Strong City - A play by Paige MJ Erickson

Strong City - A play by Paige MJ Erickson
Andrew, estranged from his ranching family but soured on life in the city, accidentally carjacks upbeat do-gooder Liesl while on his way home to Strong City, Kansas. Through the unlikely duo’s road trip across Colorado and Kansas, and with the help of Andrew’s mother, sister, and ailing father, Andrew and Liesl discover that the answers to their biggest questions have always been waiting in the calm of the Kansas Prairie.
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Poster with girls eyes in a car's rearview mirror.

live performances

Purple Masque Theatre
K-State campus 780 Denison Ave
Manhattan, KS 66506

Sat, June 25, 2022 - 1:00 PM
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Sat, June 25, 2022 - 7:00 PM
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Sun, June 26, 2022 - 1:00 PM
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Video recording of the live performances from the Purple Masque Theatre

About the author

Portrait of Paige MJ Erickson

Paige MJ Erickson

Paige Erickson is a playwright and author of the creative non-fiction book “The Nice Thing About Strangers.” She spent the last decade wandering, getting lost, and learning and forgetting languages in Hungary, Austria, Croatia, and Turkey. An alumna of Hastings College and Kansas State University, Paige returns to the Purple Masque Theatre, the space where she saw her first full-length play produced. “Strong City” gathers her former classmates and friends for a reunion in live theatre.


Carly Spotts-Falzone


Carly Spotts-Falzone works as a mental health therapist, which allows her to bear witness, over and over again, to the incredible resiliency of the human soul.From musicals in school to family living room productions, helping people step out of the worries of the world and into a piece of art for even just a moment has been a true joy in her life. Carly competed in the interp/acting events of competitive forensics for almost a decade. Getting the chance to perform again, with so many fellow speech alumni is a nerve-wracking, beautiful, wonderful blessing.

Zac Ralson


Zac Ralston loves nothing more than being a dad. His kids are the most brilliant, weird, and rambunctious people he’s ever met, and every day he is grateful to be an observer to their journey. Zac’s favorite moments in a performance are when you have found the unexpected, in the moment - this unique thing that only you and the audience will only experience that one time, and it’s unpredictable and wild and beautiful. This show involves people who have been major figures in the forming of his adult vision of the world, so he is excited and humbled to be a part of this performance. 

Nancy Koch

Repo Woman

Nancy Koch is an entrepreneur and an accidental actor, being cast in such roles as BBQ enthusiast and UFO seeker.  Currently you can find her in the woods. She has spent this lifetime paying off some serious karma while building a unique resume. Nancy is an alumna of Hastings College, KCKCC as well as future educational institutions. Nancy is honored to be cast as Repo Woman and excited to return to the stage.

Amber Wormington


Amber Wormington hasn’t been in a stage production for 22 years, not since the last time Paige asked her to be in a show. The intervening years have been spent teaching high school English in Omaha, mothering two spectacular, non-conformist kids and marrying her last love. She’s excited to try out acting again, now with the advantage of 22 more years of life experience.

Miranda Miller-Klugesherz


Miranda Miller Klugesherz is an adamant believer in the power of storytelling to create policy change. She uses the medium to develop strong state and federal food policy as the Director of the Kansas Food Action Network. Miranda has performed in theaters on the east coast and across the Midwest. Her most recent local credits include Vera Claythorne in And then there were None (MAC) and Tanya in Mamma Mia! (Columbian). She’s thankful to Paige for the opportunity to reunite with talented alumni, and to share the stage with her first child who is due in September.

Tim Steffensmeier


Tim Steffensmeier is a professor of communication & leadership at Kansas State University, where he directs the university’s office of engagement. Tim also serves as a faculty member at the Kansas Leadership Center. Tim was raised in rural Nebraska where his first role in a play was the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. Now he lives within walking distance of the Purple Masque Theatre and loves living in the Little Apple.

Darren Epping-Fuentes

5-minute documentary on the making of Strong City


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Oh how wondrous and so needed (for me right now and for the world). This play, and this production, dazzles and shines. There are so many lines I want to write down and memorize.This hits at the heart of the U.S. and our fears of knowing how to simply live in the world, what to do with its joys and heartaches. I haven’t laughed and cried so much from a single performance in years.

-Nathan L
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I was not quite sure what to expect and was definitely wowed! So real. I love that it is so based on the importance of relationships and human connection. I was truly moved to tears.

-Tim K.
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We really did laugh and then cry and laugh again. Wonderful cast of characters who pull you in and are recognizable as people you know.

-Stephanie D.