February 22 — March 27
On the Main Stage

By Dale Wasserman
from the Ken Kesey novel
Directed by Rose Riordan
“Scarifying and powerful.” —The New York Times

It was set at the Oregon State Hospital, still one of the most controversial institutions in the state. It was arguably the greatest anti-authority protest novel of the 20th century. And it boils down to one insistent refrain: Authority Must Always Be Questioned. Want more? Cuckoo’s Nest pits Randle Patrick McMurphy (a convict who has feigned psychosis so that he can spend the final months of his sentence at a mental institution) against Nurse Ratched (the icy head nurse of the ward), who believes that rules must be followed without exception. A band of crazies gets half-inspired, half destroyed by McMurphy’s rebellion and the question remains… was it worth it anyway?

Performance times:
Tuesday - Sunday evenings at 7:30 pm
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm
Thursday matinees at noon

A full list of performances and dates will appear when you enter the “Buy Tickets” section of the website.

View the Cast and Creative Team Bios

Playbill for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Reviews and Features

Alison Hallett | The Portland Mercury [Review 03 Mar 2011]

A few years ago, Portland Center Stage (PCS) produced an original adaptation of Ken Kesey’s brilliant Sometimes a Great Notion. Despite the challenging nature of the material (it’s about loggers!), it was a beautiful show that boded well for this season’s adaptation of PCS’ One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Kesey’s equally compelling 1962 novel. But while Notion managed to distinguish itself from both the novel and film versions of that story, PCS’ current production of Cuckoo’s Nest can’t quite crawl out from the shadows of the work that came before it.

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Ben Waterhouse | Willamette Week [Review 02 Mar 2011]

Under other circumstances, it would be the gravest of insults to say an actor was upstaged by the scenery, but in Rose Riordan’s new production of Kesey’s classic novel, it could hardly be otherwise. Here the asylum is not merely the setting but the lead antagonist: a breathing, blinking being dedicated to extinguishing the humanity of its inhabitants, with Nurse Ratched as its agent. It’s a hell of a set piece, designed by Tony Cisek and lit in a breathtaking realist style by Diane Ferry Williams, all green tile and fluorescent tubes and heavy steel doors, and it transcends verisimilitude. It glowers.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest art & photos View on Flickr »

Artistic Director Chris Coleman and Associate Artistic Director Rose Riordan discuss One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. View on Vimeo »

The Cuckoo’s Nest cast visits Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon, where the story takes place. View on Vimeo »

Resource Guide

Download resource guide (PDF)

Tweets (#pcs_cuckoo)

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Production blog

The Portland Drammy Awards

14 June 2011 & Posted by Kinsley Suer

Last night, several Portland Center Stage staff members attended the 32nd Annual Drammy Awards at the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland. Portland’s version of the Tony Awards – organized by The Portland Civic Theatre Guild – the event recognizes the outstanding work of all of the local actors, directors, designers, songwriters, choreographers, playwrights and everyone else who creates theater in Portland. PCS was honored to take home five awards!


Owsley Stanley: The “Acid King” of the ‘60s

17 March 2011 & Posted by Kinsley Suer

Ken Kesey’s name has been frequently mentioned in the news the past couple of days, amid reports that his LSD “provider,” Owsley Stanley, passed away last weekend in a car accident near his home in Queensland, Australia. Nearly everyone familiar with the history of the 1960s has heard of Ken Kesey, writer of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But far fewer remember Owsley Stanley, a man who was arguably just as pivotal as Kesey for altering minds in the 1960s.


Ten Great Literary Villains We Love to Hate

10 March 2011 & Posted by Kinsley Suer

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Nurse Ratched exercises complete and unbridled control over her patients. A cold, relentless and passive-aggressive tyrant, she rules over the ward with a stern and iron fist. She’s McMurphy’s antagonist; the villain of the story that we all love to hate.This got us thinking.What other novels throughout history have given us such strong, despicable and diabolical villains to despise? So here it is: Ten of the most hated characters in literary history.


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