2021 Young Audience Outreach Tour

El Guayabo /
The Guava Tree

Book and Lyrics by Diana Grisanti
Music by Emiliano Messiez
Directed by Ismael Lara, Jr.

Performing at the Virginia Christensen Multi Use Facility (Creede Recreation Center)
Friday, August 27th @ 11:00am
Saturday, August 28th @ 11:00am
FREE! Reservations Encouraged


Emiliano is all grown up now, but he has a story to share about the hardest year of his life: the 3rd grade. This was the year Emiliano moved from Mexico to Colorado – from one tiny mountain town to another – uprooting everything he had ever loved. El Guayabo / The Guava Tree is a story of displacement and resilience, of thinking back on the bullies who hurt us and the friends who saved us.

Now in its 38th season, The Young Audience Outreach Tour’s mission is to bring high quality musical theatre to rural and underserved communities. This program annually produces an original children’s show for students in grades K-6 grade that tours throughout the Southwest, serving over 37,000 young people.


Ismael Lara, Jr.

Music Director
Emiliano Messiez

Scenic Designer
Lisa Duncan

Properties Designer
AnnDee Alvidrez

Costume Designer
Elly Hunt

Assistant Costume Designer
Will Ward

Sound Designer
Jake Harbour

EDI Facilitation
Alyssa Peters

Stage Managers
Sky Bradley
Olivia Zapater-Charrette


Emily Diaz
Brandon Guzman

Patty de le Garza
Julian Alexander Ibarra


Developed under CRT’s Headwaters New Play Program.


Clarence V. LaGuardia Foundation
Dane G. Hansen Foundation
Krueger Charitable Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Robert Hoag Rawlings Foundation

John DiAntonio

Director’s Note

Ismael Lara, Jr. 

El Guayabo sprouted in the midst of story sharing. Diana, our incredible playwright, and I were bouncing ideas off of one another when a story from the past came to mind. A story of resilience from a younger student of mine. As an educator, I’ve been blessed to learn from many students who have experienced difficult times in their lives and I’m always inspired when they’re able to find joy in their hardships. I think I’m most in awe of some children’s ability at showcasing the wisdom to hold two truths in their hands. 

The story I shared goes a little something like this: A few years ago, a student of mine shared a thought conjured from a simple gaze at a tree that had suffered loss of leaves through the Winter. After a few silent moments of staring out of the window, watching the leafless tree sway in the wind, he gently and poetically uttered, “I love trees. Know why, Mr.?” “Why?” I replied. “Because it doesn’t matter if it’s raining, snowing, hot or cold — the leaves keep falling and go away in the Winter, but they always come back. They always grow back. That’s why.” I sat. Shocked for a moment. Wondering what it was about nature that helped us understand resilience and I saw in his eyes this deep yearning for connection. It was a need to be understood and a hopefulness that everything would eventually be okay. 

In El Guayabo, Emi takes us on a journey back to a time when his life was in transition. We see that even if saddened by uprooting everything he loves to move to America, once he arrives, he still finds the courage to plant seeds. Those seeds quickly begin to heal him and sprout a beautiful friendship with a lifelong companion, Iris. Emi, too, learns that resilience is inherent and like a tree in the spring we watch his new leaves emerge. What I hope we glean from this play is the truth that friendship and togetherness have the power to pull us out of difficult situations. 

With hope, 

Ismael Lara, Jr.