Previews for the play-with-music by Tim Clue and Spike Manton begin March 4.
"The story follows a journalist home to Winterset, Iowa, and then to every rest area, historical mile-marker and tourist trap between a grocery-store parking lot in Mount Union and a hog farm in the 'alleged' center of the United States," according to the announcement.
The play had a developmental run in the Chicago area in 2003 and received its world premiere in 2004 at Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea, MI. This is the play's official Chicago premiere.
Bruce Roper, from the Chicago folk icons Sons of the Never Wrong, wrote the score for the production. The Purple Rose run in Michigan did not include original music. Leaving Iowa was conceived from the beginning as a play with folky music.
Composer Roper said, "It was a unique experience, but traveling music is part of every folk singer's repertoire. When it's over the audience will feel like they went on a trip and I hope the score has a lot to do with that." The Detroit Free Press nominated Leaving Iowa for the American Theater Critics Association's Steinberg New Play Award. In the annual 2004 Free Press Theatre Excellence Awards, the play was nominated in four categories, including Best Play.
The Chicago cast of Leaving Iowa includes Bradley Armacost, Angela Bullard, Tim Clue, Howie Johnson and Barb Wengerd. The staging is directed by Tim Clue and produced by Spike Manton.
Co-writer and director Clue, who also appears in the staging, said, "The spark behind the play comes from having parents that were members of the 'Greatest generation.' Leaving Iowa is an homage to their idealism and character."
Manton added, "I was kid No. 3 and I lived in the 'way back' of a station wagon until I was 13. This play is a real comic tribute to the obsession with the annual family road trip."
Theatre Building Chicago is at 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago. Show times are Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:30 PM.
For tickets, call the Theatre Building Chicago box office at (773) 327-5252. For more information, visit www.leavingiowa.com.