Kickstarter: Thank You, Mr. Falker

8 04 2011

“Stories are like honey, flowing through my mind …”

When I first learned to read, every book seemed to open onto a new, fantastic world. Patricia Polacco’s popular children’s book Thank You, Mr. Falker is all about the pleasures of the wide world of literature. But it also reminds us that for some, learning to read is a challenge. Thank You, Mr. Falker is an autobiographical account Polacco’s struggles with dyslexia: the kids who teased her at school, the family members who stood by her side, and the teacher who helped her to triumph and become a world-renowned children’s book author and illustrator.

As of May 2011, Thank You, Mr. Falker is also a new family musical!

When I am not reviewing theater or working on my PhD at UCLA, I am a music director and a musical theater composer. (All that ample spare time …) My librettist, Andrew Bentz, is a current law student at UVA with equal penchant for crafting a debate or a song. We met at Duke University and have been writing musicals together ever since. Our latest project is a musical adaptation of Thank You, Mr. Falker for the Morgan-Wixson Theatre, which was workshopped in summer 2010. The world premiere production (May 14 – 29) is part of the 2011 LA Festival of New American Musicals.

The Morgan-Wixson’s award-winning Youth Entertainment / Education Series is free for all participating children; the cast for Mr. Falker includes 10 amazing kids, as well as 5 talented adults, fostering a special intergenerational bond in rehearsals. In addition to community shows, YES also invites school groups for special weekday matinees. For many children, this will be their first live theater experience.

To encourage a diverse range of families to attend, all tickets are less than the cost of a movie: $6 for kids and $8 for adults. But nonprofit performing arts cannot exist on ticket revenue alone. We recently started a Kickstarter campaign, hoping to raise money to provide more free tickets for underserved youth as well as 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.

Please support our world premiere production via Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/morganwixson/thank-you-mr-falker-a-new-musical

You can hear a few demos on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/mrfalker

And if you are interested in mounting a future production at your theater, please be in touch: staylorellis@gmail.com. Andrew and I hope to publish and license the show following this exciting world premiere. We believe it is a story worth sharing.

(Now back to your regularly-scheduled programming of theater criticism …)

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One response

1 05 2011
Chandler David

outstanding show very touching and helpful towards those who have trouble reading

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