Chicken Made of Rags: From Oral Tradition to Theater
The Chicken Made of Rags has been a family favorite children’s story and musical play for generations. The publication of the script in book form now makes it available for schools and theater companies to create new productions for the public to enjoy more widely. I say in my introduction to the book:
The Chicken Made of Rags is an old family tale, handed down through generations. As children in New York City in the 1930s and ‘40s, my younger brother, Philip Serrano, and I went to sleep listening to our Uncle Paul’s tale of the raggedy Chicken on her way to the big fiesta. Our Uncle Paul heard the story as a child in Cuba at the turn of the twentieth century from his nanny, a former slave. Cuba had abolished slavery in 1886, ten years before Uncle Paul was born. Following the story’s Afro-Caribbean origins, each generation of my family changed elements of the story, adding other cultural layers. The Chicken Made of Rags immigrated across continents and generations, landing in this script that we present here. . . .
Many people have loved The Chicken Made of Rags. I hope the publication of the script about the brave Chicken Made of Rags with her Bag Full of Dreams and her staunch friends will encourage new productions that will bring the play to future generations waiting for some fun.
To promote classroom and theater productions the book includes a cast list, prop lists, song lyrics and sheet music by Philip Serrano, as well as photos from past productions showing different sets and costumes. The audio version of the play, created by Greg Landau, is available as a CD and as mp3 downloads. A digital eBook is also available for easy download by actors and others. A promotional video is available here.
Together, we hope all of these elements will encourage new productions of the play for the experience of joy and hope for today’s children.