Olean Community Theatre

As summer comes to a close, things are just heating up for Olean Community Theatre! This fall is the perfect time to enjoy an evening performance by this local, non-profit theater organization that has entertained Cattaraugus County for over thirty years. OCT board members Minna Badanes and Linda Manross encourage readers to sit back, relax, and enjoy Neil Simon’s Fools, which runs Sept. 18-20 at Portville Central School’s auditorium.
Badanes, who has been a part of OCT since its inception in 1979, is looking forward to continuing the mission of OCT in the 2015-16 season. OCT “strives to stimulate and encourage interest in the dramatic arts and enrich the community by providing opportunities for theatrical involvement.” Indeed, families enjoyed February’s production of Seussical, the Musical, and later this winter, fans of Nora and Delia Ephron’s wit and wisdom will enjoy Love, Loss and What I Wore, produced by Manross and directed by Paul Nelson, from Feb. 12-14. The uproarious comedy, Fools, appropriately rounds out this diverse line-up, and is sure to leave audience members looking forward to the next season of OCT.
Badanes, award-winning member of the Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS), is directing this hilarious comedy, which is being co-produced by Carla Campbell and Jennifer Simpson. According to Badanes, “The show was chosen with one goal in mind: to let the audience have an evening of fun-filled laughter.” Indeed, an evening of laughs is exactly what the audience can expect from Neil Simon, the Tony-award and Pulitzer Prize winner who is most known for writing The Odd Couple.
Fools tells the story of a Russian village in the 19th century that has been cursed with Chronic Stupidity for 200 years; it is up to one teacher, Leon Tolchinsky, to break the curse. However, he only has 24 hours to cure the village, or he, too, will become stupid! Complications arise when Leon falls in love with his pupil, Sophia. Will Leon be able to break the curse and marry his beloved before it’s too late? Find out later this month!
What sets OCT apart from other community theater organizations? OCT is the only community theater in the region to operate continuously since 1979 with over 100 shows to its credit, and has reached an audience of over 100,000 people. Uniquely, OCT has relied on area venues for all of their productions, as the organization does not have its own theater. Linda Manross, who has been involved with OCT since 1992 and a board member since 2004, explains, “Historically, OCT has performed at St. Bonaventure University, the City of Olean’s John Ash Center, Olean High School, Jamestown Community College, Olean’s Lincoln Park, as well as other parks and gazebos across the county, and at Mickey’s Restaurant in Olean, just to name a few venues.” This community support and enthusiasm for theater perfectly aligns with OCT’s mission and makes productions more accessible to the public, as they take place throughout the Olean area.  
In addition to involving community venues in productions, OCT encourages community members to be a part of every performance. According to Manross, “OCT is always looking for volunteers, both off stage and on.” Auditions are open to the public, and dates are announced in the Olean Times Herald and www.octnow.com. Those interested in working behind the scenes should come to auditions to meet the director and production staff.
Foolsis scheduled for three performances at Portville Central School, located at 500 Elm Street, and tickets are on sale now. Show times are Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18-19 at 7:30pm, and Sunday, Sept. 20 at 2pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and youth under the age of 18. Purchase them online at www.octnow.com/aboutFools or at the door on the night of the performance. Tickets are also available at OCT’s ticket locations: Uptown Florist on N. Union Street in Olean, Both, Branch & Hendrix Insurance on S. Union Street in Olean, and Studio 4 East in Allegany. To learn more about Fools and OCT, visit  www.octnow.com or email info@octnow.com.
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