Oregon daily emerald. (Eugene, Or.) 1920-2012, June 16, 1980, Section B, Image 16

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    Live performances form core of mall stage
By TAMARA SWENSON
Of the Emerald
Live, on stage performances are the
core of the performing arts, but there is
more to theatre in Eugene than lights,
grease paint and stages.
Besides the street performers that
gather on corners to entertain the
passing crowd with their harmonies
and melodies, another brand of out
door entertainment will be offered this
summer — live performances on the
downtown mall.
The mall perfomances began last
summer with the Oregon Repertory
Theatre s production of A Midsummer
Night's Dream. The show was an over
whelming success by any standards —
the bleacher seats were packed for
every performance — and Eugene re
sidents clamored for more of the same.
The ORT, the Lane Regional Arts
Council and the Eugene Parks and
Recreation Department agreed to re
turn performers to the mall again this
summer for a "gala production" of
Thornton Wilder's Our Town
To further enhance the flavor of the
production, ORT has planned a photo
display entitled Our Town-Eugene
1900-1980, to give theatergoers a look
at Eugene's history.
Our Town, set in the turn-of-the-cen
tury town Grover Corners, New Hamp
shire, depicts life in a small American
town. Grover Corners was much like
Eugene in its early days, says director
David Lunney.
Our Town will open July 8 and run
through August 3, with performances
on Tuesday through Sunday at 8:30
pm., except for Friday, which will begin
at 9 p.m.
Unlike last summer’s production, ad
mission is being charged because of
funding cutbacks. "ORT has (the city’s)
permission to charge admission,” says
Vivian Friendly, city cultural arts direc
tor. "Other sources of funding weren’t
forthcoming."
Tickets for Our Town are $1 and can
be purchased at the ORT box office in
the Atrium Building.
ORT will also perform Neil Simon’s A
Star Spangled Girl during the summer
The play opened June 15 and will run
through July 13 at ORT
On July 20, ORT changes its lighth
earted mood at its Atrium theater for a
classic spinge-tingler — Dial M for
Murder.
But the ORT isn’t providing the only
outdoor entertainment this summer
The Eugene Symphony will open the
Eugene Summer-on-the-Mall series
with a two-part concert featuring the
score from The Empire Strikes Back
The first concert was held June 12, and
the second will be held Thursday, June
26 at 7 p.m.
The free concert “is the culmination
of several years of effort to bring the
symphony to the mall,” says Ray
Mclver, mall manager for the Eugene
Downtown Association, sponsor of the
concert series.
The score to The Empire Strikes Back
was composed by John Williams, who
also composed the original Star Wars
score. Williams recently was named
conductor of the Boston Pops Orches
tra.
The program also will include Leon
ard Bernstein s Overture to West Side
Story, the finale from Dvorak’s New
World Symphony, music from Aaron
Copland’s Rodeo Suite, Handel’s Water
Music Suite, American Salute by
Morton Gould, and The Boston Pops
March.
Richard Long, conductor of the
Eugene Youth Symphony, will conduct
the concerts.
“These (the concerts) are only part of
the Eugene Summer activities,”
Friendly says. “We re offering someth
ing for everybody.”
The Parks and Recreation Depart
ment will continue to host noontime
concerts and performances in the
downtown mall The program, in its fifth
year, allows artists the “opportunity to
perform before an audience,” says
Friendly.
The noontime concerts — held Mon
day through Friday — have been a big
success in the past, she says. "We have
no doubt that their success will contin
ue."
Interested performers audition with
Friendly to be placed on the noontime
concert roster, she says. "Any one is
welcome to audition. It’s really informal
and quite easy. "We just look for per
formers people might like. That covers
a wide range. ”
Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday con
certs also will continue this summer.
The city concert series began four
years ago, Friendly says. "The concerts
began largely in response to public
demand. I guess I kind of started the
program, and it’s been going since.”
The Sunday concerts are held at the
north end of Skinners Butte Park from
1:30-4 p.m. A variety of music is per
formed, she says, but the most popular
are blue grass, light rock and popular
music. “Everyone says the afternoon
concerts are really enjoyable
"They do tend to attract a large
crowd, and everyone seems to enjoy
the music."
The first Sunday concert will be held
June 22, with a concert every other
week or so, Friendly says.
The Tuesday evening concerts held
near the cottage at the south end of
Skinners Butte Park will begin June 17
and run every week throughout the
summer. The concerts begin at 7 or
7:30 p.m
The third city concert series is held a
Amazon Park, near the Amazon Com
munity Center, and begins at 7 p.m.