Meet Donny Murray

Donny MurrayDonny Murray
Years at Kids Who Care:
2004  2013

  1. What are you doing now? I’m a sophomore student at The University of Tampa in Florida, majoring in Management and Marketing.
  2. What was your favorite role or show you were in at Kids Who Care?  My favorite role with Kids Who Care would have been this past summer (summer 2013) as I got to be both on stage as Riley Warren Fuller and backstage as a PA for Ehleshea Woodruff. Being given the opportunity to be in Deep in the Heart was incredibly memorable to say the least.

  3. What is the strongest lesson you took away from your time at Kids Who Care and how has it made you who you are today?  One of the most important things I learned at Kids Who Care came from Mini Camp but is so applicable – Make every day an adventure. The atmosphere at Kids Who Care is unmatched. There really is some sort of magic that exists there every day which stems from the energy, positivism, and dreams of the people there. The idea of child wonder is something that most people lose, but it is not forgotten here and I love that, because there’s Donny The Kitehuge difference between being child-like, and childish. Everyone just seems to be happier when they get to “whistle while they work” – have some play organically infused into the work. If I can emulate this feeling into every task and every job that I have, then I will always be content with life.

  4. Which KidPower Point of Power do you most identify with and why?  I relate to every point of power, but if I have to choose one, it would be Vision. I love looking to the future and seeing potential. It inspires me to think about future possibilities and to hear the dreams and aspirations of others. And I believe that Vision encompasses some of the other points in the long run – you have to be efficient with your work in order to accomplish your goals, you have to encourage others of their passions (for you will most likely get encouragement and support in return), and you have to put yourself out there by making connections and letting others know of your plans so that they can come along for the ride.

  5. Tell us how what you are doing today applies to what you wrote on your cloud card as a kid. My cloud card has changed over the years to reflect my changing interest and dreams. When I was young, I aspired to be an actor as any young theatre child dreams. As I got older, I wanted to go to college and have a job with the freedom to travel the world, have a family and still be happy. I am currently pursuing my undergraduate degree in hopes of graduating college. As for the rest, I have wishful thinking for the future yet to come.

  6. Donny DITHAny favorite or funny story about your time at KWC that we may not know? One of my proud personal accomplishments in Kids Who Care was assisting in coordinating the summer Dance-A-Thon event for two years (Andrea’s creation!). During the first go-round in 2011, I was extremely anxious and excited to put on a great event, and worked hard and diligently to coordinate assignments, communicate information, and deal with the logistics of the event. People tell me it was a blast, but I never gave myself a break until around the last 10 minutes, but it was a GREAT 10 minutes. Dance-A-Thon has always been my favorite event, and I was so thrilled to be able to make it happen. And going crazy on the dance floor with my friends to Time Warp and dubstep was exactly what I needed that night.

  7. What is your dream for Kids Who Care? My dream for Kids Who Care is to stay the way they are. I don’t mean that I want them to stay EXACTLY the same, because I would love to see these kinds of kid companies pop up all over the country and the world. What I do want for Kids Who Care is to hold on to the ideals that Deborah Jung had in mind 25 years ago, because those are the ones that inspire people to do great things and be great people in the communities around them.

Kids Who Care on iTunes

DEEP IN THE HEART ALBUM COVER copy

Kids Who Care Releases First iTunes Album and Book of their Original Musical, Deep in the Heart

Audiences can now take Kids Who Care’s Original Works home with them when they leave the theatre

FORT WORTH, TX – October 10, 2013 – Kids Who Care, a non-profit international musical theatre company based in Fort Worth’s Cultural District, continues to celebrate its 25th Year with the release of their very first iTunes® Album and published book of their Original Musical, Deep in the Heart.

The Deep in the Heart album sells for $10 on iTunes and includes 11 studio tracks which feature current Kids Who Care Resident Company members as well as Kids Who Care Alumni. There are also 5 bonus tracks that were recorded during the 25th Summer Celebration of Kids Who Care at the Scott Theatre in August of this year. Download on iTunes.

The Deep in the Heart book features pieces from the original script paired with images of past productions and children’s drawings. In addition, there is sheet music included for seven of the songs in the original production. Books can be purchased from Kids Who Care for $35.

“The 25th year represents more than a birthday party. It’s more than a business milestone. It’s about moving into a time in our history when we can deliver our work in a lasting way.” said Deborah Jung, founder and executive director of Kids Who Care Musical Theatre. “For years our audiences have been asking for the soundtrack! And now they can get it! Bravo!”

Deep in the Heart is a collaborative effort of Texas playwrights and songwriters, including Kids Who Care alumni. The youth actors at Kids Who Care helped steer the show’s content, through their words and feedback as the script and original songs evolved.

About Kids Who Care
Founded in 1989, Kids Who Care is a non-profit international theatre company based in Fort Worth, Texas that seeks to produce creative and confident kids through musical theatre education, performance, and leadership opportunities. Kids Who Care offers professional musical theatre classes, leadership training, summer musical theatre camps, international cultural exchanges, a touring Resident Company, public performances and more. The Kids Who Care Resident Company has performed Off-Broadway at the Lamb’s Theatre, at both Disney’s, at The Kennedy Center, at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, at 30,000 feet aboard an airplane for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and at many other locations across the U.S. and overseas. The core values of the organization include: excellence in artistic development, artistic integrity of kids, leadership roles for kids, financial and cultural diversity and ensemble production. For more information, please visit http://www.kidswhocare.org

Local Media Contact:
Andrea Ballard, Marketing & PR Director
817.737.5437  |  andrea@kidswhocare.org

The Legend of the Artist

For some reason I have never thought about true art belonging to a certain place, or a particular city, or a specific part of the world. I have seen Michelangelo’s David in Florence and Picasso’s pen and ink sketches at the Guggenheim in New York, but I’ve never equated great art with a location. It’s everywhere.

I guess it’s why I have never pined away to be somewhere that I am not. I have always been satisfied to have the work that I have in the place that I am. Every morning I read the words of historical geniuses from a tiny paperback book called Thoughts for the Quiet Hour; one for every day of the year. It lost its binding years ago and lives in a little pink zipper book pocket meant to hold a bible. August 25th offers the legend of an artist by Orison Swett Marden. To completely appreciate his words you should Google him.

“There is a legend of an artist who long sought for a piece of sandalwood, out of which to carve a Madonna. He was about to give up in despair, leaving the vision of his life unrealized, when in a dream he was bidden to carve his Madonna from a block of oak wood which was destined for a fire. He obeyed and produced a masterpiece from a log of common firewood. Many of us lose great opportunities in life by waiting to find sandalwood for our carvings, when they really lie hidden in the common logs that we burn.”

– Orison Swett Marden

Never wait to give life to your vision. It is for now, not for some other time and place.

Kids Who Care’s 25th Summer

The 25th Summer at Kids Who Care wasn’t just a birthday it was a passage. Something happened this summer. Something like that first summer in 1989, when we received a standing ovation from a standing room only house; everyone felt it, and then someone was brave enough to call the question, “Now what?” And so in response to that question, what was in our hearts started becoming a tangible thing, step by step, and here we are 25 years later.

To every one of you that has performed on this stage, this is my 25th Summer Message to You:

Although we had talked about the 25th summer for a couple of years, I had no idea how it would feel. The experience of that much love in my heart all surfacing at once has no words. Each year for 25 years, I have spent 11 months out of 12 staring at you on stage; joyfully watching, tweaking, correcting you, your work, your work ethic, but mostly being fed by you. Fed by your performances, your growth, your advice, your response to my work, to our work, for twenty-five years I have most of all adored you.

DITH - Texas Toast Alums

The first rehearsal that you sat as alums in the middle of the house waiting for blocking from me was horrifying and exhilarating simultaneously. I wasn’t expecting you and there you were; an entire row of my brilliant “children” waiting for direction. I had no plan for you! I was busy preparing your place to step into the light and there you were … early by my watch. But you seemed happy not to have a job. Just to sit in the sweet spot and watch. Take it all in.

Opening night hit with 150 kids preparing to go on stage and a list of 42 guest alums showing up in bits and pieces. I desperately wanted to enjoy it. I knew how special it was. I should be feeling something extraordinary, but I wasn’t. I was standing in the center of it all distracted by the details. “It’s like a wedding and I’m the bride and I can’t find my list,” I said to Andrea. And she knew. I wanted to feel that high moment, but I just felt confused. What in the world am I doing? And then I remembered, I’ve never done this before. Six guest celebs front and center, that’s normal, that’s a tradition. But the front 2 rows filled house right to house left, that’s new!

We created a circle, passed the squeeze, the curtain went up. The audience loved it, I loved it, and then I saw your faces exiting the aisles! There it was. That’s the moment I was looking for! Sheer unbridled joy shared by all of us. The reason for existing!

By Friday we settled in. You sat on stage and told the company why this place was important to you and where you were now. The 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. hour to greet and place alums became this comfortable sweet place. Like chess pieces, we moved you from seat to seat, gave you last minute stage directions and time to run your cameos. It started to feel familiar. Some of you had been with us for a full week by then. You were the glue. It made what happened this summer different. It was like the company had arrived. It was more than creating cameos for our friends.

The Summer Company, and especially the Resident Co., was a bit star struck. You made everyone nervous.  Weird, right? There was their history sitting on the front row staring at them. Yep, there you were! The characters in the “tribal stories” we had shared; the original Peter Pan, the real Cowboy, Joseph from the story of “The Wall”. They were excited and in awe, but at the same time sort of freaked out. You had no idea. I witnessed something I’ve never seen before. You were the stars they had heard about and you had come to hang out with them. Very, very cool.

DITH - Tall ManThe Saturday morning coffee was a small “State of the Union”. The realization that this small $1,000,000 company had fought for its place in the cultural distract, its’ ownership, and its’ soul, and won! You were introduced to Cruella and The Giant that made us who we are. We celebrated that it has been a joyful, incredible journey, but that tomorrow stands poised waiting for you to affect us!

By Saturday night it had become a collection of my favorite children all in one place doing what we love. The theatre WAS a party! Our pre-curtain speech jumped into the center and we flew! The performances were the best they ever could have been, the audience the most animated. BJ hit a streak in “The Day Dad Made Toast” that was unprecedented, even in his long history of performances with us. I gave him a standing ovation.

Following the performance, we stepped on to a porch filled with birthday cake and candles, food trucks, and the proper volume of music! By 11:30, I found many of you at Conlon’s, our own personal Irish Pub. I witnessed “Differences” like never before and it was my great pleasure to truly toast you!!! Each of you, for believing in what we did once upon a time. By 2, I didn’t really want to head home. Dexter stood with my purse and a gentle look and we left. But not before I spoke to Andrew Shaw, thank you Ky!

By Sunday morning the sound of Moms in my kitchen and Dads setting up tables was as comfy as an old robe. No worries, no façade, no mascara, no lipstick. I intermittently stepped out of my bathroom in various stages of getting ready to direct someone to a cabinet or a dish. Like it was yesterday, these were my dear friends preparing brunch. It was perfect!!! The family connection complete.

Seeing you on my porch, in my front yard, filling my living room again, changed me. It was beyond anything I expected.

☼ To the beloved Kids Who Care Staff… Chad, Kathryn, Billie, Kate, Andrea, Ehleshea, and Zuilma… Thank you! We did it. We properly celebrated.

☼ To our Alums on Staff and the Alum Board Members…Vanessa, Lane, Taylor, Kate, Andrea, Chad… Thank you! I love you dearly.

☼ To Alum Moms who organized brunch, Janet Lanza and Susan Willis…Much love to you.

☼ To Board Member Karen Vermaire Fox…Thank you for the party on the porch. Huge kiss!
 
☼ To Kate, thank you for insisting I play Grown Up Wendy, and to Chad and Dexter for encouraging me. To Elise, thank you for letting me swish across stage. After 24 years of acting first, followed by 23 years of directing first, and the first 12 years simply playing make believe, it was wonderful to return to the stage. I’ll do it again.

☼ And to All of You, the Alums out there … Thank you for being there. Kiss the ones you love, buy an alum shirt, and get busy. The 50th will be here before we know it!

DITH - Wake Me Up - Alums