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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