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Book and lyrics by Christopher Dimond Music by Michael Kooman Choreographed by Karma Camp Directed by Joe Calarco Performances for Young Audiences is made possible by

oh my zeus! The great storyteller Homer has

been kidnapped! What can a scrawny little orphan girl do? Or, more important…what would a hero do?

a girl on a her Orphie and the Book of Heroes is a musical —that’s a story told on stage with actors, songs, and dancing. And even better, it’s brand new—you are the first people to go on this quest with Orphie to the heights of Mount Olympus and the depths of the underworld. Get your imagination ready for this mythical and magical ride to find a hero for everyone and all time. EUROPE

Black Sea


ancient greecE,


about 2,600 years ago

Aegean Sea



Ancient Greece was slightly bigger than the nation today. Mount Olympus was and still is its highest mountain.

All Wrapped Up in a Story In Ancient Greece, 11-year old Orphie lives with the blind poet and famous storyteller, Homer. She loves acting out Homer’s stories from The Book of Heroes—as the hero, of course! After some mean boys challenge Orphie to name a story with a girl hero, she rushes home to ask Homer. But there she finds a frightening visitor who kidnaps Homer and his book. Afraid she’s not strong or brave enough to rescue Homer, Orphie begins an epic journey to Mount Olympus, the home of the gods, to find help. Will she be able to save Homer?

Almost 3,000 Years Ago… Homer was a real person who lived in Ancient Greece and wrote epic poems (stories) called The Iliad and The Odyssey (in the performance, The Book of Heroes). These stories describe the Trojan War between Greece and Troy. Homer’s book famously begins with these words: “Sing, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles…” Listen for these words during the performance.

Stories to Make Sense of It All


Homer’s stories also talk about characters from Greek mythology— a collection of stories about gods, heroes, and life that helped Ancient Greeks understand and explain their world. These mythical tales of friendship, sacrifice, and heroism were very important at the time and have continued to inspire people to this day, including the writers who created Orphie.

roic adventure Gods, Monsters, and People You’ll Meet Besides Orphie and Homer, the performance features many characters from Ancient Greek mythology and a few (human!) Greeks, too: Heracles (pronounced HER-uh-kleez)—Orphie’s favorite hero, a strong and brave half-man, half-god (you might also know him by the name the Romans gave him, Hercules)

Pegasus (PEG-uh-suhs)—a magical winged horse that served Zeus and became a constellation

Hades (HEY-deez)—the lord of the underworld or the place for the dead

Cerberus (SUR-ber-uhs)—a three-headed hound monster

Hydra—a serpent-like monster

Hermes (HUR-meez)—messenger of the gods

Tantalus (TAN-ti-luhs)—punished by being surrounded by food and water always just out of reach

The Sirens—half-woman, half-birdlike creatures whose beautiful songs trapped men to their deaths

Sisyphus (SIS-uh-fuhs)—made to roll a boulder up a hill over and over again

Persephone (per-SEF-uh-nee)—after being kidnapped by Hades, she became queen of the underworld

Euripides (yoo-RIP-i-deez), Sophocles (SOF-uh-kleez), and Aeschylus (ES-kuh-luhs)—three mean schoolboys in the performance who are named after famous Ancient Greek playwrights whose works are still performed today

Atlas—forced to hold the heavens on his shoulders forever after losing a war against Zeus





…And more ! These characters are mentioned but don’t appear in the play : Zeus (zoos)—god of the sky and king of the gods Jason—overcame great odds to retrieve the Golden Fleece and win back his kingdom Achilles (uh-KIL-eez)—a mighty warrior who was immortal everywhere but his heel

Oedipus (ED-uh-puhs)—accidentally killed his father and married his mother (oops!) Odysseus (oh-DIS-ee-uhs)—the most famous and revered hero of the Trojan War Oracle (AWR-uh-kuhl)—a place where gods issued predictions about the future


storytelling throug The Seeds of a Story

The Writers ’ Journey

When the creative team Christopher Dimond and Michael Kooman decided to write a musical for young audiences, they thought it would be fun to put a modern twist on Greek mythology. These two friends started imagining a story about a young girl wanting to become a hero like the ones she read about in Homer’s book. They named her Orphie after the word “orphan” and Orpheus, a hero who, like Orphie, escaped the Sirens and traveled to the underworld to save someone he loved.

Writing a musical is hard work. One of the biggest challenges for Christopher (who wrote the words and lyrics) and Michael (who wrote the music) was deciding which Greeks to include and how each could help tell Orphie’s story. And then they had to write Orphie’s journey in words and music.

The Hero’s Journey You might not think Orphie has anything in common with heroes from modern stories—such as Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), Harry Potter (The Harry Potter Series), Frodo Baggins (The Lord of the Rings), Luke Skywalker (Star Wars), and Dorothy Gale (The Wizard of Oz). But guess what? Their stories, like many beloved hero stories over the centuries, follow a similar pattern that American writer Joseph Campbell calls the “hero’s journey.” It generally goes like this:


Departure—after an event or crisis, the hero leaves home for an adventure


Tests and Trials— the hero faces difficult challenges and tests

3 Return—the hero comes home changed, with new skills, treasures, or a victory that makes the community or world a better or safer place

See whether you can identify this cycle in the stories mentioned above and how Orphie follows this journey. What’s her treasure?


gh wOrds and magic The Big Ideas Orphie says, “When you know in your heart that something is right, you just do it.” This is one of the big ideas, or themes, explored in the musical. Watch for others, including overcoming your fears, believing in yourself, appreciating stories, and discovering that anyone can be a hero in his or her own way.

Sing, O Muse…of the Songs of Orphie Sometimes songs can convey emotions and ideas better than words alone. Think about the difference between Persephone’s saying “I’m sad” and her singing slowly and sadly, “So I plant a seed and I wait for life to show; but it’s been decreed here no flowers grow.” Songs can convey action, personalities, feelings, and even how someone is changing (becoming happier or braver, for example). Here are the songs from Orphie and who sings them:

“The Book of He roes ”— Orphie “Story to Tell”— Homer and Orp hie “Scrawny Little Orphan Girl”— Euripides, Soph and Aeschylus ocles, “What Would a Hero “Orphie, Go Ho me”—

“Where No Flow ers “Misery ”— Hade s

Do?”— Orphie


Grow ”— Persep hone

“To Be a Siren” —The Sirens “Get All Wrapp ed Up in a Stor y”— Orphie an d Atlas “He’s the Man ”— Heracles “The Heights of Mount Olympu s”— Hermes an d Orphie “Finale”— Entir e Cast

During the performance, listen for what the lyrics and different musical styles tell you about the characters and the story.

Going Totally Modern on Your Ancient! To add some extra humor and fun to the musical, the Ancient Greek characters act and speak in modern ways (like, whatever!) and talk about objects or experiences that would not have existed in ancient times (such as glitter and boarding an airplane). This mixing up of objects and customs from different time periods is called anachronism (uh-NAK-ruh-niz-uhm). During the performance, listen for these playful expressions and modern references.


creating Orphie’s mag he world of Orphie is one of heroes, gods, monsters, magical places, and supernatural events. It takes a whole team of creative people—the director (person overseeing the whole production ), playwright/songwriter, composer, choreographer, music director, actors, set designer, costume designer, lighting designer, and more—working together to bring this world to life on stage.

Moving Heaven and Earth The magic of theater is that anything can happen on stage, even a girl sailing the ocean in a bathtub. But to make amazing feats work takes some imagination and skill. Here are some of the tools theater production teams sometimes use to create special effects, from oceans to giants to flying: Movement—from graceful to clumsy, goofy to grand Lighting—such as spotlights, shadows, or colored lights Projections—images presented on screens or curtains

Props—objects like large pieces of fabric to suggest wind or water Puppetry—from hand puppets to over-sized puppets that represent characters or places

The Way They Move The choreography (sequences of steps and movements) also plays an important role in telling the story. Each song has something different to say, and the choreographer creates each movement (even the motion of the ocean) to help the song and the singers communicate that meaning. The choreography helps you understand location (like the heavens), personalities and feeling (whether characters are happy or sad, proud or scared, selfish or kind), or an important event in the story (like a character making a big decision and taking action). Watch for many different movements, from group routines to action sequences to flashy and fancy dance moves.

Get Creative 6

Set Design—like platforms, moving floors, and backdrops Sound—both music that can suggest various types of action and sound effects

On the Double (and Sometimes Triple ! ) The actors for this performance have a fun job—but it takes lots of practice and hard work on stage, too. Besides becoming their characters, they sing and dance—and you might even see them help change the scenery. Also watch closely, because you’ll find four of the seven cast members perform three roles each—and three male actors will portray the female Sirens. Watch for how the actors quickly change roles by shifting the pitch of their voices, their accents and manner of speaking, their movement and posture, and their costumes.

Imagine you are on the creative team. Before the performance, sketch a set design for Orphie’s bedroom or a costume for Orphie. Or, plan how you would show Orphie sailing in a bathtub or brainstorm some dance moves for Hades. Discuss or demonstrate your ideas with friends. After the performance, compare your ideas with what you saw on stage. What impressed you the most? Why?

agical, mythical world What Would a Hero Wear ? Costumes also help create the world of Orphie. And in a musical that mixes both ancient and modern elements, watch for costumes that do the same— everything from linen tunics and helmets typical of Ancient Greece to feather boas and fancy sneakers from modern times.

Set It Up The set, or the large things you see on stage, gives a sense of place—and this set designer had his work cut out for him with the many locations Orphie’s story takes place, including Homer’s house, the underworld, the ocean, Mount Olympus, and even the end of the world! During the performance, watch how the sets change to help take the performers, and you, all over the universe.

Scenic Designer: Tony Cisek Assistant Scenic Designer: John Bowhers


finding yOur way Before the Performance read this Cuesheet fi  nish talking so you can stay quiet during the performance turn off and put away all your electronics r ev up your imagination so you can enjoy the world of Orphie and the Book of Heroes

Michael M. Kaiser President

During the Performance

Darrell M. Ayers Vice President, Education

Watch for… when Orphie decides to stop pretending to be Heracles, and whom she decides to be instead  how the field of flowers is created during the Sirens’ song how Atlas holds the heavens

Listen for… how and why the song “Orphie, Go Home” gets louder and more frantic how Orphie’s response to the Sirens’ song using her own melody (from “What Would a Hero Do?”) highlights the differences between the characters how in the Finale, several melodies return with different lyrics that express how the story has changed

Think about… During the performance, Orphie sings: “Stories can help you find your way Sure as the brightest star Stories can show you who you truly are.”

Do you agree? Why do you think stories are important— both retelling old ones and writing new ones?

Homer was one of the world’s great storytellers. In the performance, his stories inspire Orphie to overcome her fears and doubts. You might say that Homer is her hero. What makes someone a hero? Who is your hero, and why? Share your ideas with friends and family.

explore more! Go to KC Connections on ARTSEDGE


David M. Rubenstein Chairman

Additional support for Performances for Young Audiences is provided by Adobe Foundation, The Clark Charitable Foundation; Mr. James V. Kimsey; The Macy’s Foundation; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; Park Foundation, Inc.; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; an endowment from the Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation; U.S. Department of Education; Washington Gas; and by generous contributors to the Abe Fortas Memorial Fund and by a major gift to the fund from the late Carolyn E. Agger, widow of Abe Fortas. Major support for educational programs at the Kennedy Center is provided by David and Alice Rubenstein through the Rubenstein Arts Access Program. Education and related artistic programs are made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts. /artsedge Cuesheets are produced by ARTSEDGE, an education program of the Kennedy Center. Learn more about education at the Kennedy Center at /education The contents of this Cuesheet have been developed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. You should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. © 2014 The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

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Orphie and the Book of Heroes  

In this hilarious and moving new musical adventure that puts a clever twist on Greek mythology, spunky and curious Orphie sets sail to save...

Orphie and the Book of Heroes  

In this hilarious and moving new musical adventure that puts a clever twist on Greek mythology, spunky and curious Orphie sets sail to save...

Profile for artsedge