Before we started this project, we described it to folks as
“An original, thematic, jukebox musical about dreams with kid-written scenes.”
Huh? What does that even mean? We expected some head-scratching.
When we found the perfect space for the project, we added,
“and, we’re doing it at the circus.”
Because come on, a space as dreamy and joyful as the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts is the place to make theater. Also, the folks there are just wonderful.
People registered their kids for an unknown program in their community (THANK YOU families, for taking that leap).
We selected songs and poems to scaffold the show, hired an awesome piano player, prepared our own families for what was about to descend upon them, breathed deeply, and then…
The staging journey began.
It wasn’t until 6 weeks into rehearsals that We-the-Directors truly understood where the show was going or even had the title “We the Dreamers”.
8 weeks into rehearsals the cast grasped the concept.
It likely clicked for the audience halfway through the performance.
“A-hah! So that’s what they meant!”
- original – we and the kids made it up!
- thematic – centered around dreams for ourselves and our world.
- jukebox – we borrowed songs from rock, pop, folk, and Broadway.
- musical – we danced, sang, learned harmonies, and had a live band.
- kid-written scenes – created by the cast through a workshop process.
THIS is the Staging Journeys model for making musicals. It’s a meaningful, magical, messy kind-a-thing. It drives us good-wild.
The Dream Data
We had 30 young people in “We the Dreamers” ranging in age from 8-15 who rehearsed once a week for 9 weeks. They came from a variety of educational backgrounds; Homeschoolers and schoolers unite!
27 had lines.
18 sang solos.
15 wrote the script.
5 played instruments.
6 built the sets.
1 composed an original song.
They ALL had important ideas around dreams to contribute.
They ALL had vision, senses of humor, teamwork, and talent – so much talent!
Never Enough from The Greatest Showman, Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics, Footloose by Kenny Loggins, What Is This Life by Noah, Somewhere from West Side Story, California Dreamin’ by the Mamas and the Papas, Waving Through a Window from Dear Evan Hansen, M.L.K. by U2, Never One Thing by May Erlewine, Dream On by Aerosmith.
Invitation and Frozen Dream by Shel Silverstein, Dreaming Together by Francisco Alarcon, The Dream Keeper by Langston Hughes, Before I Leave the Stage by Alice Walker.
Sleepovers, Nightmares, A talking Chinchilla, Belonging, Our Futures, Relationships, Our Earth, And More…
Thanks to Tom Church and Zoe Gray for music, to Ry deRoche for sets and lights, to Meryl Hyatt for photos!
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We the directors are grateful.