Category Archives: Parent Reviews

Parent Review: Miracle on 34th Street The Musical

Gobble Up
Some Family Memories this Thanksgiving!

Miracle Poster

 

Kris Kringle is Alive and Well and in The Hub City…
Catch him while you can!

Special holiday week shows through Sunday November 26th.

Moonlight Broadway has given area families another holiday treat… a chance to bridge generations with its latest production of Meredith Willson’s Miracle on 34th Street – The Musical.  It’s the perfect outing for the entire family during the Thanksgiving holiday week, whether they are coming from out of town or across the street, are young or old.  And this production is particularly charming because, in true Moonlight Musicals fashion, they have included many children into the cast.

In fact, the story line revolves around a child: Susan Walker (enthusiastically played by Abi Mills).  Susan is a little girl who was never allowed to believe in Santa or other things that are not tangible.  It was a well-intentioned strategy by her mother, Doris, to protect Susan from being hurt or disappointed from dreams that may not come true.  Susan’s quest to discover if her friend Kris Kringle really is who he says he is, strikes a chord with the kids in the audience, establishing Susan as a hero: she is the little girl who finds her Santa and whose faith helps inspire all the adults around her to believe in and follow their own dreams.

Santa march

The Thanksgiving Day Parade scene at the first of the show, with the kids and floats is fun, and includes a spirited march as the children at the parade fall in behind Santa, forming a line and marching to, of all things, a Christmas carol!

The music is festive and enjoyable and helps make the musical version more lighthearted than the screenplay versions.  One that everyone in the audience will recognize is a family fave:  “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”… who knew that one of our favorite carols was born on the stage!

We loved the gentle, kind, yet commanding presence of Kris Kringle, played wonderfully by Mike Morgan.  His warm and playful manner was fun to watch as he interacted with the children on stage, from leading the kids on a holiday march, to answering their questions and requests with compassion and sage advice.  And what our kids enjoyed as well, was seeing how Kris was able to to help the grown-ups believe once again in miracles and in the goodness of people.

Santa and HendrikaA real treasure in this production, was a song performed by Santa and a little Dutch girl, Hendrika (played by Aubrey Giselle).  Santa is approached by the girl’s guardian, who tells Santa that the little girl speaks no English yet, only Dutch, whereby Santa begins a conversation in her language and they sing the little girl’s favorite Christmas carol together, “Bugles.”  It was an enchanting moment for the audience and the pivotal moment when Susan started to believe that the gentleman known as Kris Kringle, could in fact be Santa Claus.

Parent Pointers:

Parents need to be aware that the show does start by showing a tipsy Santa, who was to be in the parade, which gave the real Kris Kringle the chance to take over as Santa in the parade.  And the entire basis of the show centers around the disbelief in Santa Claus:  Susan was never allowed to believe in Santa or other things that are not tangible.  So parents may want to be prepared to answer some similar questions.  However, as the story progresses, Susan was shown that “Faith is believing in something that common sense tells you otherwise” – another teachable moment with out kids.

Preparing for the show:

Miracle on 34th Street has several different productions available on film or video, which would be fun to watch together either before or after seeing the play.  Most of the movies are not the musicals, so especially with older kids, it would be interesting for them to see the difference in a musical format compared to a story or screenplay format and for them to share which they prefer.  In addition to having a Christmas theme with Santa and some recognizable music, the show also features rich dialogue that is a great chance for older kids to follow the story, but that might lose the interest for the littlest audience members at times.Miracle cover

Miracle on 34th Street is set in the post WWII era, which gives us the opportunity to share with our kids how things were different.  One of the main characters was in the Marines, and uses words like “dames” in reference to some ladies and “the head” when talking about the restroom, which can be explained in today’s context.  And an explanation or Google search for “Gimble’s” and “Macy’s” before the show could help them understand that during that time period Gimble’s and Macy’s were real stores and heated competitors, not just the men who were in the show.

How families benefit:

Thanks to Moonlight Musicals, we’ve had the chance to enrich our children with the inspirational, magical, and yes miraculous, world of performing arts.  And what some may not realize, or forget at times, is that Moonlight Musicals is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.  As parents, we can feel that purchasing a ticket to their performances is a win/win: our kids are exposed to high-quality theatre giving us precious time together and conversations about topics that are brought to light, plus we are supporting a local nonprofit.  The seeds planted by Moonlight Musicals throughout the community have been exciting to see take root and grow.  Every theatre department and group in the area has either been formed as an off-shoot or has greatly benefited from the multiple opportunities for children (and adults) to hone their on-stage experiences.  The vibrant Lubbock theatre community gives thankful parents many outlets for our kids to be able to tap into their inner star (and for some theatre parents it’s a God-send, giving our spirited kiddos the outlet they need!).

Just the Facts!

When: Thursday, November 16, 2017 7:30 PM.
Friday, November 17, 2017 7:30 PM.
Sunday, November 19, 2017 2:00 PM.
Monday, November 20, 2017 7:30 PM.
Friday, November 13, 2017 7:30 PM.
Saturday, November 14, 2017 2:00 PM.
Saturday, November 14, 2017 7:30 PM.
Sunday, November 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 $prices range from $15 – $35 for children and from $25 – $65 for adults.

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

Age: Recommended for ages 4+ but best for 6+ .  Younger kids may get antsy at times.

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

 

Credits:  Book, Music & Lyrics by Meredith Willson.  Based on the 29th Centrury Fox Pictures.  Story by Valentine Davies.  Screen Play by George Seaton.
All rights to Willson’s song catalog owned by Sir Paul McCartney.

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Broadway 2017 production of Miracle on 34th Street – the Musical, LubbockForKids.com, and Kim Phillips.

Parent Review: Super Seven Brides for Seven Brothers by Moonlight Musicals

Early Performances Saturday and Sunday!
Catch the final, held-over performances on special days and times!

Celebrating Family Tradition.

Scene

The final summer production from Moonlight Musicals is a special early fall treat – a family-friendly musical during the very best weather of the year in West Texas.  “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is a fun, sing-along, show, with tons of kids in the cast making it super-fun for the kids in the audience to relate to.  It’s a wonderful show to wrap up the season:  Focusing on family, and love, and music and dance. The beauty of this performance is its ability to span several generations:  Grandma and KidsGrandpa will know every word of the catchy songs, but what is exciting to see is the involvement shared by little ones as well as teens and Tech students.  As we were heading to meet the cast after the show, we passed several Tech co-eds who were singing and laughing and commenting that they had never heard those songs before but they were going to have to do something quick or they’d be singing “Bless Your Beautiful Hind, Wherever You May Be…” for weeks!

This is the perfect chance to catch the show for those whose bedtime is earlier… the final shows start at 7pm rather than 8pm.  And offering the show on Sunday provides a unique Sunday night family event to wrap up the summer and the weekend.  The night we attended, a storm was threatening, but held off and even provided a pretty specular rainbow over the theatre… we knew it was going to be a great night!

Rainbow

Family Traditions

What you’ll find if you attend a few of the Musicals, is that it is a family tradition at all levels.  You’ll see parents with their kids volunteering with the shows, running the shows, attending the shows, and performing in the shows.  Many of the kids you see on stage have literally grown up before our eyes as they and their families have made Moonlight Musicals their family tradition by performing together, on the stage and behind the scenes as well.  The fact that the families of the South Plains have multiple opportunities to join in and experience the arts in a tangible way, is priceless.

Mimi Pappas as Mrs. Hoallum with daughter Anya Pappas in the Ensemble, with fan Elizabeth Logan

Mimi Pappas as Mrs. Hoallum with daughter Anya Pappas in the Ensemble, with fan Elizabeth Logan

And being able to see the show as our kids head back to school, for the first time or the last time, was a sweet treat of together-time.  And then Milly (played by Marissa Hernandez – many will remember her performance last year as Christine in “Phantom of the Opera”) had to go and sing that song… the one that made the heart of every parent in the audience swell:  “Glad That You Were Born”…

“I’m glad that you were born.
Born to laugh, born to dream
Born to spread your light.
Through your eyes I see clearer
You bring God so much nearer.
Life has grown so much dearer,
I’m glad that you were born…”

But never fear… the tone of this show is light-hearted with lots of dancing, and singing from “Goin’ Courtin’” to “Wonderful Wonderful Day” to “Sobbin’ Women” to, of course, “Bless Your Beautiful Hide” … there is no possible way that you can leave the show not humming your favorite!

Parent Pointers: Tips for making your experience more enjoyable

Reminders:  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.  GamesBahama 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 are cooling down nicely.

The final shows start earlier so it gives more time to 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.

After the show, just for fun, plan to have a movie night with the kids to see the movie version and discuss the differences… even the fact that when you see a live performance, there are usually new songs, people and sometimes even a different ending!

Just the Facts!

When: Held Over Shows.  Saturday 9/9 and Sunday 9/10.  Gates open at 6pm and performance starts at 7pm.

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:  Book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay.  Lyrics by Johnny Mercer.  Music by Gene de Paul.  New Songs by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn.  Based on the MGM Film and “The Sobbin’ Women” by Stephen Vincent Benet.

Images from Lubbock Moonlight Musicals 2017 production of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and LubbockForKids.com. 

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
moonlight
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 LubbockForKids.com. 

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!

When:
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

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-$75.

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.

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.

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.

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
Happily
Ever
After!

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.

LCTCInderellaCover

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.

Crew:
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

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.

Parent Review: Seussical from Moonlight Musicals

Catch a Family Funtastical Show Under the Stars!  Friday & Saturday performances through June 25th.  Performances added Thurs June 30th & Friday July 1st!

Cat in the Hat -Daniel Hogan -sm

Cat in the Hat – Daniel Hogan. Photo credit: Gypsy Artist Design and Photography.

Continuing our series featuring parent reviews & tips on local events and activities, our contributor Rebekah (a.k.a. Hub City Mom) shares her experience at the kickoff performance of Moonlight Musicals’ Summer Series:  Seussical!  Great review and super tips!  (Perhaps the perfect Fathers Day gift?)  Got an idea for a scoop?  Share it with us and we’ll check it out! Interested in writing a review?  Contact us and let’s blog!

by Rebekah Gillespie

Mom and SonThe 2016 summer series at Lubbock Moonlight Musicals kicked off recently with a fantastic performance of “Seussical.” This whimsical production of Dr. Seuss’s inspiring stories is fun, amusing and very entertaining. The entire family will love “Seussical”! We took our three-year old son to the performance, and he was captivated by it. This was his first theatrical experience, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. We all enjoyed the vibrant colors of the costumes and set as well as the remarkable singing and dancing.

“Seussical” follows the story of Horton the Elephant, citizens of the jungle and his friends from Whoville. Other key characters include Jojo, Gertrutde, Mayzie and Sour Kangaroo. My son’s favorite character is the Cat in the Hat who narrates the production. Thing 1 and Thing 2 make frequent apperances that leave the audience chuckling, and even the Grinch makes a special appearance. The incredibly hard work put into this production is evident throughout the entire performance making “Seussical” remarkably spectactular and memorable. The expressive song lyrics and upbeat music will leave you singing for days.

Cat on stage

This was our first Moonlight Musical experience in the amphitheatre, and the outdoor atmosphere is peaceful and serene. The summer evenings in Lubbock are very enjoyable making Lubbock Moonlight Musicals a great venue for outdoor entertainment. We also enjoyed bringing our son because it was a more casual environment than traditional productions at the civic center’s auditorium. Our son was able to sit, stand and lay down during the performance without being bothersome. The casual atmosphere at the amphitheatre makes it a great environment for small children who, like my child, have trouble staying still.

Thing sittingIn addition, I love that patrons are allowed to bring coolers and lawn chairs to the performance. We were able to have a picnic as a family and eat snacks throughout the performance without spending a small fortune on refreshments. Be sure to bring some cash for the concession stand because Bahama Buck’s is selling their pre-packaged Sno Blasts, which are delicious!  Also, freshly popped popcorn is always enjoyable at any performance.

Parent Pointers:  Here are a few tips to make your experience more enjoyable.

First, arrive early to the amphitheatre because seats are first come first serve unless previously reserved for a group. The gates open at 7 p.m. with the performance starting promptly at eight o’clock. Fortunately, every seat has a clear view of the stage making it impossible to have a bad seat. General admission is labeled in green tape; orange tape is premium admission. 

Horton

The center section of the amphitheatre as well as the first two rows of the side sections are premium seating. I would recommend premium seating if you want a center stage view and the opportunity to interact with some of the cast during the performance. There is a difference in ticket pricing for adults and children in the premium section and is important to be aware of those differences when purchasing tickets. I found that general admission worked great for our three year old because he didn’t sit still long enough to have paid for a premium seat. When he is older, I will invest in premium seating.

Secondly, be sure to bring a blanket and lawn chairs otherwise you will be sitting on the grass for two and a half hours. You can also bring a cooler and snacks to enjoy during the performance.

Family picnic

Since it is outdoors, mosquito repellent is must and beware of a few bees flying around the trash cans. You may also want to bring a light jacket if you get cold easily. Occasionally, the wind is blowing and will give you a chill. Binoculars are another item you may want to bring especially if you are arriving closer to the performance time. Remember that everything you bring in the amphitheater you have to haul back to your car. The amphitheatre is wheel chair accessible making it possible to bring strollers and wagons for smaller children.

Lastly, the cast will be available for pictures after the performance so bring a camera with a great flash. There is not enough lighting to get a good picture without a flash since the performance ends after dark.

My son was excited to meet the Cat in the Hat, but he was very uncertain about having his picture taken with him. Younger children might be intimidated by the characters in their costumes up close so be prepared to have someone take the picture of you and your child with the cast member. This will save time and avoid tears. As you can see, I ended up in the picture with my son still unsure about the Cat.

Meeting Cat

Preparing for the show:

It’s always fun to read Dr. Seuss, and I would highly recommend reading Horton Hears a Who to your child prior to seeing “Seussical.” In addition, there is also an animated movie about Horton that your child will love that can be watched pre or post show. These activities are enjoyable and will also help younger children better follow the performance.

Also, talking with your child about theater etiquette is another important way to prepare for “Seussical” or any performance. Lubbock Moonlight Musicals has a great page on theatre etiquette and gives patrons an idea of what is expected and permissible.

Lastly, a great talking point for your family is to discuss the function of a live orchestra. I loved seeing the orchestra at the amphitheater and the opportunity to explain to my son their purpose. Often times the orchestra is stationed in the orchestra pit which is hidden from the audience’s view. Some other questions my son asked that are worth discussing are: “What is the theater?”, “Why are they wearing costumes?”, “What are the [stage] lights for?”, and “Who is that person?”.

Seuss orchestra

Just the Facts!

When: Friday and Saturday 6/10 & 6/11, 6/17 & 6/18, 6/24 & 6/25, and just added: Thursday 6/30 & Friday 7/1. Gates open at 7 P.M. with performance starting at 8 P.M.

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. *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 15 minute intermission.

Age: Recommended for ages 3 and up.

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

Rebekah is a blogger and mom of 2 who has recently embraced Lubbock and the Hub City area as her home. You can reach her by leaving a response on this blog article.  Find her at HubCityMom.com

For more photos and full article, hop on over to Rebekah’s blog.

Photos by Rebekah Gillespie (unless noted). Images from Lubbock Moonlight Musicals 2016 production of Seussical.