“If the Sam’s Room project can not only enable people to “see” someone who is different from them, but see themselves in someone they see as different from them, then a most important bridge has been built.” Hillary Key
Sam’s Room, a Broadway-Bound Musical, decided to stop production & take their story to the community. Why? They felt their story lacked authenticity.
Sam’s Room began as a pop concert dramedy following a high school senior quickly approaching the new millennium. Sam is nonverbal, consciously trapped in his own body and searching for a way to communicate. Without the benefit of what are now readily available technological devices, Sam must rely on support and encouragement from his Mom, his Pap, and his first friend, Sallie. We meet Sam from inside the one place he can truly be himself: his room. When Sam crosses the threshold of his bedroom door, he is able to express his inner self through spoken word, reenactments of his day, and best of all, through his imaginary alter ego, global music icon- Sammy Star. Sammy Star takes us on his own musical journey, one that parallels Sam’s quest to be heard.
AND NOW – They are challenging themselves to fully understand the character of Sam & allow us to see ourselves in the character.
5 reasons I love this project . . .
- The team is thoughtful & they love research. When approaching a topic so nuanced, it can be easy to just create something stereotypical. The Sam’s Room team is taking a thorough approach to make sure that Sam is presented with authenticity & care. Through conversations with people & organizations that work with people of all abilities, the writers of Sam’s room are updating their script as they continue to learn about the community. They are developing the script material alongside adults with disabilities, getting their input & adjusting the writing.
- The music is AMAZING. It might be simple to create a hit pop song but what about one that also propels a very specific story? That’s what you get with Sam’s room. The composers have created music that you’ll want to sing & dance with but that also creates an emotional impact.
- The acting is top-notch & mind-blowing. A cool part about Sam’s Room is that the cast is very small (only 4 people) & each actor plays a wide-range of characters. Actors transform to new characters before your eyes – both in body & voice.
- Sam’s story is reflected in all of us right now & connects us. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we have to find new ways to connect & communicate. Just like Sam, we are navigating a world that we aren’t always comfortable with. We have to find ways to escape in order to keep our spirits thriving AND we need to understand that there is a special spirit inside all of us, even those who look & act different than us.
- The staging is creative & intentional. The Sam’s Room team made the decision to use a debate technique called Forensics. In this technique, actors don’t actually touch. One actor might pass an item towards the audience & another receives it facing the side. It’s a really cool way to highlight the challenges to connect AND they do it so well!
This musical deserves to be seen. It’s unlike anything I have seen before & it’s truly special.
PS Want to see a sneak peek of their work! Here’s a performance for New York Theater Barn featuring John McGinty, a Broadway Actor who is deaf: https://www.facebook.com/insidesamsroom/videos/238023130787603