Ham Buns & Potato Salad

Ham Buns Poster

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The slideshow are photos from the premiere production of Ham Buns and Potato Salad by Union Street Players, Pella, Iowa (April 10-13, 2014)


When Thomas Prins was 18 his hometown of Hebron, Iowa (population 318) was boiling in  a scandal that was never resolved. His neighbor and childhood sweetheart, Marian De Haas, was found to be pregnant. Thomas packed his bags and left for college in New York City. He went to school, found unexpected success as a writer, and never looked back.

Twelve years later, after his parents lose their lives in a tragic auto accident, Thomas has no choice but to return home. The town prepares for the funeral and the local residents are atwitter that “Tommy” is finally coming home after all these years. With his return, heat is turned up on the old scandal which has quietly simmered in the town’s collective conscience since his departure. Marian’s parents, Dean and Betty De Haas, along with her Aunt Lola and Uncle Arl impatiently await Tommy’s arrival as they gossip about what took place between Tommy, Marian and fellow classmate Matt Schuler.

View YouTube Clip: “Love Triangle”

As they wait for Tommy’s arrival, Hebron resident Bob “Old Man” Schuler has one of his infamous Vietnam flashbacks sending the women scrambling for cover. The men go off to find Old Man Schuler and get him safely home.

View YouTube Clip: “Old Man Schuler”

While the men get Old Man Schuler safely back home, Tommy arrives home. What the ladies hadn’t expected, however, was that he would bring a woman home with him.

View YouTube Clip: “I Love Iowa”

The men finally arrive safely back from their mission and are surprised to find that a strange woman has arrived with Tommy. Arl attempts a not so subtle attempt to inform Tommy’s agent, Gladys Iskowitch, about Tommy, Marian, and the questionable paternity of Marian’s daughter, Abby.

View YouTube Clip: “All the Tact of an Atomic Bomb”

Eventually, Thomas and Marian run into one another. Things don’t go so well.

View YouTube Clip: “I’m in the Book”

Add in a former high school athlete stuck in the glory years, the unanswered question “Who is Abby’s father?,” and all of the small town gossip and you have an engaging, humorous show.

“I laughed. I cried. This play has everything you want in an evening of theatre.”
-Audience member

“I was engaged and entertained the entire time. I was on the edge of my seat.”
         -Audience member

In the fall of 2012, Ham Buns and Potato Salad was presented at the Missouri Playwright’s Workshop at the University of Missouri and was first produced by Pella Iowa’s award winning community theatre, Union Street Players April 10-13, 2014 on the stage of the Joan Kuyper Farver Auditorium in the Pella Community Center under the direction of Ann Wilkinson.

The Skinny on the Play

Ham Buns and Potato Salad is a full-length play in two acts.
Ten Characters:
Five Adult Males (Ages 30-60)
Four Adult Females (Ages 30-60)
One adolescent female (Age 12)
All action takes place in one setting and can be performed with minimal set.

All copyrights and production rights for Ham Buns and Potato Salad are held by the author. PDF perusal script, photos, and video clips are intended individual perusal. They may not be copied, produced, performed or broadcast,  in whole or in part, without the expressed, written consent of the author!

Please direct any questions or requests for perusal script or inquiries about production to tomvanderwell@gmail.com.

26 thoughts on “Ham Buns & Potato Salad”

    1. Thanks Mary Ann. And, I️ appreciate your opinion! You’re not the first person to ask that question. Turning the play into a video production in not, I’m afraid, on life’s task list at the moment. Then again, who knows?


  1. I read your play. It was wonderful! I started off in your blog from a link my Professor gave us. Then started rooting around and had to read it. Thank you so much for sharing it.


    1. Thanks for the kind words, Heather. The play is set for its stage debut next spring. I’ve still got a lot of tweaking I want to do, but I’m happy with it. I appreciate you taking the time to read it!


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Just another wayfarer on life's journey, headed for Home. I'm carrying The Message, and I'm definitely waiting for Guffman.

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