Defying Gravity at the Columbia Memorial Space Center

Tickets are available for Defying Gravity, a play by Jane Anderson, at the Columbia Memorial Space Center April 28-May 14th, 2017. This is a heartfelt portrait of the lives affected by the Challenger Space Shuttle Tragedy, produced by the Downey Arts Coalition.

Tickets are $20, or $15 for students and members of the Columbia Memorial Space Center. To purchase online, visit the link below for the City of Downey’s Active Communities portal, which is used for registration for city activities. To receive the student price, please call (562) 231-1200 to order.

To purchase tickets, click here. Tickets are also available at the door, which opens one hour prior to the show.

Here are direct links for the individual performances:

Performances are at the Columbia Memorial Space Center, 12400 Columbia Way, Downey, CA 90242

This an outdoor amphitheater, so please dress accordingly. In the event of rain, the show will be moved indoors.

About the Show

Dramatic, comic, and deeply moving… Defying Gravity is an impressionistic collage that explores the emotional core of the 1986 Challenger Shuttle disaster. At the center is the teacher selected as the first civilian in space. Past, present, and future lives weave together, drawing parallels with art, religion, relationships and science. Artist Claude Monet takes the audience and play’s characters on a quest of the perspectives, aspirations, guilt and fear that stimulates our fascination with space. Our upwardly aspiring nature cannot be checked by one single tragedy.

Reviews of the play from its off-broadway debut:

Flies high in its attempt to describe man’s fascination with space and its conquest…. You will certainly not be bored. ” – New York Post

[A] clever and uplifting fantasy … [with] ear catching musings about art, religion and the outer limits of human possibility.” – New York Times

The Production

The outdoor amphitheater of the Columbia Memorial Space Center will be outfitted as a functioning theatre, with theatrical lighting, video projection, original music and historical NASA recordings of the event. Audiences will be both elated and moved by the emotional highs and lows of this stunning moment in history. This engaging experience will bring our community together around the grand ideals and harsh realities of reaching for the stars. There is much to learn for those that experienced the event in their lifetimes, as well as the next generation that was born after the tragedy took place.  

The Columbia Memorial Space Center was built by the City of Downey as a monument to the efforts of ordinary men and women who played a major role in the success of the US space program through their work at North American Rockwell. This play is a family event that will allow all generations to come together to experience a pivotal chapter in aerospace history.

Cast & Crew

The Teacher … Kerry Wieder

Elizabeth, her daughter … Bianca Meiloaica

Ed, a retiree … Daniel Houston-Davila

Betty, his wife … Peggy Painton

C.B., an engineer … Zach Johnson-Dunlop

Donna, a bartender … Jaime Soria

Monet, the painter … Forrest Hartl

Directed by … Lana Wahlquist

Producer … Andrew Wahlquist

Co-Producer … Rebecca Lane

Assistant Director … Alistair Hunter


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