Rockin’ out to ROCK THE PRESIDENTS

   Like most kids, the first President I learned about chopped down a cherry tree, admitted his wrongdoing to his parents and then went on to become the Father of our Country. George had some pretty large shoes to fill in both the eyes of kids and the country until others named Tom, John and Abe made some rather heavy history of their own. Most of our Presidential history comes from history books, which is not quite as exciting a read as a Tom Clancy novel or for teens, books like Harry Potter and the Hunger Games. This may be why with the exception of our most notable, monumental Presidential triumphs or scandal-laden presidencies, many of our men who served in the Oval office despite their accomplishments have gone unnoticed or forgotten. That is unless you’ve seen or plan to see “Rock The Presidents.” Earlier this year, someone told me about this musical playing at Childsplay theatre in Tempe. Given that my 7-year-old daughter and I are avid devotees of this local theatre troop and try and see almost ever play they put on, I didn’t hesitate to take her to see the show. I had no idea what to expect going in and almost immediately, I discovered it was very different than the other plays we had seen at Childsplay. Unlike the whimsical fictional tales we’ve experienced, this musical was factual, and historical yet like the past performances at the theatre, it was also incredibly creative and entertaining. I found myself immersed in information I had either forgotten or perhaps never learned or maybe just never paid attention to in elementary school. All of a sudden, I became fascinated by the lives of our past presidents their backgrounds and achievements. Was it because I’m now a journalist and I’m hungrier for information or the fact that it seems so timely given it’s an election year? I think it’s because three immensely talented performers in a rock concert setting rather than a classroom were delivering the information. The songs they sang were not only clever but made me want to “rock out.” I could tap my toes to the beat of historical significance rather than just a heavy head banger guitar riff. Along with tickling my eardrums, it was also a feast for the eyes. Behind the performers historical footage and pictures covered these jumbo screens further punctuating the information that was coming to me from the stage. Now with all that being said as much as I was enjoying myself, I had a feeling this was going way over the head of my daughter who hadn’t even entered second grade and is still mastering chapter books, subtraction and addition let alone our legislative system. Therefore I turned to her at intermission and I did the unthinkable telling her it was okay to leave before the second half. I was met with a resounding NO insisting we stay. When it was over and we walked into the lobby, she asked me if we could buy the CD of the show. From that day on, that CD has been played so much in my car that I think the two of us know ever lyric to every song in Rock the Presidents not to mention I have learned more about our 44 Presidents than I did in school. Since that day, Milan has been peppering me with questions about term limits, the declaration of Independence, the constitution, Camelot, Watergate and animals in the White House. I even took her to New York for her birthday to see a Broadway show and she insisted that “Rock the Presidents” is still her favorite show. Just last week, I went to see “Rock the Presidents” for the second time with my daughter and some friends. There were some subtle changes in the show along with one cast change but we were rocking to Rock the Presidents as fervently as we did the first time around. I have to admit I felt a little smarter this go around and my daughter still stands by her declaration that “Rock the Presidents” rocks and remains her favorite show.

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New season for Childsplay!!

Greetings Childsplay fans!
I am looking forward to a new season of Childsplay – and I get to share my experiences on Childsplay Mom2Mom!
Like fellow mom, Marin, my family reviews the upcoming shows when the flyer arrives in the mail. My son especially likes the books and stories that come to life on the stage. We buy our Play Passes then pick the productions we want to see. We are particularly looking forward to A Wrinkle in Time (one of my favorite books as a kid – and recently reread with my book club! Still loved it 🙂
This weekend kicks off Rock the Presidents. Ok, I can’t rave enough about it! We saw it last year – LOVED IT! The actors are fun, talented,engaging. The music has you tapping your feet right along – just wait, you will still be humming the tunes after you leave the show. You will probably want to buy the CD of the music – we did and we listen (and sing along!) to it in the car 🙂 The interactive “pick the answer” has the audience playing right along and learning some things along the way! My mother in law was at the show with us and she also loved the show. It definitely appeals to all ages – kids and grown ups and grandparents, too!
So if you are even considering Rock the Presidents – go!! It will probably be the most fun we will have politically this year 🙂

Carol 🙂

“Rock the Presidents” Rocks!

When I got my Childsplay brochure in the mail, I read it with delight…”Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type” – Awesome! “A Wrinkle in Time” – No way – so cool! “The Giver” – Can’t wait! “Rock the Presidents” – awww…bummer.  Won’t be able to see that one. Sigh.

You see, “Rock the Presidents”  was performed last year, but I didn’t get to go. My kids went, my nieces and nephew went, and my husband went. Me? I had to work my part time job. Darn this bad economy and the necessity of paying bills.

I sat down with the gang to figure out what productions we were going to use this year’s set of play passes on.  They each had a brochure with the season’s offerings detailed, and together we start to make our Childsplay plans.

I start the process by saying “Well, since you have already seen “Rock the Presidents”, should we see “Rock Paper Scissors” first?

They stop me with a “Wait! But Mom! (Auntie!), you haven’t seen “Rock the Presidents”, and we want to see it with you!”

Well, how cool was this? While I know they all thoroughly enjoyed the production of “Rock the Presidents” (they all still mention it, especially with the current election season), I had no idea they liked it so much they would want to use our precious play passes  to see it a second time. With me. So, I asked them, what was so great about it?

The 18 year old: “The music was phenomenal. It is totally your kind of music. Plus, Mom, it’s Childsplay. When is it not awesome? Do you know if Yolanda London is in it again?” (I do not..)

The 15 year old: “I found it to be accurate, interesting and so much fun. The music is amazing.”

The 12 year old: “It’s quite educational, and your knowledge of our nation’s history is seriously lacking” (he isn’t wrong…). “Plus, the music is crazy good.”

The 11 year old: “It helped  me pass my president’s test in social studies. And it was so much fun!”

The 10- year old: “I NEED to see it again. I am learning the presidents this year. Plus the music is so fun, all I wanted to do is get up and dance!”

The 9 year old: “I did dance! And I want to dance again!”

I am always up for a play, and with that list of recommendations, it sounds like it will be a fun, music-filled experience. Just got the tickets, and I am super excited!

Getting Started

To get started as a Mom Blogger for Childsplay, I had to meet with the Media Specialist, Samantha Johnstone, and the other Mom Bloggers at the Childsplay administrative offices. The offices are located in Tempe, in a converted elementary school that the city of Tempe sold to Childsplay at a minimal cost. I walked in, so excited to be in the building that creates the magic I so love to see onstage. Here and there are pieces from the sets of different plays I have seen. I want to point and whisper with my fellow mom bloggers, but I don’t know them, and sometimes it takes awhile to get to know  the weirdness and enthusiasm that is me. Didn’t want to freak them out by screaming. “OH LOOK THERE IS THAT DOG FROM “GO DOG GO” HOW COOL  IS THAT DID YOU SEE THAT PLAY WASN’T IT SO GREAT??”

We were given a tour of the offices, and got to see where all the creative forces of Childsplay do their thing. We saw where Childsplay Academy classes are taught, giving aspiring thespians a peek into the magical world of live theatre.

The absolute highlight of this visit for me was when we passed the copier, and none other than Jon Gentry was making copies. Jon Gentry!  My family and I LOVE Jon Gentry.  He is absolutely wonderful in every role he plays, from the Cat in the Hat in “Seussical”, to the Bunny in ”Good Night Moon”, to Eddie’s Grandpa Luke in “The Color of the Stars”. When choosing what productions we want to see, whether or not Jon Gentry is in it always is a factor.

I am pleased to say I did not scream “OH MY GOSH , I AM A HUGE FAN” and then throw myself on the poor actor in a huge bear hug as he made his copies.  Ms. Johnstone introduced him, and I smiled politely, never revealing my squealing inner fan girl. I did, however, the minute I could politely do so, text my kids. They were as excited as I was.  (“NO WAY!! He was making copies? So cool!!”)

I am also a huge fan of D. Scott Withers and Katie McFadzen.  I wonder if they make copies too?

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