Coonce returns as ‘Vincent’

Rodd Coonce is bringing back the one-man show “Vincent” for at least three performances.

“Vincent” was written by Leonard Nimoy — yes, the actor best known for “Star Trek” — as a one-man show about the life of artist Vincent Van Gogh. Nimoy had toured the country in the show, playing both the artist and Van Gogh’s brother, Theo.

Coonce first did the show in 1997 at Powers Auditorium as part of a Van Gogh Festival in Youngstown that year, and he returned to the role a few years later at the Oakland Center for the Arts and at the Butler Institute of American Art.

“I’ve had so many people say, ‘Are you going to do that show again?’ ” he said

Coonce now co-owns Full Circle Event Center, where he regularly does “Music at Madison” cabaret shows, and he decided the venue would be a perfect place to restage the production.

The show is built around more than 500 letters Van Gogh and his brother exchanged, and uses slides of Van Gogh’s paintings to illustrate the story of his creative process and personal torment. Coonce once again is working with Paula Jasper, who directed the 1997 production.

“It seats 75 comfortably,” he said of the performance space. “We put it all together Sunday, and it’s working beautifully. I bought a projector and am very happy with the way it is set up.”

Performances are scheduled on Saturdays through Feb. 11, but the run could be extended if the demand is there. He also would like to do performances for high school speech and theater students.

Coonce remembered his first performance of “Vincent” was for a full house of area school children. Doing a one-man show about an artist for a restless young audience sounded like a recipe for disaster, but the story connected with them, and he spoke with some of the students afterward.

“Being an adolescent, no one wants to be different. You get tormented,” Coonce said. “He (Van Gogh) was so tormented … But he made such an impact on this world. When I first did the show, he was the highest-selling artist in the world, and all of those people who tormented him are gone and forgotten. It’s OK to be different. That’s an important message with all that’s going on in the world today — to accept our differences, for crying out loud.”

If you go …

WHAT: “Vincent”

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday through Feb. 11

WHERE: Full Circle Event Center, 319 Goldie Road, Liberty

HOW MUCH: $20. Tickets can be reserved by calling 330-720-4597.


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