The spark behind Leaving Iowa comes from being children of parents from the now dubbed "greatest generation." The story is a toast to their idealism and character and a little roast of their undying dedication to the classic family road trip. More specifically, it is the story of Don Browning, a middle-aged writer, who 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. Don's existential journey leads him to reconcile his past and present at the center of the United States. Leaving Iowa is a postcard to anyone who has ever found himself or herself driving alone on a road, revisiting fond memories of his or her youth. Premiered at the Purple Rose Theatre Company.
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- Type of Show Full-length Play
- Product Code LE5000
- Cast Size 6
- Min. Royalty Rate $110/perf
- Cost $11.95
- Approx. Run Time 105 min
- Target Audience High School | College and Adult
- Performing Group High School | College Theatre | Community Theatre | Professional Theatre | Senior Theatre
- Genre Comedy
- ISBN(13) 9781583425855
- "Leaving Iowa was a huge success for our small theater coming out of the pandemic. Everyone loved it. The cast, our patrons, are still talking about it weeks later! Had we known how great it would have been received we would have booked it for another weekend. Such a fun show!"
- Review by Angela Leonard, Old Fort Players, Fort Madison, Iowa
- "This was a new thing for us, doing a play. We are a small school and this play worked great for us. No real scene changes [and] the CD with sound effects was a huge plus."
- Review by Rusty Ruggles, Aledo High School, Aledo, Ill.
- "Leaving Iowa was the "perfect storm" ... a play the actors, director and audience could all embrace. While offering belly-laugh moments, it still manages to be a beautiful father-son story. The play is simply "genuine." I highly recommend it!"
- Review by Rene Mauck, Muscatine High School, Muscatine, Iowa
- "Historically funny production to which audience members can really relate."
- Review by Annette Rubin, Oelwein High School, Oelwein, Iowa
- "A wonderful combination of nostalgia and humor, tears and laughter. One parent commented, "I like a Broadway musical as much as the next gal, but this show made me think. And I enjoyed the process." Familiar without being cliched. Lots of room for character development, over-the-top acting."
- Review by Stephen Duennebier, Brunswick School, Greenwich, Conn.
- "Excellent vehicle for teaching both serious drama and comedy to actors within the same package. A lovely play about reconciling the past with the present."
- Review by Cheryl Neidt, Springfield Public School, Springfield, Minn.
- "Tremendous audience response. Play succeeds as a comedy and nostalgia. Many audience members could relate to their own family car vacations. Sound track was superb."
- Review by John Lewinski, Alpine Playhouse, McCall, Idaho
- "Leaving Iowa is a heartwarming comedy. Our theatre rocked with laughter! At the end, people were coming out with happy, tear-streaked cheeks. The cast and audience loved this play!"
- Review by Barbara Keith, Lanesboro Community Theater, Lanesboro, Minn.
- "What a marvelous play! A great combination of laugh-out-loud hilarious and tender, redemptive, sentimental family love. Our audiences loved it and we had bigger houses by far than usual. The writing is excellentÑso perfectly reflects the backseat and front seat family vacation experiences before the "plug-in" generation."
- Review by Ann Dolan, Lancaster Community Players, Lancaster, Wis.
- "A simply beautiful comedy."
- Review by Jeff Daniels, The Purple Rose Theatre Company
Hints, Tips, and Tricks
- "Use the provided CD; it makes a world of difference to the overall feel of the show! Our idea was that Don's world view should dominate, which means hyperbolic choices. It worked to great effect, with a metaphorical black-box car and over-the-top multiple character renditions. It's a beautiful, beautiful show."
- Tip by Sandra Krueger, The College of The Albemarle, Elizabeth City, N.C.
- "Read the entire book, including the pages following the script, the notes from the playwrights are so helpful to all aspects of the production. "
- Tip by Darren McGarvey, Kettering Fairmont High School, Dayton, Ohio
- "Get the sound person to rehearsals early, especially for the 'swoosh' in the Ghost Cavern scene!"
- Tip by Jo Slowik, Lewis University, Romeoville, Ill.
- "Costume changes were the hardest to complete, but what I learned is, simple is always best. Simple and easy costumes made the changes super fast."
- Tip by Noah Gibbons Salib, Sussex Regional HS, Sussex, New Brunswick
- "The sound effects and music CD that was sent was very useful."
- Tip by Mary Powers, Fenton Village Players, Fenton, Mich.
- "Follow the suggestions to keep the set simple. Don't let it get in the way of the story!"
- Tip by Rene Mauck, Muscatine High School, Muscatine, Iowa
Media Reviews"A comedy with a surprisingly deep soul." -Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times
"A road trip in search of one's self. Four out of four stars." -Detroit Free Press
"Leaves you with a smile on your face and a desire to hug your kids." -The Detroit News
"Quintessential family entertainment." -The Chelsea Standard
"Simultaneously hilarious and touching." -Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times
"Spike Manton and Tim Clue … have honed the written words to a level of perfection." -Lansing City Pulse
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|Lincoln Arts Center||Rochelle||Illinois||8/4/2023||8/12/2023|
|Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center||Urbana||Illinois||4/28/2023||5/7/2023|
|Rochester University||Rochester Hills||Michigan||4/13/2023||4/23/2023|
|The Playhouse at White Lake||Whitehall||Michigan||6/30/2023||7/2/2023|
|Lansing High School Auditorium||Lansing||Kansas||3/30/2023||4/1/2023|
|Lake Benton Opera House||Lake Benton||Minnesota||3/24/2023||4/2/2023|
|Columbia Heights Senior High||Columbia Heights||Minnesota||4/28/2023||4/30/2023|
|Palos Village Players||Palos Park||Illinois||4/21/2023||4/29/2023|
|Central DeWitt High School||DeWitt||Iowa||4/13/2023||4/14/2023|
|Salina High School South||Salina||Kansas||3/30/2023||4/1/2023|
|UWO Fox Cities Campus Communication Arts Center||Menasha||Wisconsin||6/8/2023||6/18/2023|
|Sandhills Community College MacPherson Black Box Theatre||Pinehurst||North Carolina||4/20/2023||4/23/2023|
|American Legion Post 58||Smithville||Missouri||9/28/2023||9/30/2023|
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