Monday, April 27, 2009
sponsored by Graue Inc.

Illini Central High School presents 'Leaving Iowa'

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[April 27, 2009]  MASON CITY -- "Leaving Iowa" is a hilarious, sentimental comedy about family and family vacations. It is guaranteed to have you laughing and remembering the childhood vacations you tried to forget. Illini Central High School presents this poignant and touchingly funny play at the Arlee Theater in Mason City on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.

"Leaving Iowa" has been critically acclaimed by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times and WGN. It was nominated for best new play in the country by the Detroit Free Press. The show is totally suitable for ages 10-110.

Don Browning, a middle-aged writer on a quest to honor his father's final request, is played by a newcomer to the stage, Tucker Biesenthal. Tony Snyder debuts as Don's father, a history teacher from the greatest generation, who is oblivious to the effects of his quirky Midwestern paternalism on his children. The ensemble cast is rounded out by Lia Blankenship, who plays Mom, the family peacemaker and Sophia Briseno as Don's challenging younger sister.

Along the way Don's flashbacks depict family encounters with Amish flea markets and side trips to Ghost Caverns, while in the "present" he endures a talkative waitress in a diner, played by Jamic Peterson, and a John Wayne-impersonating mechanic, played by Brandi Ellison.

Relying on a minimalist set, the cast invites the audience to take this road trip down memory lane. Director Gwen Royce is convinced you will enjoy the ride.

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