On Friday, December 13, at 6 p.m., Franklin School of Innovation (FSI) will present a unique production of Free to Be…You and Me, a musical based on the book of the same name by Marlo Thomas. Chris Martin, theater director 12 PM at FSI, and Cary Cooper, FSI music teacher, were inspired to do the show after growing up with the songs from the musical and realizing it exemplified much of the school’s philosophy. “Even though it is a show from the 1970s, it has a newfound relevance for today due to the changing climate of stereotypes and gender equality,” says Cooper.
The performance will feature a cast and crew of more than 50 people, including middle schoolers singing the choral numbers, high schoolers singing duets, more than 30 students from the drama club performing speaking parts and a set crew of ten eighth-grade art students. “Each group was given a story, poem or song from the play and tasked with symbolically representing it through scenes, objects and color,” says Martin. “In addition to developing skills in color and value, students have been learning about how to effectively collaborate, which is one of our habits of scholarship here at FSI. Students learn all the songs in the production in their music class. We also have creative choreography designed by a parent from the FSI community.”
Eighth grader Rosemary Schmit says the play tackles the subject of equality with humor. “I think that the play can really show people, including the cast and crew, that everyone is different, but we should all be treated with kindness and respect,” she says. Victor Albert Ursin, who plays a leading role of William in Act 1, says that the play has taught him “you can never lose friendship or imagination.”
The performance will be held in the Community Room at FSI located at 21 Innovation Drive in Asheville. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students under 18. Tickets should be bought in advance at FranklinSchoolofInnovation.org.