For theatergoers who prefer less shock, Towle Theater's production of "Leaving Iowa" may be an appropriate fit in the eyes of Towle's executive director, Jeff Casey.
"It's much more clean and wholesome than most pieces we do," he said. "It's nice to introduce a piece that doesn't jolt people from a language standpoint or a topic standpoint."
Opening Sept. 7 and running through Sept. 23 at the Hammond theater, "Iowa" tells the tale of Don Browning, whose trip to the titular state to spread his deceased father's ashes is met with bumps in the road and, in his quest, sends him on journeys through his past.
Penned by Windy City based writers and comics Tim Clue and Spike Manton, "Iowa" made its debut at Chicago's Royal George Theatre and is making its Northwest Indiana debut at Towle. Towle's production of the comedy is directed by John E. Buranowsky.
"The storytelling is very well crafted," Casey said. "It's told in a way that's very accessible for people. It's relatable across many generations, perhaps more strongly with my generation in that the lead character explores flashbacks of being in the back of the big station wagons on the family summer vacations."
For Towle's presentation of "Iowa," Clue and Manton have made notable rewrites to their original script, which will be seen for the first time by area audiences.
"The transitions of Don's character moving from the present to the past needed some smoothing out so that there would be better understanding with the audience," Casey said of the pair's amended script. "Rather than feeling jumpy, it has a smooth quality from the present tense to the past."
Tom Farley, of Chicago, plays Browning in Towle's "Iowa." He is joined onstage by Schererville's Doc Kuhn as his father, Hammond's Denise Kis as his sister and Valparaiso's Donna Rattew as his mother.
Additionally , Munster's Michelle Milan and Hobart's Sherry Sweeney assume multiple roles.
"They're fantastic," Casey said. "Our cast is incredibly strong all the way around. (Farley) is such a strong and charismatic guy, and that comes across onstage."
A talk–back with Clue and the cast is scheduled following the Sept. 15 performance.
Next up for Towle Theater is their holiday favorite "A Fabulous 50s Christmas," scheduled to open Nov. 23.