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BWW TV: Parkland Students' Instrument of Hope Makes its Way to the Broadway Stage at OKLAHOMA!


Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! became the first Broadway show to feature the Instrument of Hope on Wednesday, May 8th during a special encore performance of "Out of My Dreams" right after the matinee. The Instrument of Hope, a trumpet made with bullet casings that has been touring around the country, was played on stage by the show's Music Director Nathan Koci, accompanied by the Oklahoma! band.

The Instrument of Hope is a project initiated by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Shine MSD, Inc., a non-profit organization created by Parkland students to advance healing through arts. In collaboration with Oklahoma!, co-Producers Level Forward, and the Gun Neutral initiative, the Instrument of Hope made its Broadway debut. Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma! is also the first Broadway show to join Gun Neutral, an industry-wide collaboration to explore how entertainment companies and individual storytellers can work together to help stop the gun violence epidemic in our country.

The Instrument of Hope was designed by Josh Landress, an NYC-based instrument specialist who donated much of his time and labor for the fabrication of the trumpet. Landress used discarded bullet casings - the same type used in the events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018. The student-led group from MSD have inspired an instrument born from violence, now transformed into hope - using music to shine a light through the darkness of the school shooting.

The Instrument of Hope recently played at the American Woman film premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival by acclaimed trumpeterAlphonso Horne, at a Panic At The Disco concert, and at performances by The Revivalists and Michael Franti.

"It's an arresting sound and sight, to hear music with this story behind it, now reshaped as vessel for creativity and hope. The aim is neither partisanship nor worse, but continued conversation and collaboration to bring about healing and make strides for gun violence prevention," said Abigail E. Disney, Chair of Level Forward. "Our partners at Oklahoma! are trailblazers of more than territory; they are leading the charge to extend the influence of this groundbreaking production."

"At Shine MSD, we believe the greatest power to overcome adversity, heal, and make a change in the world comes from art," saidJoe Garrity, President of SHINE MSD and parent of Sawyer Garrity, who co-wrote the "SHINE" song with classmate Andrea Pena. "In seeking allies who believe the same, our partnership with Level Forward on the Instrument of Hope and our support for the industry's Gun Neutral initiative is an alignment of action, to keep the conversation and solutions flowing. We are so grateful to the cast, crew and producers of the revival of Oklahoma! for using their stage to highlight the urgency of action and the entertainment industry's leadership capacity."

"Our production brings many emotional themes to the forefront, through its characters and storytelling," said Oklahoma! producer Eva Price. "But one important theme that carries through is hope - hope for humanity, hope for love, and hope for forgiveness. We are honored to have had the Instrument of Hope join us last night for an encore performance of the hopeful song, Out of My Dreams."

As a Gun Neutral production, for every gun included in Oklahoma!, the production has made a donation to Gun Neutral's 501c3 partners for the benefit of organizations working to reduce the number of illegal firearms, invest in youth programs in underserved areas, and those impacted by gun violence, and advance research on gun violence in the media.

Gun Neutral launched in October of 2018 as a non-partisan initiative to consider how the cultural capital of entertainment can be better used to advance gun violence prevention and safety. With a mission to increase awareness and promote greater social responsibility - regardless of individual politics - Gun Neutral also recognizes the critical importance of preserving the artists authenticity and freedom.

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, nominated for eight Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival, recently announced an extension due to popular demand at Broadway's Circle in the Square Theatre (1633 Broadway). The show which opened officially on April 7 as a limited engagement, now has tickets available through January 19, 2020. Tickets are available at the box office, or by calling (212) 239-6200.

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