Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Theater: 'Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters' (A Zimbabwe Cinderella Story) Currently On Tour

Back by popular demand, this acclaimed production by Dallas Children's Theater is touring the US until May 2017, as well as  a couple of shows back in Dallas in July. Lively, colorful and wonderfully entertaining this 'Zimbabwe Cinderella Story', originally a Caldecott winning book, (made even more popular through Reading Rainbow) and adapted for the stage a few years ago, continues to get enthusiastic reviews.

We wish we had the opportunity to go to this!

Press Release:
John Steptoe’s
Adapted for the stage by Karen Abbott Music & Lyrics by S-Ankh Rasa 
After phenomenally successful tours in the 2008-09 & 2011-12 seasons that visited well over 60 cities, Dallas Children’s Theater proudly presents its original musical adaptation of John Steptoe’s, MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS ~ AN AFRICAN TALE. This gorgeous Caldecott Award winning Cinderella tale will be touring coast-to-coast throughout the United States from September 2016 through May 2017. 

A favorite among children and adults, this African story from Zimbabwe was inspired by a folktale collected by G.M. Theal, and published in 1895 in his book, “Kaffir Folktales”. Award winning children’s author/illustrator John Steptoe had always focused on the African American experience in his work, but MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS required him to research African history and culture for the first time. His book was published in 1987, and was acknowledged by reviewers and critics as a breakthrough because it inspires African American children to respect their ancestral origins. Mr. Steptoe hoped that his books would help all young people to take pride in who they are.
Every culture has its rendition of the Cinderella story, but this one’s notion of “beauty” is more than skin deep. Mufaro’s pride and joy, two daughters named Nyasha and Manyara, have very different dispositions. The names of the characters are from the Shona language: Mufaro (moo- FAR-oh) means “happy man”, Nyasha (nee-AH-sha) means “mercy” and Manyara (mahn-YARah) means “ashamed”. Nyasha, the Cinderella character, is beautiful on the inside and out.
With energy and color the story is told through clear narration, African dance, drumming and song, as well as a splash of audience participation. Playwright Karen Abbot Mufaro, a dignified and caring African villager, has two beautiful daughters. When he leaves for the hunt and the sisters are alone, Manyara is always angry, while Nyasha is positive and kind. Chenzira, a messenger, brings word that the Great King is inviting all of the “Most Worthy and Beautiful Daughters in the Land to appear before him” so that he might choose his Queen. Mufaro is very pleased that both of his daughters should be selected and agrees to accompany them at sunrise. That night, Manyara, believing herself better and prettier than her sister, sets out alone so that she can be presented to the king first. What will happen to each girl as she responds to hooting owls, enchanted trees laughing and the other strange beings she encounters along the way? 
DCT’s Executive Artistic Director and director of the play, Robyn Flatt reunites the same dynamic artistic team to once again bring the enchanting folktale to vibrant life. Scenic Designer Randel Wright re-imagines an abstract African terrain where sculpted spirit poles glide across the stage to transform the setting from an open space to a lush forest. Barbara Cox continues as Costume Designer adding new flare to the already colorful African garb. Combining authentic African drums and Kora (harp), S-Ankh Rasa’s compelling original score, lifts the story to exhilarating musical heights. Pulling all the artistic elements together with majesty and grace is the classic yet modern choreography by Michelle Gibson. 
Don’t miss the splendor and energy of the stunning Zimbabwe region. With traditional African song, dance and drumming, come celebrate a rich and colorful culture along with goodness, generosity and love! 
Most enjoyed by ages five through adult or grades K through six.
Here's a promotional video from the 2011 season, to give you a taste of the show. It looks wonderful!
Check HERE to get more information on which cities they're visiting and when.

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