On Feb. 24, Theatre UCF will present the musical Puddin’ and the Grumble, a coming-of-age tale that follows Puddin’, a young girl struggling with starting over at a new school, living with her eccentric, avid singer and yogi of a grandma, and most of all, overcoming childhood hunger.
Puddin’ and the Grumble was written by Becky Boesen and David von Kampen and was commissioned and created in partnership with the Lied Center for Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. UCF’s show is presented in partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to raise awareness and funds to support the fight against hunger in the Orlando community.
The student-run production features graduate students in the Theatre for Young Audiences program on the creative team and students from the undergraduate acting, musical theatre, and theatre studies programs in the cast.
Aside from the on-campus performance, the show will also be presented to elementary school students at Lake Silver and Lake Sybelia schools, and to the community at a performance hosted by the Second Harvest Food Bank. It will also be featured at UCF Celebrates the Arts at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on April 8.
By bringing the show directly to young audiences in local schools, the creative team hopes to inspire classes to contribute to Second Harvest’s efforts by creating food banks or packing backpacks with essentials for those in need at their own schools, and also to allow students to identify with the main character, Puddin’, and realize that childhood hunger affects people in their own community. After the shows, teachers will be invited and encouraged to engage their students in a discussion about what they have seen and how it has impacted them.
The team hopes their production of Puddin’ and the Grumble will help to localize the issue of childhood hunger and empower elementary and college students alike to take action in their schools and community.
The director, Julie Woods-Robinson, says of the bold, conversation-starting musical:
“This is the regional premiere of this production. I’m excited for our actors to have that experience and I’m really hoping we can raise a lot of awareness about Second Harvest Food Bank and ways the UCF community can volunteer. The show and the music are a lot of fun—the imaginary characters make it really dynamic, and I’m excited for [audiences] to see something really contemporary and fun to watch, but touching at the same time.”
The UCF performance will take place in the Visual Arts Building Auditorium (Room 132) on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, or free with a UCF ID. Any monetary donations received at the performances will be given to Second Harvest, and donations of food will go directly to Knights Pantry, UCF’s food bank and a partner of Second Harvest, located in on the UCF campus in Ferrell Commons.