Already closed | 1h 15m | Soho/Tribeca

Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me but Banjos Saved My Life

From 25 member  reviews
Members say: Entertaining, Absorbing, Funny, Resonant, Refreshing

About the show

Keith Alessi, a former executive and banjo enthusiast, tells us about a boy's life, a man's meteoric rise to business fame, and the event that slammed on the brakes. Part of Soho Playhouse's Fringe Encore Series. More…

From the show:

Engaging and uplifting, Alessi encourages us to pursue our passions! Audiences are enamored with this unique one-man show, a true story told with humor, warmth, music, and banjos! Tomatoes Tried To Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life is an inspiration. 

Member Reviews (25)


Entertaining, Absorbing, Funny, Resonant, Refreshing
Avg Score

Banjo-filled, Low-key, Quirky, Touching, Funny

See it if you like banjos, and don't demand virtuoso playing. Keith's banter is funny (lots of punchline jokes) and moving/inspiring. Crowd-pleaser.

Don't see it if you're not into banjos or want gr skill. He hung out before/after show to talk. Not as polished as many Fringe works, but has homespun charm

Absorbing, Funny, Intelligent, Delightful, Entertaining

See it if you'd enjoy a personal life story, both the ups and downs, with a health scare, collection craziness and a passion fulfilled. Fringetastic!

Don't see it if you do not like one person shows where personal stories are told in a folksy manor including dealing with cancer. You don't like banjo music

Quirky, Thought-provoking, Hilarious, Inspiring, Entertaining

See it if inspiring personal stories told with upbeat music seems like a good combination. A very personable performer with a complex life story.

Don't see it if you have difficulties with cancer stories or banjo music.

Life-affirming, Quirky, Profound, Exquisite, Absorbing

See it if An hour's worth of Heart and Humanity. Wizened bluegrass storyteller allows plucked strings to be his voice when he was not otherwise able.

Don't see it if Your relationship to "The Beverly Hillbillies Theme" will dictate your initial response, but your takeaway will be inspirational.Esophageal.

Also Bluegrass is only background to the life-affirming narrative.

Inspirational, Quirky, Great writing, Entertaining, Clever

See it if You want an inspirational story told through the love of banjo music. You want a story about overcoming obstacles & finding a new voice.

Don't see it if You want a professional actor. While it's a great, personal story, his delivery sometimes makes it feel more like a motivational speech...

Also which makes sense, since he was a professional company turnover specia... Read more Read less

Enjoyed, Refreshing, Entertaining, Uplifting, Absorbing

See it if One man journey with many roads, with some banjo music. Story of hope and passion.

Don't see it if No reason not to see this.

Also This show was very enjoyable, and may make you think twice about many ... Read more Read less

Funny, Poignant, Great banjo playing, Delightful, Clever

See it if you want to be elated and inspired by a true story of redemption from cancer/isolation through pursuit of lifelong passion for banjo playing

Don't see it if you do not enjoy solo stand-up comedy/banjo playing, are upset/stressed by true story of survival from cancer/domestic violence/depression

Also I hope that Keith’s Fringe tours of this show will extend to cancer wa... Read more Read less

Refreshing, Resonant, Entertaining, Delightful, Absorbing

See it if Very honest & compelling one-man show regarding his life’s accomplishments & failures. The banjoe pulled things together for him.

Don't see it if You want dancing and a large cast then skip this one.

Power of a positive bias, Personal story of hope, Nice bluegrass

See it if You’d like a true story on a man’s confrontation with finality & salvation through the healing power of music he always wanted to play.

Don't see it if You’d dislike an upbeat show that everyone ought to relate to, though maybe some just can’t.

Also Positivity bias in the flesh. But this guy is no Marvin Gaster.

Profound, Entertaining, Ex-accountant on the fringe, Generous sharing, Moving as the shenandoah

See it if Solo show, 75min of genuine life story: making peace with dad, battling cancer, fulfilling childhood dream; heartfelt live music; with humor

Don't see it if Little acting craft; no singing skill; tho better than a highly skillful act; intimate basement cabaret venue, 1 toilet room for each gender

Also What makes a great performer/performance? From this show, I realize it... Read more Read less

Delightful, Thought-provoking, Refreshing, Must see, Great writing

See it if You like shows about personal journey (good,bad,ugly), how music changed his life when he was at the lowest.A must see truly inspiring story

Don't see it if You do not like banjo music, or bluegrass. You do not care to listen how a cpa, ceo, pilot become a banjo collector first then banjo player

Quirky, Resonant, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You like quirky but inspiring stories of the journey of a life which has taken some interesting turns.

Don't see it if You don't like one-,an shows or banjo music

Also Keith is not the best banjo player you have ever heard but when you he... Read more Read less

Funny, Delightful, Absorbing, Entertaining

See it if want to be entertained by a Fringe musician w some famous banjo hits&his moving story on how music helped him 2overcome a devastating event.

Don't see it if Udon't like banjo music or old time hits like"Floyd Shooting Creek",Bluegrass "Shady Grove",or Country hit"Cumberland Gap",commom among the*

Also *musicians of Cumberland in W.Virginia.... Read more Read less

Refreshing, Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy one man/woman shows in an intimate setting and want to be inspired. This show will make you want to challenge yourself to do more.

Don't see it if Don’t like banjo music.

Also you will be presently surprised. You will connect with this show in su... Read more Read less

Inspiring, Funny, Absorbing, Resonant, Heartfelt

See it if You want to walk with someone on their life journey who will inspire you and will encourage you to enjoy life and to try something new

Don't see it if You want to see an actor deliver a polished performance. He is real and vulnerable and willing to share his journey. It asks us to be open

Slow, Refreshing, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if you want to be inspired or want to hear some good banjo in between a narrative

Don't see it if you're expecting tons of banjo tunes

Funny, Moving, Entertaining, Inspiring

See it if you want to see a moving show about a man's use of banjo music to help him overcome his battle with cancer.

Don't see it if you don't like one-person shows, banjo music or if cancer is a trigger.

Resonant, Absorbing, Personal

See it if you'd enjoy a personal story interwoven with some music. Keith shares anecdotes, music, and jokes in a forthright way. He does a great job.

Don't see it if You want a concert or something epic. This is a show that shares life lessons and observations with music sprinkled in.

Refreshing, Relevant, Funny, Entertaining

See it if you're open to hearing banjo music You like solo shows where the actor talks about the highs and lows of his life with humor, wit and music

Don't see it if you like large productions, showy musicals, fancy staging and heavy drama. It's a simple story told by a very personable entertainer.

Intelligent, Resonant, Great writing, Entertaining

See it if A moving narrative with several relevant themes. Relatable on many levels. He's not a professional musician but that's really the point

Don't see it if If you don't like banjo music but it's really soundtrack, not a concert

Also I'm a cancer survivor/boomer so this show hit home with me

Touching, delightful, sincere, profound without being heavy

See it if You appreciate an upbeat personal journey story, accompanied by various banjos.

Don't see it if You want a banjo concert or if stories with depth, but told gently, are of no interest to you.

Also This was a special performance, with warmth and generosity of spirit i... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Clever, Absorbing

See it if One man’s story of life ,hope and recovery. Plus good banjo plying

Don't see it if You don’t like solo shows recalling life experiences

Resonant, Absorbing, Profound

See it if you enjoy solo shows with a story of how did banjo music change one's life.

Don't see it if you prefer more traditional theatrical shows.

Absorbing, Funny, Relevant, Profound, Entertaining

See it if You want a show that is funny and touching in a personal way. Very relevant and deeply affecting. Perfect show for the holidays! Authentic

Don't see it if You don’t like Banjo music. You don’t like true stories.

Also This show is deeply personal and very brave of the artist to share so ... Read more Read less

Funny, Refreshing, Profound, Must see, Entertaining

See it if You like anything to do with Old Time music, like true stories, or have a soft spot for inspiring stories that take you for a ride.

Don't see it if You don't like banjos!

Also This show hit a soft spot for me. Ive always loved Old time music and ... Read more Read less

“Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me but Banjos Saved My Life” hasn't been reviewed by any Critics (yet!)

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