The differences between American Shakespeare Center and Shakespeare & Company are instructive. ASC is technically precise--the diction is Heightened General American, no tapped rs where ts should be, and the u is liquid (except in character dialects)--where Shake & Co. can get slurry. I also think that the ensemble playing at American Shakes is stronger than at Shake & Co. But, Shake & Co. remains (for me) unmatched in its textual clarity. I've heard beats at Shake & Co. I've never heard elsewhere. The textual clarity is due, in part, to the very strong internal work for which Shake & Co. is known, and in part to their stubborn insistence on playing line endings, which can be awkward, but revelatory. Shake & Co. is more contemporary; ASC, closer to 'original practices.' Both styles have their revelations.
Perhaps it would be fair to say that Oregon Shakespeare Festival combines the strengths of both companies--OSF, of course, having the benefit of massive budgets, far-lengthier rehearsal periods, larger casts, and resources such as on-call voice coaches, movement, and other workshops at the actors' disposal.
I would give my eye teeth to work at ASC. The work this weekend was frequently outstanding; e.g., this was the only MERRY WIVES I've seen that had a beating heart, with the only mw Falstaff that didn't alienate me, thanks to the charming, adroit, and protean James Keegan. Also, the atmosphere of the company felt healthy, with a fresh sense of openness to outsiders and would-be additions (e.g., auditioning actors) that can be missing, elsewhere. Of course, this was true of Staunton, generally. People all over were friendly to me in a way I don't always find true in New England and the Berkshires, where denizens can feel more full of themselves--the difference, perhaps, being merely that between New England taciturnity and Southern loquacity. I tend to prefer the later.