Stillwater News Press

January 29, 2013

Town and Gown seeks male actors for play auditions

Oil baron E.W. Marland's depicted in story

By Elizabeth Keys
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — Males ages 20 and up are needed for roles in the Town and Gown production of The Broken Statue, a play about oil baron E. W. Marland, said play director Frank K. Berry

Open auditions are 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Sheerar Museum, 702 S. Duncan. Six men are needed for the show. Auditions will be conducted with cold readings from the script. Rehearsals will be in February and March with production dates during the last two weekends in March.

“If you can’t make the audition, then call me,” Berry said.

 The director can be reached at 405-372-5758 or FKimBerry@aol.com with questions.

“Although partially fiction, The Broken Statue  lets us look into the lives of Marland’s family and the boom and bust of the oil business,” Berry said.

 Written by Shawnee-based author Bob Perry, the play premiered at Oklahoma City’s Jewel Box Theatre in 2011, he said. The show has also been staged in Ponca City.

The play gets its title from a statue that was broken up into pieces and buried but later restored, Berry said. The restored statue graces the entrance to the Marland Mansion to greet visitors that still come to marvel at the remarkable house in Ponca City. The story of the statue is a tale of a great oil empire.

In 1908, E. W. Marland came to Oklahoma after losing his fortune in the Pennsylvania oil fields in the panic of 1907 and by 1920 had re-established himself and started the Marland Oil Company in Ponca City with a fortune estimated at $85 million (roughly $910 million in modern dollars). Marland was a wildcatter and not only pioneered the use of geophysical techniques in the oil industry but was years ahead of his time as an employer providing housing, loans, medical care and other benefits for the thousands of employees who worked at his refineries and pipelines. After Marland’s wife died, he married his adopted niece, Lydie, which created some scandal in social circles of the time. In 1928, Marland was forced by bankers to merge his oil empire with Continental Oil Co., and renamed the company Conoco.  He was elected governor of Oklahoma during some of the most trying times for the state and nation.

“The play is part of Oklahoma history,” Berry said, “and that’s why Town and Gown wanted to stage this new script.”

Town and Gown has been actively producing plays since 1951 performing more than 300 shows. The volunteer nonprofit organization regularly produces five full-scale productions per season. Play tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors for Sunday matinees. Tickets will be available for The Broken Statue March 18. The play Greater Tuna  is running Feb. 7-10 and Feb.14-17. Call 405-372-9122 for reservations or order online at www.myticketscene.com