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Tawni O'Dell

Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg

Gallery of images from the recording "Rewrites" sessions


  CAST Background


 Creative Team Background



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Press Contact: Peter Cromarty 
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For Immediate Release: 


New Podcast/Audio Play “Rewrites

From NY Times Bestselling Author Tawni O’Dell

Hilariously Inspires the Quest to Read

through Reality TV!

Podcast to Launch April 25th


(March 24, 2017-New York, NEW YORK) A laugh out loud, heartrending tale about a young visionary who’s on a daunting mission to get people to read more by using a medium he believes is contributing to the end of civilization --- reality TV --- is the hilarious subject of the new dramatic podcast Rewrites penned by New York Times bestselling author and Oprah Book Club Pick novelist Tawni O’Dell.  Available to stream on April 25th, the seven-episode series will introduce listeners to the main character, Theo, and follow his misadventures as he creates a competition show for writers and encounters obstacles and relationships along the way that are in turn riotous, maddening, and at times, life-altering. Rewrites is a love letter to books. It’s also a reminder that in this time of technology overload, the human connection is more important than ever.

Produced by Story Plant Media, the audio drama features an ensemble cast of fresh new voices and accomplished stage and screen performers, and is directed by Broadway veteran producer/director Mitchell Maxwell and produced by Andrew Pandaleon with original musical written and composed by Mr. Pandaleon and performed by Matthew Timm on trumpet. The cast includes: Matt Bittner, Brandon Tyler Harris, Stephen Payne, Demi Fragale, Campbell Dunsmore, Andrew Pandaleon, Destiny Shegstad, Nafis Karim, James Patterson, David Siciliano, Ryan Karels, Cady Huffman, Rob Gomes, JT O'Connor, Danielle Guildin, Skyler Maxwell, Chris LeBeau, and Monica Delgado.

Positioned to be this spring’s most talked about dramatic podcast Rewrites was originally conceived as a motion picture but once O’Dell, was introduced to the world of dramatic podcasts, she believed her material and talents to be better suited to this medium and adapted the screenplay into a “podplay.” An ardent advocate of the importance of reading, O’Dell has spent the past fifteen years speaking at schools, universities, libraries, and book festivals spreading this very important message and has seized the opportunity to use the ever-growing popularity of podcasts and the universal appeal of Theo’s story as an exciting and effective way to reach more people.

Executive producer, Lou Aronica, of Story Plant Media supported O’Dell’s decision to launch her work on a different platform, that of the burgeoning world of audio drama. Story Plant Media recently released the first three episodes of their inaugural dramatic podcast, This is Rage, to over 500,000 downloads. According to Aronica, “The opportunity to work with such a highly acclaimed author on material that is so relevant to today’s society is more than exciting; it’s inspiring.”

Over the season’s first seven episodes, listeners will be introduced to a diverse cast of characters including Crystal, a chain-smoking monkey movie star who loves books and the six writers featured on the show who range from a retired coal miner and Vietnam veteran to a wealthy, gorgeous, sinister soccer mom, a disillusioned college professor, and a female convenience store clerk who’s equally at home quoting Tolstoy or Coach Tomlin after a Steelers game.

Rewrites will be available beginning April 25th.  Listeners can download on iTunes or their favorite podcast app and explore more content at www.rewritespodcast.com.

About Rewrites Creative Team

Tawni O’Dell/writer & producer

Tawni O’Dell is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels including Back Roads, which was an Oprah’s Book Club pick and is currently in development to be made into a film by Michael Ohoven, the producer of the Academy-Award-winning, Capote, with a screenplay adapted by Tawni. She has also contributed to anthologies, magazines, and newspapers throughout the world. Her novels have been published in over forty countries.

Tawni was born and raised in the coal-mining region of western Pennsylvania, the territory she portrays in her novels with such striking authenticity. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and spent many years living in the Chicago area before returning to Pennsylvania where she raised her two children, a daughter now living in NYC and a son attending college in California.

Cast (featured roles)

Matt Bittner Role: Theo; Stephen Payne Role: Byll; Demi Fragale Role: Echo;  Brandon Tyler Harris Role: Clive; Campbell Dunsmore Role: Tracy;  Destiny Shegstad Role: Brandy; Nafis Karim Role: Ace; Andrew Pandaleon Role: Carver; David Siciliano Role: Milo; James Patterson Role: Tim; Danielle Guildin Role: Sylvie/Katie

 Mitchell Maxwell/director

Mitchell Maxwell is an accomplished producer, director, and thirty-five-year veteran of the entertainment industry with sixty-five theatrical productions and eight films to his credit. He is the visionary producer behind the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Damn Yankees, the Pulitzer-prize-winning drama Dinner with Friends, and the percussive theatrical wonder Stomp! to name a few.

Mitchell, a lifelong New Yorker, grew up on Long Island and attended Tufts University in Boston where he later served as an adjunct professor. His most recent endeavors include serving as associate publisher of The Story Plant and the president and creative director of The Story Plant media division. His first novel, Little Did I Know, was published in 2011 and the musical adaptation is slated to follow Rewrites as the first fully realized Broadway musical to be presented as an audio drama.

Lou Aronica/executive producer

Lou Aronica is the president and publisher of the The Story Plant and has more than thirty-five years of high-level experience in the book business. He was publisher of two of the industry’s largest imprints, Avon Books and Berkley Books, and deputy publisher of a third, Bantam Books. As a writer, he is the author of twenty-four books, including the New York Times nonfiction bestsellers The Element and Finding Your Element (with Ken Robinson), and the nonfiction national bestseller The Culture Code (with Clotaire Rapaille), the USA Today bestselling novel The Forever Year, and the national bestselling novel Blue. Lou is also former president of Novelists Inc.


Andrew Pandaleon/producer

Andrew Pandaleon has been an actor for most of his life performing in Off Broadway productions including The City Club and History of War. He has also been in countless regional productions including, Romeo & Juliet, The History Boys, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Happy Days and Sunset Boulevard.  He has been a teacher at The Gateway Playhouse, is an avid songwriter, and is now happy to be in the producer’s chair for Rewrites.  Andrew is originally from Chicago and graduated from UCLA.


Rewrites Episodes 1-7 Breakdown

Episode One: You Want to Make a Show About Writers?

Theo flies to LA to meet with a difficult producer and pitch his show. Back in New York City he searches for investors and is ready to give up when he stumbles across a highly unlikely benefactress in the form of a famous monkey movie star, Crystal, who loves books. We’re also introduced to Theo’s younger brother, Milo, a brilliant engineering major months away from graduating college. Theo and his best friend, Clive, hit the road to meet the first four writers they’ve chosen to be on the show. The first stop is West Virginia to meet Byll Graham, a retired coal miner and Vietnam veteran.

Episode Two:  I Think You Have a Novel in You

The road trip continues. Next stop a Connecticut mansion to meet Tracy Mills Parker, a beautiful, bored soccer mom with a bizarre dark side; then on to a convenience store in Pennsylvania to meet Brandy Kosko, a cashier whose small town values and good humor conceal a surprising past; and finally a liberal arts college in New Jersey to meet Carver Lanscomb, an English professor frustrated by his unambitious students and disillusioned by his overly ambitious self. Back in NYC, Theo approaches a sharp-tongued, pretty waitress about being on the show. She’s not a writer but he thinks she could be; he also has a crush on her.

Episode Three: Who Ordered the Moo Dad Diew?

During a staff meeting Theo discovers their sixth and final writer, Ace, the half Puerto-Rican, half Rastafarian guy who delivers the Thai food. Theo invites him to be on the show even though Ace freely admits he’s never written anything, but Theo and the rest of the crew are won over by his wit and can-do attitude. Theo and Clive have a heated argument when Clive accuses Theo of putting Echo on the show solely because he wants to sleep with her. Theo visits Echo at her apartment to find out if she can write. He’s relieved to discover the beginning of her novel is great, but they don’t hit it off personally and he leaves on a bad note. The six writers meet for the first time.

Episode Four: A Promise to Mom

During the first episode of Rewrites, the three, bestselling, celebrity authors insult each other and get into fights during the judging panel. After the show Theo loses his temper and accuses them of not taking the show or his message seriously. He storms out. Carver follows and while walking together, Theo reveals that his mother was a novelist and she recently passed away. Before she died, he promised her he could get through this first year after her death and that he’d make sure Milo graduated.

Episode Five: Your Show Had a Message?

The LA producer meets with Theo in NYC to give him the good news that Rewrites is a hit but Theo is strangely depressed. He thinks his message about books isn’t getting through and the show is a joke. Relationships evolve between the writers. Carver begins tutoring Ace. Tracy offers Echo a substantial amount of money so she can quit her job as a waitress and concentrate on her writing. At the end of the latest episode, Brandy unexpectedly quits the show. Theo and Milo have an emotional blow up that leaves Theo devastated.

Episode Six: We Tried the Patch and the Gum . . .

Crystal the monkey appears as a guest judge, a condition of her providing financing for the show. The judging panel is a disaster and in order to calm Crystal, her owner, Tim, lets her light up a cigarette. (She picked up the habit filming one of her movies.) Everyone tries to stop her as the studio audience riots. She flees and starts a fire in the building. The fire is put out but Theo faces criminal charges, Tim threatens to sue him for endangering Crystal, and he’s certain the show is done for. He goes to a bar, gets drunk, and gets into a brawl. He ends up at a hospital where Echo comes to his rescue. She and Byll take Theo back to his apartment where Byll delivers emotional advice about how Theo should deal with his mother’s death and move forward.

Episode Seven:  Happily Ever After

After a week of Theo dropping out of sight and communicating with no one, Clive shows up at his apartment and convinces him to go uptown where they run into Milo, a meeting Clive secretly set up since the brothers hadn’t spoken since their blow up several weeks earlier. Theo and Milo reconcile. A little girl passing by on the street drops a Dr. Seuss book and when Theo calls out to her to come get it, they have an animated, touching discussion about books that leads him to rethink Rewrites. Months later after the first season of Rewrites has ended, each writer delivers a touching monologue to Theo telling him what they’re doing now and thanking him for the impact he had on their lives.  The episode ends at Milo’s graduation ceremony with Theo and Echo in attendance.

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