Towngate Theatre Stages Local Playwright’s ‘Widow’s Tale’

Photo Provided Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre will stage “The Widow’s Tale” by Wheeling playwright Paul Orr at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Pictured, left to right, are cast members Kate Crosbie, Kim Brown (standing) Grace Thompson, Tim Thomspon (standing) and Rachel Thompson.

WHEELING — Oglebay Institute’s Towngate Theatre will stage “The Widow’s Tale” by Wheeling playwright Paul Orr at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The performance is part of Towngate’s mission to present new and/or original works by local playwrights.

The play follows Carol, a widow in her early 40s, seeking to remarry who begins frequenting funeral homes, hoping to snag a widower. It’s not just any man she seeks. She is on the prowl for an “upgrade” — a man of financial means who will provide her with a life of luxury. Carol’s plan takes a sudden turn when she encounters an old flame and gets an unexpected surprise.

“I am very impressed with Paul Orr,” said Oglebay Insitute director of performing arts Tim Thompson. “He is a retired English professor who continues to look for new ways to express himself. Starting a playwriting career in your mid-80s isn’t something just anyone would do; yet, Paul is proving to all of us that it is never too late.”

Orr was a professor of English from 1956-1996 at Wheeling Jesuit University, serving as chair of the English department for 13 years. Special teaching interests of his include poetry, the modern novel, the plays of Shakespeare as produced in late 19th and early 20th century, with a particular interest in “Much Ado About Nothing.” He has written and delivered approximately 20 papers based on his research interests to many professional association conferences, most frequently to the West Virginia Association of English Teachers at its annual Shakespeare Conference. Additionally, he has research privileges at Roker Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

Orr has lived and researched abroad, residing in Dublin, Ireland, for one year; in London, England, for six months; Bristol, England, for five months and in Stratford-upon-Avon for five months doing research on various topics in their special libraries.

Thompson is directing and performing in the show. He has surrounded himself with an excellent cast of area actors including: Rob DeSantis, Rachel Thompson, Cheryl Violette, Kate Crosbie, Grace Thompson, Kim Brown and Joe Heatherington

A meet-and-greet with the playwright and cast takes place after the show in The Gallery at Towngate.

Admission to the show is free, but donations will be accepted to support Towngate Theatre. For more information or to reserve seats, call 304-242-7700 or visit Towngate Theatre is located in the Centre Market district at 2118 Market St.


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