Children’s Theatre Company – Seedfolks

Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) is the nation’s largest and most acclaimed theatre for multigenerational audiences.  It creates theatre experiences that educate, challenge, and inspire for more than 300,000 people annually.  CTC is the only theatre focused on young audiences to win the coveted Tony Award® for Outstanding Regional Theatre and is the only theatre in Minnesota to receive three Tony® nominations (for its production of A Year with Frog and Toad).  CTC is committed to producing world class productions at the highest level and to developing new works, more than 200 to date, dramatically changing the canon of work for young audiences.

CTC’s engagement and learning programs annually serve more than 85,000 students ages 2-18 through Theatre Arts Training, student matinees, Bridges, and early childhood arts education programs that bring students to the theatre and bring teaching artists into the classroom.  The ACT One program is CTC’s comprehensive platform for access, diversity, and inclusion in our audiences, programs, staff, and board that strives to ensure the theatre is a home for all people, all families, reflective of our community.

For 3rd to 8th grade

Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) is proud to present Seedfolks, a world premiere developed by CTC through the new play development lab. Based on the Newbery Medal-winning book by Paul Fleischman, Seedfolks is about an immigrant neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio that is transformed by a community garden. Actor Sonja Parks embodies the eleven distinct voices of Gibb Street in this enthralling, one-woman production, directed by Peter C. Brosius.

For Peter Brosius, this book has long been one he wished to stage. “This is a beautifully written, funny and poignant book about the power we all have to be catalysts for change. We came to the decision to use one single actor to portray eleven, diverse voices in this production as a demonstration that we are all part of a whole, and together, we can create something beautiful.”

Seedfolks begins when nine-year-old Kim plants the first seeds in the rat-infested, vacant lot next to her apartment building. They are six lima bean seeds, planted in honor of the father she never knew. Slowly, each member of the community finds a reason to plant their own seeds, resurrecting a derelict lot and uniting a fractured neighborhood.  The story consists of 11 different narratives around the shared experience of creating a true neighborhood jewel out of what was an eye-sore, all deftly portrayed by Sonja Parks (Aimee Bryant will replace Parks for the final week of performances).

Parks mused, “What I love about CTC is its respect for children as the intelligent little people they are, inviting them and their parents to be part of an experience from which you always learn something, regardless of age.”

Enthused author Paul Fleischman says, “It’s always exciting to hand one’s work to artists in other realms.  So many new possibilities open up when you move from a book to a play: lighting, music, an actor’s presence, pauses between lines that can’t be rendered on the page.” The book is written in the style of multiple points of view which is a hallmark of his fiction.

Jorge Cousineau will bring the world of Cleveland’s Gibb Street to life as the set and video projection designer with costumes by Sonja Berlovitz and lighting design by Paul Whitaker. Victor Zupanc is the composer with sound design by Sean Healey. D’Arcy Smith is the dialect coach and Joe Chvala choreographs.

Creative Team & Production Staff

Set and Projection Designer:  Jorge Cousineau

Costume Designer: Sonya Berlovitz

Lighting Designer: Paul Whitaker

Composer:  Victor Zupanc

Sound Designer:  Sean Healey

Dialect Coach: D’Arcy Smith

Choreographer: Joe Chvala

Dramaturg: Elissa Adams

Cast

Sonja Parks

CTC credits include: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (2002); Snapshot Silhouette (2004); Splash Hatch on the E Going Down (2005); Anon(ymous) (2006); Sleeping Beauty; and Antigone (2003, 2006). Her other Twin Cities credits include work at Penumbra Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre and Pillsbury House Theatre. She studied at the University of Texas, the Dance Theatre of Harlem and The National Black Theatre under the direct tutelage of its founder and artistic director, the late Dr. Barbra Ann Teer. She has extensive television and film credits, working with prominent professionals such as Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Martin Sheen, Faye Dunaway and Gloria Ruben. She was one of the original members of poet/playwright Sharon Bridgforth’s celebrated root wy’mn Theatre Company, touring nationally with them for three years, and her one-person show with the company was nominated for an Osborn Award by The American Theatre Critics Association. She taught acting as a member of the Theatre Arts faculty at the University of Minnesota for six years and Advanced Acting & Voice for Penumbra Theatre’s Summer Institute Program for four years.  Her recognitions and awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a McKnight Artist Fellowship, a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, two Ivey Awards (Acting, 2009; Directing, 2010), a featured artist in Time Magazine and named one of “Seven Artists You Must See” by American Theatre Magazine.

Seedfolks Review- Broadway World

October 2014

Sonja Parks gives a brilliant performance in this one-woman show, playing over a dozen characters of varying age, gender, and ethnicity.” 

Click here for Broadway World Review


Seedfolks Review- Girl Meets Broadway

October 2014

“…very thought provoking and made me wonder how many people do I come across on a regular basis that if given the opportunity to get to know them a little better… are not that much different after all.”

Click here for GMB Review

Seedfolks Review- Star Tribune

February 2014

“… a show about origins and about hope” 

Click here for Star Tribune Review


Elephant and Piggie 002 - Photo by Teresa Wood