“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?

I Love Childsplay!!

I was just asked to be a Mom Blogger for Childsplay! Woo-hoo! I mean, how completely cool is that??

I have been a passionate and devoted fan of Childsplay for over a decade. To have the opportunity to share my passion is exciting, to say the least. I sometimes feel that Childsplay is our community’s best kept secret, so to be able to help spread the word about something that is truly special…count me in!

My love affair with Childsplay began about 11 years ago, when I was called upon to help chaperone my daughter’s preschool class to a Childpslay production of “Go Dog Go”.  Field trips to a Childsplay production were a twice a year event at this preschool. And my daughter was super excited to be going to see a play. Me? Not so much. I mean, how were a bunch of three year olds going to sit through a live performance? They could barely sit for a 10 page story, and the whole concept of listening politely had not quite gotten through. I imagined myself chasing unruly preschoolers through a darkened theatre, telling them to “Please be quiet” and “Hush!” in an overly loud whisper repeatedly. Not to mention, how were they possibly going to adapt  “Go Dog Go” into an engaging theatrical production? While it has been one of my all time favorite stories since I was a child, how  on earth would “Green dog on a yellow tree” translate to something fun to see on stage?  I had no idea, and I dreaded the field trip.

The day came, and my daughter chose her most resplendent theatre going outfit (I remember lots of sparkles and sequins. She was very into sparkles and sequins at 3). My outfit was designed for quick movement and lots of shushing.

I needn’t have worried. When the lights went down, and the stage filled with actors on roller skates portraying big dogs and little dogs, and black and white dogs, I was mesmerized. More importantly, so were the three year olds. When I remembered to tear my eyes from the stage to actually check on my charges, I saw they were as enthralled as I was. The show was funny, the music was amazing and the set had all these wonderfully familiar elements directly from the book. As I saw the effect that live theatre had on this very young audience, I knew I had stumbled onto something magical.

Soon after this wonderful experience, I was hired as a preschool teacher at the school where my daughter attended. Attending at least two Childsplay performances during the course of the school year was a fundamental part of my curriculum for my class of three year olds. I was so happy to have the opportunity to introduce the magic of Childsplay to the young families whose children were in my class.

Childsplay performances became a must see an event in my family. I would scrimp,  save, and find deals  so I could take my family to see as many performances each season as we could possibly afford. About 4 years ago, my wonderful mom, who also is also a passionate devotee of live theatre, treated us to yearly play passes. The play passes afford me, my three kids, my two nieces and my nephew the chance to see four Childsplay productions a year. We save money for the others we want to see. Childsplay productions are a cherished and anticipated event my family looks forward to sharing together.

Blogging about one of my all-time favorite things? I couldn’t be happier.