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Andy and the BeatsThe senior project of a recent graduate from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is now a musical being featured at the Bijou Theatre. Andy Rogers’ musical, Andy and the Beats, is about the medical, physical, and social aspects of Type 1 diabetes, which he and his sister both have.

The show begins 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, at the Bijou Theatre. Tickets are $16.50 for general admission and $11.50 for students. All the proceeds will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Rogers, who wrote, produced, directed, and will star in the production, has the overall goal to spread awareness for Type 1 diabetes.

“I’m trying to make it as educational as possible,” Rogers said. “Whether you’re seeing it or just reading it, you’re learning something.”

The musical follows twelve-year old Andy and his struggles with the medical and social ailments that accompany Type 1 diabetes, as well as the thoughts and feelings of his friends and family who do not fully understand the disease.

Graduate Andy Rogers (center) wrote, produced, and will star in the production.

It’s a slightly revamped reprise of the show that raised $1,800 for diabetes research when it was presented at UT last February. The new version has a more concert-like feel, a new ballad and a new character, “Sam,” who plays a crucial role in the storyline.

“Sam is Andy’s best friend, and he fits into the story really well,” Rogers said. “He has to learn along with Andy about coping with the disease. It’s about give and take. Diabetic kids have to understand what it’s like to have diabetes and vice versa.”

Just like the show’s debut at UT’s Clarence Brown Lab Theatre, Rogers will feature more than a dozen Type 1 diabetic children singing a song at the end of the show.

“We want people to see that this (disease) is real, and we want to make that important,” said Rogers. “Having those kids sing in the chorus is a way for them to connect to Type 1 Diabetes families.”

Tickets can be purchased at the Bijou or by visiting the Biljou Theatre’s website. The production is for all ages.

Rogers hopes to expand the production beyond Knoxville in an effort to continue spreading awareness and education for the disease.

Learn more about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, visit their website.

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460, wheins@utk.edu)

Andy Rogers (423-914-1104, aroger20@gmail.com)