Tag Archives: parenting magazines

From Shakespeare to slam

Childsplay meets The Hunger Games July 9-20

I returned home from NYC to a modest stack of mail that included a piece I anticipate reading each spring — the Childsplay Summer Academy schedule. I’m amazed each year by the collection of offerings they put together, and know firsthand that these puppies can fill up fast before dawdling parents decide on summer camp options with their children. So here’s a roundup of a few selections I found especially fanciful…

First, two options in mixed age classes — weeklong “Musical Theatre Marathon” classes for ages 8-15 and one-day “Midsummer Days” classes for ages 7-12. Musical theater themes include Footloose, Aladdin, Wizard of Oz, Sound of Music, Glee Club, Mary Poppins, Lion King and Alice in Wonderland.

I’m especially delighted with that last one given a recent blurb in The New York Times noting a Variety report that Broadway director and choreographer Rob Ashford was recently tapped for a staged musical adaptation of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” film.

Four “On Stage Classes” including voice, choreographed movement and character work culminate with a performance at the Tempe Performing Arts Center. And there are two special “Middle School/High School” options, including “Deconstruction Zone: To Kill a Mockingbird” and
“Exploring Literature: The Hunger Games.”

Childsplay meets Fancy Nancy in June

Childsplay also offers eight classes in each of four age groups. Options for ages 4-6 include “Story Journeys” a la Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious. Kids ages 5-7 can enjoy “Step into Spanish,” “Fractured Fairytales” and more. Classes for ages 6-9 include “Story Journeys: Magic Tree House” and “Poetry in Motion,” and choices for ages 8-12 include “Shakespeare’s Tempest,” “Poetry Slam” and “Story Drama: Harry Potter.”

Like many of the works performed by Childsplay for young audiences, several of their camps are literature-based and feature literacy-related themes. Think fairy tales, young adult novels, classic children’s series and more. (The Childsplay production of “Tomás and the Library Lady” opens with an April 7 preview at Tempe Center for the Performing Arts.)

They’ve got “Music Makers” for kids who dig music — plus options tailored to children who love pirates, dinosaurs, superheros and other sorts of adventure tales. Favorites are already filling up, so now’s the time to do your parent homework on the subject of summer camps.

You can jump online to see a full range of options, or call to request their nifty brochure that breaks everything down by age, theme and dates — and shares fun details about everything from extended care options to performances for family and friends.

Childsplay meets Shakespeare's Tempest in June

Camps are offered at two locations — the Campus for Imagination and Wonder and the Tempe Performing Arts Center (home to Childsplay before their move to a new Tempe campus at Mitchell Park named for Sybil B. Harrington).

There’s little sincerity when the orphans in “Annie” chime “We love you Miss Hannigan,” but I’m genuinely grateful for generous donations by Harrington and others that make theater experiences possible for our children and teens.

In a world where developing intellect, creativity, problem solving and social skills is so critical to learning, working, loving and being an active, engaged citizen, theater companies and other arts organizations serving youth are a necessity, not a luxury.

– Lynn

Note: Raising Arizona Kids subscribers receive our summer camp issue each year, and additional information about summer camp options is available at www.raisingarizonakids.com.

Coming up: Tears for two daughters, Women’s art goes global

Does it get easier?

A friend who recently challenged herself to write a blog post each day contacted me at one point to ask a simple question: Does it get any easier?

It got me thinking about my own blogging journey, which has so far included nearly 500 posts. Self-imposed rule #1 for me is that I never go a day without posting.

It didn’t take long for blogging to become akin to breathing in terms of things I’ve come to rely on for my very survival — because blogging has become a bridge between my inner reflections and outer experiences.

Everybody needs these bridges, which serve us best when tended often. Some journal. Some write poetry or song. Some paint or perform on stage. Some text or tweet. Some research or report.

I prefer the immediacy of blogging — the ability to tell stories as soon as I encounter them, to reflect the pulse of current issues or events, to share resources for which there’s an immediate and pressing need.

The hardest part of daily posting isn’t finding or telling the stories. It’s letting go of all the materials and musings that can’t make it into a single post. In this way, blogging is like editing. It’s a word by word choice about what matters, and what we can do with the space and time given.

The hardest posts for me are those that merely recount facts, such as who is coming to the Valley when to perform what piece of performance art. That stuff is everywhere, and I find little joy in reciting it.

I’ve become more mindful of not duplicating the work of others, especially when it’s ably done. Knowing the magazine already crafts a comprehensive daily calendar (in print and online) frees me from trying to list each and every art experience that’s out there.

Blogging also frees me from some of my own hang-ups, like a pesky perfectionism that’s both a blessing and a curse in the world of writing. I’m learning that done sometimes trumps perfect, though perfect is still my first love.

The beauty of blogging is the thrill of the hunt. Looking for that next trail of crumbs, and following the trail to see where it ends — or branches off into even more paths to explore.

As people drop more crumbs, and I grow to appreciate their beauty over that of a carefully constructed multi-tiered cake, I find that blogging does in fact get easier. And sweeter too.

– Lynn

Note: Click here to learn more about the 2011 Post a Day and Post a Week challenge from WordPress.

Coming up: Best of my blogging backlog

The sparkle in her eyes

Brian Anderson (Frederic) in Arizona Opera's "The Pirates of Penzance" (Photo: Tim Fuller)

I met a delightful girl and her mother recently during intermission at a matinee performance of “The Pirates of Penzence” by Arizona Opera. The young girl’s eyes got wide with excitement when I asked what she thought of the show so far.

It must have been some sparkle, because it distracted me from the delicious brownie she was nibbling on. Though tempted by the cheesecake and such at the nearby coffee stand, I managed to walk away with only an iced espresso.

But back to my friend with the brownie, whose mom shared with me that she’s one of the magazine’s subscribers.

The daughter’s face completely lit up as we talked about the show. “I love it!,” she exclaimed. So I asked whether anything was a particular favorite — the music, the costumes, the humor. “I love it all!,” she beamed.

Korby Myrick (Ruth) in Arizona Opera's "The Pirates of Penzance" (Photo: Tim Fuller)

The last time I saw a young girl that excited about going to the opera, it was my own daughter — a good decade or so ago.

I was thrilled to see several children and teens in the audience for Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance,” conducted by Joel Revzen and directed for Arizona Opera by David Ira Goldstein of Arizona Theatre Company.

The other parents and youth I spoke with — including a dad named Steve and his daughter, and a dad (also a magazine subscriber) there with his wife and two sons — also seemed to be enjoying the show. Even a group of teens I spoke with gave it high marks, noting they have plans to see more operas together.

I gave several of the folks I talked with my business card and suggested they get in touch to share a bit about what their schools are doing in terms of theater, music and other arts. I’m always on the prowl for school and community art offerings.

Sarah Jane McMahon (Mable) in Arizona Opera's "The Pirates of Penzance" (Photo: Tim Fuller)

It just so happens that Arizona Opera offers several education programs, including a special opera week, teacher workshops, school tours, opera “look ins,” student dress rehearsals, study guides and opera in a box. I’ll share a bit more about those in a future post.

For now, I’m still reliving my swashbuckling good time. 

I was thrilled to see the name of Lizabeth’s longtime violin teacher, Cynthia Baker, in the program — and rushed to the pit (after the lengthy standing ovation) to chat a bit before she headed out with violin case in tow.

Then I stuck around for a talkback session with several cast and creative team members during which audience members asked about how opera singers train, how performers find just the right comedic balance, how opera differs from musical theater and more.

Curt Olds (Pirate King) in Arizona Opera's "The Pirates of Penzance" (Photo: Tim Fuller)

There was plenty to love about the show itself. The endearing word play. The performance of Curt Olds (Pirate King) — part Johnny Depp, part Jon Stewart (and ever so easy on the eyes). Baton-twirling bobbies. Chest-pounding odes to duty. Even the splits and several cartwheels from Sarah Jane McMahon (Mabel).

But the most fulfilling moments by far were the ones I spent talking with the parents, children and teens who were gracious enough to share their time and thoughts with me.

It’s the sparkle in their eyes that we all work and write for each day.

– Lynn

Up next for Arizona Opera is Georges Bizet's "Carmen"

Note: Opera buffs can enjoy the Harkins Theatres and Emerging Pictures “Opera & Ballet in Cinema” series presentation of “Das Rheingold” in three Valley movie theaters on Thurs, Nov 18. ASU Lyric Opera Theatre opens “The Secret Garden” in Tempe on Fri, Nov 19. Arizona Opera presents “Carmen” at Tucson Music Hall on Nov 13 & 14 and at Phoenix Symphony Hall on Nov 19, 20 & 21. And Phoenix Opera presents “The Magic Flute” at the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on Dec 3 & 5.

Coming up: From D.C. to Higley, Thespian tales, Holiday shopping museum-style, Dancing your way through the holidays