Residents of a small town that was wiped out by one of the largest tornados ever recorded take the stage in an original theatrical event inspired by their story of survival and recovery.

Rooted: The Greensburg Odyssey is a play with music and performs today, May 5 in Greensburg, Kansas, as part of the towns commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the devastating 2007 tornado.

Click on the 30 second promo video below!

The performance is a months-long partnership among the William Inge Center for the Arts, at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas, and the Cornerstone Theatre of Los Angeles, and the 5.4.7 Arts Center of Greensburg. The cast features 19 community members from the area, performing alongside professional artists.

The courage, determination and innovation displayed by the citizens of Greensburg is astounding. It has been a joy to help them translate their experiences onto the stage, said Peter Ellenstein, Inge Center artistic director. Greensburg is a source of pride to all Kansans, Americans and residents of the planet. As home of the Official Theatre Festival of Kansas, the Inge Center is thrilled to be part of this inspirational tale of Kansas citizens.

The Inge Centerbest known as sponsor of the William Inge Theatre Festival won a National Endowment for the Arts grant to create a theatrical event about the extraordinary recovery and renewal of Greensburg. One week after the storm, about 500 displaced residents decided to rebuild as in an environmentally friendly manner; the town is now internationally known for its green buildings and features.

To tell this story of renewal, the Inge Center commissioned Marcia Cebulska, a Topeka, Kansas-based playwright. Cebulska interviewed Greensburg residents and crafted a story inspired by the Homeric epic journey back home from The Odyssey.

The Inge Center selected the Cornerstone Theatre of Los Angeles as artistic collaborator. Cornerstone creates plays with and for people of many ages, cultures and levels of performing experience, focusing on specific community issues. Cornerstone Theaters Associate Artistic Director, Laurie Woolery, directs the show with a cast mostly of Greensburg residents.

Finally, the 5.4.7 Arts Center in Greensburg served as local coordinator. The center, named after the date of the tornado, was the first public building to rise after the tornado, emphasizing the towns commitment to the arts. Stacey Barnes is the executive director.

Rooted: The Greensburg Odyssey includes music by popular Lawrence, Kansas, singer/songwriter Kelley Hunt, who will also perform.

This will be a concert presentation. A full production of the play will be scheduled in Greensburgs rebuilt historic Twilight Theatre, when it completes construction. This concert presentation will be performed at the beautiful First United Methodist Church, 600 W Lincoln Ave, Greensburg, KS.

Curtain time is 7 p.m. tonight, May 5. A $10 suggested donation will go toward the rebuilding of the Twilight Theatre.

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The William Inge Center for the Arts is part of Independence Community College, which is a major funder. Further funders include the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art, and the William Inge Festival Foundation. The Kansas Arts Commission and The Breidenthal-Snyder Foundation also awarded grants to this project.

The Inge Center is also 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.
The Inge Center is best known as sponsor of the annual William Inge Theatre Festival, the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas. The 32nd Annual Inge Festival takes place May 1-4, 2013.

The Inge Center is named for the late William Inge. He was a native of Independence, and a graduate of Independence Community College. He was an acclaimed writer and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in drama for his drama Picnic and an Oscar for best screenplay for Splendor in the Grass.

Click Here to Watch the Video!

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