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Lakewood is Fertile Ground for arts festival

Portland's 11-day celebration of theater, dance and music includes four original works that will be performed in Lake Oswego


Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The cast of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen includes (from left) Alexander Salazar, Leif Norby, Signe Larsen, Shawn Rogers, Malia Tippets, Sarah DeGrave, Leah Yorkston, Kylie Clarke Johnson, Barbar Richardson, Ron Harmon, Audrey Voon, Health Hyun and Ian Anderson Priddy. The playwright is Mark LaPierre.Lake Oswego will play a starring role in Portland's 2015 Fertile Ground Festival this month when the Lakewood Theatre Company presents theatrical readings of four original works.

Sponsored by the Portland Area Theatre Alliance, the citywide festival focuses on new works in the arts. It features world premiere projects, staged readings, developing works and a myriad of other arts events from the Portland creative community.

“Last year was Lakewood’s first participation in the Fertile Ground Festival,” said Steve Knox, Lakewood’s education coordinator and supervisor of the project for the theater company. “We found the festival to be an excellent opportunity to expand Lakewood’s long tradition of introducing new works to our audiences. The response was so overwhelming that we jumped at the opportunity to participate in this festival again this year."

This year's presentations will include two musicals and two comedies, each followed by a talk-back session to better explore the themes presented.

Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Infinite Improv's Eric Nepom and Aden Kirschner will present One Off! Completely Improvised Once Act Plays at Lakewood Center on Jan. 31."This is a whole different experience for our audiences," Knox said. "They have the opportunity to view the birth of new works and are welcome to provide comments and feedback following each reading."

All performances will take place on Lakewood Theatre Company’s Headlee Mainstage, located at 368 S. State St. in Lake Oswego. Admission to each play is $10 per person; tickets can be purchased online at lakewood-center.org or by calling the box office at 503-635-3901.

The four shows include:

• “Upon a Winter Road”: A theatrical reading at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24. Music by Kurt Misar; lyrics by Kurt Misar (Act 1) and Brad Beaver (Act 2), with additional lyrics by Russ Cowan; book by Kurt Misar (Act 1) and Russ Cowan (Act 2); directed by John Oules, with musical direction by Darcy White.

In this holiday musical, a robust troupe of 19th century English actors prepares to present a holiday show, telling how they travel and perform from town to town. On this night, on this stage, they present two holiday one-acts: "Christmas at the King's Head" and "Christmas at the Beggar's Bum."

Due to the sometimes dark, threatening, bawdy and ribald nature of the work, the show is not recommended for children.

• “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen”: A theatrical/musical reading at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 25. Book and lyrics by Mark LaPierre; music by Dan David; directed by Diane Englert, with music direction by Jeffrey Kauffman.

From the creator of 4x4=Musicals comes a new musical so epic and so charming that it cannot be believed. And, in fact, one person doesn’t.

The Baron Munchausen has recently moved to England and tales of his outlandish accomplishments have preceded him. But stories of impossible hunts, seafaring prowess and single-handed battle with armies are too much for a fop named Nigel. When the Baron’s much-lauded wife fails to show up at a welcoming party, Nigel dares to publicly challenge the truth of the Baren’s stories and the existence of his wife.

As the Baron heads off to find his missing wife, he drags this cynic through a travelogue of his tales in the quest to teach Nigel the value of belief and to be reunited with his true love. Pirates, battles, talking walruses and man-eating plants are just some of the ingredients in this new musical adventure.

• “Want Fries with That?”: A theater/comedy reading at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 26. Written by C.S. Whitcomb.

How’s a family to survive when its sanest member is 14-year-old Flip? Nana’s lost her marbles. Mom’s obsessed with hoarding the complete set of McDonald’s Happy Meal toys. Her daughter, a former stoner/biker chick, is now brain-damaged and returned to the adorable little girl she once was. Grandpa’s disappeared. The house is filled to the rafters with “The Collection,” so the family has taken to sleeping in Lazyboy recliners on the front porch.

This new comedy by C.S. Whitcomb milks laughs from one of our shared American boomer cultural nightmares and investigates the question, "Can one have too much of a happy thing?" Or as Lily Tomlin once said, “My mother lied to me. She said enough was enough.”

• “One Off! Completely Improvised One Act Plays”: A theater/comedy performance by Infinite Improv at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31. Directed by Aden Kirschner and Eric Nepom.

The world of improvised theater can open the imagination in ways utterly unpredictable, totally magical and completely entertaining. Join in this highly interactive showcase where audience suggestions transform the players into all kinds of characters and transport them to all manner of places. How will the show turn out? Nobody knows until the moment that audience and cast share it.

For a complete schedule of all Fertile Ground performances, visit www.fertilegroundpdx.org. Festival passes granting access to all Fertile Ground performances are $50 and can be purchased online at www.boxofficetickets.com or by emailing fertileground@boxofficetickets.com.

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