Theater: Portland Offers a Calling Card

In an elegant structure, the city unveils its regional troupe

When a city stakes a claim to sophistication and social significance, a few indispensable items had better be in its possession: a major-league sports franchise, a newspaper that has taken a few scalps among local politicians, restaurants offering ethnic cuisines more recherche than Italian and Chinese. And, above all, a couple of first-class performing-arts troupes and a glistening new place for them to perform in. Until this year, Portland, Ore., comfortably qualified on the first three counts but was a little shaky on the last. Not only did its proudly refurbished downtown lack a local equivalent to Manhattan's Lincoln Center or...

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