A Tuneful Party for Oregon

Published in VIA, Sept/Oct 2009. (link)

What do a crotchety witch, a fruit inspector, and a nine-foot prehistoric beaver have in common? They’re all characters in Oregon! Oregon! 2009, a madcap musical performed by the famed ensemble Pink Martini to celebrate the state’s 150th anniversary.

Fifty years ago, humorist Stan Freberg wrote a three-act operetta that follows explorers Harry and David as they struggle to make the territory of Oregon into a state. To immortalize the ensuing decades, Pink Martini has added a fourth act that befits the 12-piece orchestra’s repertoire: tunes and songs rooted in the 1940s and ’50s with a twist. Artistic Director Thomas Lauderdale describes the band’s sound as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s meets the United Nations, with a tiny nod to Mary Tyler Moore.”

“The show will have all the frivolity and fabulousness of 1959,” Lauderdale says. Catch it in Salem on August 28; Bend, August 29; Jacksonville, August 30; and Portland, September 5. (503) 445-7120, oregon150.org/projects.