And the Dream Goes On! A Celebration in Song, Word and Dance
How often do you see a new musical and find yourself humming multiple tunes months later after seeing the show only once? Very few new musicals have that kind of staying power. This one’s an exception.And the Dream Goes On! is an original African-American musical by local artists. It premiered last year at California Musical Theatre’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Theatre Project—i.e., the Music Circus folks in conjunction with California State University, Sacramento, and Celebration Arts. SN&R tabbed And the Dream Goes On! as “Best new musical” in the 2004 Best of Sacramento issue. (The play shared the honor with the Sacramento Theatre Company’s Convenience.)
California Musical Theatre is staging And the Dream Goes On! again, with three new songs plus a few tucks and cuts. And, having seen it again, we can say that it’s a keeper—particularly the infectious score by Charles Cooper. The numbers are as diverse as call-and-response gospel, breezy inner-city blues and soaring praise songs. Someone ought to issue a CD, because this music deserves a broad, long-term audience.
There are other winning attributes, including tangy vignettes by writers Anthony D’Juan and Lisa Tarrer Lacy (who also directed). These stories contrast the experience of black Americans before, during and after the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Characters include an old janitor, a doubting pastor and a young rapper. Choreographer Wanel Thomas and tap-dancer Pepper Von also make noteworthy contributions, as do vocalists Bill Miller and Danielle Thrower.
Reset your expectations for a musical: There’s no romance. It’s a message piece, told in mosaic form. With a community cast, you’ll hear a few flat notes and see some missed dance steps, but so what? Value involves more than flawless physical execution. This is a very valuable show. Kudos to California Musical Theatre for staging it.