Fond as I am of watching the FOX television series “Glee,” I’m a bigger fan of Valley kids who “do the glee” in real time.
Those snappy numbers and catchy tunes don’t come to life quite as quickly off-screen, according to Valley actor and Mesa Community College (MCC) student Tyler Pounds.
Still, they’re every bit as fun — and have much to offer in terms of fostering creativity, teamwork and self-expression.
If your child is game for a bit of glee, consider a spring break camp with plenty of acting, singing and dancing.
Your choices include the “Spring Glee Camp” at Chandler Center for the Performing Arts — which runs March 21-25 and features “professional coaching in all aspects of musical theatre” by Kristen Drathman.
The camp runs 9am to noon that week, is designed for campers ages 8 & up, and takes place at the Chandler Center for the Performing Arts.
Drathman describes the camp as “a wonderful motivator and social outlet to get kids off the couch and doing something artistic, athletic and fun for the break.”
“Musical theater,” she told me, “works the body as well as the mind.”
Then Drathman added this quip: “Singing and dancing all morning…I mean, who wouldn’t want to do that!”
Turns out Drathman also gets to spend many of her evenings singing and dancing because she performs regularly on Valley stages — though she’s currently performing for more of a matinee crowd as the “Yellow Dog” in Childsplay’s “Go, Dog. Go!” at the Tempe Center for the Arts.
Other options include the “Musical Theatre Glee Camp” being presented March 14-18 by an organization that’s fairly new to the Valley — Scottsdale Glee.
Camp hours are 9am to noon, but afternoon sessions focused on music appreciation and exploration are available at additional cost.
Scottsdale Glee instructors include Christine Kyhn, Nola Enge and Lisa Fogel. The camp (as well as other Scottsdale Glee programs) takes place at Shepherd of the Hills United Church of Christ in Phoenix — which is also home to one of the Valley’s “parent cooperative” preschools.
Chandler Center for the Arts and Scottsdale Glee also offer summer options with a glee theme, plus other activities and opportunities for children interested in the arts.
As a mom whose children have missed far too many summer opportunities because of lingering too long over the oodles of choices out there, I offer three pieces of advice.
First, start asking around now. Second, attend the Raising Arizona Kids magazine camp fair next month. Third, get your child registered before popular programs like “Camp Broadway” at ASU Gammage are full.
While Pounds and others correctly note that characters on the television show “Glee” are often stereotyped to the extreme, I’m convinced that musical theater in real life does more to break down barriers than build dividing walls between students.
Note: Pounds is one of several students who’ll perform in the Arizona State University Lyric Opera Theatre Student Workshop production of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” — which runs Jan 28-Feb 6. He’ll also be performing the role of “William Barfee,” as will William Marquez, in “The 39th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” being presented by MCC’s Act I Musical Productions March 3-12. Both contain mature content not suitable for children — so enjoy them with a friend, then take the kids to see a puppet show.
Coming up: More summer theater camps, Art in the round, Film festival meets Arizona politics, Art and healing, Talkback time: “Spring Awakening” at ASU Gammage, Valley students create art to commemorate “No Name-Calling Week”
Got GLEE? Send me a digital photo (or photos) of your Glee club or camp in action and it might be featured in a future post spotlighting Glee groups in the Valley. Please send by Fri, Feb 4 to firstname.lastname@example.org.