A Story About Longing
La Giara (The Water Jug)
A Book and Musical Work by Patricia King Haddad
“A musical that fuses Jazz, Opera and Bossa Nova with a score that evokes melodies of Puccini, swing of American Ragtime, lyrics of Gilbert and Sullivan, the drive of Brazilian rhythms, and memorable songs of Musical Theater.” – Independent Broadcast Networks.
It takes three Minissale women, three family generations, situated in three locations, (Sicily, Philadelphia, and Colorado), to overturn the symbolic curse of a certain broken water jug from Sicily.
The Trouble Maker
The Container of Memories
The Dress Shop
The Runaway location
The Minnisale's Village
Drawing by Norma
La Giara (The Water Jug), is a symbolic container of traditions in this musical narrative—and when broken—animates the lives of three generations of women in one family. Water, mirrors and reflection serve as metaphors throughout the story in the process of tragedy, illumination, and evolution of characters, as some break from the past and defy their own cultural norms, while others remain. A story rooted both in the past yet relevant today, La Giara is about longing for our past and the cultures from which we originate.
Based on Patricia K. Haddad's family story and book, La Giara comes to life in a musical work narrated by five family characters, along with Sicilian Water God, Anapos, whose commentary and timeless presence represents other-world realms and Sicilian culture. Characters perform dramatic and comedic songs that touch on the notion of family, human fragility and strength, illustrating psychological struggles of the Minissale family as they adapt in America. Haddad’s auto-biographical work addresses themes of immigration, oppression, mental illness, and sexism that her Sicilian family experienced in adapting to a new world. La Giara’s narrative and powerful music uplifts and offers meaning to women and the immigrant story, reaching audiences of all ages, ethnic, and socio-economic groups.
WRTI – Review Here
“I was swept away in the music and lyrics, the visuals, the narration. Such a powerful, vibrant tribute, and the sense of longing brought through the very roots of our being. It was a magnificent night! ” – Renee Gabrielle Heckler, Editor
Two songs from La Giara –The Water Jug, “Isn't It Love” and “A Little Pinch of This And That”, were chosen among 180 submissions to be performed in a prestigious concert in Brookfield, CT on August 4, 2018. “Fresh Baked Musicals” was a Concert sampling of new musical theatre composers, organized by author, Carol de Giere. Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) presented one of his new songs from Schikaneder, a new show about the making of Mozart's The Magic Flute. It was a great night of music!!
“Isn’t It Love?” Voted Best Love Song by New York’s York Theatre 2019 (See video in gallery below).
La Giara Book Synopsis
It takes three Minissale women, three family generations, situated in three locations, (Sicily, Philadelphia, and Colorado), to overturn the symbolic curse of a certain broken water jug from Sicily. Opposing forces of fire and water constitute La Giara’s Sicilian family characters—Nunzio and Annunziata Minissale, and daughters, Norma and Mimi—who are as fiery as their native volcanic Mt. Etna, yet drowning in a family curse.
When young Nunzio forces his way into the town water line and breaks his aunt Vincenza’s heirloom water jug, things begin to go awry. Family relations complicate when Nunzio falls in love with Vincenza’s daughter, Annunziata. Wooed by the countless love letters that Nunzio sends, Annunziata is overpowered by his persistence and reluctantly accepts Nunzio’s marriage proposal.
Nunzio thinks he wears the pantaloni in his family until he commits one final incident, that prompts Annunziata and their grown daughters, Norma and Mimi to disappear, using aliases and taking a cross-country train out West. When Nunzio finally locates them, he learns that his “bimbas” are more resourceful than he imagined, running their own dress shop. Hoping to reunite, Nunzio seduces his family by purchasing a grand mansion. However, their fairytale palazzo, full of fountains, opera, and singing birds, becomes a gilded cage that the Minissale women long to escape.
Through time, this fragmented family develops a deep longing, tempered and empowered by the realization that their giara’s symbolic container of traditions—some broken, some lost, some retained—has endured the cracks and damage caused by the patriarch of their troubled Sicilian family.
La Giara is about longing for our past and the cultures from which we originate. Its timely and relevant themes address American generations who are losing their connections to the culture of their immigrant ancestors.
La Giara’s 315-page family saga explores complex relationships and would appeal to readers who enjoy authors, Elena Ferrante and Adriana Trigliano.
1. Author Meet and Greet and Book discussion
2. 1-hour La Giara Concert performed by Quartet (2 singers and 2 instrumentalists on piano and guitar). or larger group performed by instrumental Quartet (piano, guitar, accordion,mandolin), plus 4 singers
3. Author Meet and Greet and Book discussion including musical Performance. The story (in book or ebook format), can be purchased in advance for reading groups to further illuminate their experience of the musical performance. Author/Composer, Patricia Haddad shares her creative process about writing her book and musical and invites participants to share their own family stories and culture.
La Giara Moments
A Musical Work in Progress