We are so grateful to our backers and yes, this project continues to accept donations after our initial goal. Tax-deductible gifts will help us reach more families and make this new musical even better!
About the Book
Patricia Polacco's treasured picture book, based on her own childhood reading disability and the teacher who helped her triumph, is about to become a new musical to inspire and entertain children and adults. Young Trisha is eager to read, to taste the "sweetness of knowledge" that her grandfather has always revered. But at school she struggles with a learning disability, where words and letters on the page are all mixed up in her brain. Trisha falls behind with her schoolwork and endures classmates' taunts until her new teacher, Mr. Falker, helps her to blossom and eventually triumph. Ms. Polacco is the author/illustrator of more than 50 books for children and we are grateful to her and to Penguin Group (USA) for allowing us to share this story through music.
About the Musical
Selected to participate in L.A.'s Festival of New American Musicals, and supported in part by a grant from the City of Santa Monica, this musical was workshopped in summer 2010, then revised, and is preparing for a world premiere in May 2011.
The award-winning nonprofit Morgan-Wixson Theatre (AATE's 2008 Outstanding New Children's Theatre Company) is known for its page-to-stage literary adaptations, connecting literacy and the arts. To see a short TV news clip about our Y.E.S. (Youth Education/Entertainment Series) plays for families, click here.
We are proud to present this new work, with score composed by rising musical theatre writer Sarah Taylor Ellis, a Duke University graduate who is now a PhD student at nearby UCLA. Lyrics and book were penned by Andrew Bentz to capture Ms. Polacco's poignant tale with a dose of humor and embedded lessons about bullying, individuality, perseverance, and the joy of reading. When he's not writing wonderful lyrics and lines for this show -- such as "a good book never really ends" -- Andrew is a law student and an editor of the University of Virginia Law Review. The world premiere is to be directed by Lane Williamson, whose credits include UCLA Theatre and Lancaster Performing Arts Center. Choreographer is Christopher Albrecht, who choreographed the workshop production, has worked at UCLA Theatre, and is the resident choreographer with Act III Theatre Ensemble.
To be tempted by the music from this show, click here to hear some demo tracks.
The show features a cast of five experienced adult actors and ten youth. Unlike most children's theatre, our production uses real live kids to play the children's roles, so we auditioned and cast talented singer-actors ages 8 - 12 from local schools. In addition to presenting this musical for public perfiormances over three weekends in May, we plan to share Ms. Polacco's story with approximately 750 schoolchildren on special field trips to see the musical in a real theatre. For many of our young audience members, this will be the first live musical they've ever seen.
To encourage a diverse range of families to attend, we are keeping ticket prices low ($6 - $8). We all know that nonprofit performing arts cannot exist on ticket revenue alone, and we are fortunate to have secured some financial support from the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Arts Commission, which enables us to have live music. We are asking for tax-deductible contributions to provide more free tickets for underserved youth and particularly to help offset the production costs, to enhance the set and costume budgets, to provide promotional support, and to pay small honoraria to the creative team who is giving so generously of their time to make the world premiere a reality.
Dyslexia is the most common learning disorder for children today. According to the Mayo Clinic, dyslexia "is an impairment in your brain's ability to translate written images received from your eyes into meaningful language." Modern therapy usually means individualized tutoring, a multisensory educational program, and emotional support for the child. Not coincidentally, these are the same techniques young Trisha's teacher Mr. Falker uses in this real-life story about struggle and triumph.
To learn more about dyslexia (developmental reading disorder), you can use these links from the National Institutes of Health, the International Dyslexia Association, and -- for kids -- KidsHealth.org.
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