Milwaukee, Wis. (April 13, 2022) — Skylight Music Theatre will offer free virtual performances of the newest edition of KidsWrites beginning April 18, 2022. This year’s theme is Fun! and will be released on Skylight’s website in four segments: Monday, April 18, Monday, April 25, Monday, May 2 and Monday, May 9.
KidsWrites, now in its 22nd year, is a program in which Skylight Music Theatre teaching artists lead creative writing workshops for students in grades 3-8, inspiring them to create lyrics and dialogue based on a theme.
For KidsWrites 2021-22: Fun! elementary school students were inspired to write about the importance of fun and sharing that joy with others. Selected pieces were put to music by professional composers, while scenes and monologues were staged by Director and Senior Education Manager Amanda Rosmann. The pieces were then performed by Skylight artists in a show that was recorded for virtual distribution and available as a live touring show.
Free virtual performances of KidsWrites: Fun! will be available at www.skylightmusictheatre.org/fun. Contributions are appreciated. Participating writing schools will have the opportunity to host a live version of the show in late May.
KidsWrites Reached More than 1,500 Students
For the first time since the pandemic, KidsWrites conducted both in-person and virtual workshops at MPS and other schools. Skylight teaching artists worked with over 1,500 students, with participants from more than 50 classrooms in 12 area schools.
Most students submitted two pieces of writing resulting in more than 3,000 pages for consideration. Skylight Education Manager Rosmann and Skylight teaching artists selected 35 pieces of writing, some of which were put to music by professional composers. Skylight performers then rehearsed, performed, and recorded the pieces for KidsWrites 2021-22: Fun! A virtual version with an ASL interpreter is available. Students were also invited to create backdrop art for use in one of the musical numbers.
“This year’s theme was meant to inspire lightheartedness and joy. The children find that in so many places,” said Rosmann. “In much of the writing, students emphasized the importance of inviting others to have fun with them, and ways to find fun in unexpected places.”
KidsWrites Performers Feature Skylight Mainstage Artists
The ensemble performers in KidsWrites 2022: Fun! are Christie Burgess, Juliana Garcia Malacara, Shawn Holmes, Sandi Lash, Kevin James Sievert and Travis Ulrich. Most of the artists have been seen recently in professional productions at Skylight, including Burgess (The Full Monty); Holmes (The Full Monty and Raisin); Lash (Ruddigore); Sievert (Little Shop of Horrors) and Ulrich (The Full Monty). Malacara was an ensemble member in last year’s Skylight Songbook.
This year’s KidsWrites features original compositions by professional composers including Marc Chan, Carmen Fisher Risi, Meaghan Heinrich, Katie Madison, Ryan Rosmann, Kat Sherrel, Paula Tillen and Travis Ulrich. Director and choreographer for KidsWrites Fun! is Education Manager Amanda Rosmann. Music director is Paula Tillen. Audio and video production by Ryan Rosmann/Hi-Five Studio.
“Our work at Skylight is all about the powerful combination of words and music,” said Skylight Music Theatre Artistic Director Michael Unger. “With KidsWrites students can experience how words and music combine to create feeling, inspiration and entertainment. What’s more, and most important, is that those words are the words of kids. What better way is there to show the youth of our community how much they matter than to put their ideas onstage? Skylight is pleased to offer the partnership that KidsWrites creates with our schools and community.”
KidsWrites 2021-2022: Fun will be available virtually for students, families and the public on Skylight’s website at www.skylightmusictheatre.org/fun. The first segment will be released Monday, April 18, 2022. The next segments will be released on April 25, May 2 and May 9 on Skylight’s website. Tickets are free, but contributions to support Skylight and its education programming are appreciated. Skylight’s education program, called Enlighten, served over 14,000 Milwaukee Public School (MPS) children annually before the pandemic.
KidsWrites 2021-22: Fun! is supported in part by a grant from the Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin. Other support provided by:
Helen Daniels Bader Fund: A Bader Philanthropy
Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Gerda A. Debelak Fund, George H. and Virgilee F. Krueck Fund
Daniel M. Soref Charitable Trust
United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) Bright Minds, presented by BMO Harris Bank