I’m hearing the song “Worlds Apart” more than ever these days as I’m teen taxiing with my radio tuned to the SIRIUS-XM Broadway channel — perhaps because of recent flooding on the Mississippi River, or maybe because of political discourse that seems increasingly polemic.
“Worlds Apart” is from a musical called “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” with book by William Hauptman and music/lyrics by Roger Miller. It ran on Broadway from April 1985 to September 1987. The song accompanies Huck’s realization that a fellow runaway named Jim, though a slave, is a human being.
Today, plenty of folks still fear what they don’t understand. What they haven’t experienced. What seems different. What some call “the other.” But theater is leading the movement to celebrate and embrace differences as reflections of natural variations in our common humanity. And to assure that all people are valued and respected.
One community theater company, Theater Works in Peoria, has partnered with One Step Beyond (also of Peoria) to bring theater classes and performance opportunities to people living with cognitive disabilities. One Step Beyond works “to provide opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to access the life experiences and resources available to all citizens.” Click here to read a recent post on the rise in developmental disabilities from RAK multi-media journalist Vicki Louk Balint.
One Step Beyond presents their 7th annual “Showcase of the Arts” at Theater Works (located at the Peoria Center for the Performing Arts) Mon, June 6 and Tues, June 7. Performances start at 7pm, but folks can come at 6pm to enjoy a “Fine Arts Show” featuring works of visual art for sale.
The One Step Beyond showcase will feature performances by “OSB Explosion, OSB Jam Band, Comical Cats and many more.” The One Step Beyond theater department will perform an original play by Natalie Gradilla titled “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Tickets are just $5 and can be purchased by calling One Step Beyond at 623-215-2449.
Theater Works reports that funds raised through the “Showcase of the Arts” will “go towards One Step Beyond’s cultural arts program” — which includes classes in dance, acting, visual arts and more. Their partnership with One Step Beyond includes providing both arts and employment training.
Theater Works at the Peoria Center for the Peforming Arts is a bustling place — with shows for children and adults on multiple stages, summer camps, workshops throughout the year and various fundraising events.
Their next free workshop (for children ages 7-12, and ages 13 & up) takes place Sat, May 28, at 10am. It’s titled “Why Shakespeare?” — and it’ll focus on helping kids understand why Shakespeare’s famous works “have been around for hundreds of years,” and teach kids how they can “learn to act out his amazing stories!”
Shakespeare only feels worlds apart until you get to know him better. So head to Theater Works in Peoria, where you’ll discover all sorts of people and playwrights who all see the same sky, just through different eyes.
Note: To register for the free Shakespeare workshop, contact Chris Hamby of Theater Works at 623-815-1791 (ext. 108) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming up: Ode to season tickets, Last call for summer theater camps, Art adventures: Tempe Center for the Arts
Photos courtesy of Theater Works