AURORA -- Northeast Ohioans know a thing or two about blizzards. They know when to leave the highway and find a warm, safe place to weather the storm. They know, too, that during refuge from blinding whiteouts, strangers can become friends, but friends can also turn a bit strange.
It's that kind of emergency, where locals meld with travelers stranded during a winter gale in Kansas, that sets the stage for William Inge's celebrated play "Bus Stop," opening Jan. 27 and continuing Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 18 at Aurora Community Theatre.
Craig Joseph directs the ensemble cast in what the New York Times calls " comedy that never strays from the truth."
"Bus Stop" tells the story of four passengers and their driver who retreat to a roadside restaurant during impassable road conditions.
Catie Hewitt plays Cherie, a slightly seedy nightclub singer; Justin Edenhofer is Bo Decker, a belligerent cowboy ranch owner; Scott Stachiw is Bo's mentor and ranch hand Virgil Blessing; Tom Stephan is Dr. Gerald Lyman, an alcoholic, pompous old professor; and Vincent Sarowatz plays the harried bus driver Carl.
Tari Lyn Bergoine performs the role of wary caf owner Grace Hoyland, and Ren Harris plays her dewy-eyed waitress Elma Duckworth. Jerry Schaber takes on the role of the tough-as-nails Sheriff Will Masters.
"Bus Stop" opened on Broadway in March 1955 at the peak of Inge's legacy, which also includes "Come Back, Little Sheba," "Picnic" and "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs."
Overseeing details behind-the-scenes for ACT are Renee Anthony Dee, producer; Olivia Wimberly, stage manager; and Ann Nyenhuis, technical director. Micah Harvey designed the set, Inda Blatch-Geib the costumes, Maggie Hamilton the sound and Deborah Malcom the lighting.
Cassandra West and Kevin Kuczmarski serve as artistic associates. Marc C. Howard is liaison to the ACT board of trustees. CPH Communications managed box office and marketing. The play is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service Inc.
Tickets at $16 for adults and $11 for ages 18 and under are available online at www.auroracommmunitytheatre.com or by calling 330-562-1818. Group discounts are available.
Opening night tickets include a complimentary after-show gala and the opportunity to meet cast and crew.
ACT's 2016-17 season continues with "Bridgadoon" April 28 to May 20. A beneift show -- David Ives's "One Acts" -- will run March 3 to 11 and the summer musical is "Grease" June 30 to July 15.