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Swing State premiering at Towle Theater

The Towle Theater in downtown Hammond will stage "Swing State."

The Towle Theater in downtown Hammond will stage the Midwest premiere of the musical "Swing State," a musical about tolerance and not the electoral politics the name suggests.

Named after Marcus Towle, one of Hammond's city fathers, the theater at 5205 Hohman Ave. will lead off its 16th season with the play by Dana Yeaton and Andy Mitton.

"The Towle has continued to bring fresh new works to Northwest Indiana and 2019 is no different," the Towle Theatre said in a news release. "Three out of the four shows this season are premieres. Jeff Casey’s vision, when he opened the Towle in 2003, was to seek out shows that were not being produced in Northwest Indiana and to challenge their audiences."

Casey will direct "Swing State," which will be performed Feb. 22-24, March 1-3, and March 8-10. It features a contemporary score that reflects influences as diverse as Stephen Sondheim, George Gershwin, Ben Folds and Brian Wilson, mixing in "hints of rock, gospel, and folk."

The New York Times described it as "an odd little show" that "is not a farce about elections but instead a drama about personal loss and childhood trauma." 

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"What if the people who are ruining this country were your only friends?" the Towle Theatre said in a news release. "In 'Swing State,' Bonnie has promised God she’ll save every little soul in her Appalachian Kindergarten class, even if that means risking her job, or triggering her chronic back pain. Neil, the new chiropractor in town, sees things differently. A gay, new-age transplant from Brooklyn, Neil is over the moon when his first treatment turns out to be a miracle cure. But Bonnie is feeling things she hasn’t felt in years and has a different response: 'Put me back.' The moment Neil refuses, and another epic battle in the culture wars is on. With both of their professional lives now in flux, Neil is determined to help Bonnie recover and return to a normal life, no matter what the cost."

The cast includes Chicago actors Ellie Campbell and Mark LeBeau, who will both be making their debut on the Towle stage.

Friday and Saturday performances take place at 8 p.m., with Sunday performances at 2 p.m. Tickets are $19.

For more information 219.937.8780 or visit www.towletheater.org.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.