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September 25, 2017

Eco-Friendly Musical Endangered! taking NY by Storm. Q & A with Keni Fine


Nicolette Shin, Nate Rocke, J'royce Jata, Theo Errig, Connor Delves, and Ani Djirdjirian. (Jeremy Daniels)

Endangered!  is New York’s very first eco-friendly musical, that takes amazing music, a cast of talented dancers and singer and combines them with a message of taking care of the environment.

The press notes explain that Endangers! follows a young media savvy reporter who gets stuck at the zoo as superstorm Beyoncé hits and forces him to work with the animals so they can all survive. It has been called Godspell meets Greenpeace and is currently playing at the Davenport Theatre.

And with all the recent storms that have hit the US, this musical cannot be more timely. GSJ had a chance to speak with the book writer of Endangered! Keni Fine.

GSJ: How would describe Endangered!?

KENI FINE: Endangered! is a unique and joyous Off-Broadway family musical that is highly entertaining and engaging for all ages, while conveying important and inspiring messages about caring for each other and all life on the planet. It is a rockin’ crockin’, funky monkey, multi-cultural, multi-species musical about a social media Whiz Kid reporter and a group of world famous endangered animals, who get stranded at the Zoo when Superstorm Beyoncé hits NYC and floods the Zoo!

GSJ: What was the inspiration for the show?

KF: The original inspiration came from the National Zoo in Washington DC, where it was first commissioned and presented, created with the boys and girls clubs of greater Washington and their TAP Arts Camp, directed by Tony Small,

composer for Endangered.

The national zoo has a huge mission to help preserve endangered animals, and I have been an environmentalist and someone who cares deeply about the planet and wildlife my whole life. So when we were invited to create a musical about animals, I felt it was a "natural" fit to make the story about a Kid and endangered animals at the zoo! I was also inspired by the very real and tangible thirst for knowledge about animals that young people have, especially kids living in the Western world who don't have much contact with wildlife.

GSJ: What do you hope audience leave the theatre saying?

KF: The audience leaves the theater saying, "That was incredible, I feel happy and hopeful! Because even though the story dealt with some very serious issues, it did it in a way that was so fun and so inspiring, that I feel my spirit was lifted and my heart is open!" They are saying, "My children are talking about the characters, telling me that animals have feelings too and we have to care about them, love and respect them… " They are saying, "Everyone has to see this show- it is such an important message, especially now with all these hurricanes and floods and wildfires out west, we should get all schoolchildren in to see Endangered!" 

I really couldn't hope for more.

GSJ: Endangered is a family show, how have kids responded to the show?

KF: The kids' response has been amazing. The show is very immersive and takes place throughout the theater, so it's a joy to watch the kids turning their heads, looking all around, their eyes wide open, with the animals and characters literally inches away! It is also very moving when parents come out of the show and say this was their child's first musical ever! That is an awesome feeling. It's also been great to hear such positive feedback from parents and realize how much young kids absorb of the messages of the show. We often do a meet and greet and "autogiraffes" with the cast after the show, and there you really see the wide-eyed wonderment and open hearted embrace children have for a show infused with such positivity, and for an incredible cast with huge and generous hearts.

GSJ: You have recently introduced talkbacks after the shows. What type of speaker are you getting and what is the audiences response?

KF: Our ENDANGERED CLIMATE TALKBACK SERIES is a world-class talkback series on climate change, endangered species and habitats, many related issues, and on the impact and value of theater and the arts in reaching audiences both young and old.

The level of response from the audiences attending has been tremendous so far, because the speakers who have come to speak, and our moderator, Dr. Heidi Hutner, are people who are so immersed in and devoted to what they do, that the level of conversation is incredibly illuminating. These are human being on the front lines of activism, research, outreach, and making change, all in dedication to protecting and preserving our lives and all life on earth. It's been incredibly moving and inspiring. We have also broadcast them live, and filmed them so they will be available to a worldwide audience online. We have hosted leading climate activists from organizations including the Sierra Club, 350.org and mothersoutfront.org, and world renowned figures such as Dr. Patricia Wright, the worlds leading lemur primatologist, anthropologist and conservationist. We have still more coming up this weekend with speakers from SaneEnergyProject.org, All Our Energy, and Food and Water Watch. The audiences have been deeply appreciative of the insights and encouragements offered by the speakers, and very thoughtfully responsive to the depth of the messages in ENDANGERED, which they might otherwise not have taken the time to realize. 

GSJ: You are a featured event for Climate Week. What does that mean and how did it come about? 

KF: We applied for and were accepted to be a featured, Official Affiliate Event of CLIMATE WEEK NYC 2017, and we're very grateful to be included. Climate week is going on now, to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly meeting, so it is a big deal to be recognized for the very real contribution we are making with the show and the talkback series. It is also a wonderful opportunity for people who are here in New York for climate change week to be able to see the show while we are running and attend the talkbacks. Climate change is the most serious issue we are facing in the world, and while the world is gathered here to deal with it, we are doing our humble, yet determined part to contribute. There is so much noise and intentional distraction from focusing on or acting on climate change, as we must, it is vitally important to encourage and support real conversation to awaken and inspire the younger generation to deal with something that will affect their future so profoundly.

GSJ: What do you hope the future is for Endangered?

KF: I hope the future for Endangered is a continued presence and successful run in New York City, more partnerships with those whose missions are in synch with the message of Endangered, expansion into other media, such as film and TV, and touring productions both in the US and internationally. I hope we will continue to connect with zoos and schools and museums and foundations, and I have faith that more and more people will be inspired by Endangered the Musical and we will join forces with key people, places and organizations to do, as we sing at the end of the show: 

"...spread the message of hope 'round the world... All for one, and one for all… I'm alive! You're alive! We're alive!"

I urge everyone to come and bring all your kids to see Endangered the Musical NOW, while it is still running at the Davenport Theatre. I guarantee you will be glad you came! All the info is on our website at: Endangeredthemusical.com Follow us on Facebook at EndangeredTheMusical, twitter @endangeredshow and instagram @endangeredmusical

What's up next for you? 

KF: In addition to working on the Off-Broadway life and beyond of Endangered!, I am in development on another musical full of life and goodness, a great, unheralded American story about emancipation, justice, equality, and an incredible woman’s journey of truth and compassion. We had a developmental production in Washington DC in 2015, and are working now on the Broadway production. I am also in talks about several seedlings for the next musical(s) to be written. 

Endangered! the Musical

Tickets are $25, $49.75, and $69.75 (premium) and can be purchased by visiting Telecharge.com

The Davenport Theatre is located at 354 West 45 Street

Performance Schedule

Wednesday at 11am & 3pm; Saturday 3 pm / 6 pm; Sunday at 3 pm

See website for updates: EndangeredTheMusical.com

 

 

Comments :

Jasmine


09/30/2017
I love their inspiration in environment. I will support them forever. instagram viewer

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