Bag & Baggage Productions, in association with Salem Repertory Theatre, is bringing their sell-out hit "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" to The River Theater at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 16 and 17.

Called "the funniest show you are likely to see in your lifetime" by The Montreal Gazette, "The Complete Works" is an irreverent, fast-paced romp through all 37 of the Bard's plays in 97 minutes.

Originally produced in Salem by the capital's only professional theater company, Salem Repertory Theatre, the run was extended because of critical acclaim and audience demand. "We were delighted that the show did so well," said director Scott Palmer, "Audiences loved it and we had to add an additional three productions and were still turning people away!"

As a result of the success of the production, the cast and director created a new theater company, Bag & Baggage Productions, specifically to tour the show. Bag & Baggage Productions is directed by Palmer, a native of Oregon who received his theatrical baptism of fire in Glasgow, Scotland where he studied for a Ph.D. in contemporary theater practice and Scottish theater at the University of Glasgow. In 1997, Palmer founded Glasgow Repertory Company (Scotland's National Shakespeare Theatre) and still works with the company as the founding artistic director. Most recently, Palmer has taken a teaching position in the Theatre Department at Oregon State University and is currently in rehearsals for Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" at The Majestic Theatre in Corvallis.

"This is a fantastic show, and we are delighted that other venues across Oregon have invited us to bring it to their local audiences," said Palmer. "We had such an overwhelming response from audiences in Salem, we just knew we had something special."

The cast of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" includes Tommy Cavanaugh, a senior at Western Oregon University; Maggie Chapin, recent graduate of University of Nevada, Las Vegas Conservatory Acting Program; and Andrew Dannhorn an actor, director, and designer who has worked extensively on both stage and screen.

Tickets are available by phone at (503) 325-RIVR or online at www.rivertheater.com, and are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

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