The Curry family consists of patriarch H.C., smart and capable daughter Lizzie, older son Noah who runs the ranch, and the youngest, the easygoing Jimmy. The boys are worried about Lizzie's future and try to marry her off, first by sending her to a nearby town to stay with a family with six sons, then by inviting the local deputy over for dinner. But Lizzie isn't like other the other girls in town, flighty and flirty and intent on "getting a man the way he needs to get got." She speaks her mind, and thinks that no man would want her because she's always been told that she's plain. One hot, dry night, a stranger shows up and offers them something they're all craving - rain. Gullible Nathan believes him, practical Lizzie and Noah do not, but H.C. wants to give it a chance just in the hopes of something happening.
Something does happen, maybe not what they expected, but something that changes all of their lives. Whether or not Starbuck is a rainmaker as he claims remains to be seen, but what he is is a dreamweaver, a catalyst for change to get them out of this rut they've fallen into. He's Professor Harold Hill, come to sell River City, or in this case, the Curry family, something more than a big band or rain, something much more vital - hope for the future, faith in something, and a belief in oneself. He teaches Lizzie to say "I'm pretty" and mean it, but it's not really about being "pretty," it's about believing she's a beautiful woman deserving of love and happiness and all that life has to offer. Even though the plotline about "marry her off before she becomes an old maid" could seem sexist and offensive, it's a product of its time and really represents any longed for and almost given up dream.
|Lizzie and Starbuck (Dawn Brodey and |
Peter Christian Hansen, photo by Keri Pickett)
|the Curry family at breakfast (photo by Keri Pickett)|
This play marks the opening of Yellow Tree Theatre's 7th season in the little strip mall in Osseo. I've been with them since the 3rd season, and it's been a pleasure to watch them grow and succeed. They have a wonderful pool of talent that they regularly pull from, but to see them bring in the likes of Ivey Award winners Craig Johnson and Peter Hansen says a lot about how far they've come. I love to see the mixing and mingling of talent at theaters around town; I think it makes everyone better, as can be seen in this piece. The Rainmaker is a beautiful play and a beautiful experience at the theater. Head up to Osseo and spend some time with these warm, funny, stubborn, flawed, relatable people as someone comes into their lives and shakes things up so they'll never be the same.