"ONE DOOR CLOSES"
PREMIERES IN WORCESTER, MA.
ON OCTOBER 8 2023
When Holden residents Tom Ingrassia and Jared Chrudimsky wrote the award winning book, One Door Closes: Overcoming Adversity By Following Your Dreams in 2013, they set out to present stories of healing and hope, and the resiliance of the human spirit. The book profiles 16 people from all walks of life—many of whom live in Central Massachusetts—who overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles in order to live into their dreams. Soon after the book came out, the authors realized that its power extended beyond the printed page. “We need to turn this book into a documentary film,” Ingrassia said to Chrudimsky. “Mark my words, Jared, one day we will be walking the Red Carpet!”
Chrudimsky is co-owner of Revitalize Massage Therapy, in Worcester. Ingrassia is the founder of Holden-based Tom Ingrassia Productions, and a local radio personality.
Now, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the book’s publication, that documentary film—One Door Closes: Korey’s Courage—will have its premiere on Sunday, October 8, at The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for The Performing Arts. Following the October 8 premiere, the film will have another local screening in The FrontRoom at WCUW 91.3FM in Worcester (where Ingrassia hosts The Motown Jukebox on Wednesday mornings) on November 5. After that, the film will be on the film festival circuit. The October 8 premiere screening is a private event. The November 5 screening is open to the public.
After interviewing several potential directors for the project, Ingrassia—who serves as Executive Producer—and Chrudimsky—who serves as Associate Producer—settled on Boston-based documentary filmmaker Anna K. Walsh. Walsh grew up in Holden, and her family still lives there. And, Walsh grew up with and is very good friends with Korey Varano—whose story forms the centerpiece of the documentary. Filming commenced in 2019, and took place in Holden, Worcester, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and California.
Korey’s Courage presents the powerful, inspiring stories of four people: Ken McDonnell, of Holden, who suffered a traumatic brain injury; June Monteiro, of the ‘60s Girl Group, The Toys, who was diagnosed with throat cancer; Scherrie Payne, Formerly of The Supremes who discusses battles with depression and breast cancer, and Dr. Korey Varano—diagnosed with bone cancer at age 12.
Mary Wilson, of The Supremes—who wrote the Epilogue for the book, and who Ingrassia knew for almost 50 years, and worked with for six years—was scheduled to provide the narration for the film. When, in 2020, the Covid 19 pandemic shut down production, recording Wilson’s narration was put on hold. Sadly, Mary Wilson died in February, 2021, before production was back up and running. The film ends with an emotional dedication to Ms. Wilson and her legacy.
Korey’s Courage also is dedicated to the memory of Reed Nixon, a young Worcester man who shared his story of living life as a quadraplegic in the book. Mr. Nixon died in 2016.
Korey’s Courage features music by Scherrie Payne (written by Paul Jabara and Bob Esty), Mary Wilson (written by Paul Hill), Scott Lamlein (former Minister of Music at Worcester’s Wesley United Methodist Church), and Holden resident, Kristjon Imperio (Director of Operations and Programs at Pakachoag Music School of Greater Worcester).
All four cast members—including Scherrie Payne, who is flying in from California, and June Monteiro, who is coming in from New York City—will be in Worcester for the premiere. Songwriter Paul Hill—who wrote a song called “Life’s Been Good To Me” for Mary Wilson-- also is flying in from Detroit for the premiere.
Sponsors for the premiere include Next Step Bionics & Prosthetics, Inc., and Gaylord Rehabilitation, both of which were instrumental in Korey Varano’s recovery and rehabilitation, and are featured in the film.
“Jared, Anna and I are so proud of this film,” Ingrassia says. “Our cast was so wonderful to work with. Whatever we needed them to do, they did—and did beautifully. Their stories are about things everyone can identify with—the struggles we all have. How to overcome those struggles. The power of a dream to get you through the rough patches. In a time when so many feel hopeless and have lost their ability to dream, June’s, Scherrie’s, Ken’s, and Korey’s messages of healing and hope are so important. Yes—there is saddness in the documentary. You will probably shed a few tears. Ultimately, though, these are stories of resilience and triumph. People will leave the theater knowing that, as Mary Wilson always said, ‘Dreams d0 come true.”