The latest Black Dirt Theater production was chosen with the Hastings community in mind, said co-director Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha.

"We chose this show in a real specific way for Hastings because it feels like something that Hastings specifically will like," she said.

The comedy, "Leaving Iowa," is a family-friendly show with a storyline that is relatable to a Midwesterner. A middle-aged man returns home for a christening and his mother finds his father's long-missing ashes. The man had selfishly missed his father's funeral a few years earlier and sets out on a road trip to find a proper burial place for his father's ashes. During his travels, he recalls in flashbacks, the annual family road trips from his youth.

Pillatzki-Warzeha said she played one of the characters in the play several years ago, so she was excited to act as co-director in this production. One of the things she likes about the play is how familiar it feels.

"The conversations that the kids have with their parents in the car (in the play) feels like conversations I had with my family in the car," Pillatzki-Warzeha said.

While the play is set in Iowa, Pillatzki-Warzeha said it could just as easily be set in Minnesota because many of the jokes and comedy revolve around Midwestern characteristics. It will be very relatable, she said.

The show will be performed as a dinner theater-style show at The Onion Grille in downtown Hastings Jan. 19 and 26 at 8 p.m.; Jan. 20 and 27 at 7 p.m.; and Jan. 21 and 28 at 2 p.m.

Dinner will begin an hour and half prior to the show. Ticket prices include the cost of meals. Friday and Saturday dinner shows cost $47 and Sunday lunch shows cost $30.

A handicap accessible show option is available Jan. 28 at 2 p.m. Tickets for the handicap accessible show must be reserved by calling 651-300-9567.


Steve Beal, Don (adult writer, young boy in flashbacks)

Dave Fredricks, Dad (Don's father)

Rachel Warg, Mom (Don't mother, past and present)

Stacy Sarette, Sis (Don's sister, past and present)

Caitlin Weber, multiple characters

James Lane, multiple characters

Directed by Sara Pillatzki-Warzeha and Robin Starch