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Kravis Classroom Connection Hosts TURNING 15 ON THE ROAD TO FREEDOM Q&A Session

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The memoir turned musical was based on Lynda Blackmon Lowery, the youngest person to walk all the way from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in the Voting Rights March in 1965

Kravis Classroom Connection Hosts TURNING 15 ON THE ROAD TO FREEDOM Q&A Session

On Friday, October 23rd, The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts presented a live Q&A session to discuss the musical "Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom" as part of the "Kravis Classroom Connection." The virtual program included members of the company, writer and musical supervisor, Lynda Blackmon Lowery, Laurent Williams and Queade Norah.

Launched virtually during the pandemic, "Kravis Classroom Connection" helps students and teachers bring the arts into their classrooms in a fun and engaging way. The performances follow topics in math, science, technology, arts, history and social studies and range from grades 2 to 12. This innovative virtual series offers prerecorded presentations for teachers and students to view from a designated district-approved streaming platform. The virtual presentation of "Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom" is sponsored by Irene and Jim Karp.

"Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom" is a new musical filled with traditional and original Gospel and Freedom songs that tells the moving and inspiring true story of Lynda and her fight for freedom," said Tracy Butler, Director of Education for the Kravis Center. "For more than 28 years, the Kravis Center has ensured that arts education remains accessible to all students in our community. In light of the pandemic, we designed our online offerings to provide adults and children with additional learning opportunities through virtual platforms, especially since some students are still learning online."

Students heard directly from Lowery, Williams and Norah about their life experiences and how those experiences impacted the making of the musical. The memoir turned musical was based on Lynda Blackmon Lowery, the youngest person to walk all the way from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in the Voting Rights March in 1965. Jailed nine times before her 15th birthday, Lowery and her friends and neighbors fought alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to secure the right to vote for African Americans.

With the presidential election approaching, Norah, who plays Lowery on stage and Williams, who plays Lowery's father and is also the musical supervisor, shared their stories about voting and becoming activists. They also encouraged the students to do their research on candidates before casting their ballots and to stay informed about laws that can affect them and their communities.

"The students were very impressed by the production and were even more impressed by the ideas conveyed during the Q&A," said Julie Mandel from SouthTech Academy. "It was a powerful mix of information and emotion that encouraged my students to consider the people who gave their lives for the right to vote and other freedoms that are taken for granted today."

Performances for "Kravis Classroom Connection" will be available to view for one week with two live Q&A sessions with a member of the company at the end of each week, running through the school year. Additional performance dates and details can be found on the Kravis website at www.kravis.org/classroomconnection.



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