Tuesday, August 22, 2023

New Exhibit Honors Darryl Ponicsan at Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society

SHENANDOAH - The Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society has announced the grand opening of the Darryl Ponicsan Room, a tribute to the esteemed author and screenwriter who continues to hold a deep affection for his hometown. 

The unveiling ceremony will take place at the Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society Museum on Sunday, August 27, 2023, showcasing an array of personal memorabilia, scripts, awards, and photographs donated by Ponicsan himself.

The Darryl Ponicsan Room, a transformation of a once-unused office, is a homage to the Hollywood luminary. The society's artistic director, Peter Cieslukowski, in collaboration with Hollywood contact Anne Chaikowsky-Skirmantas, spearheaded the creation of this remarkable space, designed to mimic a movie theater. Movie posters and books sent by Ponicsan from his residence in California adorn the room, creating an atmosphere that immerses visitors in the world of cinema.

The celebrated author is renowned for his exceptional contributions to both literature and film. His extensive body of work boasts national successes such as "The Last Detail," featuring Jack Nicholson, and its sequel "Last Flag Flying," starring Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne. Other notable works by Ponicsan include "Cinderella Liberty," with James Caan and Marsha Mason, "Taps," featuring George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, and Tom Cruise, as well as "Random Hearts," starring Harrison Ford. "The Enemy Within" showcases an ensemble cast including Forest Whitaker, Sam Waterston, Jason Robards, and Dana Delany.

While Ponicsan's achievements have reached far and wide, his connection to his roots is evident in his early work "Andoshen," a collection of vignettes that pay homage to typical coal region characters while intertwining their lives with a reimagined fictional Shenandoah. This work has been likened to John O'Hara's "Gibbsville," capturing the essence of the region's cultural tapestry.

Highlighting the celebratory event was a screening of the 80s classic "Vision Quest," featuring Matthew Modine. This film added a final touch of nostalgia to the festivities, giving attendees the opportunity to relive a beloved cinematic moment.

The Greater Shenandoah Area Historical Society extends a warm invitation to the public, welcoming them to explore the newly established Darryl Ponicsan Room and the rest of the museum's exhibits. The formal open house will take place from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM on Sunday, August 27, 2023, at the GSAHS Museum located at 201 S. Main Street in Shenandoah. Attendees were encouraged to bring a guest and immerse themselves in the rich history and cinematic contributions that the room showcases.

Story by J. Reed / Skook News