RACINE, WISCONSIN, MARCH 17, 2019: This spring, Over Our Head Players presents Leaving Iowa, a family vacation comedy by Tim Clue and Spike Manton. A warm and funny look at the road trips of childhood, Leaving Iowa runs three weekends March 29 – April 14 at Sixth Street Theatre, 318 Sixth Street, Downtown Racine. Reservations are available online at www.overourheadplayers.org or through the box office, (262)632-6802. Tickets are $16 – $18.50.
Leaving Iowa, a memory play, speaks to every former child who ever moaned “Are we there yet?” while enduring the family vacation to some vague historical sight with a well-meaning but naive father. Now an adult living in Boston, Don returns home for a family event. Driving across Iowa, Don relives the vacations he spent as a boy trapped in the family station wagon en route to comically dull sights. Shifting smoothly from the present to the annual, torturous vacations of his childhood, it will keep you laughing, remembering the family vacations you tried to forget.
Nominated for Best New Play by the American Theatre Critics Association, Leaving Iowa premiered at the Purple Rose Theatre in 2004. Purple Rose was founded by actor Jeff Daniels to develop plays based on life in the Great Lakes Basin. Daniels calls Leaving Iowa “a simply beautiful comedy.” Leaving Iowa ran for over a year at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago and has been popular with professional companies across the country; it was published in 2007. Ten years ago, Over Our Head Players was granted the amateur production rights the first day they became available and presented Leaving Iowa at Festival Hall in 2009.
Two cast members from the first OOHPs production are back for this encore presentation. Ron Schulz is reprising the role of Dad, which he also played during the run at Festival Hall. Ron comments on the change of venue, “It’s nice to do the show in a more intimate venue. We always wanted to do the show at 6th Street Theatre. Bringing it back on our own stage makes it refreshing and new for the cast and the audience.”
Cody A. Ernest played Multiple Guy parts in 2009; this time, he has the role of Don. Cody reflects, “I loved playing the multiple roles character the first time around, but getting the opportunity a decade later to not only take on a different role but also see the show from a new perspective has been truly insightful.” He continues, “Playing Done has reminded me of my own relationship with my father, and I constantly draw on those experiences when I am on stage.”
Director Rich Smith appreciates the opportunity to present Leaving Iowa a second time, ” It’s a unique comedy that speaks to our Midwestern audience, but it has gained attention nationwide. Anyone who has ever taken a family vacation can relate to it.”
The Leaving Iowa cast includes Cody A. Ernest, Brandy Harrell, Michael Retzlaff, Lori Russ, Ron Schulz, Rich Smith, and Melissa Zeien.
OOHPs Managing Artistic Director Rich Smith directs and production manages Leaving Iowa, with Michael Retzlaff as Assistant Director and Stage Manager. The staff includes Parker Jones, Elizabeth Bitner, Rebecca Eisel, Chad Heinzelman, Skip Carlson, Paula Ann Czechowicz, Sea Daniel, Teri Stanley, Emily Sweetman, A. J. Laird, Anne L Mollerskov, Diane Carlson, Bailey Laird, Ron Schulz, Nicolas Hoyt, and Janine Anderson.
Leaving Iowa runs March 29, 30, 31; April 5, 6, 7; and April 12, 13, 14. Performances times are Fridays at 8:00, Saturdays at 5:30 and 8:00, and Sunday matinees at 2:30. Tickets are $18.50 on Friday and Saturday and $16 on Sunday. Tickets are available online at www.overourheadplayers.org, or by leaving a message at the box office, (262)632-6802. All performances are at Sixth Street Theatre, 318 6th Street, Racine. Advance reservations are recommended.
Over Our Head Players operates the 6th Street Theatre, Downtown Racine. A non-profit organization of volunteer theatrical talent from throughout Southeastern Wisconsin in their 27th season, OOHPs focuses on contemporary comedies and original productions. Their 28th season opens next fall.