Parent Review: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Moonlight Musicals

Tom Sawyer program

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a toe-tappin’ summer escape for families + a special treat for Dad.
Catch Friday & Saturday performances through July 1st.

The first summer production from Moonlight Musicals is a welcomed escape for families as we transition from the frantic end of school-time, into summer-time - the hazy, lazy days of summer that Tom Sawyer and his buddy Huck Finn have come to symbolize.  And we couldn’t help but think that a trip back in time with Tom and Becky and Huck is just about the best Fathers Day gift. Ever! The production is Dad-friendly (lots of male characters) with a bluegrass band rather than a full orchestra.  It’s even teen-approved.  Win/Win!  The night we attended was absolutely perfect: The view of the water at Mackenzie Park behind the stage was mesmerizing and the light breeze refreshing.  The full Strawberry Moon was the icing on the cake.  Perfect!

Tom Sawyer Full Moon Rising

The beginning scene starts with Tom Sawyer taking the stage… fishin’ of course! to a wonderful musical medley performed by an extremely talented 6-member orchestra that includes not only a violin, but a slap bass, banjo, guitar, mandolin, piano, and drums.  It really sets the mood for the show, and transforms the audience into a softer, slower time.

This production is especially enjoyable for kids because it includes so many children in the cast… and they look like they are having the best summer ever!  The toe-tapping music is not overdone but adds to the story in exactly the right spots… our toes were tapping and hands clapping throughout.  And several groups of kids in the audience could be seen busting out a few dance moves when the spirit moved them as well.

Tom Sawyer kids play

The story is truly timeless and one that all kids, and parents can relate to.  Tom (played by Coby Rogers) is charming and endearing, and Becky Thatcher (played by Anna Holmes) is spunky and sweet.  They are perfectly cast and with the addition of Tre Babineaux as Huck Finn, the adventures begin and friendships are made.  The cast is driven by so many talented actors in their teens that it’s a great opportunity to ignite a spark for the arts for children in the audience.  The exposure to performances such as Tom Sawyer is not only a way to share these special, fleeting summer days with our children, but an opportunity to instill a lifelong appreciation for the arts, perhaps even create a budding performer!

Tom and Becky

Although the kids take center stage in Tom Sawyer, the adults help anchor the show and give the characters the love and support needed.  The performance by Mariann Davidson as Aunt Polly, Tom’s aunt who is raising him, especially tugs on the heart of every parent in the audience.  Her song, as she checks on Tom as he sleeps, echoes words and thoughts that all parents have shared during sleepless, worry-filled nights.  It’s one of our favorite quotes from the show…

“This time tomorrow
we will have traveled another day
this time tomorrow
we’ll be a little farther on our way
we will be wiser
we will be older too
this time tomorrow
I will still be loving you

this time tomorrow
no telling how the world will turn
this time tomorrow
what lessons we will have to learn
we will find laughter
we will find tear drops too
this time tomorrow
I will still be loving you

so sleep tight
baby don’t you worry
it’s alright
we’re not in a hurry
come in through the window
oh, my
where does the time go…”

Tom Sawyer and Aunt Polly

Parent Pointers: Tips for making your experience more enjoyable

The venue is perfect for even the youngest of children.  It’s outside so there’s lots of wiggle room and lots of tiered grass seating perfect for blankets and chairs.  Hills for rolling.  Bahama Bucks for munching.  Aisles for dancing (yes, it’s OK to let them dance… in fact it’s encouraged!).  And picnics are always allowed… even if the picnic consists of a quick drive through!

The doors open an hour before showtime, so try to get there as early as you can to stake your claim on a favorite spot.  It’s open seating in the General Admission-designated area, which is the top section and sides… perfect when you have little ones anyway!  Be sure to bring sunscreen, mosquito repellant, and also a light jacket or blanket because regardless of the heat index during the day, our wonderful West Texas evenings can cool down nicely when the sun starts setting.

Although the show ends past some bedtimes (around 10:15pm), stay after the show and take the kids down to the stage where they can meet and greet the characters.  They may even know some of the cast members and can grab some hugs, program autographs and photos.

Preparing for the show:

The story does include some violent scenes that result in death, so parents may want to prepare children and discuss the story in advance.  The scenes are well-done and the actors in both cases do arise and make their way from the stage, proving that all is well.

Encourage older kids to read the novel or at least some excerpts of one of the Tom Sawyer book series.  Area public libraries have the books as well as the audio books and videos too.  For more fun, have the kids dress the part!

If your kids are veterans of Moonlight Musical productions, an element to this show that is different, is the orchestra.  Because it is a smaller, bluegrass inspired ensemble, it’s a great opportunity to discuss the different types of orchestras used for musical productions and perhaps even lookup and learn a bit more about bluegrass.

Tom Sawyer toe tappin

Just the Facts!

When: Friday and Saturday June 9 & 10, 16 & 17, 23 & 24, 30 & July 1, 2017.  Gates open at 7pm and performance starts at 8pm.

Where: Moonlight Musicals Amphitheatre at 413 East Broadway Lubbock, TX 79403.

How: Tickets are available at online, or by calling 806-770-2000. Prices Range from $23-$31 for adults and $10-$18 for children.  Students for $15. *For General admission child age is 5-9 years and Premium admission child age is 0-9 years.

Length: Lasts approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with a 20 minute intermission included..

Age: Recommended for ages 4 and up.  Younger kids will still enjoy the open venue and the dancing and singing.

Planning to go?  Let us know how you like the show!  Write your reviews below.

Credits:  Based on the novel by Mark Twain. Conceived and written by Ken Ludwig.  Music and lyrics by Don Schlitz.

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Musicals 2017 production of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and 

Parent Review: Peter Pan Proves the Power of Belief

Treasure MapsTick. Tock. Tick. Tock… don’t let this one get away!
Last show is Sunday April 23.

The Lubbock Moonlight Musicals organization through their Moonlight Broadway series once again treats the families of the South Plains to a top-notch, beautifully crafted performance that gives parents the chance to enrich their children and instill a love of the arts… and the ability to actually image themselves flying!  But invite your friends who don’t have kids too… it’s that much fun!

This performance of Peter Pan is a jewel and perfectly scheduled during the Easter holiday weekend (great for out of town guests) and during the weekend of the Lubbock Arts Festival (in fact, make it a day… most of the children’s crafts at the Arts Festival are in the lobby area, which is free of charge, plus they are offering free admission into the Arts Festival with tickets to see Peter Pan).

The set is beautiful and pulls even the little ones into the story… truly looks like a nursery, the sky, a forest and pirate ship.Peter played by Bridget Riley   teaches Wendy played by Francesca Arostegui andher brothers Michael played   by Aubrey Tucker and John play

This production is infectious… we found ourselves singing ” I Won’t Grow Up,” and  “I’ll Call for Tiger Lily, and I’ll Call for Peter Pan…” for days after the performance.   We loved each scene but the warrior dances lead by a mesmerizing Tiger Lily (performed by Alex Caldwell) were some of our faves.  Kids and parents will love seeing the young actors truly fly across the stage and across the skies to Neverland…  little Michael Darling (performed adorably by J. Aubrey Tucker) was even an old pro at flying, especially when grabbed in mid-air by the hands and feet by big sis Wendy (performed by Francesca Arostegui) and big bro John (performed by Elijah van Gilder).

The warm feel of the show is inviting… the professional talent (who were amazing!) combined with local cast members gave it a very approachable, reachable feel… one that the children in the audience relate to and can aspire to.  As we were leaving, we heard several kids say, “Wow, Mom, can I be in the play?  I want to fly like that!”  The fun was that contagious.

Peter Pan (performed by Bridget Riley) was stunning and so much fun to watch… a great, effortless flyer (you really thought Peter was flying!) and such a great voice!  The singing is what really struck our group.  The leads - Peter, Wendy, Hook, Tiger Lily - all had amazing, crystal voices that were perfect for each part.  Captain Hook (performed by David Edwards) was so well played… lovable, sinister, and hilarious with the perfect voice to not frighten the children in the audience, but to still give them a thrill.Captain Hook played by David  Edwards sings of his terrible plans to kill Peter to Smee played by Richard  Privitt and his pirate crew Keeg (1)

It’s evident to all, that Moonlight Musicals is dedicated to outreach and lighting the art-spark in our kids by including them in any way to join the fun… whether in the production itself (in fact, during the show, everyone has the chance to save Tink!), in their camps that they mention at the first of the show, and even in sharing with each child in attendance their own treasure map with crayons.  Each touch of the arts shares a new world with our children.

Teachable Moments

This production is a great example of the power of never giving up:  by thinking happy, positive thoughts, you can fly. That’s the secret of staying young, and we all have that power… with and without Fairy dust!  Such a great learning opportunity for our kids, and reminder for ourselves.  It was a perfectly-timed message for our teen (and parents too!).

Preparing for the Show

Children may think they know Peter Pan but many only know the 1953 Disney version. Be sure that your little princesses realize that this is a stage play, not the Disney version: they can (and should!) wear their favorite Tink or Peter Pan costume, but the character of Tinkerbell in the show does not take human form. She is a lively, sparkling light. But never fear: Tink is so cleverly acted, that her spunky personality shines through!  For older kids, encourage them to take a look at the original novel and then share their thoughts.  The Alligator is also never seen, but always heard by his loud, scary “Tick Tock.”   The imagination is always engaged!

Another point that parents can cover before the show, is that this presentation is from the novel, which was written at the turn of the century in 1904… a time when some words had different meanings. At the first of the show, Peter uses a funny word that in previous times meant a “funny donkey”… however some children may think it’s an unkind word (yes, you guessed it… starts with an A and ends with an S).  Another nice learning opportunity.

Just the Facts!

Friday, April 14, 2017 7:30pm.
Saturday, April 15, 2017 7:30pm.
Friday, April 21, 2017 7:30pm
Saturday, April 22, 2017 2:00pm and 7:30pm
Sunday, April 23, 2017 2:00pm

Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre. 1501 Mac Davis Lane, Lubbock, TX 79401.

Tickets are available at Select-a-Seat, online, or by calling 806-770-2000. Prices Range from Prices range from $25-$75.

Lasts approximately 2 hours with a 20 minute intermission included.

Recommended for all ages but ideal for 4+.  Younger kids may get antsy at times, but the music and theatrics will keep them engaged.

Gone to the show?  Let us know!  Write your reviews below.

Credits:  A Musical Based on the Play and Novel by Sir J.M. Barrie.
Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh.  Additional Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
Music by Morris (Moose) Charlap.  Additional Music by Jule Styne.
Originally directed, choreographed and adapted by Jerome Robbins.
Producer:  Gerald Dolter.
Director/Choreographer:  Jeff Smith.
Conductor:  John S. Hollings

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Broadway 2017 production of Peter Pan (R) The Stage Musical and Elizabeth Logan.

Parent Review: Tarzan Celebrates the True Meaning of Family

Terk played by Amari Venzor, Tarzan  played by Elijah van Gilder, Kala played by Ann Maria NicholsTarzan Flies High and Teaches the Power of Family

Catch him while you can!
Last show is Sunday January 15.

Moonlight Broadway has given area families a late holiday treat…  a fun, exciting trip to the jungle to start the new year.  The show is more fun than you can imagine and the best way to spend time with the family while the weather outside is dreary.  Nothing even remotely dreary about this show thanks to the talented cast and crew.

When you arrive, you’ll notice the stage curtain is transparent.  It adds to the sense that you’re a part of the action, trying to see through a dense jungle.  The orchestra is also behind the curtain, which is unique and makes for more intense sound compared to shows where the orchestra is in the pit in front of the stage.  Musical kids will enjoy seeing the musicians! 

Apes Dancing to Two Worlds

The show is action-packed with movement and climbing and swinging from ropes and wire ladders that look like ferns allowing characters to hop from platform to platform.  The physicality and prowess of the characters, especially the apes and Tarzan, is mesmerizing for the kids and looked at with envy by the parents… yes, the new year is time to hit the gym, inspired by the show!

Tarzan played by Thomas Griffth   Williams, learning about Jane, played by Rachel Way -

The music is enjoyable for everyone and quite moving at times.  Jane, played by Rachel Way, is stunning and her voice is perfect for the part – strong, and vibrant, and playful – and blends beautifully with Tarzan’s, played by Thomas Griffin Williams.  Tarzan is played so well with the perfect combination of strength, innocence, physicality, wisdom, and approachability.  Children and adults can relate to him!  And the booming, baritone voice of Kerchak, played by Ezekiel Andrew, is stirring and tender at times while definitely establishing himself as the leader of the tribe.

Kala play Ann Marie Nichols on the  stage

But from the point of view as a parent, the portrayal of Kala, from Ann Marie Nichols, is incredibly moving and emotional.  The amount of joy, sadness, heartbreak and shear emotion she is able to express through song and voice (while jumping from platform to platform!) is inspiring and impressive.  She sings from the heart of every parent beautifully. 

Another treat especially for kids, is being able to see Tarzan as a boy, enthusiastically played by Elijah van Gilder.  There is a special effect (that we still can’t figure out!), where Kala is cradling the infant Tarzan while sleeping and he magically turns into Tarzan as a youth.  Yes, that is exactly how all parents feel… in the blink of an eye our children go from infants to swinging from vines!

However, the real treasure in this production, was a surprise.  Although most people in the audience are familiar with the story of Tarzan from Johnny Weissmuller to Disney, this performance truly strikes a chord in demonstrating the power and importance of all families, regardless of their appearance.  The message for children who may be a part of a blended, foster or adoptive family is heartwarming and strong.  Even Jane’s father Professor Porter, played by Travis Burge, reminds Jane of the importance, value, and depth of Tarzan’s adoptive family, and shows great respect when meeting Tarzan’s mother and friends.  Another teachable moment from the theatre!

Parent Pointers:

Parents need to be aware that the show does start by showing how Tarzan came to be in the jungle alone… he was with his parents during a shipwreck.  And his parents die.  However the continuing theme of the power of love and family quickly swoops up baby Tarzan and the audience as his adopted mother Kala braves beasts and even her own tribe to become his mother.

Apes in the theatreAnd one of our favorite parts of the production features apes… lots and lots of apes!  During the intermission, several of the apes wander around the theatre and audience, interacting with guests, climbing on the seats (as most apes would do!), taking photos and ape-ing around.  Their costumes are masks and some head dressing – extremely creative but could be frightening for some children if they are approached quickly by one of these friendly apes.  Simply prepare them by mentioning that they may be able to meet some of these talented actors up close, or if you child is sensitive to interaction, taking a break during intermission in the lobby may be wise.

Preparing for the show:

Children may think they know Tarzan, but, although it is based on the Disney film, there are no cartoonish characters or costumes.  Tantor the Elephant is not in the show and Tarzan’s friend Terk is male.  For older kids, encourage them to take a look at the original novel and then tell the family their thoughts on the differences between the show and the novel.

Just the Facts!

When: Friday, January 6, 2017 7:30 PM.
Saturday, January 7, 2017 7:30 PM.
Sunday, January 8, 2017 2:00 PM.
Friday, January 13, 2017 7:30 PM.
Saturday, January 14, 2017 2:00 PM.
Saturday, January 14, 2017 7:30 PM.
Sunday, January 15, 2017 2:00 PM.

Where: Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre. 1501 Mac Davis Lane, Lubbock, TX 79401.

How: Tickets are available at Select-a-Seat, online, or by calling 806-770-2000. Prices Range from Prices range from $25-$71.

Length: Lasts approximately 2 hours with a 20 minute intermission included.

Age: Recommended for all ages but ideal for 4+.  Younger kids may get antsy at times, but the music and theatrics will keep them engaged.

Going to the show?  Let us know!  Write your reviews below.

Tarzan®, The Stage Musical at Arvada Center

Credits:  Based on the Disney Film.
Music and Lyrics by Phil Collins.
Book by David Henry Hwang.
Adapted from the story “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Originally Produced on Broadway by Disney Theatrical Productions.
TARZAN© owned by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Broadway 2017 production of Tarzan (R) The Stage Musical and Elizabeth Logan.

Five Thanksgiving Memories You Can Make With Recyclable Crafts

by Baron Eliason
Founder, 123Recycling, Lubbock
Guest Contributor

Fall ProjectsThe holidays are custom made for memory making as a family. Making memories happens best when we take the time to work with our kids on things that are fun. If you can do that and teach some valuable life lessons – so much the better. 123 Recycling will be happy to pick up your recyclables but how much better if you reuse them for some holiday fun with the kids!

The goal of this article is to combine the memory making potential of Thanksgiving with the world changing emphasis on recycling, repurposing, and responding to the need to be better stewards of our earth.

This week the focus is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to introduce kids to recycling and reusing with fun crafts made from reusable material. A great fact to know and share with them is that we believe 65% of what we throw out is recyclable. I’m guessing that the percent that is reusable in some way would raise that number even higher. That means there is a lot of free stuff we can use for art just lying around.

So without further adeu, here are five ideas from my little brain – get creative and I’ll be you can do even better!

Beauty of Fall Display Boxes

Fall Display BoxesContainers for fruits are amazing resources for kids to use for stashing all kinds of things, especially the small ones. This one was used for organic apples and makes an amazing display case for the wonders of Fall such as beautiful leaves, acorns, pecans, and other wonderful bounty that kids love to find and to show off. Kids will love finding the best leaves and showing off their finds.

Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indians – Oh My!

TurkeysEgg cartons and cardboard rolls make great tools for creating all kinds of characters from Turkeys to Pilgrims and Indians. A quick trip to a craft store and you could find some really cool stuff to add like google eyes, feathers, felt for clothes. But, a simple set of markers and crayons will do the trick as well.

You could make a whole tableau of the first Thanksgiving meal. Special hint: paper plates are great material for making a turkey’s fanned feathers.

Pump-can Decoration

PumpCansHere is an idea from Pam Bibb, art teacher at Miller Elementary. She loves to work with recyclable materials and her students have made some amazing robots. For Fall, she takes empty cans and colored paper to make pump-cans. This is something easy for kids to make and great for table decorations for the big feast. P.S. – mason jars will also work.

Fall Candle Celebrations

CandlesHere is an idea to take glass containers like mason jars or jelly jars, etc. and turn them into celebrations of Fall. My girl picked some leaves. I found a pickle jar. We used clear Scotch tape to attach them. If you are inclined, attach them by decoupaging. Insert candle and enjoy! The light will shine through the leaves and give you a beautiful show for free.

Napkin Rings

NapkinRingsTake some paper tubes, apply glue, roll on something fun and Fall-ish. Next, cut them down to size. Finally, add whatever else you might desire to make really cool napkin holders. I will say that the glue is more of a project. Again, I went with Scotch tape.

We hope you enjoy Thanksgiving and that these ideas will help you create some memories with your kids. Stay tuned for our next blog post next month for more ideas related to Christmas. If you have some ideas you would like to share, please email them to me at

5 Green Halloween Decorating Ideas for Families

by Baron Eliason
Founder, 123Recycling, Lubbock
Guest Contributor

Halloween Recycling Crafts

We are so happy to introduce our readers to our newest local blog contributor Baron Eliason!  He is the founder of 123Recycling based in Lubbock and he’ll be sharing with us ways that local families can make a difference in our environment AND do it while having fun!  Have a question?  Just leave a comment here or contact Baron through his website at  or email him at

As they say, the family that plays together, stays together.  With the holidays upon us, playing together is the key to holiday success.  In our busy lives it is easy to conclude: “who has time for figuring all this out?”  But the solution is right under your nose – recycling.

Art teachers have been recycling for years because the things we throw away make easy and fun art projects.  Why not learn from the pros and try it at home.  Recycling is as easy as 123 and it can be a fun way to make family memories that also teach great lessons about taking care of our beautiful environment.  As a father of five I can also tell you this, you will treasure these little artifacts for years to come!

In this holiday recycling series 123Recycling of Lubbock will be bringing you fresh new ideas to make recycling memories for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  To get started, let’s set the basic ground rules, it is easy as 123:  1) keep it simple 2) keep it safe 3) keep it fun.  What does that mean?  Use what you have in packaging materials, etc, help the kids with things like hot glue and sharp scissors, make sure you laugh and praise and smile a lot!

For Halloween, we are going to focus on five easy ideas for yard decorations.

Not only will you be having fun but you will be saving lots of money too – nothing scary about that!


1.  Milk Jug Monsters – faces

Milk Jug Monsters

a.      Collect and clean the jugs.

b.      Decorate the faces.

c.      Light with Christmas lights (you need to find them anyway) or electric candles, etc.  You can hang them from trees as floating heads or plant them in the garden, or put them on the roof as watchful gargoyles.
Hint: weigh them down with rocks, etc. to keep them in place, or……..

Milk Jug Monsters – yard spiders. 
Take a look at these pictures.  With scissors or a utility knife cut out these spooky spiders and let the kids decorate to taste.

Milk Jug Spiders

2.  Plastic Poltergeists

a.      Gather trash bags and variously-sized plastic bottles to make your very own ghost family vis-à-vis the family stick figures people put on cars.

b.      Use balloons to make the big trash bag heads and decorate them.

c.      Use any kind of stuffing to make the heads for the smaller ghosts.

Plastic Poltergeists

d.      Tape the trash bags under the head at the neck to keep the heads in place – shred the bottom to make them really float in the wind.

e.      Hang them from the trees, roof line, etc.


3.  Terrifying TombstonesRIP box

a.      Collect boxes such as Tombstone pizza, cereal, Amazon, etc.

b.      Cover them with white paper.

c.      Decorate with faces, R.I.P., funny messages

d.      Stake down with hanger wire.


4.  Marshmallow  Minions

Marshmallow Minion1

a.      Let the kids go wild making all kinds of faces.

b.      Wrap them in a dryer cloth or post them on a stick!

c.      You can make a whole pumpkin patch!  Warning: dogs and others might eat your decorations ;-)


5.  Things That Go Bump in the Night

a.      Collect things like cola and tin cans… anything that clinks and make a wind chime for some scary noises at night

b.      Put them on one side of a hanger and weight the other half to help them clink when the wind comes.  Hint: you could arrange for them to be shaken with a string.  Hint 2: you might need to hide them a bit, Moms might not be thrilled with the aesthetics.Bump in the Night Cola Cans


As you can see, there are plenty of fun things you can do for Halloween with things that get thrown away.  Stay tuned for some table decoration ideas coming in November.  Please share this post with your friends and share some of your ideas this holiday season – then… recycle the materials and keep the memories.

Happy Halloween from 123 Recycling – find us at or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.  We make curbside recycling easy for you.

Photo Credits:  123Recycling – Lubbock.

Help Make Your Child’s Halloween Experience Positive

By Kelly Martin, M.Ed, LPC
Guest Contributor

We are excited to introduce our readers to Kelly Martin… our newest contributor!  Kelly is a Licensed Professional Counselor, parent, and owner of The Playroom Lubbock offering therapy counseling services specifically for children and adolescents.  From individual and group Play Therapy to yoga and parent-included classes, Kelly and her team offer a wealth of support for local kiddos and parents.  Specialties include divorce care, self esteem, social skills, anxiety, grief, anger management, ADHD support… topics that hit home with many area kids and families.  We love Kelly’s first article… full of timely advice for all parents and especially helpful for children with sensory challenges.  Have questions or ideas for future blog topics?  Just comment below or you can contact Kelly directly at and through her website at
Welcome Kelly!

Help Make Your Child’s Halloween Experience Positive

Halloween Kids Jump

As Halloween approaches with all of the costumes, sights, sounds, smells, fall festivals, trunk or treats, and the traditional trick or treats, it’s important to keep in mind how the extra stimulation and treats affect our kids or the kids that come visit our homes or booths. (Not to mention the effects of sugar!). This article is intended to raise awareness about kids with special needs and to provide some tips for parents.

Children with sensory sensitivities like those associated with ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, or Sensory Processing Disorder can feel stressed at Halloween.

Parents want their children to have a positive, festive experience. With careful planning, preparation, and sensitivity in how you react, children with learning, behavioral, or sensory issues can enjoy this exciting time of year as well.

For those of you hosting Trick or Treat, a festival booth, or a Trunk or Treat, be accepting of all types of personalities and abilities that are behind the Halloween costume.

  • Children who struggle with poor fine motor skills may grab more than one piece of candy.
  • Children who take forever to pick out a piece of candy may have motor planning issues.
  • The child who does not say “trick or treat” or “thank you” may struggle with anxiety or may be non verbal.
  • The child who looks disappointed at the treats may have a food allergy.
  • And lastly the child who isn’t wearing a costume may have a sensory issue.

I am not suggesting that if your child has done one or some of the above examples that he or she may have a disorder. What I am suggesting is to show some grace and acceptance to everyone who rings your bell or visits your booth.

The Brain Balance Achievement Center gives fantastic Tips for Kids with Sensory Sensitivities. For example:
1) Giving your child a schedule of events can help children feel less anxiety.
2) Have a code word for your child to use if he or she feels overwhelmed and needs a break.
3) Before you leave, discuss how long you plan to stay and expectations for behavior.
4) Have your child practice wearing his costume BEFORE an event.
5) If you child has food sensitivities or allergies, plan ahead to offer alternatives like toys.

Playroom Lubbock Halloween tips

The Teal Pumpkin Project by The Food Allergy Research and Education raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters. You can provide non-food treats for trick or treaters and paint a pumpkin teal to place in front of your home to indicate you have non-food treats available. Free signs are available to download at

Teal Pumpkin Project

Lubbock has wonderful opportunities to celebrate Fall and Halloween. I hope this article helps keep Halloween a fun, positive experience for all.

Kelly Martin, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of The Playroom Lubbock. She specializes in counseling and play therapy for children and adolescents.


The TEAL PUMPKIN PROJECT and the Teal Pumpkin Image are trademarks of Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE).

Parent Review: Carousel from Moonlight Musicals

Carousel offers touching,
teachable moments for parents.
Catch Friday & Saturday performances through August 20th.

Carousel programThe final summer production from Moonlight Musicals is one of our personal all-time favorite shows: Carousel, the musical by Rodgers & Hammerstein.  The fact that it’s being performed during the most beautiful time of the year in Lubbock, Texas for enjoying evenings outside is like the stars aligning!  The night we attended was absolutely perfect:  The view of the water at Mackenzie Park peeking around from behind the stage was so tranquil and the glorious West Texas sunset to the left of the stage was right on cue!  The very light breeze was refreshing and had a hint of rain, but the storms on the horizon never threatened the show.  Perfect!

Many parents and grandparents may recall the musical (debuted in 1945) or the film version featuring Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae (1956).  The great melodies are still there including “June is Bustin’ Out All Over,” “The Carousel Waltz” (you’ll recognize it!) and of course “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

The beginning scene (our family favorite!) takes place at the carnival and is full of colors, characters, magicians, and the star of the show… the Carousel!  The beautiful set draws you into the story from the first beat.

In case you haven’t seen the film, Carousel takes place in a small fishing village on the coast of Maine in the early 1900′s.  It’s the story of young Billy, a handsome, rough-around-the-edges carnival worker (“barker”) and Julie, an innocent local girl, who fall in love and marry.  They quickly face hardships that result in a tragic loss, but Billy receives one last chance from heaven.  The power of love is the continuing theme.Carousel Billy and Julie

This is a great show if you have a teenager, especially a son, who has balked at attending performing arts… it’s an outdoor, casual environment and there are many scenes with lots of male characters who wrote the book on swagger.  But more importantly, it also offers a good opportunity to get your teen’s take on the importance of choosing friends wisely, making good decisions, and especially the messages of hope, redemption, and forgiveness… regardless of the mistakes made.

One of our favorite quotes comes at the very end of the show at the graduation ceremony.  The speaker, who appears to also be Billy’s heavenly helper, offers to the graduates:  “I can’t tell you any sure way to happiness. I only know that you’ve gotta go out and find it for yourselves. You can’t lean on the success of your parents. That’s their success.  And don’t be held back by their failures… Makes no difference what they did or didn’t do. You just stand on your own two feet.” Very timely message to any of our kids preparing for high school or college.

This treat from Moonlight Musicals offers us not only the opportunity to experience a beautiful evening with our families, but also a chance to share this classic with our kids.  It’s top-level entertainment (the rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Candice Aipperspach as Cousin Nettie is stunning!) and packed with teachable moments addressing similar issues that young people have faced throughout time.

Parent Pointers:

Parents need to be aware that the show does cover a variety of grown-up content.  In literary terms it’s a tragedy.  A main character dies.  Younger children may be frustrated that Billy has to go back to heaven rather than stay on earth… looking for the type of happy ending that they are accustomed to receiving in many films they see.  But it is a wonderful chance to show children that happy endings come in many forms.  Billy is able to redeem himself and also help those he loves on earth… so it is a happy ending after all.  Although based in a setting of over 100 years ago, it offers timeless lessons that convert to current-world issues.

And bad boy Jigger Craigin does have some great one-liners (“My mother had a baby once… just once.”) but he also provides some spicy language and name calling that proves to the audience that he is definitely unsuitable company.

Preparing for the show:

There are many topics in the show that our kids might find foreign.   For example:  What exactly is a “Clam Bake?”  Many West Texas kids may not really understand that it’s a festival, rather than a dish!  One way to get into the spirit is to plan your own picnic or “Clam Bake” – before or after (or even during!) the show.  They also may need an explanation of what a “Carnival Barker” actually does.  Be prepared for other questions regarding the themes of after-life, bullying, and even domestic violence.

Just the Facts!

When: Friday and Saturday August 5 & 6, 12 & 13, 19 & 20.  Gates open at 7pm and performance starts at 8pm.

Where: Moonlight Musicals Amphitheatre at 413 East Broadway Lubbock, TX 79403.

How: Tickets are available at Select-a-Seat, online, or by calling 806-770-2000. Prices Range from $20-$28 for adults and $7-$15 for children.  Students for $12. *For General admission child age is 5-9 years and Premium admission child age is 0-9 years.

Length: Lasts approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with a 20 minute intermission included.

Age: Recommended for ages 10 and up.  Younger kids will still enjoy the open venue and the dancing and singing.

Planning to go?  Let us know how you like the show!  Write your reviews below.

Credits:  Music by Richard Rodgers. Book by Oscar Hammerstein II.  Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.  Based on the Play LILIOM by Ferenc Molnar.  As adapted by Benjamin F. Glazer.

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Musicals 2016 production of Carousel.

The Bus Stops Here! Back to School {Cool} 2016

Back to School Bus We just spotted the first flock of geese arriving in the Hub City area… must be official: summertime is winding down.  It’s that time of year.  We panic because we haven’t quite finished that summer bucket list with our kids and we need to think about preparing for the bus back to school…!

To help you enjoy every inch of summer (and there’s lots more to enjoy!) and at the same time jump-start school prep, we’ve gathered all the great Back-to-School deals, dates and events in one convenient spot on  You can now find all the summertime fun to round out that bucket list & also plug into all the B2S excitement… there’s plenty of time!  And for up-to-the-minute events, check our Back to School section and jam-packed calendar!

A time to shop!

  • Take advantage of the Texas State Tax Free Weekend Friday August 5 – Sunday August 7.   Don’t forget, lots of deals online too if you like to avoid the crowds that weekend!
  • Sat. 8/13 from 9am-12pm:  Back to School Fiesta for area kids from Texas Tech’s Office of Community Engagement.  All K-12 students and family welcomed! Free Lunch & Free School Supplies while quantities last…learn about numerous educational, local and federal programs and initiatives, and receive free school supplies for the upcoming school year.
  • Take advantage of several shopping events to get more bang for your buck for B2S shopping including the Just Between Friends consignment sale taking place Wed. 8/3 – 8/6… during tax free weekend!  As well as the Cradles 2 Crayons fall sale coming up 9/22-24.  Find more consignment sources and events in our Consignment Sales section.
  • Sat. 8/20 from 9am-noon:  The Annual Back 2 School Kickoff @ Mae Simmons offers free backpacks and school supplies!
  • Sat. 8/13 from 10am-1pm:  The Annual Bridge Bash @ The Bridge of Lubbock features a Back-to-School mega clothing give-away… including school supplies!

A time for medical appointments!

There are several events where kids can receive their immunizations, physicals, dental and more.  Reminder:  Children must have their shot records and be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian in order to receive immunizations at most events.

A time to give!

West Texans are wonderful, giving, and compassionate… there are several school supply and backpack drives to help strapped parents prepare for the upcoming school year.  These events also give our kids a chance to help by gathering and donating supplies too.

Lots of places are having End of Summer Blasts to help wrap up Summer 2016 with a bang!  Some of our favorites include:

A time to learn!Back to School Backpacks

First Days of School include (check each district’s website link for orientation and open house dates):

College and Career Night @ the United Supermarkets Arena:
Mon. 10/24 from 5:30-7:30pm.  Hosted by Lubbock ISD.  This is a great, not-to-miss event for parents and kids in Lubbock and surrounding areas who are in 6th grade and above … especially high schoolers!

Tutoring Resources:
Now is also a great time to check into any additional learning services that can take your child to the next level or help kick start the new year.  See our Tutoring Section for a full list of local sources including:  The Institute for Creative Learning, Mathnasium, Literacy Lubbock, and CLC College Prep Services.

Checkout our calendar often for up-to-the-minute dates and events.
Roll-on Lubbock parents!

Do you know of a cool B2S event, activity or resource?  Share it with us here or add it to our calendar!

Updated 8/5/2016


Moonlight Children's Theatre - Into The Woods Jr is Enchanting!

A Rare Treat for Lubbock-area Kids & Families:
Morning Matinees Fridays & Saturdays in July at 9am.

Into the Woods book

Once Upon a Time, in a Land not too far away at all, the children of Lubbock had the opportunity to share an enchanted walk through the woods.  The journey invited them into a magical story that reached out and grabbed them all…  the kids in the audience as well as the very talented young performers on stage!

Into the Woods Jr, Lubbock Moonlight Musical‘s 2016 Moonlight Children’s Theatre production, contains all the same characters from the full-length award-winning Broadway show – including the Baker & his wife, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack, and the Witch – but has been adapted for youth performers as well as a younger audience and covers the first half, more lighthearted segment, of the Broadway show.Into the Woods young fans

Watching the show is like looking at the face of the future of live theatre on the South Plains.  The kids in the audience loved identifying with and even recognizing some of the young actors in the show.  Several could be overheard saying “I want to try out for this next year!”  Parent Win: A great morning together and igniting a spark in our kids for the Arts!

The characters really do come to life thanks to the incredibly talented cast of youth performers led by the Moonlight Directions Youth Ensemble.

And as a parent, it was also easy to see how much excitement this production generated for the cast and crew.  You could tell that they were loving every second they were onstage and, maybe just as importantly, when they were off stage.  They were encouraging and gracious and excited about meeting their minions of fans after the show.  Taking pictures together, answering questions and lots of hugs!  The calibre of talent that these kids possess is truly inspiring… and a tribute to their hard work over the summer and training that they are receiving through the program.

Into the Woods Stepsisters

Even the smallest fan will enjoy the story and effects, even if they are not quite familiar with some of the story lines or even some of the characters.  In case you haven’t seen the show, the story centers around the Baker & his wife.  After discovering that they are unable to have a child due to a Witch’s curse, the journey begins in search of the Witch with many adventures and friends to meet along the way.

Parent Pointers

The venue at Moonlight Musicals Amphitheatre on the edge of Mackenzie Park is always kid-friendly, but being at the beautiful outdoor venue overlooking the park early is the perfect Friday or Saturday morning outing… and super affordable!  The length of the show, only 60 minutes, makes it the ideal introduction for any child to live theatre.  In addition to our parent tips of packing the bug spray and chairs, we especially enjoyed our morning coffee and OJ together during the show.  Do plan to arrive when the doors open at 8:30am to get great seats as close to the stage as possible.

Into the Woods with witch

Into the Woods Stepsister with fansThe moral of the story is, never underestimate the power of local, live theatre for children… entertaining to everyone in the audience, inspiring for children interested in exploring The Arts, and transforming for youngsters who have caught the theatre bug and who continue to bloom with every impressive performance!

And they lived

Just the Facts!

When:  Friday & Saturday mornings in July at 9:00am.  Gates open at 8:30am.
July 8 & 9, July 15 & 16, July 22 & 23, July 29 & 30.

Where:  Moonlight Musicals Amphitheatre at 413 East Broadway, Lubbock.

How:  Tickets available through the Moonlight Musicals website, through Select-A-Seat and at the door.
Prices are $5 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under.  Multi-ticket discounts available.

Length:  Lasts 1 hour.

Age:  Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Planning to go?  Let us know how you like the show!  Write your reviews below.

Photos provided by cast and Moonlight Musicals. Images from Moonlight Children’s Theatre 2016 production of Into The Woods Jr.

Parent Review: G2K Cinderella at Lubbock Community Theatre

Fol-De-Rol & Fiddle-Dee-Dee…Cinderella is a must-see!  Catch this charming, family-friendly musical through July 17th.

Cinderella & Godmother

It’s Possible! Hannah Flournoy as Cinderella exclaims to her Fairy Godmother played by Kayla Rushing.

The summer 2016 Lubbock Community Theatre  production of G2K Cinderella is a joyful journey for area children and families!  It’s the perfect opportunity to expose children, both performers and observers, to the theatre by inviting them into the magical and inspiring world of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.  The G2K show is especially designed for youth performers as part of their Getting to Know (G2K) series of R&H musicals.


It features the beautiful, fun songs and characters from the full production, but is more condensed.  Many parents and grandparents will enjoy humming along with the songs that we remember from the televised Hallmark Hall of Fame series.  You’ll find that this version of Cinderella, in addition to being the classic dreams-come-true message, is based on the power of positivity and kindness… yes, according to our favorite Fairy Godmother, regardless of what roadblocks arise, “It’s Possible!”

As we watched the show, it was hard to remember that all the performers were local kids, some in the LCT’s Theatre for Youth classes, but many who have never been on stage before!

Cinderella mice

Cinderella’s mice waiting patiently to turn magically into horses. Played by Emma Johnston, Kaori Gonzales, Neveah Arnold, Savannah Roberson and Faith Zint.

Cinderella and her Prince are truly charming and sweet, and we may have snort-laughed more than once with the wicked Stepsisters and Stepmother!

Cinderella sisters

Stepsisters’ Lament by Lorena Lopez and Allaina Capili

The Fairy Godmother is magical, and funny, and sassy.  Thanks to the hijinks from the King and Queen and all the other characters, the kids in the audience laughed and enjoyed every move and every joke, and were especially spellbound when Cinderella magically transforms on stage.

Also watch for the adorable little mice and fairies, townspeople and ballroom guests.

Prepare to be impressed by the calibre of musical talent in this group… and the expressions and comedic timing are also amazing from all the cast, who range in age from pre-school to high school.

Parent Pointers

Cinderella announcement

The Prince is Giving a Ball! Josh Frendenberg as the Herald proclaims to the Townspeople

In case you haven’t seen it before, the musical is quite different from the Disney movie, so parents may want to prepare children who could be expecting the songs and characters from the animated version.  There is no “Bippity Boppity Boo” but the new-to-them songs including “Fol-De-Rol and Fiddle-Dee-Dee” will leave them spellbound and humming!

The show only lasts about an hour and a half (which includes an intermission) so it’s a very manageable amount of time to hold the attention of most kids.  Another feature that is helpful for parents is the size of the theatre:  It only holds about 50-60 seats so it is more sensory-friendly for most kids.  However the small size of the theatre means if you are interested in going, you need to grab tickets quickly.  Sell-outs are frequent!

Cinderella Tea

Cinderella Tea with LCT Cast Members. Offered Sundays after matinee performances. (Tickets Sold Separately).

Another fun event offered is a special Cinderella Tea after each Sunday matinee.  Princes and Princesses can dress as their favorite character and have tea with stars from the show.  It’s a separate event from the show (tickets are sold separately for $10) with space only for 40 royal guests, so, again, better go online for tickets asap if your child is interested.  The Tea event may be a nice option if you think your child might not be quite ready for a full theatre production experience.

Fun Ways to Prepare for the Show

If you have access to one of the televised productions featuring Julie Andrews (1957) or Lesley Ann Warren (1965) or Brandy (1997), then consider a family preview to see the show and become familiar with the catchy songs.  Also consider reading the non-Disney story of Cinderella at the library or bookstore.

Cinderella program

Just the Facts!

When:  Thurs., Friday & Saturday July 7-9 at 7:30pm, Sunday July 10 at 2pm and again
Thurs., Friday & Saturday July 14-16 at 7:30pm, Sunday July 17 at 2pm.
Special Tea with Cinderella event after Sunday performances from 4:30-5:30pm.  (Limited to 40 seats.  Tickets Sold Separately).

Where:  Lubbock Community Theatre at 4232 Boston Ave, Lubbock.

How:  Tickets available through their website online, or by calling 806-749-2416 for info.
Prices are $15 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under.
Sunday Tea with Cinderella tickets are $10 each.

Length:  Lasts 1 hour and 20 minutes with a 15 minute intermission included.

Age:  Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Credits:  Music by Richard Rodgers – Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II.
Directed by Heather May.
Music Direction by Tom Laney.

Stage Manager – Alex Saulnier McKinin
Set Design – Heather May, Madeline St Claire
Set Crew – Madeline St Claire, Kayla Rushing, Emily Nixon
Light Design – RT Todd
Sound Design – Tom Laney
Board Operator – Robin Armstrong
Costumes – Patti Campbell, Mitzi Flournoy
Props – April Langehennig
Choreography – Alex Saulnier McKinin
Hair and Make-up – Alex Saulnier McKinin, Cast

Cinderella – Hannah Flournoy
Godmother – Kayla Rushing
Stepmother – Sierra Roberson
Stepsister Portia – Lorena Lopez
Stepsister Joy – Allaina Capili
Prince – Reis Smith
Herald – Josh Fredenberg
Chef – Ben Mitchell
King – Cordell Little
Queen – Erin Ewings

Supporting Roles:
Neveah Arnold – Townsperson, Mouse/Horse
Shirah Arnold – Townsperson
Ayrthon Capili – Townsperson, Ballroom Scene
Cara Copeland – Royal Staff
Kaori Gonzales – Townsperson, Mouse/Horse
Kysiah Gonzalez – Townsperson
Sophie Haney - Townsperson, Magic Fairy
Alex Haynes – Townsperson, Ballroom Scene, Royal Staff
Jonna Hollis - Townsperson, Magic Fairy
Olivia Ireland – Townsperson, Magic Fairy
Emma Johnston – Townsperson, Mouse/Horse, Ballroom Scene
Elizabeth Logan – Townsperson, Ballroom Scene, Royal Staff
Ben Mitchell – Ballroom Scene
Walter Parsons – Townsperson
Aubree Pointer – Townsperson, Ballroom Scene, Royal Staff
Jaryn Reed – Townsperson, Ballroom Scene
Savannah Roberson – Townsperson, Mouse/Horse, Royal Staff
Brenna Ryan – Townsperson, Ballroom Scene
Melanie Westmoreland – Townsperson, Royal Staff
Jencie Wright – Townsperson, Ballroom Scene
Faith Zint – Townsperson, Mouse/Horse

Planning to go?  Let us know how you like the show!  Write your reviews below.

Photos provided by Lubbock Community Theatre. Images from LCT’s 2016 production of G2K Cinderella.