GREENSBORO — For more than 30 years, area theater enthusiasts have brought to life the stories created by the writer known as O. – actually, the city's own William Sydney Porter, famous literary figure of the 20th century.
Now the plays, formerly known as “5 By O. Henry” and produced by the Greensboro History Museum, are entering a fresh chapter 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 retirement community. Tickets are now on sale through TicketMeTriad.com.
The 2019 production by Well-Spring will last 90 minutes (no intermission) and spotlight five different O.Henry vignettes.
They include one of the writer’s best-known stories, “The Gift of the Magi." Published in 1905, it revolves 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.
“The Greensboro History Museum was a wonderful home for the O. Henry shows for over 30 years,” Lynn Wooten, Well-Spring vice president of marketing and public, said in a news release.
“A few years ago," Wooten said, "as the future of the plays was under discussion, Well-Spring was starting to build a new theater, 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," Well-Spring Executive Director Alan Tutterow said in the news release, "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."
The name change, Tutterow said, 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 to offer 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.”