Theatre department triumphs with upcoming “Grapes of Wrath” performance

Oct 6, 2009 | General News

Louisiana Tech University’s Stone Theatre has announced its cast for the upcoming fall production of “The Grapes of Wrath,” based on the book written by John Steinbeck.

“The Grapes of Wrath” was adapted for the stage by Frank Galati and relates the story of the Joad family’s western trek to California to find work and a better life during the Great Depression.

The fall performance was also arranged in conjunction with Triumph Over Tragedy: a Commemoration of the 80th Anniversary of the Great Depression/New Deal Era in North Louisiana, a two-month commemoration sponsored by the Shreveport/Bossier Eye-20 Creative Corridor and centered around The Big Read of Steinbeck’s novel. The Big Read is a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts to restore reading as fundamental to American culture.

The cast for “The Grapes of Wrath” includes: Matthew Bass, of St. Louis, Mo., as Tom Joad; Chase Green, of St. James, as Jim Casy; Susie Johnson, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., as Ma; Andrew Cogswell, of Walterboro, S.C., as Pa; Amy Houck Sutton, of Ruston, as Granma; Chris “Lito” Tamez, of Corpus Christi, Texas, as Grampa, Contractor, Hooper Guard, and Man in Barn; Tim Leftwich, of Augusta, Ga., as Uncle John; Ryan Gentry, of Rowlett, Texas, as Al Joad; Jacob Birch, of Corinth, Texas, as Noah Joad; Amanda Tatum, of Shreveport, as Rose of Sharon; Lakeidrick Wimberly, of Hodge, as Connie Rivers; Sarah Dickey, of Richardson, Texas, as Ruthie Joad; Ross Taylor, of Shreveport, as Winfield Joad; Tim Kersey, of Montgomery, Ala., as the First Narrator, Car Salesman, and Mayor of Hooverville; Payton Wilburn, of Pineville, as the Second Narrator and Car Salesman; Mike Meadows, of Lake Providence, as Muley Graves, Floyd Knowles, and Mr. Wainwright; Nick Mitchell, of Bossier City, as Willy, Agriculture Officer, and Deputy Sheriff; Tina Britt, of Shreveport, as Car Salesman; Brianna Case, of Villa Rica, Ga., as Car Salesman and Aggie Wainwright; Kelsey Mardis, of Choudrant, as Car Salesman; Jami Windham, of Shreveport, as Camp Proprietor; Rachael Pace, of Covington, as Gas Station Attendant; Jane Wallace, of Ruston, as Gas Station Owner; Gray Taylor, of Ruston, as Agriculture Officer and Son in Barn; Stacy Trammell as Weedpatch Director; Coka Collins, of Mansfield, as Camp Nurse; Kelsie Coker, of Malakoff, Texas of Al’s Girl; Amy Updegraff, of Shreveport, as Elizabeth Sandry; Sarah Clemets, of Homer, as Hooper Bookkeeper; and Keive Gordon, of Ty Ty, Ga., as Mrs. Wainwright.

Instrumentalists include: Tim Kersey, of Montgomery, Ala., Payton Wilburn, Tina Britt and Brianna Case. Ensemble members include: Scout Pittman, of Ruston; Rachael Pace, Amy Houck Sutton, Jacob Birch, of Corinth, Texas; Nick Mitchell, and Jane Wallace.

Paul B. Crook, assistant professor of theater, will direct the play, which will run Oct. 28-31 and Nov. 4-7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Stone Theatre in the Howard Center for the Performing Arts. The box office in the lobby of Howard Auditorium, open Monday through Friday 1:30 to 4:45 p.m., will sell tickets for the play beginning Oct. 12. The box office phone number is (318) 257-3942.

The Eye-20 Creative Corridor is a unified effort of the Bossier Arts Council, Northeast Louisiana Arts Council and Shreveport Regional Arts Council to provide a long-term regional cultural economic initiative to unify the community along Interstate 20. Events are planned throughout North Louisiana during the fall of 2009 through the spring of 2010.

For a list of events and learn more about “Triumph Over Tragedy” visit or contact Julia Foley, marketing director, at (318) 673-6500.



Written by Beth Christian