GREENSBORO, N.C. – For more than 30 years, area theater enthusiasts have brought to life the beloved stories created by the writer known as O.Henry – actually, Greensboro’s own William Sydney Porter, one of the most famous literary figures of the 20th century.
Now the plays, formerly known as “5 By O.Henry” and produced at the Greensboro History Museum, are entering a fresh chapter of their own with a new name and home.
Opening Sept. 13, the productions will now be called “An O.Henry Celebration: Stories & Songs” and produced on the stage of The Well•Spring Theatre, the 340-seat new amenity at Well•Spring, A Life Plan Community. Tickets are now on sale through TicketMeTriad.com.
“The Greensboro History Museum was a wonderful home for the O.Henry shows for over 30 years,” said Lynn Wooten, vice president of Marketing & Public Relations at Well•Spring. “A few years ago, as the future of the plays was under discussion, Well•Spring was starting to build a new theatre – one that happens to provide greater audience capacity as well as a larger stage, giving the production more options. That’s when the idea came up of moving the plays to Well•Spring. This transition also helps to better ensure the long-term self-sustainability of the productions.”
“We are excited to bring these productions to Well•Spring, not just so that our residents have ample opportunity to enjoy them but also to grow the shows for the enjoyment of the general public and the countless people for whom these are a rich, deep tradition,” said Alan Tutterow, executive director of Well•Spring.
The name change, Tutterow pointed out, accomplishes a couple of important objectives. First, the new wording underscores the musical aspect in these offerings of O.Henry’s stories. Also, by eliminating the number “5” it frees producers from a pre-conceived need of offering exactly that many stories and widens the options they have in shaping each year’s productions.
“This new chapter for the O.Henry productions breathes new life into a decades-long favorite activity of many area folks and families,” Tutterow said. “This tradition can now continue with a bright future ahead.”
The 2019 production will last 90 minutes (no intermission) and spotlight five different O.Henry vignettes – including one of the writer’s best-known stories, “The Gift of the Magi,” published in 1905 and revolving around a young husband and wife and how they deal with the challenge of buying secret Christmas gifts for each other with very little money.
“As I begin preparing for my 20th consecutive year performing in these shows, I am so excited that this production is now going to be performed in the phenomenal Well•Spring Theatre,” actor Lee Kirkman said. “Having already performed there as a member of the Bel Canto opera company, I can already anticipate how wonderful the O.Henry Celebration is going to be!”
TICKETS AND PARKING: Tickets are now available for purchase at TicketMeTriad.com — CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS. Seating is assigned. Individual tickets are $20 a person; $18 each for students, seniors and Greensboro History Museum members; and $16 each for groups of 10 or more and Well•Spring residents. For group sales (10 or more people) call Ticket Me Triad at (336) 907-2113 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Free, ample parking is available on site.
PERFORMANCES: 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 13, 14, 19, 20 and 21; 3 p.m. on Sept. 15, 21 and 22.
Additional pre-show musical performances will begin 30 minutes prior to curtain in the lobby of The Well•Spring Theatre.
Photos courtesy of Lynn Donovan