American Indian Comedy 'Powwow Highway' in World Premiere at HERE in New York

By Jon Sobel on Oct 07, 2014 01:33 PM EDT

This weekend American Indian Artists Inc. (AMERINDA) will present the world premiere of Powwow Highway, William S. Yellow Robe, Jr.'s stage adaptation of the David Seals novel. Directed by AMERINDA Resident Artistic Director Madeline Sayet, the play begins previews at HERE October 10 and opens October 16, scheduled to run through October 25.

The novel Powwow Highway spawned a 1989 film of the same name starring A Martinez (Longmire) and Gary Farmer and directed by Jonathan Wacks. It won the Filmmakers Trophy – Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival.

The road-trip story follows a pair of unlikely traveling companions. Buddy is an activist on a mission to rescue his sister from jail. Philbert is inspired by sacred visions to go on a spiritual quest. The pair team up to travel from the Cheyenne Reservation in Montana to New Mexico.

The cast features Wyatt True Ash-Milby, Dylan Carusona, Donna Couteau, Joe Cross, Bob Jaffe, Tanis Parenteau, Autumn Peters, Anna Rahn and John Scott Richardson. Raphael Mishler is the scenic and puppet designer, and Lux Haac the costume designer. Lighting is by Evan Roby and sound by Mark Van Hare.

William S. Yellow Robe, Jr. is a founding member of the American Indian Playwrights Guild and the National American Indian Theater and Performing Arts Alliance, and has published two anthologies of plays. An enrolled member of the Assiniboine Tribe of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian reservation in Montana, he has won multiple theater awards including a First Book Award for Drama from the Gathering of Nations and a Native American Achiever's Award from the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of the American Indian.

Yellow Robe is also a strong advocate for Native American theater. "When is the last time you were in a major city and pointed to the theater that hosts the Native American Theater company?" he asked Adam Szymkowicz in an interview last year. "When was the last Broadway play written by a Native American produced?" Nevertheless he point to "one or three productions a year being done by Native Tribal people themselves and to those folks I am very proud of them and admire their efforts. They give me a strong sense of hope for a better future for all of us."

AMERINDA is a New York-based multi-arts organization that, among other things, works to promote artistic projects by Native Americans and foster intercultural understanding of Native culture. AMERINDA Theater produces staged readings and full productions of new plays by Native American playwrights, and next year will launch the first Native Shakespeare Ensemble to produce full stagings that re-imagine the original text. Founded in 1987, AMERINDA is the only Native arts service organization in New York State.

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TagsPowwow Highway, David Seals, Off-Broadway, William S. Yellow Robe Jr., Amerinda, Native Americans, American Indians

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