2022 Young Audience Outreach Tour


Book and Lyrics by Diana Grisanti
Music by Emiliano Messiez
Directed by Ismael Lara, Jr.
Choregraphed by Bethany Eilean Talley

Aug 26 – 27 @ 9:00am | Performing at the Virginia Christensen Multi Use Facility (Creede Rec Center) | FREE!

Cousins Bruna and Fernando belong to the third generation of a busy restaurant family. They spend their days together, doing homework in the kitchen and making Shirley Temples behind the bar. It’s a pretty good life! That is, until their beloved grandmother, Alfonsa, passes away. Not only was Alfonsa an amazing chef, but she was also the glue that held the family together. Now her grown children—Bruna’s mom and Fernando’s dad—won’t stop fighting. It’s up to the cousins (and of course, Alfonsa’s ghost!) to help the grownups navigate their grief, regulate their emotions, and keep the restaurant afloat. Casa Alfonsa is an upbeat musical featuring song, dance, and many, many puppets.

About YAOT: Now in its 39th 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.

Book & Lyrics
Diana Grisanti

Composer & Music Director
Emiliano Messiez

Bethany Eilean Talley

Scenic Designer
Lisa Duncan

Costume Designer
Jill Van Brussel

Sound Designer
Jenni Harbour

Tour Managers
Sky Bradley
Storm Dolente


Brandon Guzman
Angelika Menendez

Zoe Rodriguez
Nico Watson

Developed under CRT’s Headwaters New Play Program.

Clarence V. LaGuardia Foundation
Dane G. Hansen Foundation
David Cohen Charitable Fund
Krueger Charitable Foundation
Leo Gilbert Whetherill Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
Robert Hoag Rawlings Foundation


Diana Grisanti

Diana Grisanti is a playwright, educator, and Co-Artistic Director of Theatre [502] in Louisville, Kentucky. She wrote Creede Rep’s 2019 KID Show Derring-Do and the 2021 Young Audience Outreach Tour El Guayabo. Some of her other plays include Lawbreakers! (a fast and furious history of women’s suffrage) (StageOne Family Theatre); Bowling for Beginners (Vanderbilt University); The Patron Saint of Losing Sleep (Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte); River City (National New Play Network); and The Starkweather-South High School Physics Club First Annual End-of-Year Lock-In, or Ghost Party (Cleveland Play House). Diana has been a Michener Fellow, a Kentucky Arts Council Fellow, and a Writer in Residence at Vanderbilt University. She teaches playwriting at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Ismael Lara Jr.

Ismael Lara, Jr. is a Mexican director currently residing in Chicago. His mission is to uplift and examine the work of artists who identify within the Latine diaspora. Selected credits: Last Hermanos (A Red Orchid); In His Hands (Northwestern); El Guayabo (Creede Rep); Tomás & The Library Lady, The Displaced (Northwestern); Lily Plants A Garden, The Thing I Hold (Hangar Theater), And All the Dead Lie Down (ConCon), The Elephant Man (French Creek). He’s developed plays with CPT at Entry Point, Playwrights Local, Creede Rep, Kane Rep, Rec Room Arts, The Lark and National Queer Theatre. Assistant credits: The Leopard Play, or sad songs for lost boys (Steep, World Premiere), I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Steppenwolf, World Premiere), The Chinese Lady, Junk, Christmas at Pemberley (Milwaukee Rep). Ismael is a recipient of a Drama League Fellowship and the current Artistic Fellow at Northlight Theater.

Emiliano Messiez

Emiliano is an Argentinean composer and pianist based in New York City. He composed CRT’s 2021 Young Audience Outreach Tour: El Guayabo. With a very versatile and personal sound, he is the composer of Bordello, a musical awarded by the National Alliance of Musical Theater (NAMT) and the Broadway Bound Theater Festival. He is the orchestrator of Ghost in the Machine, a new musical written by Janine Robledo. As a performer, he is the pianist of the Broadway and London hit Forever Tango and he directs his own orchestra Típica Messiez a 10 piece Tango Orchestra. He is educated in classical music , jazz, tango, rock and latin american rhythms and he has performed all around the world in venues such as The Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of New York and The Houston Opera Theater, among others with some of the world’s top musicians such as Paquito de Rivera, Diego El Cigala, Dino Saluzzi, Concha Buika, Raul Jaurena, Fernando Otero and Pedro Giraudo, among others.

Bethany Eilean Talley

This is Bethany’s tenth season with the Creede Repertory Theatre. Most recently she devised and directed the 2021 KID Show: The Tree Watcher, choreographed the Young Audience Outreach Tour: El Guayabo, Little Shop of Horrors, and The Wizard of Oz. Her favorite CRT credits include: Greta in General Store, Cookie in Ghostlight, Rebecca Gibbs in Our Town, a Hot Box Dancer in Guys & Dolls, and Boomtown!. Other credits: Viola in Twelfth Night (Colorado Shakespeare Festival Education Tour), Berdine in Psycho Beach Party (THEATREWORKS), Maggie in Lend Me a Tenor (Vintage Theatre), Frieda in Sunday in the Park with George (Playhouse 22), and most recently Ma in The Kid from Kittlerumpit (Talespinner Children’s Theatre). BFA Acting, Brigham Young University.

John DiAntonio

Ismael Lara Jr.

Director’s Note

As I write this note, it is a day after my Momo Nides’ (maternal grandmother, Leonides Nevarez Garcia) birthday. She would have been 79 years old, but ALS took her away from us in 2009. The most beautiful things about her were her infectious laughter and her love for sharing food. She constantly and graciously extended the invitation for family to commune around her table, to be fed with homemade tortillas and laughter.

In a Mexican family, we often use food as a way to express love; it is very much a love language. This love is manifested in the hours, care and patience it takes to prepare food and the gift of passing on the secret touch it takes to carry on the legacy of a recipe. In Casa Alfonsa, we are met with the loss of a matriarch. A loss that I’ve experienced and one that I fear every day as my fraternal grandmother, Abuelita Maria, soars through her 90s.

Losing Alfonsa, aka Mamá Poncha, puts a spotlight on her legacy and the need to keep her alive through her Tortillas de Maíz. When one child loses sense of tradition and another is clinging onto it, the necessity to keep Mamá Poncha alive creates a sibling conflict that only the younger generation can heal. It is this younger generation that helps the elders understand the importance of forgiveness and what it means to keep the beautiful legacy of our ancestors alive.

This is not unlike what I believe to be happening in our country at this very moment. We are in the hands of a younger generation, who are healing generational trauma and undoing the harm that has been caused before them in order to build a better future.

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