New Musical A JOURNEY OF ANGELS Will Have Workshop in LA
A new musical, A JOURNEY OF ANGELS, is currently in development with a theatrical workshop planned for June 2019 in Los Angeles. The musical features a book by Brent Beerman, music and lyrics by Kathi Chaplar and directed by Kay Cole. Additional information about the workshop will be announced at a later date.
Based on the novel My Mother's Voice by Dr. Kay Mouradian, A JOURNEY OF ANGELS tells the story of an impassioned, 14-year-old Armenian girl named Flora, who dreams of furthering her education at the American Missionary school and traveling to far-away places to experience the diversity of the world. Her dream comes to an unforeseen halt, when the Turkish government announces the proclamation that all Armenians must be removed from their homes and driven on a forced march, leaving behind everything. Flora is faced with the horror of losing her entire family with the exception of her beloved sister. As she travels down the harrowing paths during the Armenian Genocide of 1915, Flora finds the courage and will to survive and fight for her freedom.
"Flora's story is a symbol of hope. A young girl's struggle to know her story and to witness her survival is to find hope in the struggle against all oppression and intolerance," said book-writer Brent Beerman. "Her story, however, is more than an historical marker; it chronicles the life and journey of one Armenian village, focusing on one family, chronicling the persistence of one girl's dream in the face of unspeakable atrocities. If we are to overcome future despots, then we must never forget what has happened to Flora, and the Armenian people through the horror of the genocide."
Composer and lyricist Kathi Chaplarsaid, "Music is a direct link to culture, and for this reason I turned to traditional Armenian music for inspiration. Because this is a play about survival, about the power of family, and the preservation of culture, I didn't want the music to take us out of the historic setting. At the same time, I want it to appeal to contemporary audiences, so the music has as its harmonic structure and melodies similarities to music transcribed by Komitas, often called the Armenian Mozart, but infused with a more contemporary feel," She explained, "And for some of the lyrics, I turned to traditional Armenian proverbs as inspiration in order to stay true to its imagery and spirit. In this way the music is an anthem of the Armenian spirit of both those lost in the Genocide as well as the power of the voices of the survivors."
"My collaboration with Brent and Kathi began several years ago, quite by accident. A mutual friend introduced us, and we just became instant friends and collaborators. Our first project together was an original musical, created by Brent and Kathi, entitled 22% Fear. It is a wonderfully diverse partnership and has been easy since we all care deeply about the young voice and their future," said director Kay Cole. "I have had the joy of directing the yearly musical with both Brent and Kathi for the last few years and directing their Falcon Players in many plays and teaching classes for young directors." She added, "Also, Brent and I have written a heartfelt film script about bullying that we hope to have in pre-production in 2020."
In commemoration of Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, the creative team of A JOURNEY OF ANGELS will present an evening of select songs and scenes from the musical in development on Thursday, April 18 at 7:00 pm at Herbert Hoover High School Auditorium (651 Glenwood Road, Glendale, CA 91202). Tickets for the evening are $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for students; and are available for purchase at the theatre on the night of the performance.
The evening will feature students from Crescenta Valley High School's Theatre Department.
"Dr. Kay Mouradian approached us about presenting selections from A Journey of Angelsas a springboard to initiate an education and understanding of the Armenian Genocide by using high school students to help audiences relate to Flora and the events surrounding her struggle from the point of view of an ordinary teenager. Since education is handed down from generation to generation, today's teenagers need to be informed so that they can lead theirchildren into the future. It is therefore imperative they participate in projects that, at their core, teach tolerance," said book-writer Brent Beerman. "As Kathi, Kay and I continue our journey in developing our theatrical workshop production, we want to impress on our future audiences that this horrific event is not an isolated moment in history or geography. The Armenian Genocide certainly set a precedent for the Holocaust which itself resulted in countless other heartbreaking stories like that of Anne Frank. Such manifestations of racism, hatred, and genocide continued throughout the world in the 20thand 21st centuries and tragically, there are too many modern-day Anne Franks and Floras in such places as Bosnia, Rwanda, and Syria."
"As an educator, it has always been my mandate to empower young voices, and this project provides a unique opportunity for our theater students to work alongside professional actors. The students have also been given exposure to a dark chapter in history, one that is not usually taught in the history books, which enables them not only to bring to life the voice of these survivors, but to find the connections within themselves and realize the impact of their performance on their audiences," stated composer and lyricist Kathi Chaplar.
The selection of songs and scenes from A JOURNEY OF ANGELS will also be presented on Wednesday, May 8 at the Consulate General of Armenia in Los Angeles (346 N. Central Avenue, Glendale, CA 91203. The evening will be attended by Armenia's Consul General of Los Angeles, H.E. Dr. Armen Baibourtian. Attendance to the event is by invitation only.
"The rehearsal process and the 'journey' of a workshop for a new musical is very familiar territory to me. I have had the good fortune to be involved with several original musicals, when I lived and worked in New York on Broadway, the most notable being A Chorus Line," shared director Kay Cole. "It is so important as a director to have a strong concept, great listening to your collaborators, a unique vision and trusting my own instincts. Keeping the rehearsal space a joyful and comfortable space is also vital." She continued, "You want everyone to work with respect and humor. When I am directing my goal is to always to honor the writer's story but at the same time allow for a way to make discoveries and ultimately allowing the magic of the piece to blossom."