Tag Archives: raising arizona kids

Fertile field, empty nest

Soon I'll be taking flight with new "Stage Mom Musings" adventures

I planted a seed some 1,000 + posts ago, eager to share my love for theater with fellow parents. You could say that Raising Arizona Kids was the soil. It’s been a fertile field for parents to grow, nurture and share experiences for more than two decades. The “Stage Mom” blog has thrived there, growing into a tree of sorts with branches reaching far beyond the Valley of the Sun. I’m grateful for the roots that’ve made the next part of the “Stage Mom” journey possible.

Soon I’ll be leaving the nest to take “Stage Mom” solo, though I know I’ll never really have to fly alone. I’ll still be part of the Raising Arizona Kids family, continuing to write features for the magazine that gave my writing wings and nurtured its growth through the years. My first Raising Arizona Kids article was published in a birthday party issue – something about a Beanie Baby party for daughter Jennifer. Back then, all I knew of writing was “write what you know.”

Karen Barr – the magazine’s founder, publisher and editor – has been a mentor throughout my writing journey, and is incredibly supportive even now as I’m preparing to leave the nest. Much of what I know about writing came from years of “on the job” training with Karen and fellow writers in the RAK family. My writing for RAK has garnered both national and state awards, and I’m grateful for the magazine’s role in helping me find and share my voice about matters great and small.

Most recently, “Stage Mom” earned two Arizona Press Club Awards in the non-metro category – second place for arts criticism and first place for features blog. RAK writers earned an additional six awards. I’ll never stop learning from RAK, but other projects now beckon – including a book about dance that I hope will be the first of several guides to introducing children and teens to the arts. I’ve got an amazing partner for the dance book, and will be sharing more news on that front in coming weeks.

For now, I’m busy making a new home for the writer formerly known as “Stage Mom.” Think Twitter, Facebook, blog and beyond. Watching me wrestle the world of widgets should prove plenty entertaining. Cyberspace is filled with stage moms, so you’ll find me using the “Stage Mom Musings” handle. It seemed the best moniker given my tendency to muse, and I hope you’ll follow me for news of “Stage Mom Musings” developments and future arts adventures.

I’ll continue to cover the Arizona arts and culture that’s so near and dear to my heart, and hope you’ll all stay in touch about your own arts offerings and adventures. Folks who follow @stagemommusings on Twitter will be the first to know as I unroll the new blog.

I’m genuinely grateful for everyone whose support for “Stage Mom” has made the start of this journey possible. Thanks for reading the work, for sharing your own experiences with arts and culture, for making your own contributions to the arts scene in Arizona and beyond. The world is a better place with art, and I’m looking forward to many more years of telling her stories.

— Lynn

Note: Once the new site is up and running, we’ll transfer all “Stage Mom” posts to the new blog — and many will also continue to be available through RAK’s online archives. Please continue to share your news about Arizona arts and culture with me at rakstagemom@gmail.com.

Coming up: Once upon a widget

Update: I’m now blogging as “Stage Mom Musings” at www.stagemommusings.com. Please find and follow me there to continue receiving posts about arts and culture in Arizona and beyond. Thanks for your patience while the tech fairies work to move my 1,250 + posts to their new home. For the latest news follow me @stagemommusings on Twitter.


A labor of love

Magazines. Newspapers. Books. Blogs. We’re nothing without our readers. So today, as folks take special care to remember those they love, I’m feeling the love for “Stage Mom” readers — and all the people who support our work at Raising Arizona Kids magazine.

It’s a labor of love that began more than two decades ago, headed by our publisher and editor Karen Barr — who’s gathered an amazing team of folks who feel like a second family. It’s a big, extended family, I think, because all of you are in it. I hope her own first family knows how much we appreciate them sharing her with us each day.

Parenting is hard work. Publishing seems no easier. But Karen never loses her passion for gathering and sharing stories and community resources with others on the journey. So whether you’re a reader, subscriber or advertiser, I thank you from the bottom of my heart — and wish you the happiest of “heart” days.

— Lynn

Cookies, crayons and Cinderella

“I had a mouse once. I named it Annette Funicello.” I may have embarrassed myself over this one. Friday night I enjoyed opening night of Cookie Company’s “Cinderella Confidential,” their first production at the historic Stagebrush Theatre in Old Town Scottsdale.

Cookie Company's "Cinderella Confidential"

From left: Kristin Hailstone as Deb Jabber, Daniel Cardenas as Sonny Glamour, Brianna Quijada as Cinderella. Photo by Laura Durant.

I let out more than a few hearty laughs (some might consider them roars—even snorts) when the actors delivered this and other lines amidst a flurry of physical comedy and costumes ala Mardi Gras. I wasn’t alone. On the giggle-o-meter, this show clearly hit 5 stars with kids and grown-ups alike.

It’s the best type of family entertainment. Plenty for mom and dad to enjoy and plenty for kids to love too. “I’m a reporter,” quips one of the characters. Another replies, “I thought you said you weren’t a puppet.” And at another point in the show: “This woman is the love of my life,” exclaims the prince, “at least for now.”

I admit the lines lose something in translation. So take in the show for yourself. It plays Oct. 25th and Oct. 31st-Nov. 1st and tickets are just $15 each. You can learn more at cookiecompany.org. Elfin sweatshop humor. Royalty sporting galoshes. Free milk and cookies after the show. And autograph signing with the cast. What’s not to love?

Stagebrush Theatre holds a special place in my heart. My two daughters each performed there with Greasepaint Youtheatre during their early elementary school years. I wondered, as young viewers came through the lobby in their princess dresses and crowns, how many of them I might be watching on stage one day. (And never fear. Plenty of princes came for the show too. I worked a volunteer table of coloring crafts, and dads decorated some of the finest shoes.)

Volunteering can tell you a lot about an organization. I’ve been really impressed with the organization and communication in all my volunteer experiences with Phoenix Theatre. Tomorrow I get promoted from crafts table diva to storyteller, so let’s hope I rise to the occasion. I feel a pink feather boa coming on but suspect I will cop out with jeans and a tasteful tee.

I met some really warm, genuine people at my little crafts station—including a Raising Arizona Kids magazine subscriber who does music therapy (more on that in a future blog). She told me about a lovely wine bar located right behind the theater (within walking distance for adult patrons but not too close for the younger set). It’s called Su Vino Winery. I usually hit Sugar Bowl on Scottsdale Rd. après-Stagebrush, but I’m always thrilled to learn of other options. Man cannot live on ice cream alone (but you wouldn’t have wanted to tell my mother that).

Before I sign off, let me leave you with some Cinderella trivia I gleaned from a map and display in the Stagebrush Theatre lobby: Cinderella is one of the oldest fairy tales in the world—about 1,160 years old. You can proudly tell your children that it is even older than you are.

Check out the display yourself and learn what makes the Native American version of Cinderella unique, the country where the original story began, and the origin of the first written version—plus a bit about the original woman with the lost shoe. (I always thought it was me.)

I like to learn. I love to laugh. I got it all Friday night (in one hour, no less). I’d have enjoyed it even without the crayons and free cookies…


Coming soon: The sparkle returns—Kristin Chenoweth’s performance at ARTrageous to help celebrate the grand opening of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts newly remodeled Virginia G. Piper Theater.

The following is a Cinderella Confidential review just submitted by Riley, a 3rd grader, who attended the show:

My favorite part of the play was the beginning because of the fake, huge t.v. and the two reporters. One reporter was a “Glitter” reporter and the other was an “Information” reporter. The play was very hilarious. The characters made me laugh. The prince was so funny and playful. I had one encounter with the prince and two encounters with the boy reporter. This story is different from the storybook Cinderella because Pinnochio and Jack are in it. I recommend coming early to get good seats. It’s very nice for kids. At the end of the play, we got milk and cookies. We even had a chance to take pictures and get autographs from the cast. I would go again to see the same play.

(Riley: I love the fact that you are so concise and use examples and descriptions. Thanks for sharing this. Keep writing! And let us know if you ever decide to audition and do a show. We’d love to come see you perform! –Lynn)

Take Two

This is my second take with Raising Arizona Kids Magazine. I wrote features and columns for the magazine for nearly a decade when my children were younger, and I’m delighted about returning now.

It complements in some ways my second take on parenting—that time when our children begin to set out on their own and we have more time to return to other loves. For me, one of those loves is the arts. Especially the performing arts: theatre, dance, music and more.

I lost my own mother all too quickly to pancreatic cancer in the years before I discovered the pleasure and power of writing. One of the memories I cherish the most is sitting snuggled up against my mother’s arm during a live performance of the Nutcracker ballet every holiday season.

My mother was a single mom—and a really, really good one—but there was never much money for things like the season tickets that I take for granted today. Adventures in the arts, outside a plethora of homemade arts and crafts and basement talent shows, were few and far between.

When my own children (two now in college and another in high school) were barely hip-height, we often headed to live performances. We enjoyed everything from puppet theatre to symphony concerts featuring familiar movie themes.

I think it was instinctual, like so much of parenting. It was fun. It felt good. I didn’t think about the possible benefits. I just loved the laughter, the sometimes tears, and the joy of doing it all together. I’ll share a bit in future blogs about the ways the arts have touched our lives, and I hope you’ll share with me the ways they have touched yours too.

I’ll also share news about upcoming events in Arizona—plays, concerts, dance performances and more. Sometimes I’ll remind you about something wonderful coming our way (you can always get this info online at http://www.raisingarizonakids.com ). Sometimes I’ll share expert advice from Valley artists on everything from how to prepare for an audition to how to really appreciate a performance. Sometimes I’ll share the stories of young performers.

I’ll have tips for parents of preschoolers through parents of teens. Before long, I hope, you’ll be sharing your tips too. That’s the beauty of blogging. It really captures the very essence of the RAK mission—connecting families with information, resources and support as we face everyday parenting decisions and search for ways to enrich our lives together.

I wish we could all grab a cup of coffee together. But until technology makes that possible, I’ll see you in the blogosphere…


Coming soon: Valley welcomes Broadway star. Cinderella Confidential. The arts & school achievement.