“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” has been a resounding artistic success as it was the nation’s most requested family touring production in DCT’s 2008-2009 season, and in the 2011-2012 season it has continued to be met with critical acclaim and enthusiastic audiences across the United States.
“This is your last chance to see a stunning show,” said Robyn Flatt, DCT’s executive artistic director and director of the play. She continued: “Even if you’ve already seen it, don’t miss your chance to come back. This is a play you can see again and again and be lifted to exhilarating heights every time. I promise you’ll be glad you did.”
The story is told with classic yet modern African choreography by Michelle Gibson, African drumming and a compelling original score by local composer S-Ankh Rasa. Playwright Karen Abbott has carefully drawn out each important moral point so children can easily follow along, while adults will experience thrilling storytelling filled with color, majesty and grace.
A favorite among children and adults, this African story from Zimbabwe was inspired by a folktale collected by G.M. Theal and published in 1895 in his book, “Kaffir Folktales.” Award winning children’s author/illustrator John Steptoe had always focused on the African American experience in his work, but “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” required him to research African history and culture for the first time. It was published in 1987, and was acknowledged by reviewers and critics as a breakthrough because it inspires African American children to respect their ancestral origins. Mr. Steptoe hoped that his books would help all young people to take pride in who they are.
Every culture has its rendition of the Cinderella story, but this one’s notion of “beauty” is more than skin deep. Mufaro’s pride and joy, two daughters named Nyasha and Manyara, have very different dispositions. The names of the characters are from the Shona language: Mufaro (moo-FAR-oh) means “happy man,” Nyasha (nee-AH-sha) means “mercy,” and Manyara (mahn-YARah) means “ashamed.” Nyasha, the Cinderella character, is beautiful on the inside and out.
When Mufaro leaves for the hunt and the sisters are alone, Manyara is always angry, while Nyasha is positive and kind. Chenzira, a messenger, brings word that the Great King is inviting all of the “Most worthy and beautiful daughters in the land to appear before him” so that he might choose his Queen. Mufaro is very pleased that both of his daughters should be selected and agrees to accompany them at sunrise. That night, Manyara, believing herself better and prettier than her sister, sets out alone so that she can be presented to the king first. What will happen to each girl as she responds to hooting owls, enchanted trees laughing and the other strange beings they encounter along the way?
Don’t miss the splendor and energy of the stunning Zimbabwe region. With traditional African song, dance and drumming, come celebrate a rich and colorful culture along with goodness, generosity and love! Enjoyed by all ages.
Attend Opening Night on Friday, June 22 and feel the beat with African drumming by the show’s composer, S-Ankh Rasa. Learn an African drum beat and participate in African dancing! Face painting and coloring will be available too. The party begins at 6:30 p.m. One free show poster per family.
Call the DCT Box Office at 214-740-0051. Tickets are also available online at dct.org. Attend Opening Night on Friday, June 22 and feel the beat with African drumming by the show’s composer, S-Ankh Rasa. “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” is presented by the Harold Simmons Foundation.