In collaboration with
The Day You Begin
SEPTEMBER 29 – OCTOBER 22, 2023
A Play with Lots of Music
Written by Jacqueline Woodson
Music & Lyrics by Toshi Reagon
Based on the book by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López
Directed by Melanie Salmon-Peterson & André Samples
In collaboration with Threads Dance Project
RECOMMENDED FOR: All Ages
LOCATION: Mainstage Theatre
SHOW RUN TIME: Approx 50 MINUTES with no intermission.
RESOURCE GUIDE: Download Here
Make this the day you begin!
It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you, but somehow you do it. With the start of school and new beginnings looming, National Book Award Winner Jacqueline Woodson’s heartwarming musical celebrates the courage it takes to make new friends, hear new stories, and see your own magic in the world.
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About Threads Dance Project
Threads Dance Project (Threads) was founded by Karen L. Charles in 2011 when her father passed away, leaving her just enough money to produce one professional performance. Since then, Threads has produced over thirty works including its yearly Tapestries Program which supports emerging choreographers. Threads matinees, classes and workshops have reached over 2000 students in the Twin Cities Metro area. Threads also engages with the community via open rehearsals, panel discussions and movement-based workshops at their Twin Cities home – Threads Dance Nexus.
Photos by Amy Rondeau Photography
The Creative Team
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR STC - Sandy Boren-Barrett
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR THREADS - Karen Charles
DIRECTOR - Melanie Salmon-Peterson
DIRECTOR - André Samples*
CHOREOGRAPHER - Malia Craft
MUSIC DIRECTOR - Kymani Queen
COSTUME & MAKE UP DESIGNER - Rebecca Gardner
COSTUME DESIGN MENTEE - Asgerami Semkoff
SOUND DESIGNER - Gretchen Katt
PROPS DESIGNER - Nate Metcalf
SET DESIGNER - Joe Stanley
LIGHTING DESIGNER - Tony Stoeri
LIGHTING DESIGN MENTEE - Natalie Mosakowski
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR - Jim Hibbeler
ASSISTANT TECHNICAL DIRECTOR - Rachel Behrman
WARDROBE SUPERVISOR - Christa Ludwig
PRODUCTION MANAGER - Melanie Salmon-Peterson
ACCESSIBILITY CONSULTANT - Kallie Jo Ascheman
STAGE MANAGER - Ajah Williams
ASS’T STAGE MANAGER & LANGUAGE CONSULTANT - Gabriel Peñaloza-Hernandez
SOUND BOARD OPERATOR - Mari Bogucki
LIGHT BOARD OPERATOR - Frances Olsen Biebighauser
VIDEO OPERATOR - Carter Kue*
SCENIC ARTIST - Cinde Ashley
SCENIC PAINTER - Yvonne Ring
CARPENTERS - Justin Dekker, Trevor Zapiecki
ELECTRICIANS - Talia Porter Cohen, Adrien Wittlieff
STITCHERS - Samantha Fromm-Haddow, Natalie Smith
VOLUNTEERS - Jeff Aune, Jenny Brown, Scott Brown, Warren Glidden, Ron Kline, Donna Meyer, Mariann Wolf
The Creative Team
MELANIE SALMON-PETERSON (CO-DIRECTOR) - AT STC, recent credits include: Galactic Wonders, Raymie Nigthingale, What Do You Do With An Idea?, Leo Lionni’s Inch by Inch, The Most Magnificent Thing, Stone Soup, Swimmy, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Bear Snores On, and at FAIR School Crystal James & the Giant Peach Jr & Lion King Jr.” Favorite Play or Musical at STC: Favorite I cannot pick, but several are special to me for a variety of reasons – Stone Soup for its dedication to community service and the wonderful opportunity to perform a the Ivey Awards. Swimmy-stunning design work and a wonderful ensemble with which to create, Dandelion Seed as our first TFVY, working with Jim & Nate & Abbee to create it; Zen Shorts for its zen-like process, so peaceful and beautiful to work on; Edward Tulane for its visual beauty; How I Became a Pirate – both here and on the tour to Bath, England; You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, beautiful, entertaining and so much talent. Wow, I better stop now. I could go on.
ANDRÉ SAMPLES (CO-DIRECTOR) - André Samples has worked at Stages since 2012 in the education department, teaching at The FAIR School for Arts, Columbia Academy, Fair School Crystal, and now as the Teen Program Manager. For those schools he directed numerous productions, including She Kills Monsters, and The Realm. He now runs our Teen Mentorship Program and facilitates our Pizza & Playwrights series. Prior to joining Stages Theatre Company, André could be seen regularly on stages across the Twin Cities including Mixed Blood Theatre, Pangea World Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, Frank Theatre, Illusion Theater, History Theatre, and many more. He also appeared in the feature film Fall Into Me, produced by the Minneapolis-based company Indiewood Pictures.
KAREN L. CHARLES (CHOREOGRAPHER) - A dedicated performer, teacher and creator, Karen Long Charles received a BFA Ballet/BS Computer Science from Texas Christian University and M.Ed. in Administration from Georgia State University. Charles has performed with numerous dance companies including Room to Move Dance Company (Atlanta, GA), Susan Warden Dance Company (Kansas City, MO) and was awarded a fellowship to study at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Charles served as Director at Perpich Arts High School and was the founding Principal/Executive Director at Main Street School of Performing Arts. Charles has created/presented works for James Sewell Ballet, Carleton College, Macalester College, University of Georgia, University of Iowa, Main Street School of Performing Arts and Perpich Arts High School. Charles founded Threads Dance Project(Threads) in 2011 where she is presently Artistic/Executive Director. Threads has been nominated for a MN SAGE Dance Award (2015), co-hosted McKnight International Choreographic Fellow Salia Sanou(2017), and toured nationally to Atlanta and Philadelphia. Threads now teaches and works in their new Minneapolis home -Threads Dance Nexus to further expand their mission to examine, expose and celebrate the Threads that connect us. Charles has also choreographed musicals for PENUBRA Theater and Macalester College. Her film, Out of the Ashes won Best Performance (NYC Film & Television Festival ,2022), Best Dance Feature Film(Experimental Dance & Music Film Festival, 2023) Visit www.threadsdance.org for additional information about Karen Charles and Threads Dance Project.
MALIA CRAFT (CHOREOGRAPHER) - Malia Craft is from Hartwell, Georgia and began her training at Hot Shots Dance Company, where she trained in ballet, modern, contemporary, hip hop, and jazz and found her love for performing, as well as teaching. Malia attended the University of Georgia, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance, with a minor in exercise and sports science, and a certificate in K-12 dance education. She was also a part of the Georgette’s Dance Team for three years. Malia is currently an artist with Threads Dance Project and Concerto Dance. Aside from training and performing, Malia has a love of working with dancers and has taught, as well as choreographed, for several studios and dance teams throughout North Georgia and Minnesota. This is her second production with Stages Theatre Company.
KYMANI KAHLIL (MUSIC DIRECTOR) - (She/Her/They) is a Twin-Cities based generative theater artist, singer, dancer and musician. She has spent over a decade honing her skills as a generative artist through her work with Regional Twin Cities Theaters, as well as public schools and programs for young artists, as a director, music director, composer, performer, and choreographer. Kymani has toured throughout the Twin Cities and out-state Minnesota teaching residencies and leading workshops in theater creation. Most recent theater credits include productions with Ten Thousand Things Theater and Wayward Theater and Interact Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. Kymani is currently developing their one person show “Peaches & Pickles: Perspective Is Suspect”, which explores the intersections of Race, Gender & Sexuality, Spirituality and Racial Profiling. Kymani believes the Performing Arts are essential to building community, not only as entertainment, but is important because of its power to engage audiences in social discourse and elevate new and uncommon narratives that can be informative, cathartic and community building.
JACQUELINE WOODSON (AUTHOR & PLAYWRIGHT) Jacqueline Woodson is an American writer of books for adults, children, and adolescents. She is best known for her National Book Award-Winning memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, and her Newbery Honor-winning titles After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way. Her picture books The Day You Begin and The Year We Learned to Fly were NY Times Bestsellers. After serving as the Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017, she was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress for 2018–19. She was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 2020. Later that same year, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.
RAFAEL LÓPEZ (ILLUSTRATOR) Rafael López is a New York Times bestselling, award winning illustrator and artist born and raised in Mexico City to architect parents. His illustrations bring diverse characters to children’s books and he is driven to produce and promote books that reflect and honor the lives of all young people.
TOSHI REAGON (MUSIC & LYRICS) Toshi Reagon is a multi-talented and versatile singer, composer, musician, with a profound ear for sonic Americana—from folk to funk, from blues to rock. While her expansive career has landed her at Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera House and Madison Square Garden, you’ll just as easily find Toshi turning up at a music festival, an intimate venue, or at your local club.
Our 40th Anniversary Season
This season celebrates some of our favorite titles from past seasons and introduces audiences to regional and world premieres.
Through it all we continue to celebrate the collaborations with our amazing artistic partners - some new, some old - all working to center young people in what we do and how we do it.