IPR News: Writer Dramatizes History of Empire, MI

May 14, 2009

<p><em>Director Scott Craig and writer Anne-Marie Oomen conduct a rehearsal of Oomen’s “Whaddya Give.”</em> </p> <p>Writer Anne-Marie Oomen’s musical “Whaddya Give” is loosely based on the Roen brother’s story. In 1985, two of the five sons of the founding father of the Village of Empire, Andrew Roen, were found dead in their home of natural causes. The home was also stuffed with antiques, cash and unsigned wills.  A three-day auction followed netting more than $200,000. </p> <p>Oomen created her main character by combining the mayor and the auctioneer into one person. As he drives the sales, the objects he sells trigger memories. And the stories portray the brothers at various stages of their lives.  </p> <p>This is the same group of musicians and actors that staged an original revue a few years ago called “Almanac of the North.” Oomen says over beers after that run somebody suggested she write an original play for the next production. Soon after she heard the David Traghorn, one of two men who found the bodies, give a presentation about the events around their deaths.  </p>