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Quest Theatre’s ‘Tomato Queen’ Delights Child And Adult Alike

pc_tomatoIt takes time and quite a bit of trial and error before Camina becomes the Tomato Queen in Quest Theatre Ensemble’s free Friday production of the musical by the same name. But along the way, this headstrong girl learns about patience, hard work, and the qualities that lead to real friendship.

Written by Quest Theatre Ensemble members Christine Hodak and Scott Lamps, the Tomato Queen is a new musical fable that uses life-sized puppets to bring outsized characters and concepts to life.

When Camina is sent to Mr. Bogs’ Commercial Success Camp, she’s the only camper at what is clearly not a success. Nevertheless, through her own efforts to grow tomatoes from seed, Camina inadvertently disproves at least two of Mr. Bogs’ axioms: “Working alone is the ideal situation for success,” and “You’ll know you’ve made it when you are surrounded by enemies.”

“One of the goals that we have at Quest is to do shows that kind of have a universal theme and that speak broadly about the human experience,” said Andy Park, the musical’s artistic director. He pointed to the lessons Camina learns about friendship. “There are things that are more important than success.”

Meanwhile, the Tomato Queen is seeing its own successes. Park said the general response has been positive, and one person commented that while the musical has a children’s vibe, adults can relate to it, too.

Puppets are a big part of that. The dreaded hornworm, which destroys one set of tomato plants on the orders of the madly entertaining Evil Scientist, was one 5-year-old’s favorite part of the performance. Other characters brought to life by the seven-member cast are just as amusing.

The Tomato Queen takes place on Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. now until March 29 in The Blue Theatre, located in the basement of St. Gregory Parish, 1609 W. Gregory St.,one block south of W. Bryn Mawr Avenue off of N. Ashland Avenue.

For more information on this free performance, visit www.questensemble.org.


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