STREAMING OCTOBER 9TH!

For Immediate Release 

Contact: In-Fin Tuan, 651-292-4328 pr@historytheatre.com  

History Theatre at Home streaming Sweet Land, the Musical Experience the poignant, lyrical celebration of land, love online  

SAINT PAUL, MN (July 14, 2020) – History Theatre at Home is proud to present Sweet Land, the musical from the writing team of Perrin Post (book), Laurie Flanigan Hegge (lyrics and book), and Dina Maccabee (music). This moving new musical will be available to stream online October 9-22. For details, visit historytheatre.com. 

The musical is based upon the the movie “Sweet Land,” a beloved indie feature by filmmaker Ali Selim, which was in turn inspired by A Gravestone Made of Wheat, a short story by award-winning Minnesota author Will Weaver. The musical’s touching love story follows Inge Altenberg, a German immigrant who, in the wake of WW I, arrives in Minnesota to marry a Norwegian bachelor, sight unseen, and is ostracized by the community. The critically acclaimed musical has been called “…a thoroughly human story of enduring love…,” “…a beautiful story of love, community, and connection to the land…,” and “…a heart-warming and heart-winning piece of musical theater.” 

“The story of Sweet Land belongs to all of us,” said Hegge. “Our ancestries may be different, but each of us has a story about where, how, and why our families came to be. Many of our families were considered ‘other’ at some point. We want to believe we are loving and accepting when welcoming outsiders into our communities. The truth is, we often fall short.”

“In 1917, Germans represented the single largest ethnic group in Minnesota. With the outbreak of World War I, the environment towards German Americans turned deeply hostile. Suddenly, loyalties were questioned, civil liberties suspended. A network of spies informed the newly-formed Minnesota Commission of Public Safety on the ‘patriotic attitudes’ of recent immigrants. Fear was institutionalized. This is the world that Inge stepped into when she arrived at Olaf Torvik’s farm.”

This stream is a closed-captioned recording of the innovative 2017 world premiere production directed by Perrin Post with musical direction by Jason Hansen and choreography by Joe Chvala at the History Theatre in St. Paul, Minnesota. The production stars Ann Michels as Inge Altenberg and features an ensemble cast of thirteen actors and musicians. 

Post is also known for her work as Artistic Director and Producer with Buffalo Gal Productions, where she created such hits as Broadway’s Legendary Ladies, Monsters, Witches & Freaks, and Vixens. Hegge’s work includes her WWII spy musical Dirty Business, a collaboration with Robert Elhai which premiered at History Theatre in 2019, as well as Hormel Girls and 20 Days to Find a Wife at History Theatre and Loose Lips Sink Ships, See Jane Vote and Boxcar at Northern Sky Theater in Door County. She serves as the Twin Cities Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild. Composer and violinist Maccabee has been an Artist-in-Residence at Headland Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA and Byrdcliffe Colony in Woodstock, NY. Her most recent instrumental album, Land So Sweet, was created as a companion piece to Sweet Land, the Musical and features Dina on fiddle in collaboration with multi-instrumentalist and Sweet Land film composer Mark Orton. (Available for download at dinamaccabee.com.) The musical’s score was orchestrated by Robert Elhai, a prolific, award-winning orchestrator for film and stage who was Tony-nominated for his orchestrations for Broadway’s The Lion King (www.robertelhai.com). 

The movie Sweet Land was recently named by Forbes as one of “Amazon Prime’s Top 250 Best Free Movies to Watch in Lockdown, According to Rotten Tomatoes” and stars Elizabeth Reaser, Tim Guinee, Lois Smith, Alan Cumming, Alex Kingston, Paul Sand, John Heard, Tim Guinee, Ned Beatty, Patrick Heusinger, and features Twin Cities actors Stephen Pelinski, Raye Birk, Stephen D’Ambrose, Stephen Yoakam, Patrick Coyle, Barbara Kingsley, Wayne A. Evenson, and Kirsten Frantzich. 

Selim’s film about Scandinavian immigrant farmers reminded Post of the stories she had heard from her Finnish grandparents. Post (who also directs the musical) recalls being so touched by the movie that she wrote a note to Selim, who shared it with Weaver. “I still don’t know why they chose me except that I was passionate about it and really cared about this simple and quiet story.”

“Inge and Olaf’s union was more than a piece of paper—it was more about the love in their hearts. When she arrives in Park Rapids, Inge doesn’t speak English, but this musical gives us the opportunity to hear her thoughts. A musical will stop, take a moment in time and elaborate, and give us a brilliant opportunity to really listen to the story,” shares Ann Michels, who plays Inge. Maccabee’s lush and haunting music helps to transform the sweeping fields of Southern Minnesota farm country into a reflective symbol for memory, family and history. 

In addition to Ann Michels, the cast includes Robert Berdahl, Tinia Moulder, Jon Andrew Hegge, Michael Gruber, Norah Long, James Ramlet, Matt Riehle and musicians fully integrated into the acting ensemble: Colleen Bertsch, Randall Davidson, Josh Ackerley, Jason Hansen (music direction) and Dylan Younger. Design team includes Paula Post (costumes), Erica Zaffarano (set), Mike Grogan (lighting), C. Andrew Mayer (sound), and Lee Christiansen (properties), Robert Elhai (orchestrations) and Joe Chvala(choreography). 

Sweet Land the musical premiered April 29-May 28, 2017 at History Theatre. 

For more information, visit www.historytheatre.com.

About History Theatre

Since 1978, History Theatre has been one of the nation’s most prolific incubators of original plays. In recent years, History Theatre has staged new works by Jeffrey Hatcher, Lee Blessing, Melanie Marnich, Craig Wright, Kim Hines, Dorie Baizley, John Olive, Kira Obolensky, and more. From the celebratory Wellstone! to the dark, complex Piece of the Rope about Minnesota’s first public execution and the hilarious Glensheen: The Musical about an infamous Minnesota murder, History Theatre has moved Minnesotans to rediscover, relive, and respect every piece of their history. A fourtime IVEY Award-winning theater, History Theatre has produced brave, entertaining explorations of all the histories that make up our diverse community. Each year History Theatre produces a season filled with excellent plays and musicals while developing new scripts through workshops and staged readings. More than 200,000 students have connected with history through matinee performances and theatre arts residencies led by History Theatre actors and teaching artists.  

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Sweet Land, the Musical  

Creative Team 

Perrin Post 

PLAYWRIGHT/DIRECTOR 

Perrin is also the Artistic Director & Producer of Buffalo Gal Productions since 1996. Buffalo Gal’s shows have been produced at The Loring Playhouse, Ordway, Bryant Lake Bowl, and John Hassler Theater. Sweet Land productions include The History Theatre premiere, Minnesota Tour, Theatre L’Homme Dieu, Anoka Ramsey College and Taproot Theatre in Seattle, Washington. Her upcoming writing projects include Big Island and Eloise & Me workshops; plus two more musicals in the research stage. sweetlandthemusical.com  

Laurie Flanigan Hegge  

PLAYWRIGHT/LYRICIST  

History Theatre Premieres: Dirty Business, Sweet Land, the Musical, 20 Days to Find a Wife Hormel Girls, and Tales Along the Minnesota Trail. Other work includes Loose Lips Sink Ships, See Jane Vote and Boxcar for Northern Sky Theater in Door County, WI. As an actor she most recently appeared onscreen in the critically acclaimed Zoom production of Diary of Anne Frank at Park Square Theatre, and on stage at History Theater in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Radio Man, and Baby Case. Laurie is the Twin Cities Regional Rep for the Dramatists Guild of America and serves as Artistic Associate at History Theatre. 

Dina Maccabee  

COMPOSER  

Dina is a composer, songwriter, and violinist/violist who works in variety of styles, from traditional music to contemporary experimental composition. She was a founding member of Real Vocal String Quartet and company composer for Berkeley’s Just Theater, and she has performed internationally with Julia Holter, Vienna Teng, Feist, and many others. Current projects include her songwriting duo Ramon & Jessica’s original, staged a cappella musical storybook for children based on text by Gertrude Stein, and a solo performance project of songs for viola, voice, and electronics. 

dinamaccabee.com  

Joe Chvala  

CHOREOGRAPHER  

Joe is the founder and artistic director of the highly-acclaimed percussive Dance Company, the Flying Foot Forum. He has directed, choreographed, and been commissioned to create new works for a variety of venues including the Guthrie Theater, Walker Art Center, Ordway Center, Minnesota Opera, Children’s Theatre Company, History Theatre and  Park Square Theatre. He has received both the Ivey and Sage awards for theater and dance as well as numerous awards, fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, Target and the McKnight Foundation.  

Robert Elhai  

MUSIC ARRANGER/ORCHESTRATOR  

Robert arranged Chan Poling’s music for History Theatre’s Glensheen, and Lord Gordon Gordon. Most recently he composed the music for History Theatre’s production of Dirty Business, Nautilus Music Theater’s production of Twisted Apples and Theater Latte Da’s C. He has arranged the music for many projects around the world (collecting a Tony Award nomination for his work on The Lion King) including over 150 film scores by A-list composers such as Elliot Goldenthal (the Oscar-winning score to Frida), Michael Kamen (Band of Brothers), Brian Tyler (The Fast and Furious movies) and Klaus Badelt (Pirates of the Caribbean). robertelhai.com. 

Ron Peluso 

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR 

Now in his 25th season as Artistic Director, Ron has commissioned over 90 playwrights and composers and produced more than 70 original works, including the popular Sisters of Swing and Beyond the Rainbow. He has alsocommissioned and directed Jeffrey Hatcher’scritically acclaimed scripts A Piece of the Rope and Tyrone & Ralph. He commissioned The Incredible Season of Ronnie Rabinovitz fromEric Simonson after directing his Broadway-hitplay Lombardi in 2012. He has directed over 175professional productions with such companiesas Florida Stage, Riverside Theatre, PennsylvaniaOpera Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, OldCreamery Theatre, and the Minnesota Opera.Ron holds an M.F.A. in Directing from theUniversity of Minnesota. 

Sweet Land streaming Fall 2020, Oct. 9th – 22nd

Sweet Land, the musical

Buy tickets online!

Sweet Land, the musical

Streaming October 9-22, 2020

Click here to stream

Book by Perrin Post and Laurie Flanigan Hegge

Lyrics by Laurie Flanigan Hegge | Music by Dina Maccabee

From the film Sweet Land by Ali Selim and the short story “A Gravestone Made of Wheat” by Will Weaver

Directed by Perrin Post |  Choreography by Joe Chvala | Musical Arrangements by Robert Elhai

History Theatre premiere April 29-May 28, 2017

Running time: Act 1: 71 minutes  Act 2: 50 minutes

In this “beautiful story of love, community, and connection to the land” (Cherry and Spoon), Inge Altenberg journeys to America to marry a bachelor farmer, sight unseen. But in the wake of WWI, Inge’s German heritage turns her neighbors against the match. Don’t miss what Talkin’ Broadway called “a thoroughly human story of enduring love…one of the finest original works to appear on any Twin Cities stage over the past several seasons.” 

From the Artistic Director

My Italian-born grandmother came to this country in 1902 at the age of four. She came with her mother, who had no family or husband at her side. They spoke no English when they landed, but somehow they found their way from Ellis Island to New Castle, PA, where they would rent a small room in a boarding house run by another Italian immigrant. 

Lady Liberty took them in with open arms and as a result, I got to grow up in this great land, play little league baseball, get a college education and “Lo and Behold” – I ended up in beautiful Minnesota, directing and commissioning plays about our American experience. 

Funny how things work out. Enjoy our musical adaptation of the film “Sweet Land” and remember your family history.

From the creators of Sweet Land, the musical

The story of Sweet Land belongs to all of us. Our ancestries may be different, but each of us has a story to tell about where, and how, and why our families came to be. Where there is no connection to our roots, we long to find one. In our longing for love and acceptance, we strive to be loving and accepting in turn. We know that sometimes we fall short. 

To notice an outsider is to remember that at one time or another, we have all been outsiders. In 1917, Germans represented the single largest ethnic group in Minnesota. With the outbreak of World War I, the environment towards German Americans turned deeply hostile. Suddenly, loyalties were questioned, civil liberties suspended. A network of spies informed the newly-formed Minnesota Commission of Public Safety on the “patriotic attitudes” of recent immigrants. Fear was institutionalized. This is the world that Inge Altenberg stepped into when she arrived at Olaf Torvik’s farm. We hope our version of this story, adapted from Ali Selim’s gorgeous film Sweet Land, which was inspired by Will Weaver’s beautiful short story A Gravestone Made of Wheat, invites you to consider attitudes toward all kinds of outsiders in the context of our own perilous time.

On a personal note: during the creation of this show, as we immersed ourselves in themes of family, place, memory and loss, several members of the Sweet Land family lost a mother or a father. We dedicate this production loving memory to all those who came before. We especially remember Joe Chvala’s mother Mary Ann Chvala, nee Severt (1927-2015) of Madison, Wisconsin, a second generation German-American, also of Norwegian and Italian descent; Robert Elhai’s mother Corinne Elhai, nee Ghitterman (1930-2016) of Claremont, California, whose parents immigrated from Romania to Canada, and from Canada to the United States; Dina Maccabee’s father Howard Maccabee (1940-2015) of Alamo, California, whose predecessors immigrated from Eastern Europe, Tinia Moulder’s father Walter Moulder (1924-2016) of Wilmington, Delaware, of Welsh, English, and German descent; Perrin and Paula Post’s father Robert Harold Post (1930-2016) of Buffalo, Minnestota, of German and English descent; and Jim Ramlet’s mother Shirley Anna Ramlet, nee Hawkinson (1923-2016), of Richfield, Minnesota, whose grandfather came from Germany in the 1880s.

Ali, Will — our hearts are full of gratitude. Thank you for letting us live in your house, and for the opportunity to tell the story of Olaf and Inge Torvik once again, in our way.

Perrin Post, Laurie Flanigan Hegge, and Dina Maccabee

Critical praise for “Sweet Land, the musical”

New musical “Sweet Land” has a handmade quality

by Dominic Papatola (Pioneer Press, 4/3/2017)

..the folk-infused tunes do what songs in musical theater are supposed to do: They give us insights into character’s minds (especially useful since Inge doesn’t speak English at the beginning of the play). They advance plot points. …but so is the core of “Sweet Land;” a heart-warming and heartwinning piece of musical theater.

Minnesota musical “Sweet Land” offers plenty of charm

by Rohan Preston (Star Tribune, 5/2/2017)

New musical at History Theatre tells a Minnesota immigrant’s tale with poignant tunes and a start turn by Ann Michels. Upper Midwest Scandinavians are supposed to be stoic and phlegmatic. And those depicted in “Sweet Land, the musical” are, to a degree. Still, they pour out their hearts and inner lives in song in an understated love story that evinces some of the hard prejudice in Minnesota farm country. 

Sweet Land, the musical is an occasion for cheers

by Arty Dorman (Talkin’ Broadway.com, 5/5/2017)

The result is a beautiful work of musical theater. The book is literate, rich in warmth and humor, and creates fully formed characters who speak in the voice of their place and time. Maccabbee’s lovely folk-flavored music captures the essence of rural life in 1920 Minnesota, with rising swells that convey the deep emotions at the heart of the story. The current world premiere production mounted by History Theatre could hardly be improved upon. 

Taproot Theatre – Seattle Times!

SWEET LAND, THE MUSICAL
“Taproot’s well-cast, engaging chamber musical is more than a celebration of Midwestern acreage and hardy farm folk; it contextualizes its entertaining romance within the xenophobia that can erupt in small communities toward a newcomer who is, as one of the songs proclaims, ‘not one of us.’” The Seattle Times

Seattle Gay News review!

Taproot Theatre’s summer musical Sweet Land a compelling and warm-hearted immigrant story

by Miryam Gordon – SGN A&E Writer

SWEET LAND
TAPROOT THEATRE
Through August 18

Taproot Theatre has a summer tradition of choosing a musical to perform. This year, they’ve found a new musical, a show that’s only been performed once before, so Sweet Land will be completely new to everyone in Seattle-land. An immigrant tale told by book writer Perrin Post, book and lyric writer Laurie Flanigan Hegge and composer Dina Maccabee, the story is based on a small, independent film by Ali Selim, made in 2005.

The immigrant is Inge Altenberg. It’s 1920 and she has traveled from Norway to meet and marry the farmer son, Olaf (Tyler Todd Kimmel), of her Norwegian employers. All the couple has ahead of time are grainy photos of each other. The plucky Inge, played with verve and heart by the lovely Mollie Corcoran, has the strength of mind and conviction to travel all the way to the middle of Minnesota, not knowing the prejudice she will face immediately.

It turns out that she is not Norwegian, but German. It’s just after World War I and the small town inhabitants, particularly the pastor (Hugh Hastings) and the town clerk, refuse to marry Inge and Olaf, leaving her without a home while she somehow persuades the town that she’s a good person.

Olaf’s friends, Alvin (Chris Shea) and Brownie (April Poland), take her in, even with eight children and one on the way. But that many kids drives Inge so crazy she adamantly insists on staying at Olaf’s while he sleeps in the barn. This could derail all their plans, though, if anyone finds out and deems the couple ‘immoral.’ Of course, it can’t remain a secret all that long.

The journey of this couple through tears and laughter is a sweet one. The talented cast does justice to the material. However, the story is a bit frustrating, mostly because from our vantage point in 2018, the ignorance toward a random, happens-to-be-German person and the imposition of moral values that ‘everyone knows’ are right don’t sit well with most Seattlites these days. But that is not to say that it still does not happen routinely to anyone who has moved to any new community – even if it is a ‘white’ person into a ‘white’ community.

The energetic performance by Corcoran can’t help but propel the story forward. Kimmel provides a more subtle, but also strong, support as the taciturn Olaf finally (FINALLY!) warms up to his bride-to-be. Shea and Poland are a lovely complement to the leads.

The music of this show is quite challenging. There are a lot of minor keys and very odd harmonies called for. That adds piquancy to the songs, but also adds a lot of work for the singers. The four-person band provides sophisticated accompaniment. Perhaps the acoustics of the staging impede some of the musical supports to the actors – but here’s hoping the cast can keep working to master the complications and meld a bit more. At opening night the harmonic blend wasn’t fully ready.

Some of the songs highlight the humor, such as ‘Ducky,’ when Inge is taught that 1920’s slang phrase and ‘Baseball Rag.’ ‘Land So Sweet’ is the intro and extro music that brackets the story, though some lyrics could use a bit more tart-ening up. There are some nice moments of choreography (by Katy Tabb) and the usual adept set (Mark Lund), costumes (Kelly McDonald) and direction (Karen Lund).

This isn’t a rousing musical extravaganza. It’s a small story, but it has a lot of strands that harken to the immigrant story of this country and the work we can all do to open our hearts to others and give everyone a chance to contribute what they are able. And that’s a pretty sweet message.

For more information, go to http://www.taproottheatre.org or call 206-781-9707.

Teen Tix – Seattle Review!

The Human Behind the Label

Review of Sweet Land at Taproot Theatre Company, written by TeenTix Press Corps Member Emily B.!

DANCEMUSICTHEATER BY TEENTIX | JULY 20, 2018 | 12:25 PM

pastedGraphic.png

Hugh Hastings, Michael Winters, Pam Nolte, Molli Corcoran, Tyler Todd Kimmel, Daniel Stoltenberg, April Poland and Chris Shea in Sweet Land, the Musical at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.

The battle cry “Us versus them,”and the brutal labeling accompanying it, is all too familiar today. One might not expect a seemingly simple historical fiction musical to offer a relevant response, yet Taproot Theatre’s Sweet Land does just that with touching, convicting, and joyful power.

Sweet Land tells the story of a young German woman, Inge Altenburg, who travels to Minnesota to marry a man she’s never met, Norwegian Olaf Torvik. But with World War I a recent and painful memory, Olaf’s community condemns the match, delaying the marriage. The events of this waiting period–the challenges faced, relationships built, and lives changed—are the heart of the musical’s story.

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Molli Corcoran and Tyler Todd Kimmel in Sweet Land, the Musical at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.

The piece is a tour de force for Molli Corcoran (Inge) and Tyler Todd Kimmel (Olaf), who carry the story with moving, grounded brilliance. Corcoran’s vocal versatility and acting ability are immediately evident in her introductory song, which clearly establishes both her talent and Inge’s character (kudos to composer Dina Maccabee and lyricist Laurie Flanigan Hegge for the soaring work of storytelling that is the score). The tough, loving, courageous “mail-order bride” Inge is unafraid to be the voice of reason and to act in defiance of “what people will think.” Her “strength, power, and grace” are some of the first things to strike her fiancé. Olaf is a man of few words—yet Kimmel skillfully creates the character through his striking physicality and presence. Long before he has spoken, the audience knows Olaf well, and, in moments when the stage is full of movement and sound, it is the still, shy farmer who draws the audience’s eye. While waiting for the outside approval the community requires before allowing their marriage, Inge and Olaf come to understand and love one another. Their blossoming relationship—conveyed as much through wordless glances and softening physicality as through words—is a joy to watch.

Brownie and Alvin Frandsen (played by April Poland and Chris Shea,respectively) offer contrasting and complementary enthusiasm, loquaciousness, and levity as they alone support—and are ultimately supported alone by—Inge and Olaf. Notable among the many less supportive members of the community (played by a small but versatile ensemble) is Hugh Hastings as Pastor Sorensen, the minister who refuses to marry Inge and Olaf and who plays a large role in turning the community against the couple. Hastings and the writers of the musical’s book, Perrin Post and Laurie Flanigan Hegge,make this character (who could easily become the stereotypical uber-conservative villain) refreshingly believable, complex, and ultimately redeemable.

pastedGraphic_2.png

April Poland, Michael Winters, Molli Corcoran, Tyler Todd Kimmel and Chris Shea in Sweet Land, the Musical at Taproot Theatre. Photo by Erik Stuhaug.

A meaningful simplicity pervades the musical: seamless pedestrian choreography by Katy Tabb consistently creates the world of Sweet Land and advances its story. Many unassuming moments are imbued with moving significance by director Karen Lund and her skilled company of actors.

The story of an ancestor immigrating to America to start a new life is a familiar piece of family history for many Americans—but in the context of today’s headlines, an immigrant story bears additional, emotionally charged, potentially divisive significance. The musical connects thoughts on immigrants past and present, as the town’s sudden harsh suspicion of Inge as the foreign “other” is painfully familiar.

But as the play progresses, one forgets that it is an “immigrant story,” as audiences recognize themselves in its portrayal  of universal human experiences: difficulty communicating, making mistakes, dealing with conflict, giving and facing judgement, courage, defiance, sacrifice, love, and acceptance. And maybe that’s the point: when one strips away the labels slapped on the unfamiliar ones, or on the ones who think or act differently, what is left are humans who are not so different after all. Sweet Land is a powerful challenge to see each other not as ‘us and them,’ but first and foremost as fellow humans, and to treat each other accordingly with respect, empathy, and love.

Seattle Times review for Sweet Land!

Taproot Theatre’s summer musical Sweet Land a compelling and warm-hearted immigrant story

by Miryam Gordon – SGN A&E Writer

SWEET LAND
TAPROOT THEATRE
Through August 18

Taproot Theatre has a summer tradition of choosing a musical to perform. This year, they’ve found a new musical, a show that’s only been performed once before, so Sweet Land will be completely new to everyone in Seattle-land. An immigrant tale told by book writer Perrin Post, book and lyric writer Laurie Flanigan Hegge and composer Dina Maccabee, the story is based on a small, independent film by Ali Selim, made in 2005.

The immigrant is Inge Altenberg. It’s 1920 and she has traveled from Norway to meet and marry the farmer son, Olaf (Tyler Todd Kimmel), of her Norwegian employers. All the couple has ahead of time are grainy photos of each other. The plucky Inge, played with verve and heart by the lovely Mollie Corcoran, has the strength of mind and conviction to travel all the way to the middle of Minnesota, not knowing the prejudice she will face immediately.

It turns out that she is not Norwegian, but German. It’s just after World War I and the small town inhabitants, particularly the pastor (Hugh Hastings) and the town clerk, refuse to marry Inge and Olaf, leaving her without a home while she somehow persuades the town that she’s a good person.

Olaf’s friends, Alvin (Chris Shea) and Brownie (April Poland), take her in, even with eight children and one on the way. But that many kids drives Inge so crazy she adamantly insists on staying at Olaf’s while he sleeps in the barn. This could derail all their plans, though, if anyone finds out and deems the couple ‘immoral.’ Of course, it can’t remain a secret all that long.

The journey of this couple through tears and laughter is a sweet one. The talented cast does justice to the material. However, the story is a bit frustrating, mostly because from our vantage point in 2018, the ignorance toward a random, happens-to-be-German person and the imposition of moral values that ‘everyone knows’ are right don’t sit well with most Seattlites these days. But that is not to say that it still does not happen routinely to anyone who has moved to any new community – even if it is a ‘white’ person into a ‘white’ community.

The energetic performance by Corcoran can’t help but propel the story forward. Kimmel provides a more subtle, but also strong, support as the taciturn Olaf finally (FINALLY!) warms up to his bride-to-be. Shea and Poland are a lovely complement to the leads.

The music of this show is quite challenging. There are a lot of minor keys and very odd harmonies called for. That adds piquancy to the songs, but also adds a lot of work for the singers. The four-person band provides sophisticated accompaniment. Perhaps the acoustics of the staging impede some of the musical supports to the actors – but here’s hoping the cast can keep working to master the complications and meld a bit more. At opening night the harmonic blend wasn’t fully ready.

Some of the songs highlight the humor, such as ‘Ducky,’ when Inge is taught that 1920’s slang phrase and ‘Baseball Rag.’ ‘Land So Sweet’ is the intro and extro music that brackets the story, though some lyrics could use a bit more tart-ening up. There are some nice moments of choreography (by Katy Tabb) and the usual adept set (Mark Lund), costumes (Kelly McDonald) and direction (Karen Lund).

This isn’t a rousing musical extravaganza. It’s a small story, but it has a lot of strands that harken to the immigrant story of this country and the work we can all do to open our hearts to others and give everyone a chance to contribute what they are able. And that’s a pretty sweet message.

For more information, go to http://www.taproottheatre.org or call 206-781-9707.