Click below to find the press and media resources you'll need to cover Keith Alessi's one man show, Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me, But Banjos Saved My Life. If there's anything more that you need, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Edmonton - Hold Over Show Details

'Tomatoes Tried To Kill Me, But Banjos Saved My Life' is announcing five hold-over shows after its successful Fringe Festival run that will benefit their hold-over venue, the Holy Trinity Anglican Church and their causes, at-risk youths and music programs. Keith Alessi, the creator and writer of the one-man act, expects to raise between $10,000 and $12,000 through the show's net gate sales. These shows will feature extended content as well as an artist talkback after each performance.

'Tomatoes Tried To Kill Me, But Banjos Saved My Life' had a sold out run in Edmonton since it hit the stage last week at the Edmonton Fringe, as well as in Winnipeg. Both the Edmonton and Winnipeg performances earned 5 star reviews from local press.

Keith is a former CEO of a public company that was based here in Edmonton and is proud to bring his enthusiasm and passion for the arts back to the area. We invite you to talk to Keith while he's in town and encourage you to attend one of the shows.

To make arrangements to speak with him either on site at the festival or in your studio/newsroom or attend a performance at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, please contact me directly.

Holdover Schedule:
Wed, Aug 28 @ 7pm
Thur, Aug 29 @ 7pm
Fri, Aug 30 @ 7pm
Sat, Aug 31 @ 2pm
Sat, Aug 31 @ 7pm

Venue: Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 10037 84 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB

Edmonton - Press Release

Award-winning, one-man show ‘Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me, But Banjos Saved My Life,’ returns to the Edmonton Fringe Festival!

The inspirational, humorous and internationally toured one-man show created by entrepreneur Keith Alessi comes off a highly successful Fringe Festival tour. 'Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me, But Banjos Saved My Life' kicked the year off in New York City at the Frigid Fringe Festival in January and most recently late last month, performed at the Winnipeg Fringe to a sold out run and warm reviews, including five stars from the Winnipeg Free Press.

It's with delight and overwhelming gratitude that Keith returns to the Edmonton International Fringe Festival this year.

Thursday, August 15 @ 8:00pm

Saturday, August 17 @ 12:00pm

Sunday, August 18 @ 2:00pm

Tuesday, August 20 @ 3:45pm

Friday, August 23 @ 7:30pm

Saturday, August 24 @ 1:45pm

Sunday, August 25 @ 6:00pm

Location: Backstage Theatre, Venue 2, 10330 84 Ave., Edmonton


After a major life-changing event caused a high-flying corporate CEO to suddenly retire and reevaluate 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 this past May, 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.

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

2019 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival Presents: A Quivering Dendrites Production


Written & Performed by Keith Alessi, Produced & Directed by Erika Conway

Press Rep: Melissa Kennedy,

About the Show

‘Tomatoes Tried To Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life’ is a heartfelt passion project that began as an idea in March 2018, not long after a devastating life event caused Keith Alessi to think differently about his future.

Encouraged by friends and family to share his story, Keith decided to set to work writing it all down, and in three days he had the foundation of what would become his one man show.

In July 2018, after premiering at The Oggi Art gallery in Chicago, the show began its real journey to the stage at the Toronto Fringe Festival, then Edmonton, and finally in Vancouver. The summer started with small, but enthusiastic, audiences and ended with full houses and standing ovations.

It was clear that the show had a life of its own and was gaining momentum.

Reflecting upon the 2018 run, the Tomatoes Team realized how soulful, personal and important this show was. Very deep and personal connections were being made and the show was having profound effects on audiences.

Keith came to the realization that the more he brought his own personal walls down, and embraced his vulnerability on stage, the more people were moved.  The journey needed to continue.

In 2019 Keith entered ten Fringe Festival lotteries across Canada, the US, and the UK, and was accepted into eight!

Game on, it’s a tour!

The 2019 tour kicked off by winning three awards at the Frigid Fringe Festival in NYC, and continued to gain traction, winning awards, incredible reviews, sellout runs, and holdover shows in multiple cities along the way.

Putting accolades aside, the most amazing part of the journey has been seeing how the show connects to people on a deep and personal level. There are many messages to take away.

Keith has had more hugs, tears and love in the past year, than in his entire lifetime. Emotional walls are being broken down. Truth is setting people free. The whole process has been deeply healing.

So, what’s next? Doors continue to open and intriguing opportunities present themselves. The heartbeat of the show is clearly being guided and the path is being lit. Follow the journey on our social media platforms and website.

Our next stop will be one that will knock your socks off!

Stayed tuned...

Keith Alessi - Bio

Keith Alessi - Writer and performer, Tomatoes Tried to Kill me but Banjos Saved my Life

Before taking to the stage, Keith was well known as a successful public company CEO and college professor. He has led companies in both Canada and the United States.

Encouraged by others to tell his personal story of challenges and triumph, Keith wrote ‘Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me’ and has performed 89 shows in 11 cities across Canada, the US, and the UK over the past year and a half.

A dual Canadian/US citizen, Keith splits his time between Vancouver, British Columbia and Virginia. He is a certified public accountant and received his MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

In his free time, he pursues his passions of flying and banjos!

Creative Team

Erika Conway - Producer & Director: Tomatoes Tried To Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life

Erika Conway, a Canadian actress, writer, director and producer is no stranger to the stage. Her 25 year career has included acting in multiple roles both on stage and in film/ TV including: Anne Frank: The Diary of Anne Frank, Beatrice: Much Ado About Nothing, Alma: Summer And Smoke, Mother: The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Dr. Lambert: Blackstone, and most recently Nyx in the new Canadian webseries, Necessary Evil, which premiered at the Edmonton International Film Festival in September 2018, and has been nominated and won numerous international awards.

Theater has always been Erika’s first love and although acting and writing has been a major part of her career and life, she has been more recently honing her directing and dramaturg skills.

In 2016, Erika wrote and produced a one woman show for the Edmonton Fringe Festival called Confessions of a Middle-Aged Drama Queen which was a very personal show that began a new direction in her creative life. The desire to connect with authentic and meaningful projects ultimately lead her to expand her work on Keith’s one man show ‘Tomatoes Tried To Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life.’

Erika is delighted to have been a part of this compelling story since it gave birth and is honored to be a part of this ever growing, deeply meaningful tour.

Check Out Erika's IMDB Page

Melissa Kennedy - Marketing & PR: Tomatoes Tried To Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life

Melissa has been in marketing since 2003 and worked with several well-known national media companies. She started her career at CBS Radio and managed the marketing for the largest radio station in the market, WBBM-AM. In 2009, she moved to television to oversee the marketing for Weigel Broadcasting Co., which included the launch of four networks including MeTV, Decades, Heroes & Icons and Movies! Melissa co-wrote 'Randos', a TV pilot which was produced by Zacuto in 2017 and is also a front end web designer. When she's not doing work for her clients, she likes to read romance and spy novels and write funny screenplays.

2019 Tour Schedule

Fringe Festival & Performance Schedule 2019

New York FRIGID Fringe February 20-March 9

The Spot on Kirk Roanoke, Virginia April 27

Brighton Fringe May 3-6

Orlando Fringe May 15-19

Windsor-Walkerville Fringe May 22-26

Regina Fringe July 10-14

Winnipeg Fringe July 17-28

Edmonton Fringe August 15-25

Vancouver Fringe September 5-15

Click here for more details.

Past Shows & Festivals


New York FRIGID Fringe February 20-March 9

Awards: Most Inspirational, Festival Spirit

The Spot on Kirk Roanoke, Virginia April 27

Brighton Fringe May 3-6

Orlando Fringe May 15-19

Windsor-Walkerville Fringe May 22-26

Award: Spirit of the Fringe

Regina Fringe July 10-14

Winnipeg Fringe July 17-28

Edmonton Fringe August 15-25, Hold Over Shows: August 28-31


Chicago, Illinois June - 2018

Toronto Fringe - July 4-15, 2018

Edmonton Fringe - Aug 16-26, 2018

Vancouver Fringe - Sept 6-16, 2018

Roanoke, Virginia 2018

Floyd, Virginia 2018


Global News - Edmonton - Pick of the Fringe! Click image below to see video!

"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 (, New York City

"Keith Alessi's Italian-Canadian corporate-to-banjo story is thoroughly entertaining."~ Theatre Is Easy, New York City

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

Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me, But Banjos Saved My Life" is a show in the true spirit of Fringe. The performance will put a smile on your face, leaving you glad and happy.”~ Sherpadoo, Vancouver, Canada

“Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me But Banjos Saved My Life is an intimate and affecting show”~ Vancouver Presents, Vancouver, Canada

Click here for more reviews & press about the show and here for more audience feedback!

Social Media
Download: Photos, Headshots & Logos


Click here to visit our gallery.

Press Contact

Melissa Kennedy


Past Press Releases