Broadway director Michael Wilson, who just opened a show with James Earl Jones, Eric McCormick, Candice Bergen, John Larroquette, and Angela Lansbury, will next direct Mound Valley native and Independence Community College sophomore Asa Walker in a featured role at ICC.
Asa Walker will be part of a cast of eight professional actors directed by Wilson in William Inge’s “Off the Main Road,” which opens the 31st Annual William Inge Theatre Festival on Wednesday, April 18. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. at the William Inge Theatre at Independence Community College. Tickets are available online at www.ingecenter.org, or call (620) 332-5491.
Michael Wilson is one of America’s most respected stage directors. He has directed three plays that won Tony Awards for Best Play of the season. In 2010, Wilson won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his direction of Horton Foote’s three-part, nine hour epic “The Orphan’s Home Cycle.” Wilson has directed at major theaters around the country, including the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Goodman in Chicago, and Hartford Stage in Connecticut.
“I am highly pleased that Asa will have the opportunity to work with one of the country’s leading directors and many professional actors,” said Peter Ellenstein, artistic director of the William Inge Center for the Arts. “Every stage actor, whether aspiring or a star, yearns to have chances like this,” Ellenstein said.
“This is a prime example of how theater students at ICC have the best of both worlds,” he said. “An intimate campus to enjoy quality training to hone theatrical skills, but also with the incredible advantage to tap the expertise of working guest artists who visit the Inge Center and the chance to create a professional network while in school. It is unlike any other two-year program in the country,” Ellenstein said
“Off the Main Road” is a ‘lost’ play by William Inge, who is the writer native to Independence and won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The only previous public showing of “Off the Main Road” was in 1964, as a teleplay on the Bob Hope Chrysler Theater television show.
Walker will portray Victor, an ambitious young man who works at a run-down resort. Victor becomes smitten with one of the guests, the daughter of a sophisticated lady, and becomes entangled in the family’s difficulties.
It is a busy semester of acting for Walker, a graduate of Labette County High School. He is currently rehearsing the ICC Theatre Department production of “The Nerd,” under the direction of Professor Jon Sidoli. The comedy runs April 12-15 on the Inge stage. Tickets will be available each night before the 7:30 p.m. performance, April 12-14, and on Sunday, April 15, before the 2:30 matinee.
Immediately after closing “The Nerd”, Walker goes straight into “Off the Main Road” rehearsals. “Off the Main Road” will be a concert reading.
The William Inge Center for the Arts is best known as sponsor of the annual William Inge Theatre Festival, which is the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas. Tony-winning writer David Henry Hwang is in attendance all four days, April 18-21, and will receive the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award.
After “Off the Main Road” on April 18, the Inge Festival presents a reading of a new play by Catherine Trieschmann, titled “The Most Deserving.” Trieschmann is the winner of the Inge Festival’s Otis Guernsey New Voices in the American Theatre Award.
The Inge Festival culminates on April 21 with an amazing multi-media tribute to the works of the 2012 honoree, playwright David Henry Hwang.
Major supporters of the William Inge Center for the Arts are Independence Community College, and the William Inge Festival Foundation.
The William Inge Center for the Arts is a participant in the New Generations Program, funded by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation/The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the American theatre.
This program is presented in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes a great nation deserves great art, and the Dramatists Guild Fund.