The fresh script and musical score explore the unlikely yet enchanting convergence of the beauty of art and the crippling power of addiction. With music from Jimmy Kennedy and Joe Weismann of the Minnesota band “The Smarts,” the musical exploration of recovery through art depicts artistic entanglement in an unprecedented way.
Kennedy and Weismann played in the house band for the former MPR show “In the Loop.” After further collaboration with Grosch, they decided to team to make this idea a reality.
The artistic team also boasts the presence of consulting producer Sandy Hey and codirector and arranger Dennis Curley,
Based on the real-life experiences of formerly down-and-out Hastings artist David Cook, this stage adaptation is inspired by a book written by Cook and Janet Letnes Martin. Cook, known locally as “the Flower Bomber” for his public art installations of massive, vibrant flowers, once served as a lawnboy for many women in Minnetonka.
The musical tells the story of Cook, a graduate of Minnetonka High School, and his improbable friendship with Janet Letnes Martin. This served as inspiration for Grosch to develop this project as well as the successful and critically acclaimed musical series “Church Basement Ladies,” which ran at the Plymouth playhouse.
Cook himself is actually working on the show as the set decorator. His art is pivotal to the musical; it is used both as decoration and as main characters in the plot. The costumes incorporate elements of Cook’s makeshift sculptures. Furthermore, his works of art come to life in the musical as his “ladies.”
“David’s art uses broken and found objects to create something beautiful,” said Grosch. “I love that, in a sense, this entire musical was also created from found objects, right down to the music.”
A defining element of the musical is the show-within-a show dynamic.
“There’s the campy, musical world where they sing and dance,” Grosch said. “Interspersed with that is the real world, the black and white world, in a suburban garage where a recent widow takes in an ex-drug addict and they stumble through their lives.”
Grosch summed up the essence of the story.
“Janet and David are just two people who have problems,” she said. “And yes, he’s an artist so there’s a unique twist to the story, but it’s just a story about two people who are trying to make their way through life. Even though this may not be your story, that’s sort of the same struggle we all have.”