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20 mid-valley arts and entertainment events to look forward to 2020

20 mid-valley arts and entertainment events to look forward to 2020

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Maybe it’s because 2020's an election year. Or maybe it’s because the new year will somehow see the launch of at least two more major streaming services fighting to be a monthly drain on your wallet. Or maybe one of those year-end lists of all the stars who died in 2019 has you dreading who we’ll lose next.

Whatever reason has made you anxious about the new decade, the mid-valley's arts and entertainment scene has plenty of events on the horizon to make 2020 a year we should all eagerly anticipate.

The staff at The E has compiled a list of the 20 things we’re most looking forward to this year. There’s a lot we likely left off — both because we didn’t have room to include them all and, quite frankly, because we don’t know about them yet. If you have something you’re looking forward to that didn’t make the list, let our calendar editor Diane Cooper know at 541-812-6110 or, so we can include it in a future edition.

In mostly chronological order, here are our 20 Arts and Entertainment Events to Look Forward to 2020:

1. Wednesdays at the Whiteside keeps doing its thing

Corvallis’ Whiteside Theatre brings classic films back to the big screen on a weekly basis. The lineup of films this month alone includes “Bubba Ho Tep,” “Austin Powers,” Fargo” and “A Fish Called Wanda.”

2. The Majestic Theatre’s production of “Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards!”

The late British writer Terry Pratchett’s fantastical novels about the strange and magical world of the city of Ankh-Morpork are some of the funniest in the genre. Pratchett’s novel “Guards! Guards!” tells the story of the bumbling city guard trying to save the city from a massive dragon. The Majestic is staging a 1997 adaptation of the story by Stephen Briggs starting Jan. 31 and we can’t wait to see how the Corvallis theater tackles this wacky adventure.

3. Linn-Benton Community College’s production of “A Scarecrow in Oz: An Origin Story”

For its 45th annual children’s show, LBCC will be staging an original student-written play: an origin story for the Scarecrow from “The Wizard of Oz.” The production is staged throughout February for elementary school audiences. We admire the ambition of bringing an original show to stage for a young audience, and we look forward to seeing the results.

4. Corvallis Repertory Singers: “The Empire Strikes Bach”

This cleverly titled Feb. 16 performance at First Presbyterian Church in Corvallis will feature works by “opera’s empire of classical composers” as well as works by J.S. Bach.

5. The Corvallis Arts Center’s Howland Community Open Exhibition

The center's curated exhibits are some of the most interesting in the region, but this annual open community show is something truly special, allowing Linn and Benton county residents of all ages and skill levels to display whatever they want in the gallery. The resulting show is slightly random and always incredibly impressive. Drop-off day for the general public is noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 15 at the center, at 700 SW Madison Ave. The exhibit opens Feb. 18.

6. Corvallis-OSU Symphony concerts

Under conductor Marlan Carlson, the Corvallis-OSU Symphony is a stalwart of the local music scene. Two concerts are currently scheduled for the coming months: a Feb. 25 performance featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 1 and a May 19 performance featuring Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 10.

7. Corvallis School District Theaters' “Mamma Mia!”

The Albany Civic Theater staged its own production in September 2019, but we're just as excited for the youthful enthusiasm and talent CSD Theaters will bring to this bouncy show, set to the timeless music of ABBA, which is set to open Feb. 27 on the Corvallis High School Main Stage.

8. Oregon State University Theatre’s “The Secret Garden”

This 1911 English children’s novel has lived many lives in adaptations on stage and screen, and 2020 will see a new theatrical version featuring Colin Firth, which arrives sometime this spring. Although the new film’s trailer suggests it may achieve the fantasy of its titular garden through heavy use of computer generated images, we expect OSU’s stage version, set to open Feb. 28, to tell the story with the warmth and magic only old-fashioned live theater can bring.

9. Our proximity to Ashland

The mid-valley is the perfect distance from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to merit a weekend trip. With an intriguing 2020 season that includes Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Tempest” plus more contemporary shows like “Peter and the Starcatcher,” that drive will certainly be worth the time this year.

10. Albany Civic Theater’s “9 to 5: The Musical”

Based on the hit 1980 comedy and adapted for the stage in 2008 with music and lyrics from the incomparable Dolly Parton, the mid-valley's production is expected to bring it to exuberant life with a large cast. Auditions for the show are set for late January and its May 8 opening can’t come soon enough.

11. Brownsville’s “Carriage Me Back”

The annual chance to tour picturesque Brownsville by horse-drawn carriage and see historic reenactments throughout town and in the historic Moyer House is set for May 2 and 3 this year. The event typically features large amounts of small-town charm in refreshing abundance.

12. Dam Jam at Oregon State University

The massive annual concert on the OSU campus hasn't announced its headliner yet, but with past headliners like Akon, Jesse McCartney, T-Pain, and B.o.B., we’re certain the OSU Program Council will once again bring one of the most exciting shows of the year to the mid-valley on May 29.

13. Albany Civic Theater’s “Dracula”

Bram Stoker’s tale of pop-culture’s foundational vampire, Count Dracula, as adapted for the stage by John L. Balderston and Hamilton Deane, should put some bite into your early summer. Comes to stage June 19.

14. Corvallis Arts Walk keeps up its pace

The grassroots “arts crawl” is held the third Thursday of every month. The organizers show no signs of slowing down: the first six months of 2020 already were confirmed before the year even began.

15. Albany’s River Rhythms

Albany’s free annual summer concert series at the Monteith Riverpark typically offers brand-name musicians appealing to a broad audience. This year’s lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but we're confident that one of the best ways to spend a summer evening will involve kicking back in the grass at the park and listening to tunes in the shade.

Other ways: the Linn County Fair, running July 15-18 at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Albany, and the Benton County Fair & Rodeo, scheduled for July 29 through Aug. 1 at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Corvallis. We don't have much on either yet, but keep your calendar open and watch this space. 

16. Darkside Cinema keeps on keeping on

Speaking of summer, we can’t help but notice that blockbuster season each year seems to have fewer options than the last for people who aren’t fans of franchise films. However, Corvallis' Darkside continues to offer an array of dramas, documentaries and indies to provide a nice bit of variety to the summer movie season. Kudos as well to the Pix Theatre in downtown Albany, offering welcome respite from the usual cineplex fare with a varied schedule and delicious menu.

17. The Oregon Jamboree

This Sweet Home music festival is the best chance in the mid-valley all year to see a blistering array of country stars in just three days. Starting July 31, the show is expected to feature 25 acts on two stages. This year’s lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but past headliners have included Hank Williams Jr., Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and Toby Keith.

18. Oregon State University’s Bard in the Quad

Although venerable repertory theaters like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival have spectacular outdoor stages, getting to enjoy live drama outdoors is something of a rarity in the mid-valley. This is part of what has made OSU’s productions of the works of William Shakespeare each summer since 2006 so special. Typically performed in August, we’re hotly anticipating this summer treat.

19. The Majestic Theatre’s “It Can’t Happen Here”

Sinclair Lewis’ semi-satirical 1935 novel on fascism taking root in an alternate version of United States during the Great Depression, as adapted for the stage by Tony Taccone and Bennett S. Cohen, comes to the Majestic Oct. 30.

20. The Majestic Theatre’s “Elf the Musical”

Jon Favreau’s 2003 film “Elf” was an instant holiday classic, starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human raised among elves at the North Pole who journeys to New York to find his real father. A musical adaptation of the film came to Broadway in 2010 with a score by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. While the Majestic’s production, scheduled to open Dec. 4, won’t even begin casting until September, but we’re already excited for it. Merry Christmas!

Anthony Rimel covers education and crime in Benton County and weekend events across the Mid-Valley. He can be reached at or 541-812-6091.


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