FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/June 22, 2016
JACKSONVILLE, OR (June 14, 2016) Music Director Teddy Abrams and the Britt Orchestra will perform an evening of music in collaboration with Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), with OSF company members performing songs with the Orchestra from recent and current OSF productions. The Orchestra also performs music by Tchaikovsky, William Walton, Debussy and Berlioz, all inspired by Shakespeare’s plays, at the Britt Pavilion on Monday, August 8 at 8 pm.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival company members Kate Hurster, Jeremy Peter Johnson, Michael Sharon, and Britney Simpson join the Orchestra in a program that includes selections from Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific and Oklahoma!, Bernstein’s Candide, Loesser’s Guys and Dolls, Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Yeoman of the Guard, and Arlen and Harburg’s “Over the Rainbow” and Smalls’ “Believe in Yourself” from The Wiz/The Wizard of Oz. Also, the Orchestra performs a selection of Shakespeare-inspired works by Berlioz (The Queen Mab Scherzo from Roméo et Juliette), Tchaikovsky (Hamlet Overture), Debussy (Fanfare from King Lear), and William Walton (Prologue and “Touch Her Soft Lips and Part” from Henry V), as well as Nico Muhly’s orchestration of William Byrd’s Miserere mei, Deus.
Tickets are available at www.brittfest.org and are $47 reserved, $32 for adult lawn, and $10 for child/student lawn.
This concert is the first collaboration between the Britt Orchestra and the nearby Oregon Shakespeare Festival in many years. “I've been dreaming about collaborating with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival since I arrived as Music Director at Britt,” said Music Director Teddy Abrams. “OSF is world-renowned as one of the great, adventurous, and boundlessly creative theatre companies; I have deeply admired and found inspiration from OSF productions and the Festival's Artistic Director Bill Rauch. It will be an honor to share the stage with actors from the company. We've created a program that celebrates OSF's recent programs, along with a wide range of musical tributes to Shakespeare. The show has a dramatic narrative and story of its own, which follows the work of the Bard, the creative spirit of our four guest actors, and the journey of our artistic neighbor and partner.”
The four actors are all performing in OSF’s current production of The Yeoman of the Guard, adapted as a country-Western sendup and directed by Sean Graney. The Eureka Times-Standard wrote that the ensemble members are “remarkably talented and versatile actors, singers and musicians” and “collectively dazzling entertainers, all downright delightful.” Kate Hurster (Elsie in Yeoman) is now in her sixth season with OSF; she has portrayed Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls; Yun in Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land; Ariel in The Tempest; Mrs. Murry in A Wrinkle in Time; Lady Anne in Richard III; Marion in The Heart of Robin Hood; and Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Britney Simpson, from Stockton, CA, is Phoebe and Krazy Kate in The Yeomen of the Guard, and has portrayed Glinda in The Wiz; Hot Box Girl in Guys and Dolls; and Mopsa in Head Over Heels in her two seasons with OSF.
Jeremy Peter Johnson is Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard and the Duke of Aumerle in this season’s Richard II. He has been with OSF for seven seasons, and roles have included Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls; First Agent and First Jailer in The Count of Monte Cristo; Archbishop of York, Scrivener, and Sir James Blunt in Richard III; Cinderella’s Prince and Voice of the Wolf in Into the Woods; Hortensio in The Taming of the Shrew; and Harry and Lord Boxington in My Fair Lady. He has been seen on television and in films, including roles in Las Vegas, All My Children, As the World Turns, and Prison Song.
Michael Sharon is Shadbolt the Jailor in this season’s The Yeomen of the Guard and Thomas Mowbray and Bishop of Carlisle in Richard II. In three seasons at OSF, his roles have included Basilius in Head Over Heels; Fernand in The Count of Monte Cristo; and roles in Richard III, Othello, As You Like It, and Henry VI. He has also appeared Off-Broadway, as El Gallo in The Fantasticks, and in The Most Happy Fella (New York City Opera, Lincoln Center), and acted the title roles in Macbeth (Los Angeles Theatre Center), Julius Caesar (Folger Theatre), and Pericles (Connecticut Rep).
ABOUT BRITT MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL
Inspired by its intimate and scenic hillside venue in Jacksonville, Oregon, Britt Music & Arts Festival provides diverse live performances, a three-week Britt Orchestra season conducted by Music Director Teddy Abrams, now in his third season, and dynamic education programs that create a sense of discovery and community. Since its grassroots beginnings in 1963, the non-profit organization has grown from a two-week chamber music festival to a summer-long series of concerts in a variety of genres and year-round education and engagement programs. For more information, visit www.brittfest.org.
ABOUT TEDDY ABRAMS
Britt Orchestra Music Director and Conductor Teddy Abrams, 29, is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and spent his formative years as a musician there. Now in his third year as the festival’s music director, he is an established pianist, clarinetist and composer as well as a widely acclaimed conductor. Abrams is Music Director of the Louisville Orchestra, and also serves as Resident Conductor of the MAV Symphony Orchestra in Budapest, which he first conducted in 2011.
Teddy’s 2015-2016 season included conducting debuts with the Houston, Phoenix and Edmonton Symphonies, and he returned to lead the San Francisco Symphony. Recent guest conducting highlights include engagements with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Indianapolis Symphony, Florida Orchestra, Jacksonville Symphony, and Louisiana and New Mexico Philharmonics. He served as Assistant Conductor of the Detroit Symphony from 2012-2014. From 2008 to 2011, Abrams was the Conducting Fellow and Assistant Conductor of the New World Symphony (NWS). He co-founded the Sixth Floor Trio in 2008. He was a member of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra for seven years and is a graduate of San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Since he began at the Louisville Orchestra, Abrams has been a tireless evangelist in that community for the power of music: without categories, without labels. He is a common sight in town, riding his bicycle around, stopping in cafes to hand out concert tickets, playing jazz, klezmer music, or standards on his keyboard in the street, and inviting people, one by one, to come and experience the orchestra’s music making. The Louisville Orchestra’s original YouTube video web series, “Music Makes a City Now,” is as much a document of Teddy’s life as it is the transformative approach he is taking to reinvigorate the city’s relationship with its resident “band,” the Louisville Orchestra. Abrams is bringing that same inspired approach to the Britt Orchestra, and the way he envisions and crafts the musical experience at its concerts.
CALENDAR EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE:
Monday, August 8 – 8 p.m.
Shakespeare and Song with Oregon Shakespeare Festival company members
Britt Pavilion, Jacksonville, Oregon
Teddy Abrams, conductor
Kate Hurster, vocalist
Jeremy Peter Johnson, vocalist
Michael Sharon, vocalist
Britney Simpson, vocalist
In Abrams’ first collaboration with the Britt Orchestra and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) in nearby Ashland, Oregon, OSF company members join the Orchestra for a program that marries songs from recent Oregon Shakespeare Festival musicals with Shakespeare-inspired works by Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, William Walton and more.
SULLIVAN: Overture from Macbeth
GILBERT/SULLIVAN: “’Tis Done! I am a Bride” from The Yeoman of the Guard
STEPHEN SONDHEIM: “Giants in the Sky” from Into the Woods
BERLIOZ: Queen Mab Scherzo from Roméo et Juliette RODGERS/HAMMERSTEIN: “This Nearly Was Mine” from South Pacific
BYRD (arr. Nico Muhly): Miserere mei, Deus
WALTON: “Touch Her Soft Lips and Part” from Henry V
ARLEN/HARBURG: “Over the Rainbow”
SMALLS: "Believe in Yourself" from The Wiz
DEBUSSY: Fanfare from King Lear
LOESSER: “Luck Be A Lady” from Guys and Dolls
STEPHEN SONDHEIM: “Moments in the Woods” from Into the Woods
TCHAIKOVSKY: Hamlet Overture
AGER/YELLEN: “Come On Get Happy/Happy Days”
RODGERS/HAMMERSTEIN: “Lonely Room” from Oklahoma!
STEPHEN SONDHEIM: “Pretty Women” from Sweeney Todd
WALTON: Prologue from Henry V
BERNSTEIN: “Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide
TICKETS: Reserved: $47, Adult Lawn: $32, Child/Student Lawn: $10
Tickets available at www.brittfest.org