Back when, many in Dixon waited patiently for Carissa Carpenter and Morning View LLC to dump a $2.8 billion movie studio in our laps. Now that her fling with the city is over and the lovers have parted ways, we might look for something more substantial in the way of the performing arts.
Well, as a matter of fact, we do have something local that’s more than pie-in-the-sky talk.
As detailed in a front-page story in the Dixon Tribune for September 8, Dixon screenwriter Catherine Hurd has crafted a musical about the Occupy movement, especially as it first took place in the U.S. in Zuccotti Park, New York City. And not only has she written it, but she has had the wherewithal to assemble the necessary collaborators to bring the musical (titled Zuccotti Park) to life.
She now has a director, a production manager, a PR person, and a composer (to add music to Hurd’s lyrics).
Last Sunday, September 15, Hurd and her partners took an important step towards realizing their dream of bringing the musical to the stage. They held their first public reading of the play, with music, in the IOOF building in Davis, using actors. I attended, and came away impressed with the plot, the characters, and the music.
Basically, the musical revolves around the protestors occupying Zuccotti Park, who railed against the one percent of Americans who hold approximately 35 percent of the nation’s wealth. The park is symbolically near Wall Street. Vignettes of the protestors in the musical reveal how real estate schemes, jobs going overseas, and poor treatment of military veterans have affected the “other 99 percent.”
But the strongest part of the plot deals with the interaction between a returned veteran from Afghanistan, Cooper, and two protestors. One is a very opinionated male leader and the other is a woman whom Cooper is attracted to. The dialog between Cooper and the two is the highlight of the musical, with Cooper representing traditional American patriotism and values, while the two protestors see exploitation of the poor (and a government owned by) the rich.
Eventually, police come to clear the protestors from the park, and from there on, tension builds as Cooper tries to better understand the tenacity and beliefs of the Occupy people.
The reading in Davis was a fundraiser as well as a publicity effort. Zuccotti Park, the musical, needs financial help to keep its momentum going – to show that a Dixon writer’s vision can succeed and have an impact. Zuccotti Park is about American history and conflict.
If you have an inclination to help promote the lively arts right here in Dixon, consider donating to help bring Zuccotti Park to the stage. The easiest way is to donate via the online fundraising site, kickstarter.com. Hurd and her group have just passed their Kickstarter goal of raising $10,000 to get the production off the ground, but anything additional will be appreciated. If you contribute $50, for example, you will receive a free ticket to the opening night production. My wife and I have donated. Contributions can be made on Kickstarter until 7 p.m. PDT Friday, September 20.
To contribute, open the Kickstarter web site and do a search there for Zuccotti Park. There, you can also view a five-minute video giving deeper information about the musical.
As an alternative, checks made out to We The People Productions can be mailed to 1665 Fulmor Drive, Dixon, CA 95620.
This is an exciting time for Dixon, for Catherine Hurd, and for the people who are working with her. Hopefully, at some point, the musical could be staged in Dixon as well as elsewhere.