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Singing Onstage and The State Theatre Present Mary Gage's Praise the Egg! A New Musical


Society & Culture  (tags: GoodNews, interesting, theatre, singing, easter, eggs, musical, chickensarts )

Tierney
- 1706 days ago - thestatetheatre.org
A "locally-grown" musical about chickens and eggs? During Easter and Passover? Your entire family won't want to miss the world premiere of the musical Praise the Egg. The State Theatre and Singing Onstage have joined forces to bring you this original t



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Comments

Tierney G. (383)
Tuesday January 19, 2010, 11:03 am
Praise the Egg! A New Musical is based on the bittersweet novel by prizewinning writer, Mary Gage, showing life through the eyes of chickens. The book, and now the musical, captures the drama and pathos of the chickenyard with a cast of characters that includes Prudence, Granny Black, England the cock, “X and Y” from a battery-cage hen facility, and Man and Woman, the chicken-keepers. The story of these chickens is based on a little flock of chickens Mary kept while living in Perth in Western Australia in the 1970s.

Mary Gage, who now lives in State College, Pennsylvania (http://marygage.net), is directly involved in the musical production of Praise the Egg: She tells UPC: “The music is being written by a composer who directs Broadway musicals for kids in State College. He is casting these kids as chicks - ideal for his school, as the chicks grow so fast that a new class can do each scene. The set and costumes are being done by an artist whose paper cutouts of grass and trees will be projected huge on the backdrop. Huge hands with buckets or hoses intrude whenever Man and Woman come with the food and water.”

So how did UPC’s president, Karen Davis, “inspire” the musical performance of Praise the Egg? In an email to Karen, Mary Gage writes, “Someone alerted me to your talk about chickens in which you quoted from my book at the Yale Chicken Conference, in May 2002. This person inquired about Praise the Egg! She wanted to know the rest of the story. At that point the producer of the State Theatre invited me to put on another play, so I decided to rewrite my Australian chicken story as an American musical. Thank you!”

Here is the passage I quoted at the Yale Chicken Conference from Praise the Egg! It appears at the beginning of Chapter Two in my book Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs:

Then they all settled down in the soft green shade of the lemon tree, with each little chick taking its turn to fly up to the best and softest seat on Granny Black’s back. And while they waited for the sun to go down again, she told them about the great big world outside the chick run, or the days when she was a chick, or the story they liked telling best of all - her Miracle story about Eggs. How the broken fragments they had hatched from were once smooth, complete shapes; how every chicken that ever was had hatched out in exactly the same way; how only chooks could lay such beauties; and how every time they did, they were so filled with joy that they could not stay quiet, but had to burst into song; and how their song was taken up by England the cock and echoed by every single hen in the Run. - Mary Gage, Praise the Egg
What led Mary Gage to write Praise the Egg! in the first place? She explains: “While working for the Festival of Perth in Australia I was given two battery hens. I put these pristine silver-legged creatures down in our scruffy run. Their eyes had never seen sunlight before and their claws never touched mud. The cock strutted over at once and crowed, and the two new hens ran for their lives. It was a sound they had never heard before. I began to think about the natural rhythm of my chooks’ lives. The book grew over my years of keeping and observing them and their way of life. It simply wrote itself.”
 

mary f. (180)
Wednesday January 20, 2010, 1:28 am
mary gage sounds like a woman after your own heart tierney
 

. (3)
Wednesday January 20, 2010, 10:11 am
Important. noted and signed. Thanks.
 

Peggy A. (109)
Wednesday January 20, 2010, 6:49 pm
What a wonderful story.I have chickens as pets,whom I truly love.Some of my first chickens came from an egg farm as a needed companionship for a rooster named Elmer who I had just adopted.They were the same as in the story--they just stared at the sunshine. It was sad but sweet.Their toe nails were curled around their feet from lack of space to be a chicken.I trimed their nails,released them,and watched them enjoy life for the first time
 
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