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.
A Rhythm and Blues Opera
Written and Composed by Douglas Tappin
THE JOURNEY SO FAR
I Dream began its theatrical life on Atlanta’s Alliance Stage, produced by Musical-Dramatic Arts Inc., worldwide rights owner for I Dream.
Atlanta was selected as the most appropriate birthplace for the new piece which was presented to a local audience that included Bernice King (Dr. King’s daughter), Christine King Farris (Dr. King’s Sister), close colleagues of Dr. King including Andrew Young (former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and Mayor of Atlanta) and The Reverend Joseph Lowery, and the current and former Majors of Atlanta. Atlanta’s theatrical community awarded I Dream “Best World Premiere of a Play or a Musical” at the annual Suzi Bass Awards.
Of I Dream, the Atlanta Journal Constitution said: “…Expresses its emotions on an epic, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ scale…Tappin is a writer of considerable talent.” Atlanta’s Creative Loafing said: “Tappin’s hugely ambitious word premiere follows the example of Broadway’s big rock-influenced musicals such as ‘Evita’ and ‘Les Miserables’.”
Atlanta was a first step in the development of I Dream as a Rhythm and Blues Opera. Additional steps have included in-concert performances at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, in Los Angeles at an exclusive presentation hosted by Chaka Khan, in Washington D.C. at a private event attended by Malia and Sasha Obama, and in New York’s Bessie Schonberg Theatre at the culmination of an extensive process of Broadway dramaturgical development led by Director Daniel Goldstein, and dramaturg Allison Horsley. Through the I Dream development process, the role of Martin has been performed by actors Quentin Darrington, Joshua Henry and Bryan Terrell Clark. Quentin Darrington was also Martin for the 2015 Concept Recording of I Dream alongside recording artist Avery Sunshine as Coretta and a cast of actors and musicians assembled to present the extraordinary power and unique quality of the I Dream story and music.
Now, in exciting collaboration with Opera Carolina, Opera Grand Rapids and Toledo Opera, I Dream will premier in 2018 as the Rhythm and Blues Opera it was destined to be. In early 2017, Opera Carolina presented an in-concert performance of I Dream to an enthusiastic, packed house at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
With the support of Charlotte-based Novant Health and Opera Carolina’s season sponsor Wells Fargo Private Bank, the journey to bring I Dream to a place of prominence on stage continues.