LSU Music and Dramatic Arts, Business Partner on “Nickel and Dimed” Talkback

Christine Cheng and Brian Andrews sitting on stage and talking

Following a performance of "Nickel and Dimed," Christine Cheng and Brian Andrews talk about the challenges faced by those living on minimum wage.  

June 1, 2018

BATON ROUGE – A partnership between the LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts and the E. J. Ourso College of Business yielded a compelling talkback about the challenges of living on minimum wage. The discussion followed a performance of “Nickel and Dimed,” Joan Holden’s adaptation of Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2001 best-seller “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.”

The play details Ehrenreich’s firsthand research into life as a minimum-wage worker. She soon finds herself working double-shifts, taking handfuls of pain relievers in lieu proper medical care, sharing a tiny room and living on fast food because she has nowhere to prepare meals. Written in the 1990s, this story of America’s working poor still resonates with contemporary audiences.

The April 15 talkback titled “Challenges of Living on Minimum Wage” featured Christine Cheng, an assistant professor in the Department of Accounting, and Brian Andrews, an instructor in the Department of Finance. Kristin Sosnowsky, executive associate dean of the College of Music and Dramatic Arts, moderated the discussion.

Cheng discussed the marriage tax penalty and its impact on lower income families.

Andrews talked about a lack of affordable housing and stressed that communities must find ways to make housing available to the working class and those living at the poverty level. "Having safe and secure living conditions is a must for any individual or family, but those living conditions are beyond the reach of many because of a poor wage structure and lack of affordable housing,” said Andrews. “This play shone a light on the plight that they encounter every day. I am proud of the School of Theatre for this production."

About the College of Music and Dramatic Arts
For more than a century, LSU has cultivated a rich tradition of musical and theatrical art forms. The College of Music and Dramatic Arts proudly carries that heritage into the 21st century, by preparing students for modern leadership roles and careers in the performing arts, as well as providing outreach and cultural enrichment to the community. The Schools of Music and Theatre within the College of Music & Dramatic Arts offer a comprehensive selection of degree programs at the bachelors, masters and doctoral levels. For more visit

About the E. J. Ourso College of Business
Since its establishment in 1928, the E. J. Ourso College of Business has continuously improved and expanded its offerings for students and alumni. Additionally, the college has made it a priority to provide its faculty with the resources it needs to further research in every aspect of the business world and to produce industry leaders for a global work environment. For more news and information about the E. J. Ourso College, visit

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