Woody Hayes Immortalized In Play At The Marion Palace Theatre October 6
Marion, OH- September 10, 2013- If you grew up following college football during the ‘50s, '60s or '70s, chances are you have memories of Woody Hayes stomping along the sidelines during an Ohio State game.
From afar, Hayes was known for his quick-temper on the football field, but those closest to Hayes knew he was much more. He was a teacher, a friend, a motivator, a leader…he was all things great men can be.
Hayes passed in 1987.
Today, Woody’s legend lives on with bronze statues on OSU campuses and athletic facilities bearing his namesake. However, one man chose to honor the legend in a more intimate fashion, as he resurrects the spirit of Hayes by way of theatrical production.
WOODY: His Life, Times and Teachings is a one-man show that premiered in September 2011. The play has been performed dozens of times in various cities around Ohio and will be staged at the historic Marion Palace Theatre on Sunday, October 6 at 3pm.
The play, written and directed by former OSU faculty member Walter Adamkosky, gives the audience a glimpse into the life of the legendary coach. The show talks about his focus on education, hard work and paying forward.
“Everything the man did and everything he was about (was reflected in) those three things,” Adamkosky said. “(The play) explains all of that and how he came to be that way.”
Adamkosky was inspired to write the play while teaching as an adjunct professor in the School of Journalism at OSU in the 1980s.
“I asked my students what they knew about Woody Hayes,” Adamkosky said. “All they could come up with after a long silence was, ‘Isn’t he the guy that punched that kid?’ and I thought, ‘Uh oh, we’re in trouble.’”
During the 1978 Gator Bowl, Hayes struck Clemson University’s Charlie Bauman after Bauman intercepted a pass against the Buckeyes. Hayes was fired the next day.
Adamkosky did extensive research on Hayes by conducting interviews with past coaches, players and family members including Richard Mack, Kurt Schumacher, Dave Foley, Bill Armstrong, Chuck Hutchison, Tom Batista, Craig Cassady, Coach Chuck Clausen, Alan Jack, John Hicks, Richard Ferko, Archie Griffin, Ted Provost, Jeff Kaplan, Mark George, Rex Kern and Coach Earle Bruce.
Before Adamkosky began his search for the person to portray Hayes, he sought approval for the manuscript from those closest to the coach.
“I sent the manuscript around to several people I had interviewed and said, ‘I’m going to stop right now if you tell me this doesn’t sound authentic,’” Adamkosky said. “They all called back and said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s him.’”
Adamkosky goes on to say, "We show the warts and all. God knows he wasn't perfect. We show the good, the bad, and the ugly of Coach Hayes, but that's what he was."
Jeff Hall has been performing the role of Coach Hayes since the play’s premier in 2011. Besides just physically looking like Woody, (he wears Hayes’ iconic block “O” hat, glasses and whistle during the show), Hall perfectly captures the essence of who Hayes was and successfully brings the legend to life. Some of Coach Hayes' personal friends and players forgot they were watching a performance and expressed gratitude for "getting to spend one more evening with their old friend."
WOODY: His Life, Times and Teachings promises to provide laughs, tears and cheers throughout for fans and non-fans alike.
"You don't have to care about football," said Adamkosky. "Woody was about developing young men. He was a teacher, first and foremost. His medium was football."
WOODY: His Life, Times and Teachings will take place at the Marion Palace Theatre on Sunday, October 6 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $15. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Marion Palace Theatre Box Office at 740-383-2101 or visit www.marionpalace.org. Sponsored by Central Ohio Farmers Co-op, Morral Companies and Ohio Arts Council.
If You Go
WHAT: WOODY: His Life, Times and Teachings at the historic Marion Palace Theatre
WHEN: 3 p.m. – Sunday, October 6
WHERE: Marion Palace Theatre, 276 W Center St., Marion OH 43302
RUNNING TIME: approximately 120 minutes
TICKETS: Reserved seating $15 Charge by phone (740)383-2101 or online www.marionpalace.org
BOX OFFICE HOURS: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The box office is closed Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Information for all Marion Palace Theatre shows and tickets is also online at www.marionpalace.org.