Oak Ridge Playhouse Stages World Premiere Of HOLLYWOOD, NEBRASKA

Opening September 23 and running select dates through October 2, this is an exciting first for the Playhouse.

By: Sep. 02, 2022

Oak Ridge Playhouse Stages World Premiere Of HOLLYWOOD, NEBRASKA

Oak Ridge Playhouse is one of only three theaters in the nation set to premiere Kenneth Jones' new play HOLLYWOOD, NEBRASKA. This hilarious, heartfelt and hopeful new American comedy is about small towns, big dreams and the power of coming home. Opening September 23 and running select dates through October 2, this is an exciting first for the Playhouse.

HOLLYWOOD, NEBRASKA follows two actresses from opposite ends of the country, as they return to their dying hometown in the panhandle of Nebraska. Jane is in from L.A. to check up on her ailing mother. Andrea is back from New York City to bury her father. Two childhood friends must overcome past hurts to find hope in a place they thought they left behind.

Oak Ridge Playhouse Executive Artistic Director Reggie Law will work closely with New York City playwright Kenneth Jones throughout the rehearsal process. Law and Jones began correspondence in 2020 when, amidst the pandemic, the Playhouse produced a virtual performance of Jones' play ALABAMA STORY. It was then that the two began to discuss a possible premiere of his new work, HOLLYWOOD, NEBRASKA. Two years later, Jones is in residence to collaborate one-on-one with the director, actors and designers, to help give this new contemporary work a beating heart.

To conceptualize the world of a brand-new play is both a dream and challenge for any designer. Those rising to the occasion include guest designers Katie Stepanek, creating the scenery, and Kyle Schellinger originating the costumes. With lighting design by Camden Simon, sound design by Kendal Overholt and Properties overseen by Anna Gant, the never-before-seen world of HOLLYWOOD NEBRASKA materializes for the very first time.

Casting will be announced shortly.

The play has a similar feel to BROADWAY BOUND and STEEL MAGNOLIAS, Jones explains: "Crisis points in the lives of these characters force them to look in the mirror and examine who they were, who they are and what they want. HOLLYWOOD, NEBRASKA is comfort food with a salty edge - and it even has a few musical surprises embedded in it." Learn more about the playwright at www.ByKennethJones.com.

In a rare arrangement, Oak Ridge Playhouse is among three theaters in the U.S. presenting the play in a "rolling world premiere" in the 2022-23 season, allowing the playwright to be in conversation with three different producers for three separate productions, leading to a refined script by 2023. It will be produced independently by Lamb Theatre in Sioux City, IA, and Wetumpka Depot Players in Wetumpka, AL. Licensing and perusal copies of the script are available through the playwright's website ByKennethJones.com.

Tennessee audiences also have the unique opportunity to read and discuss HOLLYWOOD, NEBRASKA with the playwright, before it hits the stage. A Q&A event will take place at the Oak Ridge Public Library on Friday, September 9 at 3 PM. Hosted by Poet Laureate and UT professor Dr. Erin Elizabeth Smith, attendees are encouraged to ask questions about the characters, conflicts, and world of the play. Those interested in attending virtually or in person will need to register at www.ORPL.org.

Tickets to HOLLYWOOD, NEBRASKA can be purchased online Sept. 5 at www.orplayhouse.com and (beginning Sept. 6) by calling the box office at (865) 482-4877. Box office hours are Tuesday through Friday, 12-5 PM. and is located at 27 E. Tennessee Ave in Oak Ridge. Tickets to the show are $26.50 for Adults/Seniors and $23.50 with a Student ID.

This production is made possible through additional support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number SLFRP5534 awarded to the State of Tennessee by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.