The journey begins with a nine-year-old Vietnamese girl who, in memory of the farmer father she never knew, decides to plant a few dried lima beans in a vacant lot strewn with garbage. Others in the working-class, mostly immigrant neighborhood take notice of this little girl and her growing plants, and decide to join in. Some miss the feeling of growing something in the ground that they had in the old country, some want to earn money for college, some want to impress a girl, some need to heal from a past hurt, some just like bringing people together. One woman lobbies the city to remove the garbage from the lot, making more room for plants to grow. At the end of the summer, when the harvest comes in, the community joins together to celebrate, sharing food, music, and stories. Then winter comes, the plants die off, snow covers the garden, and everyone retreats into their individual homes (sound familiar?). But when spring returns, will the garden, and with it, the community?
|Sonja Parks (photo by Dan Norman)|
This is different than any other CTC show I've seen, which granted has not been many. It's not a big, splashy, colorful, fun musical. It's more quiet and intimate, but just as mesmerizing for older kids and adults (recommended for grades 3-8, you might want to leave the squirmy little ones at home, or take them to the other show playing at CTC right now, Busytown the Musical). Head to the Children's Theatre between now and November 16 to see this beautiful inspiring story brought to vivid life by Sonja Parks (Aimee Bryant will take over the role on November 7, and is sure to bring her own wonderful spin to the characters).
*Adaptation written in a collaboration between Peter Brosius, Sonja Parks, and director of new play development Elissa Adams.
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.