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Hippies sighted at Dream Theatre

Performers with developmental disabilities entertain with 1960s-inspired show
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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The Dream Theatre Center for the Performing Arts cast pulled on some bell-bottoms, got groovy and gave peace a chance during the center’s “Flower Power: A Tribute to the Sixties” show May 20 and 21. Nearly 330 people total attended the shows to see performers sing and dance to the songs of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and other rock ‘n’ roll musicians. The performers also sprinkled in some “Laugh-In” humor. “What an amazing display of abilities these men and women have learned in the world of performing arts,” said audience member Deanie Kemper. “The music, dancing, singing, reciting and designing of stage props is wonderful to see.” Dream Theatre, in Roseville, provides adults with developmental disabilities a meaningful dramatic arts program and the chance to participate in live productions. “(Founders) Michelle and Troy Wheeler have put their hearts and souls into this organization and the production was a blast,” said Kara Andrews. “It is a true example of what having ‘high expectations’ can do for individuals with disabilities.” Andrews attended the show with her 16-year-old son who has special needs. She said they are researching different day program opportunities for him once he turns 18. The 10-month-old Dream Theatre has overcome the challenge of enrolling enough clients to be financially sustainable, and is now “starting to settle,” said cofounder Troy Wheeler. His wife, Michelle, said the group of about 30 clients is like an extended family and this camaraderie can be seen in their live performances. “We were so incredibly proud of each and every student from the lead singers to the players who did a joke in the ‘Laugh-in’ dance party to the dancers in “Let the Sunshine In” they are all wonderful,” Troy Wheeler said. “We had a lot of new people who had never done a show before and once they shook off the nerves they performed beautifully.” Sena Christian can be reached at senac@goldcountrymedia.com.