Comedic Family Road Trip in Falls Church

Comedic Family Road Trip in Falls Church

Providence Players present ‘Leaving Iowa.’

Providence Players “Leaving Iowa” in rehearsal, from left: Amy Griffin as Mom, Lindsey June as Sis, Bobby Welsh as Don and Michael Bagwell as Dad.

Providence Players “Leaving Iowa” in rehearsal, from left: Amy Griffin as Mom, Lindsey June as Sis, Bobby Welsh as Don and Michael Bagwell as Dad. Photo by Chip Gertzog/Courtesy Providence Players

Audience laughter and knowing glances are the aims of the Providence Players with its next production, the touching comedy “Leaving Iowa.”

“’Leaving Iowa’ is a memory play. It brings to life a nostalgic time most of us experienced,“ said Jayne Victor, Chair, Providence Players Board. “Who doesn’t remember the family trips? We thought bringing that, and the poignancy of the play to the stage would be something our audiences would really enjoy.”

Written by Tim Clue and Spike Manton, “Leaving Iowa” takes a gander into a very special family journey. It is a tale surrounding the return of a father’s ashes to his childhood home only to discover that Grandma’s house is now a grocery store. The “Leaving Iowa” road trip shifts from the present to memories of annual childhood summer vacations ensconced in the back seat of a station wagon.

“The show is very thoughtful about how our relationships evolve and how we see the world,” said director Julie Janson. The lead character, Don, “narrates the events of the play, which are a mashup of memories of his family road trips and his current experience trying to spread his father's ashes.”

Other characters in the play include a number of family members and 22 new and old personalities portrayed by only three actors.

“So many of us have been on family car trips that were one part exciting, one part miserable. This play captures the humor of those trips so well,” said Bobby Welsch who plays the son, Don. “Don worked hard to get out of Iowa and ‘make it.’ But in doing so, he's neglected his family relationships. Taking this trip reminds him of that, but he always gets around to see the comedy of their goofy adventures and, finally, the underlying love of his family.”

Amy Griffin plays Mom. “I like to think of Mom as the navigator, making sure everyone stays on track…one stays happy (most of the time). At the end of the day you know she loves them all deeply, even when she gets pushed to the edge.”

For actor Charlene Sloan, there is the “the challenge to play seven different characters who represent the people you meet on a long road trip. They are all interesting characters with distinct personalities that memorably impact the travelers they meet.”

Providence Players invite audiences for a family road trip like no other with “Leaving Iowa.”

Where and When

Providence Players present “Leaving Iowa” at James Lee Community Center Theater, 2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church. Performances May 31 to June 15, 2019. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday 2 p.m. matinees on June 2 & 9, 2019. Tickets: Adults $20, Seniors (62+)/Students $17. All Seating is reserved. For tickets, call 703-425-6782 or visit