Into the Valley Below

Written by Liliana Rossi and Corinne Fox

Produced by Torie Dunlap
Directed by Liliana Rossi and Evan Gorman

All that glitters is not gold in the American Gilded Age; a struggle between the leisure of the rich and the safety of the poor unfolds in a small Pennsylvania valley. This original play carries on the legacy of those whose lives were forever altered on May 31, 1889 by a disaster the likes of which the country had never seen. Delve into whether it was homicidal negligence or an Act of God that caused the greatest loss of American civilian life up until September 11, 2001. Based on a true story.

Performances will be held on March 23 (SOLD OUT!), 24 (limited tickets available), 30, and 31 (SOLD OUT!) at 7:30pm at StageCoach Theatre in Ashburn, VA.

Reservations are encouraged. $20 + $3 service fee per person. If not sold out, tickets sold at the door will be $23.

Livestream reservations are $20 + $3.95 service fee per device.

View the show program here. 

“Into The Valley Below” began as a challenge from Potomac Falls High School teacher Corrine Fox to one of her students: self-described amateur historian Lilliana Rossi who loves to write and also perform as an actor among her many pursuits, in 2021. When the South Fork Dam failed after heavy rain in May of 1889, the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania—located 14 miles downstream on the Conemaugh River—became the epicenter of the worst American man-made disaster at the time, with 2,208 people perishing in the event. America would not see catastrophic loss of life like this until September 11, 2001. “[Fox] grew up in Pennsylvania and hadn’t really heard of this,” Rossi said, “Which means [a lot] of the general public had not heard about this. It felt like such an important event [in history] to be glossed over, so I wanted to bring more attention to it.” Rossi and Fox collaborated to write a one-act show telling the story of the flood and the people involved in the tragedy, and the play has since been performed at the Virginia High School League drama competition, Potomac Falls High School’s 25th anniversary celebration, and internationally at the world’s largest performing arts festival: The Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2022. With “Into The Valley Below”’s success locally and internationally, StageCoach Theatre took an interest in producing a full two-act version of the show. 

StageCoach Theatre Company Education Administrator Torie Dunlap produced the show. She mentored the creative team made entirely of high school students: directors Liliana Rossi and Evan Gorman, stage manager Tony Marshak, lighting designer Aimee Wakefield, and sound designer Daniel Prothe. The show will feature the acting talents of students across LCPS and beyond: Naman Ghadiali, Mason Saunders. Issac Rossi, Landon Ulrich, Sophia Castillo, Charles Fisher, Sebastian Trujilo, Lily Simanski, Mila Krsmanovic, Kaylee Rodriguez, Kylie Lewandowski, Liliana Rossi ,Tony Marsha, Aimee Wakefield, Sarah Chung, Daniel Prothe (Potomac Falls High School); Izzy Jewell, Chris Shuffleton, Cai Reeps, Evan Gorman (Woodgrove High School); Heidi Dodd (Foxcroft School); Rahmah Hagmagid (George Washington Online High School); Madi Saunders, Liam Tully, Lily Cook (River Bend Middle School); Emma Nicholson (J. Lupton Simpson Middle School); and Tess Will (Dominion Trail Elementary School).