I DREAM is a largely through-composed musical drama – sometimes referred to as a “Rhythm & Blues Opera” – based on the life of a preacher from Atlanta, written and composed by Douglas Tappin. The full production is intended to feature a cast of up to 25 actors and a 15-piece orchestra performing a dynamic fusion of musical genres – from the operatic, through gospel, blues and jazz to contemporary. Despite the well-chronicled tragedy that ended this great man’s life, I DREAM triumphs by inspiring its audiences and leaving them with a glow of togetherness, redemption and hope for a better future.
Background and Introduction
Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc. (MDAI) is the production company controlling worldwide rights to I DREAM. Although Atlanta was selected as the most appropriate birthplace for this new piece in 2010, the company’s ultimate intention has always been to present the show internationally through major markets, including London’s West End and Broadway.
Thirty performances of I DREAM were presented by MDAI through July 2010 on the Alliance Stage at the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia, as a ‘try-out run’. I DREAM in Atlanta was a totally independent, out-of-season production, developed from page-to-stage on a private, limited budget, in a mere four months. This brutal schedule was pursued in order to capitalise on a narrow window of suitable theatre availability, which allowed MDAI to prove its concept at the earliest opportunity, although further development was always anticipated. I DREAM won the award for “Best World Premiere of a Play or a Musical” at Atlanta’s annual, theatrical Suzi Bass Awards in the 2009/2010 season. More significantly, it also won the approval of the King family, as well as emotional accolades at the premiere from Civil Rights leaders, Ambassador Andrew Young and Reverend Joseph Lowery.
In the spring of 2012, MDAI staged its first workshop presentation of I DREAM in New York to see and hear the shape of the piece following some structural changes and substantial rewriting. Further dramaturgical work led to another workshop performance in January 2014 and the most recent presentation of I DREAM was staged with a five-piece band at New York Live Arts in Chelsea on July 1st, 2014, following another week of work on the piece, which now feels ready (but for the inevitable honing that will be necessary in preproduction and rehearsal).
In recent months and given Equity restrictions on the recording of presentations, MDAI has made studio recordings of the entire piece with a rhythm section, in order to better illustrate the extraordinary power and unique quality of the music.
Brief Notes on the New York Creative Team
Since the Atlanta production, further development of I DREAM has taken place in New York with the following team:
Further Development and Events since the Atlanta Production