When I think of the yellow brick road I think of a journey of courage and hope…not the Elton John song. But Elton too found inspiration in the reference. This post is about a group of special needs thespians who have a love of theater and how they are inspired through it.
A dozen years ago, I subscribed to the monthly Spiritual Cinema Circle DVD’s. Each month had a featured film, a documentary and a couple of shorts, all having a heart-felt message. I recently pulled out an issue that featured the documentary “Yellow Brick Road.” Obviously, it is about Oz, but more importantly it’s about the group A.N.C.H.O.R., Answering the Needs of Citizens with Handicaps through Recreation, based on Long Island New York.
Today, the program is run through NY Connects (ny.gov) which has many programs, like summer day camps, field trips and special events for adults with special needs. In the documentary, this is a troupe of actors who have a love of the theater. In the interviews with the main players many enthusiastically showed the playbills of the New York field trips they’ve gone on.
Each one of the players had a pride in their roles. Some even melded into them, like the cowardly lion who spontaneously wiped an imaginary tear with his tail. Or the Tin Man who used his shiny wheelchair to become unstuck. Or the Scarecrow who did a little improvisational spin and fall. That was their direction, to move out of their heads and into their hearts. Oz brought out the magic.
Please take a look at this short YouTube offering of getting the production ready. It will do your heart good. Besides “Special Olympics” opportunities, this does my heart good knowing these programs exist for those who aren’t physically able or interested. Bravo to all the dedicated volunteers who give joy to these young folks discovering a passion or a talent. And it pleased me to hear Eva Cassidy’s rendition of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” in the film. It is a favorite of mine.
Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road
So goodbye yellow brick road
Where the dogs of society howl
You can’t plant me in your penthouse
I’m going back to my plough
Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny-back toad
Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road