It’s Giving Tuesday! We wanted to give you, our loyal patrons, a small token of our appreciation for your continued support. Below you’ll find a brand new song from our new children’s musical Flocked Together: The Green  Parrots of Telegraph Hill. We think you’ll love it as much as we do.  Listen to  “His Head Is Blue” on Soundcloud now!

As we look ahead to April, and our next Conservatory production, we sat down with our Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Tony Asaro, to talk about how a musical about brightly colored parrots can help children understand the need for tolerance and diversity in our community:

What is Flocked Together about?

When the flock of cherry-headed conures that thrives on San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill encounters a strange blue-headed conure, the community must decide whether or not to befriend someone who looks a little different.  Despite their fear of difference, (and being antagonized by mischievous raccoons), the cherry-heads learn acceptance and tolerance.

Why did you choose to focus on this topic?

Most of our conservatory efforts have been made in the North Beach area, so when FOGG commissioned me for the piece, my first thought was “I should set it in North Beach so that it has a really direct connection to the kids who will be in and see the show.”  And when thinking about what in North Beach would make a great musical for kids, I thought of the green parrots.  Anyone who lives in the North East corner of SF has a personal relationship with those parrots.  I love a good allegory, and with the parrots and the rest of the wildlife on Telegraph hill, that I knew it would be a perfect topic.  As far as the theme of tolerance, I was really influenced by the documentary The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill by local filmmaker Judy Irving featuring Marc Bittner.  I even got to sit down with both of them for an interview.  Specifically, I was intrigued by the blue-headed conure named Connor that lives with the cherry-heads in the film..  I wondered how he came to become part of the flock.  It was obvious to me that this could be a story of learning tolerance.  Even before the recent election, appreciation of difference is a core value of mine and one of the Bay Area.

Why do you feel this topic is important in this day and age?

I feel that the topic of appreciating each other’s differences is more important than ever.  Right now, we’re seeing just how much intolerance there is in this country.  The next generation needs to learn to not be afraid of difference.  That’s why we need to tell these stories.

Why should kids do musical theater?

Nothing teaches you how to work together and collaborate like making musical theatre.  Everyone has a part to play.  And making a musical teaches self-confidence and self-expression.  It teaches physical coordination, and improves mental facility.  And nothing is more fun!

What do you love about teaching?

I love teaching the performing arts specifically.  Students find themselves in their art.  Guiding students as they create–writing a song, singing a chord in-tune, getting thunderous applause after a big solo–I’m contributing to their self-actualization.  They are becoming who they are before my eyes.  It’s the best feeling in the world.

I could not be more excited for this show.  I’m really proud of the work I’m doing on it, and I can’t wait to see it performed by the kids!

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