By Tameka Kenan-Norman, City of Rocky Mount
Rocky Mount’s rich history as part of the Civil Rights movement has garnered nationwide attention in the last few years. With North Carolina State University’s Dr. Jason Miller’s restoration of a November 27, 1962, speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Booker T. Washington High School, Rocky Mount has become a city known for its role in advancing equality for all.
That rich history is why Rocky Mount has been chosen to host Douglas Tappin’s “I Dream.” The Rocky Mount concerts pay tribute to Dr. King and bring to light the struggle for equality during a tumultuous time in American history.
“It’s all about the fact that Rocky Mount has this unique heritage and these recordings really separate you (Rocky Mount) from the pack,” stated Bruce Long, the show’s producer. “That was really the main reason we chose to do shows here-to celebrate the tapes.”
City officials share in Long’s excitement. Said Archie Jones, Human Relations director for the city of Rocky Mount:
“Dr. Miller’s restoration of that speech has reminded our citizens of the significance our community has played in the Civil Rights movement. We are thrilled to be a part of bringing a Broadway bound production of this caliber to our community.”
The Theater at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences, 270 Gay Street, Rocky Mount NC, will be the location for the public and educational performances, beginning February 7, 2017, and running through February 12, 2017.
The public performances are February 8-10, 2017, at 7:30pm, and February 11-12, 2017, at 2pm.
Educational performances for local students will be held Tuesday through Thursday during regular school hours.
For the show’s writer and composer, Douglas Tappin, the educational piece is especially important. Prior to the performances, local schools will receive material, including thought-provoking questions, to help prepare students for the production and the question and answer segment afterwards. Said Tappin:
“I hope that by seeing this presentation, it will cause or help students to take a fresh look at things that they’ve heard, things that they’ve assumed they know, things that they’ve been taught, with a critical eye, with an inquiring mind, and hopefully with hearts and emotions that are willing to engage in a different way than they may have done before.”
Tappin stresses that “I Dream” is his perspective of history and is not intended as a factual recounting of the events.
“This is poetic interpretation, and it’s important to not forget that,” explained Tappin. “What’s really exciting for me about this is that something I’ve written is being twinned with real history that happened in Rocky Mount, and the two things are sitting side by side. That is wonderful.”
For more information on “I Dream,” call 252.972.1266, or visit www.rockymountnc.gov. Tickets are estimated to run $20 for adults, $9 for children.
The musical’s background and a video are online at www.idreamthemusical.com.