When most people enter a rural bus stop diner, they’re expecting the next coach to take them away or perhaps awaiting a warm cup of joe to pass the time. In William Inge’s classic play “Bus Stop,” romance, friendship and self-realization are among the unexpected finds in a Kansas bus station.
“Bus Stop” has long been a favorite on the stage, and the romantic comedy has found its way back to UH’s School of Theatre & Dance. Directed by associate professor Adam Noble, the play will be performed Feb. 20 – March 1 in UH’s Jose Quintero Theatre (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard inside the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts building).
Performance dates and times are as follows:
- 8 p.m., Feb. 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28
- 2 p.m., Feb. 22, March 1
Tickets are $20 and $10 for faculty, staff, students and alumni. They can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 713-743-2929.
“Bus Stop” follows the intersecting relationships that take place in a 1950s diner/bus stop more than 20 miles outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Bus passengers and diner employees are snowed in for several hours. During this time, romance and friendship begin to brew as freely as the coffee.
Cowboy Bo Decker has his sights on aspiring songstress Cherie, who resists his charms. His friend and father figure, Virgil, tries to keep his advances in check as does the local sheriff. Meanwhile retired college professor Gerald Lyman drinks the night away flirting with teenage waitress Elma. Overseeing the diner is its wise owner Grace, who has spent years seeing travellers come and go.
Audiences will be literally transported to Grace’s diner, said Noble. In the intimate setting of the Quintero Theatre, the stage will be transformed into a small town eatery complete with food being prepared and coffee brewed.
“I wanted a sense of a working diner, so the audience can feel as if they are right there with these characters,” he said. “The Quintero Theatre offers an immersive experience for the audience. This will be a very up close and personal rendition of the show.”
Cast members include Kyle Powell as Bo, Katie Marsh as Cherie, Tom Conry as Virgil, Adham James Haddara as Professor Lyman, Kat Cordes as Grace, Kenn Hopkins Jr. as Sherriff Masters and Joshua Clark as Carl.
“Bus Stop” premiered on Broadway in 1955 and earned several Tony nominations. Since its debut, the play has maintained a consistent presence on stages around the world. In 1974, UH produced a version starring a pre-Hollywood Dennis Quaid.
“This play continues to entertain audiences because its characters remain very real,” Noble said. “These are 1950s characters, but they still speak to us and they’re very familiar. They’re all very real people with real problems.”
The UH School of Theatre & Dance produces pre-professional plays, dance concerts, studio productions and school shows through the Theatre for Young Audiences program. Performances are delivered in in the Wortham Theatre and the Quintero Theatre. The UH School of Theatre & Dance offers bachelor’s and master's degrees in theater and teacher certifications in dance and theatre. Its graduate programs consist of a Master of Arts in theatre studies, a summer Master of Arts in theatre education, and Master of Fine Arts degrees in acting and design. Alumni include actors Jim Parsons, Dennis Quaid, Brett Cullen and Robert Wuhl. Faculty includes Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow, Peabody Award-winning playwright and screenwriter Theresa Rebeck and Tony-nominated designer Kevin Rigdon. Among the greats who have taught at the school are Edward Albee, Lanford Wilson, Sir Peter Hall, Jose Quintero, Patsy Swayze and Cecil Pickett. In 2012 and 2013, the school was named “Best College Theater” in the Houston Press Theater Awards. For details on UH's School of Theatre & Dance, visit www.theatredance.uh.edu.