Screenshot of “Song of the Land” on YouTube

Produced in 1990 by Theatre in Motion in NYC, The Promise of Central Park offers a history of the design and creation of Central Park. The original musical play for children starts in 1858 when Calvert Vaux and Olmsted collaborate to become the prize-winning designers of the Greensward Plan. The musical play was presented many times from 1990-2021 in both Central and Riverside Parks. 

In 2013, the Theatre made four music videos featuring powerful songs from the play, two with American Sign Language (portrayed by Gerald Small) and two with Captions.    

None other than William Dembaugh, former leading tenor of the New York City Opera, plays Frederick Law Olmsted. The videos feature park photos, original artwork, and a non -traditional cast of intergenerational artists— with and without disabilities. It’s no wonder that they received accolades from The Kennedy Center, when they were featured in their International Digital Arts Festival in 2015.

With thanks to Leslie Fanelli, Artistic Director of the Theater, we are pleased to offer the videos below. 

1. “Song of the Land” with American Sign Language:

2. “Back in 1873” with American Sign Language:

3. “Song of the Land” with Captions:

4. “Back in 1873” with Captions: