NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Some real kids who have grown up in the foster care and welfare system have lent their stories to an off-Broadway musical.
As WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported in this week’s “Stories from Main Street,” the songs in “Unstoppable: The Musical” are powerful, and the stories are real.
The musical is performed by the group Haven Kids Rock.
“Haven Academy is the first of its kind. It was built for kids – at-risk kids – in the foster care system,” said Nefertiti Jones.
The Haven Kids Rock program at the Mott Haven Academy Charter School in the South Bronx started a decade ago as an after-school music program. It has now evolved into so much more for Jones and her husband, Jimi K. Bones, who both work in music and entertainment.
“‘Why don’t we write our own off-Broadway show? How hard can it be?’ Famous last words,” Bones said.
But that is exactly where they are now.
“I think the musical gives a voice to the voiceless,” Jones said. “We’re dealing with immigration issues. We’re dealing with children that are going in and out of foster care. We’re dealing with children that are going in and out of shelters.”
“Just because that’s where you are doesn’t mean where you’re going to end up,” Bones added.
Adrian Acosta, 16, described his character’s struggles.
“My character in particular, being in between homes and having to stay at a shelter because his mom didn’t make rent this month,” he said.
Marangelic Glasthal, 14, explained how the musical touches on issues that otherwise do not get attention.
“We have a story about a girl who’s being abused by her mother, so she has to go into the foster care system,” she said, “and a lot of those are very ignored, but here in the academy is a great school that takes these issues and addresses them, and makes sure that these kids are safe and protected and loved.”
“Unstoppable: The Musical” is no mere school production. It premiered at the Sheen Center for Thought & Contact, 18 Bleecker St., with help from “Dear Evan Hansen” producer Dan Stone.
“My goal is to commercially produce this piece,” Stone said.