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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 6, 2004

Additional Shoedog Photos

Year Of Arts, Humanities Offers Dubuque Free Performance Of 'Shoedog'

Anyone who remembers the days when shoe shopping involved an expert salesman measuring your foot, retrieving a selection of sizes and styles from a mysterious back room, and guiding your foot into place for a perfect fit, will appreciate a look at the side of shoe sales the customer never saw in "Shoedog," a coming of age story by University of Iowa professor Stephen G. Bloom. A free performance will be staged Saturday, Nov. 6 at the Five Flags Theatre in Dubuque, part of the UI celebration of The Year of the Arts and Humanities.

Free tickets are now available at Dubuque's Carnegie-Stout Public Library and at the Five Flags Theatre. For more information about obtaining free tickets, contact Susan Henricks, 563-589-4313, 563-589-4126 or

Bloom, a UI professor of journalism and author of "Postville: A Clash of Cultures In Heartland America," wrote "Shoedog" with former colleague and friend Brian L. Cronk. The play is based on a short story by Bloom, "The Little Man." With the backdrop of a failing business, Murray, a master shoe salesman (or shoedog), attempts to seduce 16-year-old Elliot into the dying profession of selling shoes.

Bloom and Cronk collaborated in a cramped studio apartment in San Francisco's Russian Hill district, each taking on the characters in the short story and then acting out scenes as they exchanged barbs and banter. The characters and language come directly from Bloom's teenage years, working in his father's New Jersey shoe store.

"Shoedog" had its first staged reading at Perform Theatre in Marin County, Calif. The play's world premiere took place in Rock Island, Ill., in November 2003, as part of the Quad City Arts Super Author series. Through grants from the UI Year of the Arts and Humanities, the Iowa Arts Council, Hometown Perry, the Friends of Dubuque's Carnegie-Stout Public Library, and the Perry Rotary Club, "Shoedog" is now reprised with its original cast and director. The play also will be staged in Perry on Nov. 20.

The showcase performance and post-show discussion in Dubuque will raise the curtain and allow a glimpse into the process of how a play is written, directed, and finally performed through audience participation with the playwrights, actors and director.

UI President David Skorton's determination to increase public awareness and support of the rich tradition of arts and humanities on campus and throughout Iowa led him to declare academic year 2004-2005 the Year of Arts and Humanities, a time to celebrate that rich tradition and forge cultural linkages between the academic community and communities around the state. The Year of the Arts and Humanities is supported by the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice-president for Research and the Graduate College.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Susan Henricks, 563-589-4126,; Stephen Bloom, 319-335-3368,

PHOTOS/GRAPHICS: Photos for this article may be found at