Rio Grande Play Focuses On SE Ohio Restaurant Giant

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One Southeast Ohio college wants to share their community's memories of a man most people know best by his classic red restaurants.

The University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College is preparing to perform the play "That Was Bob," a biographical look at the life of Bob Evans.
Greg Miller, director of Cultural Advancement at the university, says organizers sought out stories from locals about Evans.
"Things that you don't hear from the corporate press release. So many people in the area knew him so well and it seems like everybody I encounter has an anecdotal story about him and they've become quite entertaining to be gathering," said Miller.
The restaurant on US Route 35 was recently renovated and the valley was re-designed to accommodate more tourists for the annual Bob Evans Farm Festival.
Miller says the idea for the play actually came from the Bob Evans company.
"They approached us with the idea of doing a play that would focus on Bob.  I hesitated, until I found that there was a Welsh film crew that had followed him around for three or four days a few years back, letting him tell his own story," said Miller.
The film crew gave Rio Grande permission to use the footage, and interviews from the video will be shown during the play.  Using the footage, Evans will essentially tell his own story, says Miller, and the play will "backfill" with other stories.
Rio Grande students will perform alongside community members in the play.    
"That Was Bob" will take place July 13 and 14 at the Bob Evans Farm near Rio Grande.