Thursday, August 18, through Sunday, August 28
Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, 600 Robinson Drive, Geneseo IL
With the Chicago Sun-Times describing Tim Clue's and Spike Manton's comedy as “simultaneously hilarious and touching,” the regional delight Leaving Iowa enjoys an August 18 through 28 run at Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, the show also lauded by the Chicago Tribune as a work of “genuine charm and humility” that “lives as happily in its own warm skin as an ear of corn ripening along Interstate 80 on an August afternoon.”
A family-friendly comedy that's a toast to the character and idealism of the parents from “The Greatest Generation,” Leaving Iowa is also a little roast of that generation's dedication to the family road trip. Don Browning, a middle-aged writer, returns home and decides to finally take his father's ashes to his childhood home, as requested. But when Don discovers Grandma's house is now a grocery store, he begins traveling across Iowa, searching for a proper resting place for his father. This father-and-son road trip shifts smoothly from the present to Don's memories of the annual, torturous vacations of his childhood, making Leaving Iowa a funny, tender postcard to anyone who has ever found themselves driving alone on a road, revisiting fond memories of their youth.
Directing Leaving Iowa, and making his directorial debut for the Geneseo theatre, is Justin Raver, a Richmond Hill veteran previously seen on-stage in productions including Drinking Habits, Escanaba in da Moonlight, and Death of a Salesman. Portraying the traveling family's Mom and Dad are Pam Kobre and Don Faust, returning to the roles they portrayed in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's 2011 presentation of Leaving Iowa, with Kevin Babbitt (Richmond Hill's Outside Mullingar and The 39 Steps) playing Don Browning and Leslie Day, in her Richmond Hill debut, as Sis. The show's ensemble is composed of Vicki Jones, Kevin Keck, Patrick Kelley, Julien Totten, and Janet VanderSchaaf. And with Jonathan Grafft serving as the comedy's assistant director, additional members of Raver's creative team include stage manager Jim Strauss; crew members Rich Kobre and Matt McConville; set builders Jim Skiles and Mike Skiles; lighting designer Jennifer Kingry; sound designer Larry Lord; and set painter/crew member Dana Skiles.
Leaving Iowa runs at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre from August 18 through 28, with performances Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Admission is $12, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)944-2244 and visiting RHPlayers.com.