Friday, November 22nd at 7:30pm

The Award-Winning One-Man Show 

Tickets $15


The inspirational, humorous and internationally toured one-man show created by entrepreneur Keith Alessi comes off a highly successful, sell-out run at the Fringe Festivals this year!

Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life is funny, beautiful, and deeply affecting.  This is an important story to remind us that life is short and pursuing your passion(s) can save your life.

Keith Alessi brings a simple but powerful presence to the stage with just himself and a few banjos. He tells his story of leaving his high-profile marketing executive job for the pursuit of his musical passion and how banjos quite literally saved his life, getting him through difficult years and a major health issue.

Alessi weaves his journey through beautiful banjo playing, personal and vulnerable storytelling, and some great banjo jokes.  Tightly constructed, Alessi makes storytelling look easy.

After a major life-changing event caused a high-flying corporate CEO to suddenly retire and re-evaluate what’s important in life, a banjo-picking storyteller was created with a message of resilience, hope and perseverance. Now, he tells his inspiring story at Fringe Festivals and shows in the US, Canada and earlier this month, in the UK at the 2019 Brighton Fringe Festival.

‘Tomatoes Tried To Kill Me, But Banjos Saved My Life,’ written and performed by Keith Alessi, is an award-winning and highly reviewed one-man show that has been touring North American since June of 2018 after it premiered in Chicago, Illinois. He tells the story of his multi-cultural boyhood, meteoric rise in the boardroom to the startling news that changed his life forever. He candidly reveals to his audience how he used that obstacle to find a new passion in music and a cathartic outlet in storytelling.

Alessi has an easygoing style with an honest vulnerability.  He admits to owning 52 banjos, but never learned to play until surviving his battle with cancer almost four years ago.  With a new lease on life, he started attending banjo classes and went to Virginia to study old-time music, which he shows off on three different instruments. 

Using a mixture of humor (yes, there are banjo jokes), observations, self-reflection and music, Alessi’s inspirational and compelling tale will pluck at your heartstrings, clawhammer style. 

At the 2019 New York City Frigid Fringe Festival, it received three awards, including Most Inspirational Show.  

Below are some reviews from that standout performance:

“An honest telling of one man’s journey. Alessi’s performance manages to be warm, tear-jerking, and humorous all at once – a gem in New York City’s off-off-Broadway scene.” ~ The Paper, NYC

“Alessi’s story is straightforward, vulnerable and heartwarming.” ~ Ed Malin, Theater Is Easy, NYC

“You should absolutely come and see this performance. It was raw and authentic and beautiful.” ~ Brieanna Fiander, Vancouver Theatre Addicts



@darrenleecole, Artistic Director of one of the oldest #offbroadway downtown theatres in Manhattan ,and home to American Playwright #Edwardalbee was in the audience during the Vancouver Fringe.

He saw the show and offered a 2-week run at the historic Soho Playhouse Off Broadway as part of the 14th annual Fringe Encore Series.

The series is dedicated to presenting “Best Of” productions from the world’s best #fringefestivals .

This year’s series will feature shows from:

  • Adelaide, Australia
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Brighton, England
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Hollywood, California
  • Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • New York City

Tomatoes Tried To Kill Me has been chosen to join elite company!

2019 started OFF, OFF Broadway in February and will end OFF Broadway in December!! The ride continues!

If you’re in NYC this December come, check out the show!

Link for New York tickets here:  https://tickets.vendini.com/ticket-software.html…

Unity of Vancouver
5840 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC
Tel: (604) 266-6281