Music by Douglas Tappin

Monday, January 15 – 7:30 PM  |  Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The story of a preacher from Atlanta

The inspiring story of the famous preacher and iconic civil rights leader from Atlanta is brought to life in this deeply moving premiere performance that beautifully fuses opera with bluesy, jazzy, and gospel-tinged rhythms. In a stirring account of his most intimate moments shared with wife Coretta Scott King and close friend Ralph Abernathy, we discover that the themes of equality and justice from the Civil Rights Movement are echoed in our political sentiments today. Despite the well-chronicled tragedy that ended the preacher’s life 50 years ago, the audience is left beaming with the hope of his dream in their hearts.

Presented at Fountain Street Church

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Language: Presented in English

Run time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Event | Fountain Street Church

In collaboration with:


6:00-7:00 PM   University Program | Sanctuary

  • Speaker
  • Award Ceremony – Scholarships, Grand Rapids Public Schools

7:00 PM   Doors open

7:30 PM   I DREAM performance | Sanctuary

more details on the schedule to follow


For tickets, contact our Box Office at 616.451.2741 or purchase online at Ticketmaster.

Adult tickets are $39. Student tickets just $5 for any performance.
Student tickets can be purchased prior to the performance day or at the door. Student ID required at the door.

Casting, repertoire and event details are subject to change without notice or refunds, but are specified in good faith as accurate and updated accordingly. Refunds not accepted.


Fountain Street Church Ticket Prices

Douglas Tappin  |  Composer

Douglas Tappin is a writer and composer who was born and educated in the United Kingdom. A former commercial attorney and member of the Honrarble Society of Lincoln’s Inn who practiced as a barrister in England for eleven years, Douglas Tappin earned his post-graduate degree from Atlanta’s McAfee School of Theology, he also received a music theory certifictation from The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

Tappin’s unique approach to writing and composition is full of innovation. His authentic style is ideal for story telling, arising from his unique analytical mind, literary background and gifted musicianship.

Tappin was inspired to write “I Dream” after pouring over hundreds of books about and by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and interviewing those who knew him and advocated with him. What has emerged is a work of music theater that tells the journey toward Dr. King’s push for nonviolence and continues through his legacy.

“As I imagined his life, I saw something clear. There was a plight,” Tappin said. “People in this country with a plight. It was something he saw and experienced in childhood as he grew up in the South.”

The composer said King wondered whether that plight would always exist and how best to impact change. He said the song “Victory by Love” tells the tale of nonviolence, but speaks to King’s own self-questioning that was born from leading a fight for change between two sects of people: those who felt complacency was the right approach versus those who felt action at all costs was the right approach.

“It is between those two opposing things that he found the right thing to do,” Tappin said. “The right thing to do at the right time, and we call that a dream.”


Carl Marsh  |  Orchestrations & Music Director

Grammy© nominated arranger/composer Carl Marsh has been an integral part of the North American recording industry for over three decades. He began his musical career at the age of five on piano, adding bassoon, recorder and guitar by age 12. By the time he reached the age of 20, he was proficient on over 30 instruments.

Carl’s early influences were eclectic: Blood Sweat and Tears, Charlie Patton, Maurice Ravel, The Beatles and Nat King Cole. He developed his pop abilities by playing in some of the most popular bands in Memphis, Tennessee, where the blues and R&B are staples of everyday life.

Carl’s classical life as a bassoonist was marked by numerous early awards, climaxing in 1972, when he was tapped to study with Bernard Garfield, principal bassoonist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Almost simultaneously, about 150 miles away in New York, he was being signed as a recording artist (vocalist) to Arista Records in New York by the legendary Clive Davis. Read more.



Daniel Goldstein  |  Director

Daniel Goldstein was most recently represented on Broadway by the revival of Godspell. He has directed over 100 plays and musicals worldwide, including work at major theaters across America and Asia.

His recent and upcoming projects include the Broadway: Godspell, Off Broadway: Walmartopia, Lower Ninth by Beau Willimon, Indoor/Outdoor; Regional: Venus in Fur, Falsettos, Les Liasons Dangereuses and God of Carnage (Huntington), Hello Dolly! and Damn Yankees (Goodspeed), Anna Christie (Old Globe), Artificial Fellow Traveler Work Now!, Ars Nova, Williamstown Theatre Festival, True West (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and Miss Margarida’s Way (Bay Street Theatre, with Julie Halston). He is also developing and writing a solo show with Wayne Brady. Read more.




Laquita Mitchell  |  Coretta

Soprano Laquita Mitchell consistently earns acclaim on eminent international opera and concert stages, leading performances with Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, and Opéra Comique in Paris, New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, among many others.

This season, she will sing selections of Porgy and Bess with Allentown Symphony, the soprano solo in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Berkeley Symphony, Violetta in La traviata with Opera Memphis, and the world première of Moravec’s Sanctuary Road at Carnegie Hall with Oratorio Society of New York. Read more.





Kenneth Overton  |  Ralph

Kenneth Overton is lauded for blending his opulent baritone with magnetic and varied portrayals that seemingly “emanate from deep within body and soul.” Heralded by the BBC for his “exceptional voice,” Kenneth made his New York City Opera mainstage début in 2012 as Doctor Grenvil in Verdi’s La traviata. That season, Kenneth also made an acclaimed début in the world-première of David Ott’s The Widow’s Lantern at Pensacola Opera, whereby he was immediately re-engaged to star as Joe in Showboat and later Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd the very next season. This season, Overton performs the role of Jake Wallace in La fanciulla del West with New York City Opera, reprises the title role of Porgy and Bess with Margaret Island Open-Air Theatre in Budapest, sings Angela Rice’s Thy Will Be Done with National Chorale, and joins San Francisco Opera for the world-première of Girls of the Golden West, a new opera by John Adams and Peter Sellars. Read more.





Lucia Bradford  |  Jennie Williams (Grandma)

Mezzo-soprano, Lucia Bradford is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. Ms. Bradford has performed a number of operatic roles including Carmen in Bizet’s La Tragedie de Carmen, Zita in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, La Principessa in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, The Mother in Ravel’s L’Enfant des Sortileges, Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen, Mrs. Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff, The Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Gertrude in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, Hippolyta in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Miss Todd in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief, the Duchess of Plaza Toro in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, Azelia Dessalines in the historic return of William Grant Still’s opera Troubled Island with New York City Opera at the Schomburg Center, Maria in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and the Mother of Paul Dunbar in the premiere of The Mask in the Mirror by Richard Thompson. Read more.





Greg Kirkland  |  Hosea

Faced with the task of trying to revive a generation that has been labeled as hopeless and without a cause, there is one who is willing to accept the challenge. Greg Kirkland, Jr., a native of Brooklyn, New York, was once the lead singer of the chart-topping gospel teen sensation, Five Young Men. While together, the group made appearances on such shows as the Donny and Marie Osmond Show, Nickelodeon’s All That, the heavyweight championship boxing match between Evander Holyfield and Vaughn Bean, the 1997 Presidential Inaugural Ball, BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel Hour, and a host of many others. Read more.









On the morning of April 3rd 1968, a young preacher from Atlanta prepares for a journey to Memphis, Tennessee to join striking sanitation workers.  During the night he has experienced a recurring dream – one that is a disconcerting mix of reminiscence and premonition.  Always, at the center of the dream, is the image of a balcony that has about it a strange sense of foreboding, and destiny, and a moment he knows he is not yet ready to face, but cannot yet explain, or see beyond…

As he sets out on his journey, boarding a flight from Atlanta’s busy airport, he begins to reflect on episodes of his life, searching for meaning to his dreams.  First, he remembers the harsh personal experience of racism and segregation in the community of his childhood, his dear maternal Grandmother, and the promise he made to her at her deathbed that set his life upon its present course – his promise to love.  Later on his journey his thoughts return to Boston University, the place he first articulated his unsophisticated ‘love answer’ to the persecution and injustice he perceived in the world.  It was also where he met the woman who would become his wife, and would set out with him on a life adventure that took them to Montgomery, Alabama where, together, they would play a vital role in the 1955 bus boycott that changed the law.

He preached the practical application of ‘love’ to America’s social issues, and challenged the status quo, alongside other leaders of the incredible freedom revolution of which he was crowned king.  Side by side they marched, facing stern opposition and winning political success at a national level in Washington DC, though most victories were hard-won on streets, and in jail cells throughout the South.  There were significant times when he was celebrated and vilified, struggles around him, war within him, and loneliness and despair along the way from Birmingham to Selma where, in 1965, the brave stand he inspired the people to take led to the enactment of voting rights legislation that changed the course of modern American history.  He remembers this kaleidoscope of events as he arrives in Memphis, most poignantly on the morning after he makes, perhaps, the most emotionally draining speech of his life.

Finally, just thirty-six hours after he set out from home, he sits alone at the edge of his bed in a motel room – late in the afternoon of April 4th.  He knows that outside his room door waits the balcony of his recurring dreams.  Dream has become reality and the moment of dream images is now the moment at hand.  Before he steps onto that balcony, as he knows he soon must do, he wrestles to complete the self-reconciliation of his life.  Has the frail, imperfect human he knows he is, not the icon, the idol, even the god the world has made him to be, done his best, done all he could?  Did he live life to the fullest measure?  Though he has said he is not afraid, is he ready to die?  And beyond himself, have the people been sufficiently envisioned and empowered to pursue the dream he has preached to them?  A dream of a mighty unstoppable freedom wave that will wash away all injustice, sorrow, tears and pain.