Making Books Sing began in New York City in 1996 as the family theatre and education program of the Tony Award-winning Vineyard Theatre. Growing from the vision of Barbara Zinn Krieger, founder of the Vineyard, it is now an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing theatre with high standards of artistry and content to families and children. The group adapts and produces stage versions of picture books. Among books chosen for past productions are The Butterfly by Patricia Polacco, The Orphan Singer by Emily Arnold McCully, A Shelter in Our Car by Monica Gunning, and The Upside Down Boy by Juan Felipe Herrera. Touring shows are now made possible through collaborations with the Kennedy Center and Stanford Lively Arts.
The reason I know any of this, living in northwest New Mexico as I do, far from the city lights, is that my picture book, Chachaji's Cup, has been adapted into a musical by Making Books Sing. It's scheduled to open in New York January 25, 2010, and will tour to the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. It will open in Stanford, CA in February. Adaptation and lyrics are by Gwynne Watkins; music is by Denver Casado. The director/choreographer is Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj.
How did all this come about? Everyone wants to know. That part is not all that exciting, having to do mostly with rights and permissions and signatures on contracts. What's exciting is that about 12,000 children in New York City will see the show and be introduced as a result, to my book. Exciting too that Raja Burrows, who plays the male lead, is from Albuquerque, and I got to meet his parents earlier this year. And most exciting to think that after my January residency at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I'll be heading to New York. I'll sign books at the Barnes & Noble-Tribeca on January 22, and attend the opening matinee performance on the 25th.
Raising my cup of chai to Barbara Zinn Krieger and Making Books Sing for the fine work they do. Information on tickets and more at http://makingbookssing.org/