A Very Hairy Javelina Holiday Review by Vicki

This past weekend I took two of my daughters (6 and 13 years old) to see Childsplay’s performance of “A Very Hairy Javelina Holiday” at the beautiful Tempe Center for the Arts.

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I am not personally familiar with the book that the show is based on so I purposefully didn’t read about it ahead of time. I liked the idea of the characters and the story being revealed to me, and my children, for the first time at the theater. It was a big surprise to find out that it was a musical and the entire performance was going to be presented in song. I wasn’t expecting that and you’d think it would be difficult to follow along without dialogue, but it was actually quite the opposite. In fact, the lyrics were so great and the story was told so beautifully through music that sometimes you even forgot the cast was singing everything.

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There are a few key messages throughout the show, but my favorite was that even though different people have different traditions for the holidays, it’s okay to be open to new ideas, new people and new ways of doing things. And really what it comes down to is JavelineBlog1.jpgspending time with the people you love and care about.

The set was vibrant and festive and I have to admit that until I saw the show I wasn’t into the holiday spirit yet but watching the characters trim their tree, and prepare their Christmas feast, made me feel a lot more in the spirit.

The cast of this show really did a fantastic job and both of my kids really enjoyed it. We laughed a lot, especially at the comedic delivery of the Coyote and the Nutcracker sequence. It also sparked a lot of conversation on the drive home with my 6 year old. I would highly recommend this show!

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“It’s ok to be a nutball!”

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending Childsplay’s ensemble performance of Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook. I was hoping to take my 5-year-old to the show but since she has a busier social calendar than most celebrities, she was unable to attend with me. Luckily my 13-year-old daughter (who happens to remember reading all of the Junie B. books), along with a friend of hers and my wonderful 11-year-old niece, were my dates for the afternoon. I was a little nervous that the show wouldn’t be as enjoyable for the older children, but the production knocked it out of the park and provided comedy and subject matter great for all ages.

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First of all, if you haven’t been to the Tempe Center for the Arts, you must go check it out. It is spectacular. Inside and out this facility is gorgeous and it really made all of us feel like this was a very special occasion.

The show itself, the first of Childsplay’s 40th Anniversary season, is actually a cleverly woven combination of two books, Junie B. Jones is Not a Crook and Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren. Right from the get go when introduced to Junie B. and her colorful friends you realize that she is different and in a really good way. She is fun, quirky, outspoken and animated in a way that makes you immediately like her no matter what she is up to.

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The show revolves around two main storylines: Junie B.’s exhaustive search for her “stolen” super soft furry black mittens and how everyone at school is reacting to the arrival of a handsome new boy at school. Kate Haas added such brilliant comedic timing to her performance as Junie B. that she was getting laughs from toddlers and adults alike. The rest of the cast was also wonderful with all of them playing dual roles to perfection.

I was pleased at the valuable lessons that came from these storylines about choosing to do the right thing and how to treat others. At the end of the show my older girls were discussing how they had just befriended a new girl at school. It made me so happy that they were taking away from this performance how truly important it is to welcome new people into their lives.

From a technical standpoint, the set was bright and fun and transitioned wonderfully from scene to scene. We really liked how innovative the props were, especially the magic pen and how Junie B. was able to create her incredible pictures. (You’ll have to check this out for yourself!). The show ran slightly over an hour and the music, sound and terrific dialogue really kept it moving along and kept the audience engaged the entire time.

You should definitely take your family to see this show. Childsplay recommends this production for children 5+ and I think that is spot on. But don’t hesitate to bring your older children as well. At the end of the performance the cast even answers questions from the audience allowing the children to find out more about how they transition into their different costumes, how they became actors, and what the motivation was for their characters. It as really a wonderful experience for all.

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And I must add that my favorite line of the entire show was…“It’s ok to be a nutball!” It is indeed.

~Vicki D.