Nickel and Dimed

Social Issue on Stage

CCC students tackle minimum wage issue

Corning Community College’s Theatre and the Muse of Fire drama club will present Nickel and Dimed by Joan Holden, a full-length play version of the best-selling book by Barbara Ehrenreich.  The play will be presented Wednesday, Nov. 16, through Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7:00 p.m. in the Science Amphitheatre, with a special benefit performance for the Interfaith Campus Ministry on Saturday, November 19, at 2:00 p.m. Reservations and ticket information may be obtained by calling 607-962-9448.

Nickel and Dimed is the second play in a season of social issue plays produced by the College’s Theatre and its drama club, Muse of Fire, and was selected in support of the College's decision to name Nickel and Dimed as the 2016-17 One Book, One College reading.

“We are in a time of great social change of a global scope,” says Nickel and Dimed director and professor of Humanities Mary Guzzy. “The theatre has a role to play in raising our awareness of the critical issues that confront us. While it’s great to escape into a light-hearted musical or a comedy in the theatre, and we try to do that as well at CCC, it’s not the purpose of art to make people eternally comfortable. The purpose of great art is to make people think, to rile them up, and sometimes to move them to action. We hope that audiences will appreciate the investigative work of Barbara Ehrenreich more by seeing Joan Holden’s play.”

Nickel and Dimed follows the investigation of Barbara, a social scientist and journalist, into the world of workers trying to make ends meet on minimum wage. Author Ehrenreich undertook this difficult, poignant, and often funny journey that resulted in a book that spent more than 100 weeks on The New York Times best seller list for non-fiction. Playwright Joan Holden adapted many of Ehrenreich’s experiences for the stage, bringing to life a large array of memorable characters who are raising families, juggling two or three jobs, trying to make rent and car payments on a minimum wage that was $5.15 an hour in 2001, when the book was first published.

A student cast of 17 is led by Katelyn Deneen as Barbara, supported by an ensemble of actors playing multiple roles. Chelsey Aten, Camden Ayers, Suzanna Burrow, Angela Decker-Chrisler, Katie DonDero, Randi Fay, Andrew Fish, Thomas Gottko, Kelly Jones, Braeden Knoll, Harley Kohler, Steve Mathew, Katelynn Russell, Deborah Scott, Adriana Shaffer, and Zach Swasta complete the talented cast.