Rock opera gives people with disabilities a chance to ‘become who they want to be’

Retired teacher Marilyn Hinkle loves music, but she’s never paid much attention to opera.

In 70-some years, she had never researched the genre, never attended a performance, never even listened to an aria on a recording.

It took a diverse and lovable crew of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their advocates, four trained singers and her volunteer job as the director of the Gotta Be Me Heartlight Choir for Hinkle to get with the program.

In fact, she recently wrote the libretto (script) for “Caleb and the Unicorn,” a rock opera that’s premiering Saturday night on the Marian High School stage. And she has a part in the show, at one point gamely trilling an example of “recitative” (operatic dialogue) for fellow cast members.