My Book Becomes A Fantastic “Princess Shayna Musical” Collaborative Workshop Experience!

Princess Shayna Workshop Sessions

Yesterday and today, I had the privilage of attending the 3 hour workshop sessions for the Princesss Shayna Musical production that will perferformed at the Raue Center, in Crystal Lake, Illinois, on this coming Friday, August 5th,  at 7:00pm.

Musical Production

Billy Seger, who is an education instructor at the Raue Center, has adapted my book, Princess Shayna’s Invisible Visible Gift and written the remarkable songs for the production. Billy is collaborating with Evan Swanson, who is orchestrating the music. Jessica Urban, who is the RCSA education coordinator & producer, is managing the production, and Savannah Thomas, who is also is an educations instructor, is also helping with the production.

“Brainbow” Musical Cast

The cast is consists of of 14 student who range in ages from 4th grade to 12th grade. The cast includes 2 boys and 12 girls. They all have had some experience in musical theater. Today, I brought a Brain Color Quiz for all the students to discover their colorfilled attributes and abilities, along with their musical talents!  The cast is made up of 3 Yellow Brainers, 3 Blue Brainers, 2 Green Brainers, and 6 Orange Brainers!  Billy is a Blue Brainer and Evan, Jess, and Savannah are all Yellow Brainers!

Morning Warm-Ups

Each morning begins with Evan leading the actors through variou yoga posture to stretch and relax their bodies. Then he leads the students through various vocal exercises to warm up their voices. They have to pretend to have an egg in their mouth,  make a buzzing sound with their lips, and sing “nah, nah,nah, nah, nah, nah” as if they were making fun of one another. Eveyone enjoys the exercises, including me!

Practicing Script and Songs

Reading the script and practicing the songs comes next. The students are working on the beginning of the story and the four different villages. Billy has done a incredible  job adapting my family fairy tale into this fantastic musical production!

Evan’s orchestration of the songs and his  collaboration with Billy is superb! The different melodies and rhythms fit each of attributes of the four villages. When listening to the songs I wanted to tap my toes and/or clap my hands to the music. The students have been assigned different characters in the story and/or they are story tellers from the different villages. I loved listening to them harmonize lyrics. Many of the students have used their smart phones to record the music to practice at home.

4 Thoughtful Questions

At the end both days, Billy asked the students to think about the following 4 thouhgtful questions and share them at the end of the class.

I was impressed that Billy and Evan valued the student’s opionions and respected their points of view. The collaboration between the students and the adults is an energizing and authentic experience for everyone! The following are the 4 questioins and some of the student’s answers.

1. What moments made you ‘lean in’ to the story? 

  • I like when Shayna and Falcon were singing, it pulled you into it. It was really good. The relationship between the two.
  • The King and Queen have great synergy.
  • Audrey: If Alexander had to make a decision you can tell he would talk it over with Sylvia before he made a decision.
  • What really kind of gets me into it is the piano and doing all the parts together. I love the overlapping and when it all comes together on one thing. I get into the story because of the momentum.
  • I got into it when it was “One Way or Another” when we were all singing together and we all had a chance.
  • I like the relationship between Sigmund and the King and Queen. He’s happy to be a third wheel.
  • You can tell that Alexander really trusts Sigmund and Sylvia trusts Alexander so much she also puts her trust in Sigmund.
  • Sigmund wants to make it known that the king and queen are his friends and he’s not their servant.
  • A good balance of singing and talking.

2. What questions do you still have about the material that was covered today?

  • In the prologue and part one, Shayna isn’t born yet? Yes. Part one is a little confusing – is Shayna adopted? Part two clarifies this.

3. What moments did you find difficult to connect to? 

  • I don’t like giving people notes. Why does the Wizard always say Rimsiyavyo? It’s weird.
  • I think it’s like a eureka moment.
  • I explained the meaing behind Rimsiyavyo. It is the Yiddish expression “Oy Vey Iz Mir”; and is  “Oh woe is me.” backwards. Look at a problem from a different perspective and discover a solution or answer!

4. Were there any “missed opportunities?”

  • Meevillian should be more sad about the fact that she didn’t get the king. More ‘I want revenge/heartbreak’ less like ‘ah whatever.
  •  Is this an acting choice or a script choice? –  Billy: I have to make the book clearer.
  • So I feel like 1) where is the wizard when he startles him? (Billy: we need to say he lives in the castle). 2) Why did she want to be queen?
  • Meevillian is all over the place and it’s confusing when she’s explaining everything. She should be a little more ‘into everything, when she’s saying she appreciates something. It’s kind of  catty and not villain.
  • Meevillian should be more of a combination of sassy and rude.

Closing Thought

It is unsual for me to be speachless. However, I have been overwhelmed with Joy and Delight listening to my story come to life with such extraordianrily beautiful music and words! My Blue Heartfelt Gratidude to Tim Paul, Richard Karanda, Billy Seger, Evan Swanson, Jess Urban, Savanah Thomas, and all the Student Actors!


Copies of Princess Shayna are available on Remember: 10% of royalties from the sale of my fairy tale will be allocated to MISSION IMAGINATION at The Raue Center For The Arts.




Don’t forget about the FREE Chapter, #7 Your Romantic Relationships, from my original What Color Is Your Brain?® book, which you will receive when you sign up for my Sheila’s Brain Blog section at the bottom of my homepage!
10% of royalties from the sale of No Bunk will be allocated to The Raue Center For The Arts Mission Imagination.



Please Spread the Word


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.