Social justice musical touring Vermont schools — complete with ‘list of demands’ from teens

A SOCIAL JUSTICE MUSICAL: A musical-turned-movie is touring schools across Vermont and offers social justice messages, along with demands by teens on topics ranging from ‘land reparations to the Abenaki people’ to ‘easier access to gender affirmative medical care.’

A social justice musical called “Listen Up” — which has since been turned into a movie — is being shown at schools and other venues throughout Vermont in May and June. The teen-influenced project aims to address topics such as racism and bigotry, while setting forth a list of teen demands on climate change, LGBT issues, BIPOC affinity spaces, and more.

The creative concept behind The Listen Up Project was to produce a musical based on listening sessions, interviews, and workshops with more than 800 teens across the Green Mountain State.

In the musical production that resulted, local teens tell their own stories in songs and dance. The live musical toured the state in the summer of 2021, and Kingdom County Productions made a film out of one of the performances at the Shelburne Museum. The film version is now being shown throughout the state.

Recent screenings of the “Listen Up” movie have taken place at U-32 in Montpelier and the Cabot School. The schedule for the rest of May and June includes film screenings at Hunt Middle School in Burlington (May 24), Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg (May 25), and Hartford High School in White River Junction (May 26).

“The streaming film version of the musical will be available for schools, youth centers, educators, parents and teens,” according to the “Listen Up Musical” website.

The production’s website also features a “Vermont teens list of demands,” which is characterized as “a list from VT teens of what they need in their lives and communities and how we can help.” It cites 29 demands, including one demand for “Easier access to hormones. Easier access to gender affirmative medical care.”

Another teen demand includes “BIPOC affinity spaces,” because “sometimes we just need to be around less white people.” According to the website, students also demand to “end climate change for the future of all of us” and to offer “land reparations for the Abenaki people.”

Vermont Department of Health, UVM Medical Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, the Governor’s Institute of Vermont, Front Porch Forum, and Burton are listed as sponsors of the project.

In addition, Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine offers a reviewer quote found on the musical’s website.

“I was absolutely blown away by the insights and wisdom of our youth, and the frank exploration of the lived experiences and emotional roller coaster ride called adolescence that Listen Up provided me,” Levine said. “Most importantly, the musical effectively catalyzes the important conversations teens, their parents, school mentors, and communities need to be having about the complex issues facing teens, society, and the planet today.”

Other reviewer quotes include praise from U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint, state Rep. Taylor Small, and state Sen. Kesha Ram.

A preview of the film version can be seen at the site’s home page. A banner displayed during the performance reads, “Just because I’m different doesn’t mean I’m dangerous.”

The musical was produced by Bess O’Brien, a documentary filmmaker and theatre producer, in collaboration with eight other musical supervisors, directors, choreographers, and communications specialists.

Scheduled screenings for The Listen Up Musical can be viewed online here.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

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8 thoughts on “Social justice musical touring Vermont schools — complete with ‘list of demands’ from teens

  1. Read and weep at similarities:

    ““Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.”
    — Joseph Stalin

    “I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this – who will count the votes, and how.”
    — Joseph Stalin

    “Print is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party.”
    — Joseph Stalin (but this was befpre CNN, NPR, CBS, NBC, ABC and MSNBC )

    Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” —Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

  2. “Indoctrination” – the musical! Demons are taking the souls of the children and people are just passively letting it happen….a very sick society we are witnessing. Babylon

  3. Nothing about masks or mrna injections!!? What was the producer thinking!? God help them…they’ll need it.

  4. This is sooooooooo Special…………… these fools would walk off a cliff if told to do so,
    how pathetic, brainwashed fools !!

  5. “Just because I’m different doesn’t mean I’m dangerous.”

    Excuse me, but those who are confused about what gender they “want” to be are not the problem. It is the arrogant bastards that push this crap on our youth who are dangerous. They want to hide stuff from parents. That says it all. They think they know better. Well, I suppose that may be true. They certainly know better how to screw up a kids life for no reason.

    • I think we have forgotten what education is all about. All this new “crap” is destroying why we have schools in the first place! Plus I don’t think parents are as envolved as they should be, even school boards and teachers!

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