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Book by Scott Stuart
Music and Lyrics by David Maddux
Projection Design by Brandon Shelton

The Folly Theater is pleased to welcome you to this World Premiere performance of My Shadow is Pink. This delightful musical adaptation of the award-winning children’s book by Scott Stuart tells the story of a young boy who learns to embrace his true self, despite the emotional challenges of not being like other boys. Our heartfelt thanks to Scott for granting us the rights to his heartwarming story, GRAMMY-nominated composer David Maddux for his beautiful original musical score, lyrics and script, and Shawn Cullen and the Heartland Men’s Chorus for their amazing work bringing this production to life.

My Shadow is Pink conveys critically important messages of affirmation, authenticity, self-esteem, empathy, diversity, and respect for self and others. While Colin’s journey resonates with many LGBTQ+ youth today, it is a universal story of young people struggling with feelings of isolation, loneliness, and depression because of personal characteristics that distinguish them from their peers, whether physical, mental, or emotional development; race or ethnicity; religion; economic status; sexual orientation; gender identity or expression; or other traits.

Our goal is to provide an avenue to defy these oppressive forces and cultivate resilience and hope. Art is the glue that binds us. It has the power to transcend boundaries and open hearts, bridging the gap between what is and what could be. Art is our collective journey toward hope, unity, and transformation. We hope this performance will help begin a community-wide conversation about these important issues.

“Your shadow is YOU and pink it will be. So stand up with your shadow and yell THIS IS ME!” (My Shadow Is Pink, 2020)

My Shadow is Pink
It’s Just A Phase
The Very First Day of School
If Only My Shadow Was Blue
You Are Loved (Exactly As You Are)
Family Gallery

Audience Talk back with Dr. Ram Chettiar, Children’s Mercy Hospital

This is Me from Greatest Showman, Arr. Tim Sarsany
Treat People with Kindness by Harry Styles, Arr. by David Maddux

(In order of appearance)
The Heartaches
Colin-Payton Dishman/Pete Kuhn
Dad-Tim Rowland (Adam Brown, understudy)
Shop Assistant #1-Darrik Moss
Shop Assistant #2-Wilson Welch
Shoe Store Manager-Benjamin DuBois

Heartland Men’s Chorus Small Ensemble-The Heartaches
Adam Brown
Benji Crow
Payton Dishman
Benjamin Dubois
Scott Guerrero
Pete Kuhn
Grant Mayfield
Darrik Moss
Anthony Robinson
Tim Rowland
Michael Schnetzer
Brandon Shelton
Marcus Simmons
Wilson Welch
Randall Wrisinger
Sam Zorn

Conductor: Shawn Cullen
Piano: Lamar Sims
Synthesizer: Todd Gregory-Gibbs
Electric Bass: Justin Henson
Drums: Ian McClaflin
Reed 1 (piccolo, flute, clarinet, alto sax): Zak Pischnotte
Reed 2 (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor sax): Jonathon Nickell
Trumpet: Lyle Simpson
Trumpet: Joon Park
Trombone: Spencer Banister

Composer & Orchestrator
David Maddux

Music & Stage Direction
Shawn Cullen

Projection Design
Brandon Shelton

Lighting Design
Simon Huntley

Sound Design
Nic Aldrich

Richard Wilson

Mitch Weber


David Maddux has composed, arranged, and produced music in a variety of applications for over 50 years.  Providing services as arranger and orchestrator, he has created materials for Harvey Fierstein, Rosemary Clooney, Lily Tomlin, Linda Eder, Debbie Reynolds, Lesley Gore, classical vocal ensemble Chanticleer, soprano Frederica Von Stade, Ann Hampton-Callaway, Judith Martin (“Miss Manners”), Leslie Jordan, Nell Carter, author Armistead Maupin, Broadway lyricist Martin Charnin, gospel artist Sandi Patti, and studio group First Call.  His a cappella jazz vocal production “An Evening In December” was nominated for a GRAMMY Award.  Mr. Maddux regularly creates scores for symphonies around the country, including Seattle, Dallas, Nashville, Charlotte, and Minneapolis. Creator of compositions, arrangements, and themed revues, his work is performed by LGBTQIA+ choruses and ensembles around the world. He lives with his husband in New York City.


Founded in 1986, the Heartland Men’s Chorus (HMC) is a Kansas City community pillar, renowned both regionally and nationally for its commitment to musical excellence and  advocacy for social justice. HMC is proudly celebrating their 38th season as one of the nation’s premiere LGBTQ+ performing arts organizations with a mission to build community, celebrate pride, and empower authenticity.  Composed of over 140 voices, Heartland Men’s Chorus has a prestigious and eclectic performance resume including the American Choral Directors National Convention, Hugh Jackman’s national tour: The Man.The Music.The Show, and most recently as one of 8 choruses in the world to perform Disney Pride in Concert. HMC has led innovation in “choral theater” as commissioning partners for Andrew Lippa’s “I Am Harvey Milk” and “Unbreakable”  along with world premieres of “The Music of Whitney Houston” and “After All: 60 Years of Cher”  in collaboration with GRAMMY nominated composer David Maddux. With a performing home at the historic Folly Theater and led by a passionate team including Artistic Director Shawn Cullen and Executive Director Dudley Hogue, Heartland Men’s Chorus continues to be a beacon of hope and a voice for change in Kansas City and beyond.


Shawn Cullen, conductor, educator and artistic director, has earned a reputation for his dedication to musical excellence and collaborative artistry within the communities he serves. Cullen’s dynamic skill set has led to a multifaceted career in  instrumental music, choral music, and regional musical theater serving as principal conductor for the Arizona Repertory Theater with favorite credits including Into the WoodsThe Secret GardenOklahoma!EVITA, Avenue Q, and The Full Monty.  Mr. Cullen has worked in collaboration with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra as vocal director for Broadway Rocks Broadway Rocks II, and most recently Broadway’s Leading Men with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra.  Recognized as an award-winning music educator, Mr. Cullen has held positions in K-12 instrumental/vocal music, K-12 arts administration, and adjunct faculty positions at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory. Past GALA Chorus leadership includes Artistic Director/Conductor for the Reveille Men’s Chorus (Tucson, AZ) , Desert Voices Mixed Chorus (Tucson, AZ) and now proudly serving The Heartland Men’s Chorus in his fifth season.


Scott Stuart is a full-time author whose books have appeared on numerous best-seller lists across the globe, been translated into over a dozen languages, been adapted for the stage and screen, and have received nominations for Children’s Book of the Year and Picture Book of the Year. He is a leading voice on fully accepting and empowering our children exactly as they are, and his empowering messages have been seen almost 200 million times on social media. He regularly appears on podcasts and in media, speaking about parenting, discovering your authentic self, and learning to accept yourself and your children.

Stuart started writing My Shadow is Pink after his son came home from childcare one day upset because he was being bullied about his Elsa doll (from the movie Frozen). His son also said he wanted to go to the movie theater dressed as Elsa. In a video that has now gone viral, Stuart not only escorted his costume-clad son to the theater, he donned an Elsa costume to match.


Since its grand opening in 1900 as the “largest and most comfortable” vaudeville house in the Great West, the Folly Theater has remained at the forefront of Kansas City’s performing arts scene. Designed by Kansas City architect Louis Curtiss, the magnificent hall garnered widespread acclaim for its exceptional acoustics, stylish design, and an atmosphere that exuded intimacy.

Today, the Folly Theater is committed to making the arts accessible and inclusive through a wide-ranging program of events. The theater is home to Kansas City’s longest-running Jazz Series, which traces its roots back to 1982, in addition to offering an Americana Series and an educational Kids’ Series. In July 2023 the theater was also named Outstanding Historic Theatre by League of Historic American Theatres. At the Folly, there is something to captivate every audience member.


 Underwriting for “My Shadow Is Pink” has been provided by:

Claire Giannini Fund
Greg Porter and James Townsend
Steve Metzler Memorial LGBTQ+ Fund
Ann Baum – G. Kenneth and Ann Baum Philanthropic Fund
Pride Charitable Fund
McCownGordon Employee Resource Group
Marcia Bailey
Children’s Mercy Kansas City
Paula and Bill Hankins
Regina and Bill Kort
Helen and Frank Wewers


Ronald D. Deffenbaugh Foundation
R.A. Long Foundation
Oppenstein Brothers Foundation, Commerce Bank, Trustee
The Estate of Joan Hubbard
Theater ROcKs