The Tumbleweed Zephyr (2015)


Featured at the Fifth National Asian American Theater Conference/Festival, Ashland, OR
Nominated, Gregory Award, Outstanding New Play
Nominated, Gypsy Award for Set Design (Small Theatre)
Honorable Mention, BroadwayWorld Seattle, Costume Design

The Play

Grab your satchel and dust off your best traveling hat for an epic new steampunk adventure on stage this summer! Pork Filled Productions presents the world premiere ofThe Tumbleweed Zephyr by Maggie Lee (The Clockwork Professor), directed by Amy Poisson (These Streets, Fast Company), at the 12th Avenue Arts Mainstage (1620 12th Ave., Seattle), August 14 to 29, 2015.

Two brothers, Atticus and Kai, climb aboard the Tumbleweed Zephyr, a transcontinental train headed from New Providence for the wilds of the Western Territories. But what starts as a simple journey by rail soon veers off-track, with airship bandits, twists of fate, wayward sparks of romance and the lonely call of a train whistle echoing across the clear desert sky.

The Tumbleweed Zephyr features a powerhouse multicultural cast (with a majority of actors of color), an innovative design team and enough rip-roarin’ action to bring this summer blockbuster to the stage.

The Cast

Miles — Tadd Moran
Evangeline Song — Madison Jade Jones
Claire Song — Linnea Ingalls
Hoban Hughes — Troy Lund
Ennis Lamporouge — Stephanie Kim-Bryan
Atticus Hernandez — Kevin Lin
Kai Hernandez — Manuel Cawaling
The Steel Fox Bandit — Michael D. Blum

The Crew

Author: Maggie Lee
Director: Amy Poisson
Assistant Director: Brad Walker
Performance Stage Manager: Michelle Berweiler
Rehearsal Stage Manager/Performance ASM: Anna Curtiss
Set Designer: Craig Wollam
Costume Designer: Jocelyne Fowler
Props Designer: Megan Tuschoff
Lighting Designer: David Baldwin
Sound Designer: Johanna Melamed
Projection Designer: Michael Stephens
Movement Choreographer: Juliet Waller Pruzan
Board Op: Hakme Lee
Poster Design: Phil Foglio & Studio Foglio
Production Photographer: Joe Iano
Prdocuers: Maggie Lee, May Nguyen and Roger Tang

The Reaction

IANO_20150809_210540_DSC_6852 IANO_20150813_213811_DSC_7080“It’s really just a good time and a great addition to the already fun world. And unlike its predecessor this one has less of the more adult moments and language making this more suitable for younger audiences (it’s more PG-13 now) which this world should aim for as it’s fun for all ages. And so, with my three letter rating system, I give this a childlike giggle of a YAY. It’s a hoot!”
Jay Irwin, BroadwayWorld Seattle 

Fellow producers Copious Love Productions just gushes about the show: “The characters in this show are rich, the language is compelling and the story is equally balanced with action, romance and mystery. Strong performances from the whole ensemble are supported by a fearless set design courtesy of Craig Wollam and immaculate costuming by Jocelyne Fowler.”

“”Amy Poisson directs this crazy mix of characters and makes the most of all the surprises in this charming and silly steampunk experience that manages to offer a few lessons too.”
Nancy Worssam, Artsstage Seattle Rage

IANO_20150809_195211_DSC_6430“The winning cast attenuates the sometimes enervating narrative curlicues, particularly Lin, who sells the humor and the romance with his mounting exasperation at Cawaling’s impish antics and his cautious pursuit of Ingalls’ courtesan, a dreamer whose desire for a different life lends a touch of poignancy to the trip.”
Dusty Somers, Seattle Times 

Adam Szymkowicz
I Interview Playwrights Part 780: Maggie Lee

The inimitable Lia Chang previews the show nationally.

The International Examiner interviews the cast, staff and producers.‘s Rosemary Jones interviews the author

Audience reactions:

IANO_20150809_211548_DSC_6934 IANO_20150813_215202_DSC_7176“Anyone with any love for fantasy and sci-fi and with any least enjoyment of theater needs to come down to 12th Ave Arts and see The Tumbleweed Zephyr. This is a tremendous play with a top-notch cast and a set that won’t quit.”

“Hilarious comedy! Many laughs! Catalina and I saw it with Jim and Mayumi. Cast and production were great.”

“It was fabulous! Congrats to all involved!

“A great show!”

“I had a rare free night and seized the opportunity, and I’m glad I did!”

“Really fun show!”

“Imagine a writer, director, actors and designers all just having an obviously great time telling a rip-roaring good story. Then go see The Tumbleweed Zephyr.”

IANO_20150809_204108_DSC_6734 IANO_20150813_212039_DSC_7001“If you haven’t seen Tumbleweed Zephyr yet (and you probably haven’t, it just opened last night) GO SEE IT. Fabulous production, they got everything right–sets, lights, costumes, sound, acting, directing—not to mention the script. Fun, fun play. Runs through the end of August, see Pork Filled Players for more information.”

“You’re charging too little!”

“Opening weekend of THE TUMBLEWEED ZEPHYR! I laughed so hard I cried and I think I scared Maggie Lee a little. So. Much. Fun. If you like adventure/action/steampunk/trains/squabbling siblings/comedy/drama/romance/TRAINS I highly recommend this.”

“Pork Filled Productions’ The Tumbleweed Zephyri>… what a fun romp! Congrats to Roger, Maggie, Stephanie, et al! #‎ForTheLoveofClafoutis #‎GallopingThunderTurtles<”

“In my comment about Tumbleweed Zephyr by Pork Filled Players/ Productions, I forgot to mention props. The props are amazing also. You only have til the end of August to see this amazing production.”

“We went to see the Tumbleweed Zephyr today and it was great fun. Full of western adventure with a steampunk flair. Make sure and see this if you have a chance. It ends on August 29th.<”

“Go see Manuel in this delightful production….I especially enjoyed the sassy mouthed Courtesan.”

IANO_20150809_200332_DSC_6417 IANO_20150813_204402_DSC_6773“GREAT SHOW! Wonderful staging, fun story line, well presented, all-in-all a marvelous night out! Thanks to the great cast and all the artistic crew.”

“Unlike many of the plays that I see, I went to “The Tumbleweed Zephyr” with high expectations, much anticipation and a good measure of fore-knowledge. I had immensely enjoyed it’s predecessor, “The Clockwork Professor” and knew playwright Maggie Lee would again turn another terrific, fun, original piece. I had seen Director Amy Poisson’s fantastic work and had heard great things about the technical elements. I love train travel, Steampunk and witty, brisk dialogue. I also had a particular interest in witnessing the already-“legendary” kick-assery of The Steel Fox Bandit!! That said, I knew the bar was set high, but EVERY bit of this production, from May ‘s welcoming smile at Will Call to the Post-Show hugs and reunions was an all-out TREAT! The show was clever, perfectly paced and soooo much fun! Technical wizardry, hilarious dialogue and playful plot were brilliantly executed under Amy’s direction by a talented, beautifully-costumed cast that were OBVIOUSLY having at least as good a time as the audience. Oh, and Michael Blum indeed exhibited oodles of legendary, earthy-yet-suave charm AND kick-assery as The Steel Fox Bandit! (All personal biases aside.) [*ting!*] A true delight, through and through. I recommend this show to absolutely EVERYONE looking for an evening of frisky, fresh theatre fun. REALLY. Get your tickets, and…
All aboard The Tumbleweed Zephyr!
What a ride!!”

“Great job at opening night cast & crew! Everyone else….go see this play!”

“The opening last night was phenomenal! Kudos to the whole cast and crew, this is a show everyone should see…twice.”

“Just saw this last night, it’s so good! Check it out!!!!”

“Go see Manuel in this delightful production….I especially enjoyed the sassy mouthed Courtesan.”

“We LOVED the show! So fun and family-friendly too. Loved the story, the characters, and the set. Kudos to all the actors and crew!”

“It was a fun train ride! And that SET!!! I’m in love. Craig Bailey Wollam did a bang up job!
smile emoticon
(and the cast is fun too….but it’s hard to be upstaged by a set)”

I saw this last night and I highly recommend you do too if you’re into the idea of Pulp Western Steampunk Thriller Theater. Also recommended to those of you with cool older kiddos,ie Deborah Harrison and Tina Schueller Shepard. They advise PG-13 but mainly for some adult innuendo. If they’ve watched Firefly, they’re good.”

“I took my 9 year old and we both thoroughly enjoyed it! (The previous sentence was an unpaid advertisement. Michael D. Blum nor Pork Filled Productions had no foreknowledge of this post. For more information about why we enjoyed it, you should go see the show)”

“congratulations Pork Filled Productions on a beautiful, funny, luscious production!”

“It’s rare to see a show where everyone involved is clearly having such a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing the joy in that room!”

“A delightful gem of a production. Fun and surprising. This is a wonderful way to spend the evening”