Discussion – 


Discussion – 


Sing Along with Open Door Stage and Screen at DisWay


This article is included in our Spring 2022 newsletter. Click here to view the entire newsletter!

It’s photo shoot day.

The cast of Open Door Stage and Screen is full of smiles and laughter as they eagerly show off their costumes—each reveling at their opportunity to pose as a wide range of characters from Moana, The Jungle Book, Hairspray, Wicked, The Lion King, Frozen, and Beauty and the Beast.

“It’s going to be so good!” says Cary Johnston, the program’s director, as she leads the cast into their positions on stage.

Everyone at the program is excited to share their latest show, “DisWay,” with the community on May 6th from 6-7pm. (Get tickets here)

How did they land on this particular show? The cast was full of creative ideas and suggestions for new shows, including more than a few requests to incorporate songs from Disney and Broadway. So, Cary came up with a way to accommodate people interested in both genres, hence the show’s name: “DisWay.”

The audience is strongly encouraged to come in costume and sing along with the performers.

“Basically, we’re looking at a living karaoke experience,” Cary says.

The individuals picked the songs they liked most and put the long list of tracks up for a vote, which weeded the list down to a manageable number. Part of Cary’s job as the director is to look for ways that each of those songs could translate from a movie screen into something that will be enjoyable for the audience and for folks on stage.

While preparing for “DisWay,” the performers picked up the music quickly; throughout the month of April the group will work on staging, figuring out entrances and exits, and coordinating sets in preparation for their community audience on May 6th.

Behind the Scenes with Open Door Stage & Screen

As with the first Open Door Stage & Screen performance in December, “A Christmas Carol,” most of the actors will be on the stage from the beginning. The audience will see all the sets on stage at the same time and watch the show move from one spot to the next.

If you’re looking for a standout moment, you won’t want to miss their showstopping performance from the musical Hairspray. “I didn’t see this one coming,” Cary said of the musical number. “It’s fast, fun, and sure to bring people to their feet.”

This show was designed to be a sing-along so the actors wouldn’t necessarily have to rehearse lines or memorize the songs. There won’t be solos and the audience won’t necessarily hear any one voice—and that’s by design. It’s a comforting thing for many of the performers who are new to the program and still deciding what’s most interesting for them in terms of music and theater. It’s not scary—it’s fun, and it makes folks feel safe.

Candace preparing for DisWay

“A Christmas Carol” revealed a high level of interest and excitement from the performers, and Cary is proud of the connection she’s made with the individuals in the four short months she’s been with the program.

One individual, Candace, has especially taken to the program. “She’s hysterically funny,” Cary says. It didn’t take long before Candace was learning her lines, being funny around other cast members, and teaching dances. She’s trying things she’s never done before and is really buying in to the program, which has been a joy to Cary and the other performers.


Ahead of this show, the program is thankful to now have a volunteer—one of the actor’s moms—who’s known Cary for a long time. “It’s been a game changer,” Cary says. She helps with the costumes, particularly sewing.

The program is interested in having more volunteers, especially anyone who has an interest in theater, costuming, or sewing. Are you interested in helping? Visit our volunteer page for more information about how you can help Open Door Stage and Screen.

And don’t forget to get your tickets to the “DisWay” show, they’re selling fast!

Open Door

Open Door is a Columbus-based nonprofit provider for individuals with developmental disabilities. Our mission and vision are to inspire life journeys and cultivate valued roles for all people. What door can we open for you?


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