AUSTIN, Texas — A new children’s play at the Scottish Rite Theater is a celebration of joy and self-care.

  • Musical adaptation of Rapunzel
  • Inspired by #blackboyjoy
  • Runs through March 3

Rap Unzel is a musical adaptation of Rapunzel. The Scottish Rite Theater, which produced the play, brought Jeremy Rashad Brown on as the writer.

“Susan Gayle Todd, who is the producing artistic director at the Scottish Rite asked me back in June if I wanted to do a play for Black History Month,” said Brown.

Todd said hosting shows like Rap Unzel is one of the ways the Scottish Rite Theater aims to bring communities together.

 “We came up with this idea to do this adaptation, but instead of it being a girl with long hair, it would be a boy with really tall hair,” said Todd.

 “I just started coming up with all these other concepts and ideas and like hashtag black boy joy”said Brown.

Rap Unzel is a story about a boy named Reginald “Rap” Unzel III.  Some of the neighborhood children make fun of Rap for being so joyful. Rap’s mother restricts him to his bedroom to protect his joy.

 “It turned into a semi-autobiographical piece,” said Brown. “This is a very personal piece because this was partially my life growing up.”

Brown says the show combats toxic masculinity and the idea that black boys aren’t allowed to show a range of emotions.

“We’re going to go against all of that and this little black boy is gonna personify black boy joy,” said Brown.

“It’s about just finding the joy every day, looking for that positivity and bringing that joy to other people,” said Todd. “This play is really for everybody—grownups and kids alike.”

Delanté Keys and Megan Ortiz are the play’s co-directors. Texas-based musician SaulPaul provided the music.

Rap Unzel runs through March 3 at the Scottish Rite Theater. For a list of show times, you can visit its website.


Photo of a performance of 'Rap Unzel' at the Scottish Rite Theater (Steve Rogers)
Photo of a performance of 'Rap Unzel' at the Scottish Rite Theater (Steve Rogers)
Photo of the cast of "Rap Unzel' (Steve Rogers)
Photo of the cast of "Rap Unzel' (Steve Rogers)