Banjo’s (and My) Dream

BanjoMickeyBanjo the dog took his last breath two years ago.  But Sunday afternoon, I saw his spirit live on.

The Black Rose Youth Theatre Ensemble (BRYTE) at Black Rose Theatre Company in Brandon, Miss. performed Banjo’s Dream, a one-act musical based on my children’s book by the same name.  As the lights dimmed, my wife Amy handed me a Kleenex. After I saw Sam the Grumpy cat take the stage, I knew I would need it.

Seeing pieces of your heart come to life is very emotional.

A few months ago, my friend Shawn Rossi asked me if I would be open to BRYTE adapting Banjo’s Dream into a musical.  I never hesitated — “Sure,” I said. I just had a feeling something special would come of this.

And I was right.  Banjo’s Dream  is absolutely wonderful.

It’s set in a pet adoption shelter (a deviation from the real Banjo’s story — he lived with three families but was placed by his breeder). The cute puppies get adopted early on. But not Banjo. Or Sam the Grumpy Cat (who in real life was rescued from a box at a The Woodlands, Tx Exxon) or the members of the Barkstreet Dog Band (the unadoptables who don’t need no stinkin’ leashes.) Banjo, left alone, (played well by Garret Ramsey) sings mournfully how he’ll never have a home. He then falls into a dream-filled sleep.  That’s when the fun really begin.  Banjo’s dreams are creatively projected onto a screen using a combination of  shadow puppetry and drawings from my book.

But like Banjo showed kids in the book, dreams do come true.  He finds a little boy who wants a dog who will love music like he does.  And at the end, Banjo is adopted by his loving family.

Then a picture of the real Banjo is projected onto the screen (with my son’s Mickey Mouse.)

My wife Amy and I lost it.

Like the stage Banjo, the real dog loved all of his families.  I always said his heart was too big to just love one family.  We were so blessed to have him in ours until the end.

But it really isn’t the end.  Banjo lives on in our hearts. And in the hearts of so many children.

A hat-tip to Dixie Gray, Makenna Blough, Lori McDade, Stacy Wolfe, Abbie Macoy, Jamie Macoy, Renee Williams, Noelle Jones, Shawn Rossi, Leigh Ramsey, Stirling VanNostrand, Paris Baker, Victoria Mills, Carley Hill, Jameson Williams, Garrett Ramsey, Mary Rose Wolfe, Mason Smith, Gray Macoy, Quentin Lea, Lily Blough, Avery DeMuth, Sawyer Smith, Simon Smith, Daleigh Ramsey, Eli Ramsey, Maddie Macoy, Jameson Williams, April Smith and Chris Mills for your creativity and hard work.  You created a rich, emotionally moving piece of art. And I can tell Banjo’s spirit flowed through you when you wrote, produced and performed it.

So let me say thank you. You gave me my puppy back for one more day.

Proving that dreams do come true.



About Marshall Ramsey