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Holland artist's illustrations come to life onstage with 'Lulu and the Long Walk'

The musical is based on the book written by Jars of Clay lead singer Dan Haseltine and illustrated by Holland artist Joel Schoon-Tanis.

HOLLAND, Michigan — A very special musical is on stage now at Hope College thanks to a unique collaboration. It's a children's picture book come to life.

It's called "Lulu and the Long Walk". The musical is based on the book written by Jars of Clay lead singer Dan Haseltine and illustrated by Holland artist Joel Schoon-Tanis.

Hope Summer Repertory Theater reached out to New York based writer, composer and lyricist Ayesu Lartey to create the show as part of their GenNext effort to highlight the works of underrepresented communities.

The book and the musical tell the story of a little girl and the miles-long walk she takes everyday to fetch water in Africa. Everyone involved in the collaboration is passionate about spreading awareness about the lack of clean water in parts of the world.

"It's exciting for me as an artist because we turned this over to Ayesu Lartey who took this little idea and made it bigger," said Schoon-Tanis about the world debut of the show. 

"I really wanted to bring out the humanity in all of us. No matter who you are and what your situation is, you will find a way to survive," said Lartey.

"It really matters to connect with places that are different than where we grow up...when you can't travel, come and see theater," said Haseltine.

"Lulu and the Long Walk" runs through Aug. 4 at Hope College's DeWitt Theatre. The next performance is Monday at 10:30 a.m. 

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