Angels of Hope from The King's Drum

Angels of Hope from The King's Drum

An exhibit presented by Kids Who Care and Cook's Children's Hospital

December 2 - 28, 2016

Reception: December 2, 2016; 6 - 9pm

Kids Who Care is a Musical Theatre Company created to cherish the child. One way that this is expressed is by producing original works inspired and written with and by the children we serve. In a series of writing workshops, we explore issues they are concerned about…issues about which they want their opinions and voices heard. They draw pictures; write poems or stories or even jokes! Their ideas are then shared with a group of musicians and writers who tweak, embellish, and create accompanying songs and dialogue. The result is a powerful production with a message that cannot be ignored.

This year, two important things simultaneously happened that influenced that process. First...Kids Who Care has had a relationship with Cook Children’s Medical Center for many years. Recently, we created a more intentional connection by bringing KWC Staff and associated artists into the hospital for weekly musical theatre and dance classes. This programming is offered through the Child Life Department which makes life as normal as possible for kids in the hospital. The people who work in Child Life are all about doing good works and doing good things for children and families in the middle of real hardship. Second…the terrorist attacks in Paris happened. As we watched the newscasts of terror and horror we also saw and heard stories of bravery, honor and compassion. Paris, a city renowned for its arrogance, suddenly changed. Random acts of kindness happened all over the city.

Different situations but so full of similarities…

The helpers…the Good Samaritans…The Angels who selflessly reached out to help someone in their time of greatest need, were fully present in both places.

We were reminded of KWC Executive Director Deborah Jung’s children’s bookAngels at My Door. It was produced in 2008 in conjunction with Tony Kushner’sAngel’s in America opera premiere in Fort Worth. The book was created with children whose families were impacted by HIV/AIDS. They wrote and drew pictures of angels in their lives…both real and imagined. We wondered if a re-write of this book …or a new book in the series, written in collaboration with children and families served at Cook Children’s, might be the answer to this year’s show. We met with the Child Life Department to present the idea and they were just as excited as we were about the project.

The venture blossomed into a new musical that premiered in July 2016 called The King’s Drum, inspired by one of the Cook Children’s participants who started telling his story… how he was born poor, had been homeless but his mother had always told him that he was worthy and that he was a king… Those five words, I was born a King, became the basis for a fairy tale about angels in our midst. The project also includes an iTunes album and a children’s book created from art produced by families and children served by Kids Who Care and Cook Children’s. Both will be released in December 2016. To bring the highest possible visibility to this amazing work, we produced an Art Show with the original art work that is featured as part of the scenic design for The King’s Drum and is included in the children’s book. Enjoy this labor of love!

Angels come in all shapes and sizes.

It doesn’t take a genius to notice which one is yours.

Caroline Speer