Wednesday, August 06, 2008

COM: I Used To Dream Opens Friday!

If you have a moment this weekend please come check out the new show we put together with the kids i work with at the Youth Ranch. Using songs by such Texas luminary songwriters and musicians as Dana Cooper, Flaco Jimenez, Monte Montgomery, Stephen Bruton, and Benita Arterberry-Burns (recently released on our new CD Heart Like a Flower) we tell stories using song, dance and drama. Come see Jake Asbury and Jacob Favela perform original songs. Please reserve a seat by calling 367-2131 -- tickets may sell out otherwise.

Here's the big press release for more info:
I Used to Dream is New Show at HCYR’s Turner Blackbox Theatre

The Hill Country Youth Ranch Fine Arts Department and the Children’s Music Project proudly present a brand new show at the Ranch’s Turner Blackbox Theatre August 8-10th. I Used to Dream, named for the showcase song in the play, not only tells the stories of HCYR children, but features them as dancers, singers and actors, alongside talented young actors from the community. Tickets are $5 each and are available at the HCYR front desk, or by simply reserving your tickets by calling 367-2131.

[Photo shows John Dean Domingue choreographing Slain with Jake Asbury and Mona Medina]

In the late 1990s the Hill Country Youth Ranch experimented by taking songs from their acclaimed CD Broken Wings Can Fly and used the stories told in those songs to create a theatrical production by the same name. After a five-year run, each year featuring new production numbers, Broken Wings was retired.

But now, with the success of that production in mind, the Ranch has embarked upon a mission in the summer of 2008 – to create a brand new dramatic production based on the songs from the new CD Heart Like a Flower, which was produced by professional music producer Tony Young and which just arrived from the press this week.

Twenty-five eager children and adults from the Youth Ranch and from the community have worked daily since late May to not only rehearse and bring the production to an appreciative audience, but to actually create the show as they work.

The residents of the Youth Ranch have benefitted beyond measure by working with talented folks from the theatre-and-music-rich Kerrville-Ingram-Hunt community. Among those lending their talents are Playhouse2000’s Singin’ in the Rain star Jake Asbury, who not only will sing and dance in the show, but has also helped teach dancing to some of the children. Recent Ballet Magnificat attendee Camille Priour has created a dance for the title song with a young lady who resides at the Ranch. And John Dean Domingue, hyper-talented young dancer/writer/actor has choreographed another song for the show, and worked directly with the dancers to bring an elegance to their work.

In the acting department, local up-and-coming actresses Genie Iness, Madison White and Brittney Whitten, will portray caseworkers in scenes that serve as prequels to each showcase number. They have been instrumental in encouraging and inspiring the children to achieve their best. And the kids were also treated to individual work with ITM graduate and now performance student at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, Lillian Beaudoin.

And in perhaps the Ranch’s proudest moment, also featured will be recent ITM graduate and college bound Ranch resident Jacob Favela, an aspiring rapper, who will perform his songs Forgiven and For the Kids. Jacob has had a whirlwind year after his music videos became popular through word of mouth and via YouTube. He was invited to speak at a National Conference in Denver, awarded the CPS Youth of the Year in a ceremony with Lance Armstrong, Andy Roddick and Elton John, and met Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a visit to the US Capitol. This will perhaps be his last performance at the Ranch.

ITM Theatre Department, Guadalupe Stage Quartet and Point lighting guru Dan Schmidt has designed the lighting for the show, with the help of Gary Priour, and will be assisted by ITM Thespian lightmaster Jordan Spradling. Carol Priour, HCYR Fine Arts Director, is the costumer and she, Marcy Dorman, and Schmidt have worked long hours as Assistant Directors to fine tune the show.

Most of the songs being showcased in I Used to Dream are from the Children’s Music Project’s CD Heart Like a Flower, although the show will feature at least one completely new song destined for a future CMP CD. The songs, written by professional songwriters such as Dana Cooper and Scott Boland, also feature such world-class musicians and singers as Monte Montgomery, Flaco Jimenez, Stephen Bruton and Benita Arteberry-Burns. Copies of the new CD will be available at the show, with all proceeds going towards helping the Ranch continue its mission of helping foster children.

“We have always known that children who have undergone trauma best express themselves through the arts – painting, music, writing poetry – but we found a new energy and transformation in these kids when we put them onstage and allowed them to tell their own stories,” said show director Tony Gallucci. At the earlier show, Broken Wings Can Fly, audiences were transformed by learning about the resilience of kids wounded by those they most trust.

“Each of these art forms in and of itself is a form of story-telling – a child may tell their story by simply writing it out, or they may translate it into a verbal picture through poetry, or sometimes the visual depiction works best for them through drawing. Music has been a means of conveying of loss since long before Nashville slicked it up and made millions off of it. But sometimes the layperson doesn’t recognize that people can tell a story also through dramatic expression or dance, and those are the kinds of stories we also wanted to tell – the physical stories. Each scene tells the story of children who have suffered emotional trauma and how they find their way in the world, and we tell that story through singing, acting and dance.”

“By taking one person’s story and creating a song we have already created a new story – an interpretation of the original as viewed by another soul. Taking it another step and adding dance creates yet another story, and making it a dramatic representation yet again adds a layer. So, in creating a scene for a production, the children suddenly are privy to the depths of a story from the eyes of several creators, and their own creative juices begin to flow from depths they had not yet plumbed.”

“The title I Used to Dream comes from the centerpiece song of the show, written by Carol Priour and brought to musical life on the CD by Mike Cross. It tells of the journey from despair to hope, which is the same journey we hoped to express with the show itself – that kids born into traumatic circumstances still have their whole lives ahead of them to turn to wonderful purpose.”

The show will be presented at the Turner Blackbox Theatre on the HCYR Campus, 1 mile N of Ingram off of Highway 27, Friday, August 8th at 7 p.m., Saturday, August 9th at 7 p.m., and Sunday, August 10th, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $5, and may be reserved by calling 367-2131, or purchased in advance at the Hill Country Youth Ranch Administration Building. Unreserved and standby tickets may be available at the door ten minutes prior to curtain time, but please be aware that previous HCYR shows have sold out. Reservations are recommended.

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