Published by Lake Michigan College
Friday 17th of November 2017 - Sunday 19th of November 2017
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM
The Lake Michigan College performing arts department will present “Airline Highway,” directed by Paul Mow on Friday and Saturday, November 17 and 18, 2017, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, November 19 at 3 p.m. in The Hanson Theatre in The Mendel Center at the college’s Benton Harbor campus.
“Airline Highway,” a play by Pulitzer Prize-nominated playwright Lisa D’Amour, takes place in the parking lot of the Hummingbird Motel, off the titular highway near New Orleans. The hotel’s residents have gathered to celebrate the life of Miss Ruby, an iconic burlesque queen who has been a mother figure to them all. Miss Ruby’s life is nearing its end, and she requests that her funeral takes place while she is still alive so she can attend the festivities. As the Mardi Gras-esque celebration continues into the night, the stories of the residents, their pain and disappointments unfold.
The dark comedy paints a picture of what the “real” New Orleans is like. According to Mow, ““Airline Highway” is one of the most important pieces of theatre that I have had the pleasure to work on. The play shines a spotlight on the underclass in arguably our nation’s most charismatic and lively city, New Orleans. Completely irreverent, full of life, yet compassionate, Lisa D’Amour’s work gives a hilarious, pungent, and oftentimes tragic voice to some of our most voiceless citizens. It is through this convention that “Airline Highway” works its most beautiful magic, teaching us that each person has value.”
Ms. D’Amour and Steppenwolf Ensemble actress Caroline Neff, who played Krista in the original Broadway cast of “Airline Highway,” will present a post-show symposium and discussion after the Sunday performance along with Lake Michigan College Acting & Theatre Practicum Instructor Alex Kerr, Sandy Feldman, MSW, LCSW, the OutCenter Executive Director Mary Jo Schnell, and other invited panelists.
D’Amour and Neff will also be artists-in-residence to work with the cast and students on November 19 and 20. Their residencies are made possible through support from Berrien Community Foundation, The Schalon Foundation, Twin City Players, Carol Sizer and Norma Tirado.
Ms. D’Amour will continue her residency as she and the students work in collaboration with the Graduate Playwrighting workshop at Western Michigan University under the instruction of English professor Dr. Steve Feffer at 2 p.m. Monday, November 20 at the university’s main campus in Kalamazoo, MI. Ms. D’Amour’s residency will conclude that night with “An Evening with Playwright Lisa D’Amour,” to be held at 7 p.m. in The Hanson Theatre. The event is free to all LMC students, faculty and staff. The public is invited as well, with a suggested donation of $10 per person. Event proceeds will benefit the Lake Michigan College Theatre program. D’Amour, an Obie award-winning playwright, may present a reading of excerpts from her Pulitzer Prize finalist play “Detroit” and discuss her work for the theatre, perhaps including recent works such as “Terrible Things” and the site-specific installation “How to Build a Forest” and other creative works.
Cast members “Airline Highway” in order of appearance include Michael Travier, Jr. as Terry, Leah Isabel Tirado as Krista, William Klein as Wayne, Ricky Wallsten as Man One & Party Guest #1, Isabella Miller as Sissy Na Na, Andrew Sawyer as Francis, Budda Hunt as Man Two, Romello Adjhoda as Shady Character One, Carol L. Sizer as Tanya, Beth Sekellick as Shady Character Two, Isaac Hernandez as Shady Character Three, Yasmin Lyons as Nurse’s Aide, Timothy Aranyos, Jr. as Bait Boy, Mariah Rifenberg as Zoe, Susan Salas Graham as Party Guest #2, John Taylor as Judge Harmon, and Donna G. Nelli-Metz as Miss Ruby. Other cast members include Jim Graham, Gene Weil, Liz Jorgensen, Lauren Tibbits, Robin-Maria Hegendorfer, Erin Turner, Teresa Polasek, and Ariel Higgins.
Other production staff includes Paul Stortz as assistant director, Alex Kerr as practicum instructor/dramaturg, Andrew Sawyer as set designer, Meredith Best George as set design and construction, and Teresa Polasek as costume designer.
“Airline Highway” is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York. A parental advisory is in effect for the play due to explicit content. Tickets may be purchased in advance at themendelcenter.com or by calling The Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-8700, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and one hour prior to show time. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. LMC Students are admitted free with a current LMC ID card.