Dandelions in the Wind is the love story of a young white woman and a young black man caught up in the turbulent times of America’s Civil Rights era.
Dandelions in the Wind presents black history in a fresh, exciting way to a cast and audience mostly born after these events occurred. It paints a picture of a young interracial couple who are in love, but it also makes broad strokes on the topic of racism which still plagues us today. Great strides have been made; especially in law-making, in the fifty years since the events depicted, but recent situations in the States and Canada remind us that racism still exists and despite the perceived tolerance and multiculturalism of Canada, there is a chasm of racism here also.
The musical includes the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the bombing of the Birmingham Church in which four young girls died, and the Voting Rights March in Selma, all of which bring attention to our history, yet the show has been crafted carefully to make the material current with recent events. A Spoken Word starts and ends the production, sandwiching the historical material and asking where we are now... as a people. With music that ranges from African drumming and slave chants to gospel songs and toe-tapping dance numbers, this production shows how far we have come, yet how far we still have to go – where hate can lead and how love can overcome. Although the musical centres on the racism between black and white, the production has a message for all groups of people who are separated by the yawning chasm of fear and distrust. Dandelions is a step toward bridging that divide, and achieves it without leaving the aftertaste of a history lesson. When the show debuted in the UK, a theatre critic called it "a show that the world needs to see."
Dandelions in the Wind is not just a musical. The inspiration came from the racism that the playwright (Jennifer) and her late husband experienced in the sixties and seventies as a young bi-racial couple. Life in London, England, was not easy for them, the day-to-day racism culminating in an attack by skinheads (white supremacists). Keith survived his injuries of broken ribs and a severely fractured skull – but several years later he died unexpectedly from resulting complications. He was thirty-three.