Riverside Theatre presents David Mamet’s Oleanna

arts & entertainment

Riverside Theatre, led by Producing Artistic Director/CEO Allen D. Cornell, Managing Director/COO Jon R. Moses and Director of Special Initiatives/CFO Patti Rooney, presents David Mamet’s award-winning drama, Oleanna. Sponsored by Bobbie Olsen and by Riverside Theatre’s Patron Producers Group, Oleanna performs on the Waxlax Stage from March 21 – April 9, 2023

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet, Oleanna is a two-character play showcasing the power dynamics between a college professor and one of his female students.

Carol is struggling in class and she makes an appointment with John, her professor, so that he can help her understand some of the themes in the class. She is frustrated and explains that due to certain circumstances, she cannot fail this class.

John, fending off repeated telephone calls from his wife, seems preoccupied. It could be that he and his wife are about to buy their first house since he is about to be granted tenure. In between calls, John tells Carol he understands her frustrations and is willing to give her an ‘A’ if she returns to his office a few more times to discuss the material.

When Carol returns to John’s office, things get contentious. Due to the conversation of their first meeting, she files a sexual harassment report with the Tenure Committee and the committee has put a hold on John’s advancement. Shocked, John cannot understand the accusation.

Is John the sexual predator Carol makes him out to be, or is Carol mistaken in her assertions?

Oleanna premiered in Cambridge, Massachusetts in May 1992 as the first production of Mamet’s new Back Bay Theater Company. It opened Off-Broadway at the Orpheum Theatre in October of that year starring William H. Macy and Rebecca Pidgeon.

Frank Rich of The New York Times hailed the production saying, “Oleanna is likely to provoke more argument than any play this season.” And Variety said the play was, “provocative, a rare thing in today’s theater.” A 1994 film version of the play was directed by Mamet and starred Macy, reprising his role and Debra Eisenstadt.

While Oleanna made its debut long ago, it is notable that the themes discussed continue to spark discussion thirty years later.

Riverside’s production of Oleanna will be directed by Chris Clavelli and stars Denis Lambert as John and Dani Nelson as Carol.  

The design and production crew includes: Emily Luongo (Scenic Design), Anna Hillbery (Costume Design), William Gibbons-Brown (Lighting Design), Sam Hopewell (Sound Design), David Reed (Fight Director), Audrey M. Brown (Production Stage Manager) and Sarah Nicholson (Assistant Stage Manager).

Oleanna performs March 21 – April 9, 2023 on the Waxlax Stage at Riverside Theatre. Tickets are $65. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 772-231-6990 or online at http://www.riversidetheatre.com. NOTE: This show contains adult language and situations.

Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 7:30pm; Fridays, and Saturdays at 8pm; with matinees on Wednesdays, select Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. 

Performance Schedule:

March 21, 22, 23, 29, 30, April 4, 5 & 6 @ 7:30pm

March 22, 25, 26, 29, 30, April 1, 2, 5, 8 & 9 @ 2pm

March 24, 25, 31, April 1, 7 & 8 @ 8pm

Riverside Theatre is located at 3250 Riverside Park Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963. Riverside Theatre programs are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Riverside Theatre is a member of the Cultural Council of Indian River County, the Indian River Chamber of Commerce, and the Sebastian River Area Chamber of Commerce.


David Mamet was born in Chicago in 1947. He studied at Goddard College in Vermont and at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in New York. He has taught at Goddard College, the Yale Drama School and New York University and lectures at New York’s Atlantic Theater Company, of which he is a founding member. He is the author of the plays The Cryptogram, Oleanna, Speed-The-Plow, Glengarry Glen Ross, American Buffalo, and Sexual Perversity In Chicago. He has also written screenplays for such films as “House of Games” and the Oscar-nominated “The Verdict,” as well as “The Spanish Prisoner,” “The Winslow Boy,” and “Wag the Dog.” His plays have won the Pulitzer Prize and the Obie Award.

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