Every night, thousands of homeless youth are living on the streets, many of whom identify as LGBTQ and statistically suffer more abuse than their heterosexual homeless peers. Answering to these soaring statistics—upwards of 400,000 individuals, according to the National Runaway Switchboard—composer Alan Motley is creating a rock opera that centers on today's issues of homelessness, particularly for queer people of color.
Called Streetkids, Motley's developing musical tells a story of "survival, love and loss" through the lens of a trans teen, gay teen and their New York friends. Wrestling with family dynamics and the pressures of religion, his characters will journey through reality and self-discovery. The production's trans protagonist, named Brianna Young, will be Streetkids' star with a narrative informed by interviews Motley intends to conduct with real trans youth of color.
"Our trans community, especially women of color, simply need to be acknowledged," Motley told OUT, describing Streetkids' importance. "The deaths are staggering and the reports are light. These are women with hopes and dreams like any other. My goal as a composer is to develop a piece that causes a transformative reaction—one destined to open up our hearts and minds."
Motley is currently crowdsourcing funds for Streetkids on Kickstarter, which hopes of reaching his $50k goal. Beyond creating a full-fledged Broadway production for young adults, he hopes to be the second African American to win a Tony for Best Original Score since Charlie Smalls' 1975 win for The Wiz. Listen to the Streetkids theme, below.