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VIDEO: Chicago Children's Theatre Debuts MAYBE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL

The film is based on the popular children's book about a girl named Mira who brings color to a community of gray.

VIDEO: Chicago Children's Theatre Debuts MAYBE SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL

What good can a splash of color do in a community of gray?

A neighborhood transformed for the better in Maybe Something Beautiful, a new virtual short film for kids, families and schools from Chicago Children's Theatre and the Negaunee Music Institute at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO).

The new, 13-minute, bilingual Spanish/English video is now posted for free, on-demand viewing for children and families in Chicago and around the world on CCTv: Virtual Theatre and Learning from Chicago Children's Theatre and CSOtv.

Kids of all ages will love and be inspired by Mira, the young protagonist in Maybe Something Beautiful who decides one day to paste her drawing of a sun on one of the dark walls of an alley, just to bring brightness to the smiles of her neighbors. The force of that sun's attraction sparks a transformation of those streets and the lives of Mira and her neighbors, forever. Maybe Something Beautiful is a true story about Rafael and Candice López, two exceptional people committed to art and social justice who turned the darkness of their neighborhood into a world of hope and beauty by turning the alleys of San Diego's East Village into art canvases.

Today, the Urban Art Trail remains a physical symbol of one community's triumph against the forces of social decay. The story has since been shared with millions of young readers through the popular picture book and is now being brought to online audiences thanks to this new collaboration.

"Chicago Children's Theatre and the CSO have created something beautiful here," said F. Isabel Campoy, co-author, Maybe Something Beautiful.

"The CSO took the magic wand from Rafael López and transformed color into music, art to sound, 'oneness' to community. The script tells the story the way many people in our country express themselves today. I embrace it completely. Chicago Children's Theatre's beautiful puppetry and Jasmin Cardenas' warm voice are charming to follow through the streets of San Diego, or actually, any street now."

Maybe Something Beautiful features CSO musicians Jennifer M. Gunn (flute), Scott Hostetler (oboe), David Griffin (horn), Keith Buncke (principal bassoon) and guest musician Jonathan Gunn (clarinet).

Throughout the video, the quintet performs selections from Latin American and South American composers including Miguel del Águila's Quinteto Sinfónico, José Luis Hurtado's Son de la Bruja and Astor Piazzolla's Libertango, arranged by Jeff Scott. Jasmin Cardenas, a highly-regarded local actor and storyteller, is the Narrator and Bilingual Script Writer of Maybe Something Beautiful. Much like the Walkie Talkies podcast she created last fall for CCT, Butterflies, Aztec Gods and Puerquitos/Sweet Piggie Bread, an original, story-based tour of Chicago's Little Village neighborhood, Maybe Something Beautiful also features narration in Spanish, English and "Spanglish," all beautifully voiced by Cardenas.

Additionally, Cardenas worked on a companion study guide for Maybe Something Beautiful with the education staff at Chicago Children's Theatre and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association. Resources include Spanish and English vocabulary terms, tips for transforming a drawing into a mural, and background on the woodwind instruments and the Latino composers featured in the film. Parents and teachers will be able to download the free guide via both organizations' websites.

Jacqueline Russell, Artistic Director, Chicago Children's Theatre, and Jon Weber, Director, School and Family Programs, Negaunee Music Institute, co-directed Maybe Something Beautiful.

The production team includes CCT Production Director Will Bishop, who also designed the puppets; Miranda Betancourt, puppetry assistant; Jeffrey Paschal, director of photography for Chicago Children's Theatre; Todd Rosenberg, director of photography for the CSO; and Charlie Post, Mark Alletag and Connor Boyle, audio engineering.

The production is inspired by the book Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. For more information about the book, the authors and illustrator, visit

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