IRT Presents “Tomato Plant Girl” for Young Audiences

Monday, July 7 2014

MOSCOW, Idaho – June 30, 2014 – Being a kid isn’t always easy. Making friends, dealing with bullies, peer pressure — it’s not fun and games all of the time. With “Tomato Plant Girl,” opening July 10 at the University of Idaho Hartung Outdoor Theater, young audiences are taken on an empowering journey with funny and quirky characters they’ll find recognizable and relatable, said Travis Gray, director of the Idaho Repertory Theatre’s 2014 summer youth theatre project.

Performances are at 7 p.m. July 10-12, 24-26, and 31 and August 1-2 at the University of Idaho Hartung Outdoor Theater. Tickets are $5 for youth age 16 and under and $15 for adults, and are available at BookPeople of Moscow, at the UI Theatre Arts Office in Shoup Hall Room 201 or at the door.

Written by Wesley Middleton, “Tomato Plant Girl” uses sharp dialogue, physical action and high-energy encounters to explore relationships. Characters include “Little Girl,” the new kid in town; “Bossy Best Friend,” who likes to be in control; and “Tomato Plant Girl,” a magical, messy girl-creature who comes between the two with her new ideas about the meaning of friendship.

“For me, the play is about finding yourself, and subsequently finding your own strength and happiness,” Gray said. “We can all learn from Little Girl’s journey, and risk being ‘different’ in order to be ourselves,” he said.

The play comes at a time when the topic of bullying is a concern among parents and schools, and Gray said this helps to add to the importance of the message. But he is sensitive to delivering it in a way that is fun and engaging.

“Part of the reason I’m in theatre is that I refuse to grow up,” said Gray, who is an MFA student in the University of Idaho Theatre Arts department. “I’m still very much in touch with my inner child, and doing theatre appeals to me in that way. There is just something magical about theatre, and my hope is that magic is transferred from the stage to our audiences, young and old.”

Helping Gray make the play come alive are cast members Lauren Walters, Maggie Miller, Lo Miles, and Edward Pitcher as the off-stage Mother.

“Each one of them brings their own unique talents and strengths to the table,” Gray said. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun making a wonderful show.”

For more information about the show or tickets, visit or call 208-885-6465.

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit