Childrens Theatre by Adults

It is really wonderful to see how “Children’s Theatre” has taken off.  I don’t mean children “performing” theatre.  I’m talking about professional adults creating professional performances and taking them TO the children.  New theatre product is being created and performed in schools and theatres for the benefit of exposing children to the wonders of live theatre very early in their lives.

Advancements in costuming and puppetry has made for an instant lure to the inventive and imaginative minds of children everywhere.  There are more Children’s Theatre Groups popping up all over.  Some are associated with a particular theatre and others are independents…ready to travel and perform in a variety of different locations.

In this world of television cartoon characters shooting and blowing everything, including themselves, up … as well as the frightening and sinister super villains that are ready to spew fire and pound the bad guys into the ground with their super human powers, it is good to see a venue evolving that gives our children at least a fighting chance of experiencing wholesome, pleasant adventures through the magical ride that is live theatre.

That is precisely why we created BLOOMIN™.  We wanted to put something out there for theatres to perform, that lets children laugh with fascination, while adults can laugh at the double entendre and not be bored as they might with a live expo of say … Thomas the Tank Engine or Barney.  We really wanted to promote a positive message for children to grow up with and adults to enjoy.  BLOOMIN is deliberately exposing children to the joys of live theatre and music as well as concepts such as gardening being fascinating, fun and productive (very green).

Sometimes it’s good to take a step back in time where the old carefree and easy musicals of the early days of theatre might become the new fangled kid on the block in today’s theatrical industry, such as we’ve tried to do with BLOOMIN.  There’s truly something for everyone. Each piece of music is a different genre so that NO ONE will be disappointed.

So what is your theatrical group doing in the sub-set of Children’s Theatre?  What do you look for when you look around for something new to show your young audiences?

Where have catchy musicals gone

Has anyone noticed that musicals just don’t seem to stick in the head like they used to?  Yes, some rise to great fame and popularity like Cats or Wicked, but what do you remember about them 10, 20 or 50 years later?  Once their run is over, do you think 50 years later theatres all over the world will still be paying to perform them as they do Gypsy or Oaklahoma?

Think about it … “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair” became a commercial ditty, but got its start in the amazingly popular stage musical and movie, South Pacific.  Then There’s always “Singin In the Rain,” while that was a movie, it was still a musical and who can forget that tune?  Come to think of it, where did the musical and dancing movies go?

So, how many songs from “Cats” do you remember well enough to hum a few bars?  What about Wicked? They’re amazingly popular Broadway musicals, but the music from them don’t seem to have longevity with any age bracket.  Why is that do you suppose?

Well, I’ve read a number of blogs on the topic … the general consensus is that today’s musicals are actually being classified as “modern operas.”  The songs are actually the speaking lines set to music whereas the good old show tunes and memorable plays like “Funny Girl” or “Gypsy” even “Oklahoma” have the story happening in the lines and the songs are there to enhance the story line, but not be the actor’s lines.  Because of this, they’re memorable, they’re catchy … and today, in the new millennium, 50 years or so after they were originally produced, these plays are still the popular favorites for small and large theatrical groups around the world.

What’s going on in the entertainment industry these days with the types of productions being produced?  So many things are spin-offs, remakes, rewrites, spoofs … where’s the original works?  The truly new stuff as once came about in the early days of Broadway?  Research has brought me to realize that the smaller theatres wont do it unless the production is proven to bring in a crowd and make money and Broadway wont take much note unless it’s been performed in smaller venue’s.  Kind of a catch 22.

Has the stage seemed to have lost it’s draw to the world as the silver screen spin’s off the new “classics” like “G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra,” and “Transformers,” or yet another Friday the 13th remake.  It’s all death, dismemberment, violence, big guns, high tech, blow it up bigger than the other guy and scare you out of your pants.  It’s no wonder the kids are doing this to each other.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved Transformers :), and I’m sure when the kids drag me to GI Joe I’ll probably enjoy it at least once, but I just wish there was more going on with entertainment than this.

I wish there were more opportunities to take the kids to the theatre, off Broadway, off-off Broadway, doesn’t have to be on Broadway.  But if I take them, I don’t want to see another rendition of Cinderella, or a stage version of a Disney cartoon and they don’t want to see a long boring drama … wouldn’t it be nice to walk out laughing with a tune stuck in your head that you enjoy humming throughout the house?

Theatrical Roots in Bucks County, PA

So, what do you know about Bucks County, Pennsylvania??  Depending on where you’re from, possibly not much, but those in the theatrical community might tell you that Bucks County has very deep roots in the theatrical arts.

Home of The Bucks County Playhouse, Town and Country Players, The Bristol Riverside Theatre, Langhorne Players, and Rogers & Hammerstein, Bucks County is uniquely positioned about half-way between New York and Philadelphia creating an ideal environment to try out new works.

Did you know that Grace Kelly got started here in Bucks County?  Or that 45 years ago Robert Redford walked out on stage in Bucks County in “Nobody Loves Me” and even recently visited to take a walk down memory lane?  Even Lillian Gish appeared in Bucks County.

Why on earth am I talking about Bucks County in this blog?  Well, it’s where we’re from yes, but also, I myself didn’t know some of the famous people that got started right here in my very own back yard.  I found that interesting enough to want to share it.  What about you?  What do you know about the area, or even other areas?  Who’s frequenting your home town?  What’s going on out there … share with us what you know about this and other hotbeds of creative talent.

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