Around the Island

Historical Society will launch a musical centered on Island’s lima bean legacy

“If you have even a modicum of interest in lima beans or musicals, there’s a place for you” reads the invitation to join a new musical planned for July 2021 by the Shelter Island Historical Society:  “A Hill of Beans,” a 1950s Shelter Island Story.

In 1949, a lima bean cooperative was formed on the Island by a group of local farmers and one savvy New York barrister.

The lima bean industry is a well-documented chapter in the Island’s history, but now it appears this legendary legume will have its own song and dance tribute.

Without it, let’s face it, succotash is nothing but a bowl of corn.

The Society bills the show as “a story of cooperation, innovation, and determination, with some love and drama mixed in.”

A variety of talents and skills are needed — from actors, to stage hands, to costume help and more. COVID safety precautions will be in place.

Contact Lisa Shaw ([email protected]) for more information. Ms. Shaw planned the show along with Executive Director Nanette Lawrenson and began to write it after being guided through historical material by archivist Rachel Lucas.

“This is a wonderful story,” she realized. “I found lots of anecdotes,” she said, including some about her grandparents, Mildred and Ben Spataza.

“My grandmother worked at the beanery, and my grandfather was the barber,” she said.

You’re invited to be a part of this lively historical snapshot, which will be staged at the Society.