About the Play

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The critically-acclaimed play, “Leaving Iowa,” by Tim Clue and Spike Manton is a hilarious, family-friendly comedy that is a toast to the idealism and character of parents from the “greatest generation,” and a little roast of their dedication to the family road trip. It was nominated Best New Play in the Country by the Detroit Free Press and one of SoCal Theater’s 10 Most Memorable Moments of the year after its run at the Laguna Playhouse, stating the play included “the most frighteningly realistic depiction of a family summer road trip” the reviewer had ever seen. We take that as a compliment. A show suitable for ages 10 to 110, “Leaving Iowa” is a postcard to anyone who has ever found themselves driving alone on a road, revisiting fond memories of their youth. Economically-staged for anywhere from 6-24 actors, the story centers on Don Browning, a middle-aged writer who returns home and decides to finally take his father’s ashes to his childhood home, as requested. But when Don discovers Grandma’s house is now a grocery store, he begins traveling across Iowa in search of a proper resting place. As he drives those familiar roads, the story shifts back and forth from the present to memories of the annual, torturous vacations of Don’s youth. Ultimately, Don’s existential journey leads him to reconcile his past and present at an unpredictable and perfect final destination. Since its printing by Dramatic Publishing, “Leaving Iowa” has played to packed audiences and great reviews in hundreds of theaters across the US. It’s guaranteed to have you laughing and remembering the childhood vacations you tried to forget.


About the Writers

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My first writing gig was stand-up comedy. However, in 1991, I established Short Story Theater, a multimedia theatrical company that combined short fiction adaptations with documentary footage. “Greek Streets” was our inaugural work, using short stories by Harry Mark Petrakis. “Other Definitions of Confinement” premiered at the National Jewish Theater in 1993, introducing the life and writings of Russian political prisoner Dmitry Stonov. And in 1997, “Coloring Potential” debuted, which focused on the stories of Chicago’s inner-city youth. In 1999, Spike Manton and I wrote and directed a Chicago-based television sitcom pilot called “Tiny Pig” that made into the proverbial “can,” but not onto TV. Like all failed projects, it is now being adapted into a comedy musical. “Leaving Iowa” is also being adapted into a screenplay. I grew up in Rochelle, Illinois, and am currently residing in Chicago with my wife, Kathryn, and our daughter, Bailey.


I was born on a farm in far upstate New York, but my parents soon moved us to a bustling metropolis of almost two thousand people, where I grew up in your standard 1960’s family unit of four kids, two parents and one station wagon. As child number three, I am very familiar with the seating location known as “the way back.” After graduating Bradley University, I moved to Chicago, quit my Procter & Gamble sales job, and began a career in standup comedy. Standup lead to some cable TV shows, like Evening at the Improv, MTV and Comedy Central and, eventually, a career in Chicago radio, where I spent 10 years hosting FM talk shows and sports talk on ESPN Radio. Along the way, I have been trying to create, write and produce original work with my writing partner, Tim Clue. Although we have many projects at various stages of production, “Leaving Iowa” is our best example of executing that plan to date. I live in the Chicago suburbs with my wife, Tami, and my two children, Mickey and Samantha.

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