Woolnough Takes Center Stage for ‘Rumors’ Production

Nicole Battista, Reporter

The theater department is handing the reigns to Scott Woolnough after bidding farewell to longtime director Donald Hopkins after the “Spoon River Anthology” last semester.

Woolnough, the new director of the spring play “Rumors,” has played a role in theater productions for many years. He is an adjunct theater professor and the president of the Music Box Dinner Playhouse in Swoyersville, Pa. Woolnough is also the Alternative Learning Program coordinator in the Student Success Center.

Woolnough has been involved with theater for over 33 years, previously directing “Brighton Beach Memoirs” by Neil Simon at the Grove Theater in Nuangola, Pa. as well as numerous plays in Florida and New York.

Woolnough is a fan of Simon’s productions, calling Simon a “bril- liant wordsmith,” and “Rumors” is Simon’s first attempt at “knock down drag out” comedy, Woolnough said.

Set at a dinner party, the play begins with a couple who finds a man unconscious and bleeding in the bathroom. The two discover the man has been shot in the ear, and his wife is nowhere to be found. Guests start arriving to the party and rumors begin to form.

Then the owners of a car that had broken down enter, as does a police officer responding to the breakdown, and everyone panics because of the bleeding man in the bathroom.

The opening scene to “Rumors” was featured in “One Acts” last year and was well received by students, according to Jeff Kelly, theater manager, who said Hopkins was a father figure to him.

Kelly is responsible for building and designing sets, handling publicity and ticket sales and setting up the event.

Lindsey Glidden, first-year pre-physician’s assistant program student, is cast as Claire in the production. Glidden also appeared in “Spoon River Anthology.”

Glidden was first involved with theater in elementary school, playing a munchkin in a high school production of “The Wizard of Oz.” She has performed ever since in high school plays and theater camps during the summers. Glidden, who is also a dancer, said being on stage “always enticed” her, and playing Claire is no different.

“She is not afraid to say what is on her mind, but she is also not afraid to bend the truth to make herself look good,” Glidden said.

To prepare, the Players had to create autobiographies of their characters, which included the lives of their characters from the day they were born as well as what their families are like, how they were raised, and how they met their spouses.

Glidden said this is a “cool way to really get into the character.”

Glidden is most looking forward to the crowd’s reaction. She expects it to be rousing because the cast of “Rumors” sometimes has trouble keeping a straight face reading the lines.

Woolnough said “the jokes come fast and furious.”

The cast and crew are in the early stages of rehearsal, and Woolnough said they have over a month to perfect the play.

Each year, Players choose a play after the director provides them with possible productions, and each year the Players attempt something different, whether it is a musical every other spring or a Shakespeare play or a murder mystery in the fall.

The biggest difference this year is that the show is going on without Hopkins.

Woolnough said this show is “a huge thermometer” that will gauge the future of theater at the university.

“If this fails completely, it’s going to say something about Don’s departure,” Woolnough said.

Woolnough welcomes the challenge.

“I have very big shoes to fill, but I am very excited to try to fill them,” Woolnough said.

Woolnough, Kelly and Glidden say this show is one not to miss. “Rumors” will be performed on April 3, 4 and 5 at 8 p.m. in Lemmond Theater.

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