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By Ron Hutchinson and licensed by Dramatist Play Service


Olean Theatre Workshop’s first production of this season, “Moonlight and Magnolias,” will be Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 3-6, at the Theatre on Washington Street. Evening curtain is 7:30 pm and Sunday matinee is 2:30 pm. Tickets are available on our web site; by calling 373-SHOW (7469); or at the door. Tickets are $10 each, and we like to say “it is the best $10 you will spend that week.”

First staged in 2004, this two-act play is based on some historical fact and a bit of imagination by the playwright, Ron Hutchinson. It tells of the rewriting of the script for “Gone with the Wind,” which was being produced by David E. Selznick. He has fired writers and directors, and brings into his office his final team of Ben Hecht, famous screen writer, and Victor Fleming, director extraordinaire. He actually pulled Fleming from the set of “The Wizard of Oz,” where it had been reported that Fleming had slapped poor Judy Garland. Selznick has his secretary, Miss Poppengul, lock the office door and bring in peanuts and bananas to sustain them. As Hecht sits at the typewriter, Selznick and Fleming act out the entirety of the famous and beloved novel, as Hecht had not read the tome. Frantically, Hecht types and Selznick and Fleming tell of Scarlett's unrequited love for Ashley, her jealousy of Melanie and her attraction to Rhett Butler. The birthing scene of Melody, with Fleming playing the part of Melanie and Selznick acting Scarlett is not to be missed. At the end of five days, the script is finished, with the famous line of “Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn,” uttered by Rhett to Scarlett. This line did make it passed the Hays Code, which monitored morals and language in Hollywood from 1930 until 1966 when it was replaced by a voluntary rating code of movies by the individual studios.

The cast is comprised of Paul Nelson as David E. Selznick, Pab Sungenis as Ben Hecht, Ben Hollamby as Victor Fleming, and Ashley LaBombard is the long suffering but faithful secretary, Miss Poppenghul. Off stage voices provided by Nicholas Youngs. Directed by Kelly Welsh Vacarro and stage managed by Mckenzie Forrest, this farce of the making of a great movie is certain to be well received. Get your tickets early, because as you can see, the cast is small, but includes some acting favorites of the community. See you at the show!



A friend of OTW, who wishes to remain anonymous, has recently shared a memory that she heard from her mother, of the time when her mother first read the novel in 1936, the year of publication. Her mother's family had moved to Clarion, Pa., to open a very popular diner and there was a lending library situated in a drugstore. When “Gone with the Wind” was first published, the local library bought one copy and the list of people wanting to read the more than 1,000-page novel was excessive. The mother, not one to buy a book before she read it, paid 15 cents a day to borrow the book from the drugstore and stayed up for two nights to read it. When asked by her daughter (the friend of OTW) how her mother kept the book clean - evidently this mother did the grill - the mother said, “I told people I needed to make more hamburgers,” and read a page or two … or three … or four ... Things might have been a bit slow at the diner those two days, and our friend's mother a wee bit tired, but she read the book, and only paid 30 cents. Her daughter followed her lead many years later and read the book in the same amount of time. OTW will also share that the friend wiped a tear from her eyes as she remembered this of her sweet mother, and how much our friend enjoyed Scarlett and her antics. Tomorrow was not another day, in these two cases, but another day to live the days of the Old South.



Auditions for our next production, “The Humans,” are set for Tuesday, Oct. 8, and Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 7 pm at the Workshop. The play will be staged Thursday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 24. The play will be directed by Steve Ahl and promises to be a very fun time. The audition will be a cold reading from the script.

This one-act play by Stephen Karam is set at a family apartment in NYC at Thanksgiving time. It touches on current topics of illness, aging and financial issues. It received the Tony Award in 2016 for Best Play.

The cast is comprised of six characters, 2 men and 4 women, with actors and actresses who can portray characters from late 70s to mid-20s. Watching the OTW website for more information.

This is a newer plays, first staged to fantastic reviews in 2016.

The Rest of the 2019-2020 Season at Olean Theatre Workshop

The New Year 2020 brings to the stage “The Matchmaker” Thornton Wilder. The famous and beloved musical “Hello Dolly” was based on this play. It is about the matchmaker, Dolly Levi, who likes to arrange things. This play will be mounted Thursday, Feb. 6, through Sunday, Feb. 9. It will add some levity to the cold of winter.

The last production of the season is Agatha Christie’s “Witness for the Prosecution,” based on Christie’s own short story of the same name. It is a courtroom drama involving the murder of an older, wealthy woman by a younger man. As with anything Christie, the story will leave one guessing until the very end. This will be presented Thursday, May 7, through Sunday, May 10.

As always, we at OTW encourage people to have a season ticket. That guarantees a seat for the performance of their choice, and if a change of night needs to be made, we do our very best to accommodate the audience member. There are two levels of the Season Tickets - Spotlighter and regular. There are Student/Senior Season tickets available for a discounted price. As always, individual tickets are available as the performance nears. Please refer to and purchase your Season Tickets now. See you at the shows!

Copyright © 2019 Olean Theatre Workshop, All rights reserved.

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