A new off-Broadway play dubbed “Addy and Uno” revolves around characters living with disabilities, and it kicked off performances September 2 at The Theater at the 14th Street Y.
This new family-friendly show features music and lyrics by Bonnie Gleicher and is directed by Donna Drake, who has been nominated for an Emmy. The production focuses on concept and book by Dr. Nava R. Silton.
The musical centers on five characters portrayed by puppets. While Addy has a chronic condition known as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Uno has autism, Melody has a vision impairment, Seemore is hearing impaired, and RJ has paraplegia.
Meet the characters
Addy: She is mad for adventure and loves to delve into the world around her. Aside from being very funny, Addy is impulsive and is capable of going off on a tangent. Uno is her best friend.
Uno: He loves books and math, and is always in the process of reasoning about something. Since he has autism, he finds it hard to maintain eye contact and can get restless and disconcerted very quickly. He interacts with others in his own unique way. While gearing up for his school's math competition, Uno is supported by friends with diverse disabilities.
Melody: Being visually impaired, she has low vision. Melody carries an uber-cool walking stick that doubles up as a scepter, microphone, and even a sword. She is wise and possesses an amazing musical talent and impeccable pitch.
Seemore: Although he has a hearing impairment. Seemore can see relatively better than anyone. He wears a hearing aid and uses signs to interact with his other friends who have trouble hearing. He is romantic, sharp and intense.
RJ: He has a physical disability, paraplegia which compels him to use a wheelchair. He utilizes his strong arms and extravagant wheelchair to take his friends to any destination. He builds rockets and loves sports.
While creating the show, Silton and Gleicher asked advice of individuals with disabilities of the aforesaid characters. The show stirs compassion and the belief that it is "nice to be nice." Despite having different disabilities, these characters are capable of using their extraordinary power in a bid to defend themselves and each other from bullying.
Although one-fifth of the U.S. population lives with some sort of disability, differently-abled actors are rarely given opportunities. The play is based on themes of kindness, friendship, and bullying.
Gleicher explains this saying, "the hurt and the insecurities are a part of this musical, as well as the joys of friendship, passion, and strength."
The children’s musical is slated to run until Sunday, September 24. Click here to check performance schedule and buy tickets. (Image Credit: anthonyjalan/YouTube)