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UW-Eau Claire Theatre to Present
'Tobacco Road' in October

RELEASED: Oct. 11, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire music and theatre arts department will present "Tobacco Road" in Kjer Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. Other performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 24-27 with a matinee performance at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21.

The show, set during the era of the Great Depression in Augusta, Ga., tells the story of the Lesters, a family of white sharecroppers living in dire conditions. Defiled by their poverty and selfishness, the Lesters become engrossed by hunger, sexual longing, and trepidation that they will decline to a lower social status than that of the black families living nearby. Adapted from the novel by Erskine Caldwell, "Tobacco Road" has been a hit on the stages of Broadway with 3,182 performances; it has been revived three times.

"Tobacco Road is one of those landmark American novels in the grotesque Southern tradition of William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor," said director Terry Allen, professor of theatre arts. "Although the play may sound like a tragedy, people should know that this is actually a comedy that is sexy and funny."

Junior Ryan McDaniel, Oregon, will play the role of Dude Lester, and Ada Lester will be played by senior Melissa Jean Briggs, Cottage Grove, Minn. Junior C.J. Krueger, Rochester, Minn., will portray the role of Jeeter Lester, and senior Abbie Claire Williams, Roberts, will play the role of Ellie May. Senior Tera Kaminski, Waupaca, will play Grandma Lester; senior Carroll Stephen Rankin, Eau Claire, will play Lov Bensey; and junior Eddie Neve, DeForest, will play the role of Henry Peabody. Also appearing will be junior Brittany Gusho, Milwaukee, as Sister Bessie Rice; freshman Matthew Tatone, Golden Valley, Minn., as George Payne; sophomore Stephanie Doms, Chanhassen, Minn., as Pearl; and senior Shane Chandler, Colfax, playing the role of Captain Tim.

Senior Sarah Jean Lanners, St. Paul Park, Minn., is assistant director and stage manager for the production. Kevin Gawley, assistant professor of theatre arts, is scenic designer; senior Emily Van Winkle, Brookfield, is the production's lighting designer. Heidi O' Hare is the costume designer; junior Stephanie Unertl, Manitowoc, is assistant costume designer. Terry Allen is the sound designer along with Arthur F. Gulig, technical director for the production and technical director of theatre arts. Sophomore Michael DuPont, Green Bay, is the prop designer.

Tickets for "Tobacco Road," available at the University Service Center, 715-836-3727 or 800-949-UWEC are $10 for the general public, $8 for those 62 and older; $6 for children 17 and younger, $8 for faculty and staff with a university ID; and $5 for students with a university ID. Group rates are available for the school matinees.

-30-

KJ/NW

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