CHEVERLY – It has been said that if a person has dreams then they should chase them, and once they do, the dream will come true.
Rotoya Williams Goodwin had a dream. And it came true with Pee Wee Piano, a performing arts school that offers music lessons, as well as aftercare and summer camp programs for children in Prince George’s County. The school has served over 1,000 students since 2004.
On May 7, Goodwin shared her story of creating Pee Wee Piano through a musical entitled, “More Than A Dream” at the Publick Playhouse in Cheverly.
“This whole idea came because last year I celebrated 10 years of business and we had a gala and I wanted to creatively show the story of Pee Wee,” Goodwin said. “So I wrote the musical and held auditions for the kids. It was supposed to be one-time thing, but when the parents, families and friends came to the gala they were so touched. They were like, ‘you have to do it again. More people have to see this musical.’
“It was really just an idea and now it has turned into something a little more than I imagined at first. That’s how dreams go, you know,” she said.
“More Than A Dream” tells the story of a young girl named Tia who is determined to follow her dreams. Through the musical, the audience travels through Tia’s life and experiences her journey of pursuing her dreams while bravely navigating through unexpected life events.
The musical’s mission is to uplift, inspire and encourage individuals to pursue the dreams that God has placed in each person’s heart.
“It’s being able to go forward in life and to bounce back from difficult and tragic situations and still being able to pursue your dreams and follow your heart,” Goodwin said. “I just want people to be encouraged and I really believe that people are going to find hope and find healing from what they see at the musical.”
There were three acts and 14 scenes. Scenes included “The Birth of the Dream,” “Continuing Forward,” and the “Start of Something Great.” Each scene led to Tia being one step closer of accomplishing her goals and dreams.
Keila White, a special contributor and prop designer of the musical, spoke about the development of the musical.
“It was really tedious and it took a lot of work, and it was very time-consuming, but I really enjoyed it,” White said. “I love music and entertainment, so usually where I’m used to singing or playing the piano or performing in a recital, it was cool to be on the other side of the camera if you will. More so directing and I got to write a little bit, some of the scenes and the lines. I love being able to see how to put on a play from behind the stage.”
White added that she also enjoyed the fact that this musical provided an opportunity for children to participate in the performing arts.
“My favorite part would probably be seeing the children and them being exposed to this type of environment and these opportunities and see how they’re enjoying it,” she added.
Clayton Wade, the show’s musical composer, said the musical inspired him to follow his own dreams.
“Working with the show has inspired me to want to do this as a career path, maybe more so songwriting,” Wade said.
Wade helped arrange and write some of the songs. He said the arrangements and songs were written to serve a purpose.
“I think the songs were all inspired by the story. Then the arrangements were meant to sound innocent, light hearted, just something very vulnerable, very open. So I think that’s easy to relate too,” he said.
Sylvia Parler of Kensington attended the performance. Two of her grandchildren were part of the cast and she said they had been talking about the show up until the opening night.
“They did wonderful. They were interesting, exciting and sad,” Parler said.
Goodwin explained what she wanted the audience to get out of the show.
“I really want them to be inspired and have their hearts filled with hope no matter where they are in their lives,” Goodwin said. “Even if they’re younger, or if they’re older, that if their dreams are in their heart then they can fulfill them. A lot of times with dreams there is fear that comes up and I even showed that in the show. Fear and different things come up that want to stop and hinder us from fulfilling those dreams.”