Fresno State’s University Theatre will present the world premiere of “Blue Willow,” a production weaving past and present voices of the migrant workers in the Central Valley, May 6 to 14 (excluding May 9 to 11) with daily show times at 7:30 p.m. and a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee in the John Wright Theatre in the University’s Speech Arts building.

Free tickets for Fresno State students, faculty and staff will be available for the May 7 performance on a first-come, first-served basis through a collaboration with University President Joseph I. Castro, the College of Arts and Humanities and the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. Tickets can be claimed from noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 4, through Friday, May 6, by visiting the University Theatre Box Office in the Speech Arts building.

Influenced by the young adult novel “Blue Willow” written by Doris Gates, a longtime Fresno librarian, playwright Pamela Sterling incorporates oral histories of local migrants from the Great Depression in the 1930s to our most recent recession in 2007.

Director and theatre arts professor J. Daniel Herring said the story has been coined “Fresno’s ‘Grapes of Wrath.’”

Set in the San Joaquin Valley, the story examines the relationship of the Larkin and Romero families as their daughters Janey (Chlorissa Prothro, Fresno State theatre arts major) and Lupe (Karina Rodriguez, Fresno State theatre arts major) connect and collectively struggle and persevere through poverty and farm labor during the depression-era and beyond.

“I was drawn in by the opportunity to share stories that reflect our Central Valley and the stories of the migrants and immigrants that have shaped our region,” Herring said. “To bring a world premiere to the campus of Fresno State that is representative of the diversity of our University and gives our students and community the chance to connect with characters that reflect their own narratives is a tremendous honor.”

Tickets are $17 for adults; $15 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni and military; and $10 for students. Group rates are available. Box office hours are noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays and one hour before each performance.

Parking is free for shows on Friday through Sunday night. For Thursday night’s show, parking permits are required in parking lots on campus and can be acquired by calling the box office at 559.278.2216.

For more information, contact the box office at 559.278.2216 or