No matter how hard times get or what people may think of you, always believe in yourself and never, ever give up.
That is one of the messages that the late Indianapolis’ own Ted Boyd imparted in his classic book The Black Snowflake.
First published in 1972, the story’s wisdom has motivated and inspired readers of all ages and backgrounds.
While it is still in great demand as a book today, The Black Snowflake also can be experienced in the theater, with its characters coming to life and having an immediate visual impact on viewers.
A special opportunity to see the holiday musical comes on Dec. 4, at the Jewish Community Center, 6701 Hoover Rd.
“It has such a positive message that resonates with a lot of people,” said Karen Boyd-Beamon, Ted Boyd’s daughter and organizer of the stage adaptation of his book, which is being presented for the third year. “We see so much negativity in the world today that it’s nice to be able to present something that is uplifting.”
The popular story recounts the fictional experience of the Black snowflake, who was overlooked and often excluded because she had an appearance that was different than the other snowflakes.
However, when given the opportunity, the snowflake proved she was just as capable and as qualified as everyone else. She was accepted by the other snowflakes and able to join them in leaving their land and finding a place on Earth.
“It talks about something that is right on today, which is the idea of pressing forward despite adversity,” said Boyd’s wife, popular retired WRTV (Channel 6) anchor Barbara Boyd. “Just as many of us in real life who have been treated differently, the Black Snowflake has to overcome challenges and work twice as hard for the opportunity to succeed. Once she is given the opportunity, she uses it wisely, passes all the tests and is able to prove herself and her abilities.”
Those who knew Ted Boyd, who died in 2007, say the message of reaching beyond expectations that he shared in The Black Snowflake is the same kind of encouragement he gave to countless youth and other individuals in the community as a longtime director of the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis.
“People who knew Ted knew that he enjoyed writing, and he wrote things for many different occasions,” remarked Barbara. “Before his death, we promised to keep the legacy of The Black Snowflake alive.”
Boyd-Beamon said that is exactly what she would like to do through the family’s company, Togetherness Productions.
“We want to not only continue with this production, but develop other positive plays as well,” she said.
Eleven-year old performer Mackenzie Isaac, a rising star in the Indiana theatrical community, plays the lead role of the Black Snowflake, while Daniel Martin, best known for his portrayal of Jesus Christ in the annual passion play “Upon This Rock,” appears as King Snowflake.
This year’s version of “The Black Snowflake” features a few changes, including a new fun scene called the Chocolate Factory, and new songs written by Boyd-Beamon and director Tina Harris.
Music will be provided by special guest gospel singing group Joshua, an Indianapolis-based quintet that has received national acclaim for their powerful live performances and the album, “By God’s Grace.”
The group has performed with artists such as Andrae Crouch, the Williams Brothers, Bishop Leonard Scott, the Canton Spirituals, Shirley Murdock and Deitrick Haddon.
“Each year the production has become even better,” Barbara said. “We hope everyone who sees it will realize that just because someone looks or speaks differently, it doesn’t mean they can’t make a positive contribution.”
Remembering Ted Boyd
Many remember the late Ted Boyd for his gift of encouragement and his contagious sense of humor.
A member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., the Crispus Attucks Alumni Athletic Association, Kiwanis Club and several other organizations, he served for several years as youth director of the Fall Creek YMCA. While working with the club, he developed several innovative and popular children’s programs.
His book The Black Snowflake has been frequently reprinted, aired as an animated feature and presented as a theatrical production. In 2006, then Mayor Bart Peterson declared Dec. 7 Black Snowflake Day.
Boyd died of cancer in 2007 at age 81. He was married for 53 years to his wife, Barbara, who in 1969 became the first African-American woman to anchor a news program in Indianapolis on WRTV (Channel 6).
What: The Black Snowflake
When: Dec. 4, at 4 p.m.
Where: Jewish Community Center, 6701 Hoover Rd.
Admission: $15 in advance, $20 at the door and $10 for children 12 and under. Group discount rates available.
For more information: Call (317) 435-0140, (317) 925-7430 or (317) 698-4536.