posted: 06/13/2012 7:00 am

While skiing, snowboarding, drinking, eating, shopping, drinking, fireside chats, snowmobiling, drinking, and drinking are all integral and incredibly enjoyable facets of the ski/après ski experience, there are times when I get tired of listening to my buddies brag about their backside 540s and how many beers they were able to fit in a bathtub. When the slopeside victory tales have been exhausted, it's time to get out of the cabin (or the bar) and get into town for some culture.

Here are some of the gnarliest theater festivals and companies near the slopes.

Ashland, Oregon
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Oregon Shakespeare Festival:

When I hear the word festival, I think of a weekend at Coachella or the weeklong sketch and improv festivals in San Francisco. This year, the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon has opening night on February 17th, and closing night on November 4th. So whether you are in Oregon for ski season, for a summer vacation, or you happen to actually live there, you can enjoy one or more of the festival's 12 productions playing this season, which include popular Shakespeare hits like Romeo and Juliet and Henry V alongside less produced plays like Troilus and Cressida. And if you're not a fan of the Bard, there are plenty of non-Shakespeare offerings here; Animal Crackers, a musical by the Marx Brothers and All the Way, a world premiere about LBJ, both playing till early November. Another world premiere, Party People, looks particularly interesting. It is described as "a high-energy, infectious mix of theatre, poetry, jazz, blues, hip-hop, boleros and salsa" about aged activists trying to untangle their pasts and futures. With this kind of line-up, I'd say The Ashland Shakespeare Festival is a tour de force of mountain town theater.
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