We love hearing about all variety of diabetes awareness projects here at the 'Mine, and with my personal love of theater, I wanted to share this awesome initiative from University of Tennessee senior, Andy Rogers. Andy, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, is also minoring in theater (now that's a combination you don't see everyday). As part of his senior project, he has combined his two loves by writing, producing, directing and now starring in a musical about diabetes called Andy and the Beats (clever, no?). Clearly, diabetes isn't just book-learnin' for Andy, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 15, seven years after his older sister was diagnosed.
The musical is about a boy who is diagnosed with diabetes and tries to cure it, but eventually comes to accept it with help from other kids with diabetes. The cast includes students from a variety of university departments, along with several children featured in the final scene. Andy says that having folks outside the diabetes community involved in the production has been great, "because they now have a connection to type 1 diabetes through these kids and they really have a reason to care for the disease. It's really one of the aims of my show: to connect people to a disease they would normally overlook if they aren't directly effected by it!"
For those of you not in the Knoxville area, check out this adorable reading of the final scene on YouTube, where the cast sings their theme song "Walk for the Cure." It looks absolutely heartwarming and empowering. I'm tearing up just watching the clip!
Andy was recently featured on the local UT television to talk about how he came up with this project:
If you're in the Tennessee area, check it out this weekend at UT Knoxville's Clarence Brown Lab Theater. The show runs this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 18th and 19th, at 7pm, and on Sunday the 20th at 2pm and 5pm. Admission is free, and proceeds from sponsorships will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Break a leg, Andy!