Twelve year-old Pipio hunts for his lost mother among the street-kids, gangs and drug-lords that rule Rio’s favelas – the toughest slums in the hottest place on Earth. The boy’s search for identity becomes a struggle for survival in this re-invention of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist set in modern-day Brazil – a colorful, character-filled Carnaval tale presented by the Escola de Samba Foltando!
HOPE, DON’T PASS US BY
Our intent with ‘RIO’ the musical, is to immerse the audience in the spirit of hope for the millions of Cariocas living in the slums of Brazil – through the life of one boy’s search for his birth mother. Our central character Pipio, represents the homelessness of children who have been killed every year by the police and overlooked by the apathy of ordinary Cariocas who love where they live and are proud of it. At the same time, they are frustrated with children sleeping on their streets, in front of their shops and on the steps of their Churches.
One cannot tell the story of life in the Favelas without dealing with the abject poverty, violence and power struggles that occur daily in this particular world.
It is said that Brazilians cannot live without music. There is both joy and sorrow in the rhythms of the people of Brazil. That is what we wish to capture; the relentless beat that drives these people to survive.
LIFE, GIVE IT BACK TO ME (show’s history)
As writers, we’ve always been attracted to characters who have an inner need to find their history and who are relentless in their search to find themselves – characters who have inner rhythms, where music plays an important part of their lives. The rhythms of Brazil are a natural place to start. We searched for a story that would give us a structure, one that would be relevant to our times and would allow us the freedom to explore a new musical language for musical theatre.
After realizing that Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’ had all the characters and background of a country that was divided by its own class structure, we knew we had our story. Over a period of six months, we completed a synopsis and wrote six songs to give producers an idea of the flavor of our version of the Dickens masterpiece.
The reaction to our demo was unanimous. Everyone could feel the spirit of Brazil and how our re-invention of the classic novel brought this story to life.
After a few more years of research, re-writes, readings and workshops, we completed a draft in which we felt Pipio’s emotional journey to find his mother was as moving and as emotionally fulfilling as we had originally believed it could be.
In 2011 a CD and a completed script of ‘RIO’ was submitted to NYMF and NAMT, the two largest and most respected Musical Theatre festivals in the world. The response to our show again was overwhelmingly favorable. From over 600 musicals submitted from around the world, we were bestowed the prestigious honour of being chosen as an official ‘Next Link Selection’ at NYMF as well as an a finalist at NAMT, the only show to accomplish this feat in years.
POWER, IS IN YOUR HAND (our intention)
Now, with our 2012 NYMF production only months away, we are desperately trying to raise the funds needed to stage such an ambitious musical in such a short period of time.
With the 2016 Olympics around the corner, never before has the conflicting class structure in Rio been so clearly marked, as an army of indifference tears down the homes of the city’s favelas, sending even more poor innocent Cariocas into the abyss of Rio’s poverty. Never before has it been more important for a story about Rio’s underprivileged to be told than today. We need to shine a light on a people and a culture that desperately need to be seen and heard. Should we raise the funds we need on Kickstarter, we know that our vision will become possible.