This month, we checked in with Alisa Belflower from the Lied Center for the Performing Arts about their upcoming premiere of Puddin’ and the Grumble, written by Becky Boesen and David Von Kampen.
Puddin’ has big dreams and a big problem. She has to move in with her grandmother, a quirky former lounge singer who isn’t expecting a roommate. Puddin’ misses her mom, struggles with math, and is starting to feel as empty as her own tummy, when she realizes a Grumble is living inside her! Join Puddin’ and her trusty purple llama Wuzzlebutt on their heartbreaking and hilarious journey. Told through the eyes of a plucky fifth-grader, Puddin’ and the Grumble is an uplifting new family musical that takes an unconventional approach in addressing childhood hunger.
How did Puddin’ and the Grumble find its way to the Lied Center?
[Lyricist and Librettist] Becky Boesen and [the Lied Center’s Education & Community Engagement Director] Petra Wahlqvist were incensed by a news story about a school in Utah, where school lunches had been taken away from elementary school students with delinquent lunch accounts. They immediately agreed their next big project at the Lied Center would revolve around the hunger epidemic, and its effect on families and children. A Lied Center commission for a new musical addressing childhood hunger opened the door.
What involvement did the Lied Center have in the show’s development?
Through their work for the Lied Center, Boesen and Wahlqvist have been meeting with young students in an after-school club to facilitate journaling and to work one-on-one with the students to further develop their writing. “The Clinton Creative Club is giving us an inside glimpse into what it’s like to be a fifth grader. Their contributions are vital to the project,” said Boesen.
What makes Puddin’ and the Grumble a good fit for your audience and community?
The Lied Center in collaboration with local non-profits recently initiated a campaign to build awareness and find a long-term, sustainable solution to end childhood hunger in the greater Lincoln area. “We were surprised to learn that a staggering number of Lincoln children aren’t getting enough to eat. The Grumble Project will utilize the performing arts to examine issues surrounding hunger and food insecurity,” said the Lied Center’s Executive Director, Bill Stephan. Central to The Grumble Project is the commission and production of the new musical, Puddin’ and the Grumble.
What is a moment from the show you’re particularly excited to share with your audiences?
Composer David von Kampen shares, “I’m excited to share with the audience the scene where Puddin’ and the Grumble come face to face for the first time. The scene includes the musical’s title song, when the young girl faces a personification of her own hunger. The Grumble’s theme is based on the musical ideas of the rumbling of hunger and the noise of monsters. The recurring darkness of the Grumble is balanced by music giving voice to the joy and humor in everyday life.”
Why should everyone check out the show this March?
Puddin’ and the Grumble offers the rare opportunity to see a new family musical that offers an equal appeal both to children and adults. The show is fun and packed with humor, even as it focuses on positive ways for families to overcome life’s challenges.