AZ Local: Cool Things To Do & Yummy Places To Know About

I am still reflecting after enjoying an action packed weekend last week that reminds me of some of the cool places the Valley of the Sun offers.  Be sure to check out some of these ideas if you haven’t already.

On Friday, my daughter and I enjoyed a nice breakfast in Tempe at the always good Snooze restaurant. She was out of school for an early morning doctor’s appointment on the other side of town, so we decided to enjoy a meal afterwards.  If you haven’t tried Snooze, put it on your list for one of the best breakfast spots in town.  snoozeSnooze has several locations.  We chose Tempe and it is always fun to feel the college vibe at the eatery since ASU is back in full swing.

Last Friday night’s attire for me included wearing slippers to an NCL (National Charity League) event called the Slippers & Sangria Social.  It was nice wearing comfy shoes to a party and I especially loved that each guest brought a new pair of slippers to donate.  What a great idea for an event.   Have your

Wearing my comfy slippers and a brand new bring in the bag to donate. Such a cool idea!

Wearing my comfy slippers and a brand new bring in the bag to donate. Such a cool idea!

guests wear something fun and then bring one extra to donate to those in need.

Saturday morning I am proud to say that I made a 6:30am workout at my favorite small gym, Body by Design.  me-after-gymOn my early morning drive to my gym, it was refreshing to see all of the early risers up and at em’ jogging, biking and walking because that means that our awesome fall weather has arrived.  I could feel it this morning and this is an exciting time for us Phoenicians!  My favorite mountain to recommend hiking is South Mountain’s Telegraph Pass.  I think it is one of the easier climbs, but still gets the heart rate going.  If you haven’t tried this one, be sure to as the view is really pretty. signPost gym I went to my favorite real deal healthy clean food restaurant, Pomegranate Cafe to have a wellness shot that is made with ginger, turmeric, lemon, apple and cayenne.  I swear whenever I start to feel like I may be getting sick, I have one of these and so far, so good…knock on wood!  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had earned a free breakfast since I participate in the restaurant’s electronic punch card app.  pom-breakfastMan this was incredible fuel for my body.  The So Cal omelette with sweet potatoes hash browns, super seed bread with homemade jam.  So tasty!  In fact, Pomegranate was in the top 10 best vegetarian restaurants in the nation by Forbes a few years ago.  Even if you aren’t a vegetarian, you will like this place.  Real food with a bakery, too!  Delish!

That evening called for a girls night out as we celebrated a fun birthday for one of my best friends, so we wanted to be sure the night was special.  The long running Ruffino restaurant on 48th Street & Warner was recently sold and is now Trattoria D’Amico.  I am very happy to report that that this place is scrumptious with a great atmosphere, too. I made reservations there the day before the bday dinner for my friend and the staff took great care of us.  j-bday-nightIf you go, I highly recommend the red sangria followed by the incredible Tuscan Garlic Chicken.  It was so good that all five of us gals ordered the same entree!  I wish I would have taken a picture of the food. The Tuscan dish is angel hair pasta, garlic and olive oil tossed with grilled chicken breast, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes.  Bon Appetit for sure!

After dinner we headed over the newly remodeled AMC Ahwatukee 24 and I love the changes!  The red leather reclining movie sets recline into an almost flat position.  So comfy.  The bar that is stocked with different varieties of wine, beer and movie-themed cocktails is great and we love that drinks can go inside the theater with us.

And to round out the weekend, on Sunday my daughter and I drove to Peoria to see our friend perform in the lead in Les Miserables School Edition and he…and the entire cast…were absolutely incredible! julianSince my daughter has performed in local community theater for the last nine years, she has many pals who now perform in different productions all over the city.  We have been thoroughly enjoying making the rounds to see our many young friends perform.  Theater Works School Edition blew us away.  The acting, the singing, the stage, the special effects.  The show runs through September 25th and although I heard it may be sold out, it is definitely worth checking to see if any extra tickets can be had.

And speaking of local children’s theater, be sure to check upcoming productions for Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre and Actor’s Youth Theatre.  My daughter has appeared in numerous productions at ACT and was cast in 13 over the summer at AYT.  ACT’s Christmas Carol is always a joy and gets one in the holiday spirit of gratitude for sure.  great-xmas-carol-shotA wonderful local tradition for families so be on the lookout for that one in December.

So much to do here in the Valley of the Sun, especially this time of year!  Share your favorite Valley spots in the comments section and get out and do stuff with your people.  Especially those of you with little kids because you won’t believe how fast they grow up and leave home.  Trust me!

 

AZ Local: Christmas Carol Tradition & ACT Continue On Thanks To Sponsors!

Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre’s (ACT) annual production of “A Christmas Carol” had a very successful two week run these last weekends to crowds that both laughed out loud and teared up during the 12th annual musical production.

My girl presenting a closing show gift from the cast to Melissa Snow, ACT's very talented choreographer, who also directs shows, too.

My girl presenting a closing show gift from the cast to Melissa Snow, ACT’s very talented choreographer, who also directs shows, too.

And behind the curtain were relieved performers and directors since ACT was in financial danger of completely shutting down.

Sadly the theatre had to part with their beloved performance space after last Sunday’s closing Christmas Carol show.   act spaceThe good news is that ACT, as a nonprofit, will continue on with next year’s Christmas Carol performing at the Mesa Arts Center, which is wonderful news for the leaders and children that call ACT their second home.

A huge thank you goes out to several community businesses that stepped up to help keep the magical annual production afloat and to help ACT continue on.  A few weeks ago, local hip and stylish clothing boutique Clothes Minded hosted the Christmas Carol performers at the store so that the group could entertain customers and passerbys and their Belle at storefun performance got folks in the holiday spirit for sure.  bookkeepers at store20% of the days sales went back cast at storeScrooge with Lexto ACT and we Cratchits at storethank Clothes Minded for the additional funding, which was just under $400.  Such a nice and creative way to support the local arts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT's youngest children's choir, All Keyed Up also performed at the store event. 

ACT’s youngest children’s choir, All Keyed Up also performed at the store event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Clothes Minded has two very cool holiday events coming up, so check this out for your last minute shopping!  be you December event

 

 

 

 

statement necklace gift (3)

Origami Owl Custom Jewelry stepped up to be the Academy Award Sponsor of the shows.  That was very much appreciated and I got to witness employees from the company watch the show and they were such a nice and energetic audience.  They even gave the cast a standing ovation.  I also saw them tear up as well. It is so cool to see others see this special show for the first time.

The show’s Emmy Award Sponsors were Corporate Interior Systems (they also sponsored Addams Family…thank you!) and Qwaltec.  Thank you so much to both companies!

Mizell Insurance Agency (Farmer’s) was the show’s Tony Award Sponsor, which also helped ACT to continue with this very special annual holiday tradition and that is so very appreciated.

And the Playbill Sponsor was Team Orthodontics and that didn’t surprise me because they are always supporting the community.  We are so thankful, especially my daughter since she has performed with ACT (and taken many classes there) since she was only 6 years old!

My girl with the Talented Trio of ACT directors, Melissa, Michele and Bailey :)

My girl with the Talented Trio of ACT directors, Melissa, Michele and Bailey 🙂

If your company would like to become an ACT sponsor to help keep youth Arts alive and well in our community, let us know as we look forward to the theatre’s new chapter.  My girl is especially excited about this now that she is a teenager and can audition for the teen parts!

 

 

 

 

AZ Local: Shop for a Cause: Clothes Minded Event Helps Struggling Local Community Children’s Theatre

A few months ago, my teen daughter asked to write an article about what her beloved Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre (ACT) means to her and to the many children who have called ACT their second home.

7 years later in ACT's Treble Makers Show Choir.

ACT has been struggling financially, like so many nonprofit Fine Arts organizations do, so I helped with volunteer work on a parent committee to try to save ACT.  We were not completely successful, so ACT is being forced to downsize and lose a big part of their space, but ACT does not have to dissolve, so we are thankful for that. The hardest part for all involved is the loss of our very cool performance area, stage, seats, curtains, lights and all.

So after ACT’s annual production of Christmas Carol, future shows will be held in other venues.  That is a bittersweet pill to swallow and involves downsizing, remodeling (of the small rehearsal and classroom space that ACT will keep) and other costs. Our local paper did a very nice article explaining what this all entails.

In the meantime, local clothing boutique owner, Kim Kendall of Clothes Minded contacted me asking if she could hold a fundraiser in her hip and fashionable womens clothing store to help ACT raise money to be able to continue on.  Here are a few examples of her nice styles that flatter figures. cm styles blogstompSo come out to her store this Saturday, November 22nd from 10am to 6pm to not only shop and support a very valuable local children’s theatre, but to also see a sneak preview performance of ACT’s Christmas Carol!  Performers will do a number from the upcoming hit show at Clothes Minded this Saturday from 1:30pm to 3pm!  Plus a portion of all sales will be donated to ACT so do some holiday shopping or buy a festive and stylish outfit for yourself all while helping to keep a good thing going when it comes to Fine Arts opportunities for our kids!  ACT event piece

And if you can’t make the cool shopping/performance event at Clothes Minded, you can still donate to the ACT here.

AZ Local: Zombie Lovers, Check This Team Building Event Out!

Just in time for Halloween season, the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre has a very cool event for the public called Trapped In a Room with a Zombie!  Book this fun interactive theatrical event for team building with coworkers or as a date night with a group.  This works great for a unique birthday party as well.  zombieThe idea is to work together to solve clues to find the key to escape the room before the chained zombie gets your group members.  Participants share the room for an hour and every five minutes the zombie’s chain gets longer, so the team must work together to solve the clues to get out together.  KTVK’s Good Morning Arizona came out to give us a sneak peek of what to expect if you decide to get trapped in a room with a zombie.  It is an experience that you won’t forget and your group will absolutely love.  The fun employees from Caffe Boa in Ahwatukee came out to give it a try and they had a blast!  Caffe Boa peepsTake a look….

Heartfelt Words From A Worried Kid: What My Children’s Theatre Means To Me

My daughter is worried.  We got word this week that my daughter’s beloved second home (as she calls it), the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre (ACT) may have to close their doors.  Once she heard this, she sat down at the computer and thoughtful words poured out of her heart and on to the keyboard.  She first reflected on just how long she has performed at ACT and the fact that she started there at the tender age of 5 years old as seen in this ACT show choir photo below….

At only 6 years old, she was proudly singing a sweet little solo with the Ahwatukee Children's Theatre All Keyed Up Show Choir at a Phoenix Zoo performance.

At only 5 years old, she was proudly singing a sweet little solo with the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre All Keyed Up Show Choir at a Phoenix Zoo performance.

 

7 years later in ACT's Treble Makers Show Choir.

7 years later in ACT’s Treble Makers Show Choir.

After you read her sweet and very honest comments, you may want to donate and your donation is tax deductible and you can donate here.

But first, here in her very own words, is what a local community children’s theatre means to kids.  Lexi has experienced much growth since she first set foot in the ACT doors eight years ago.  She is now a teenager and here is her story with very little edits from me….

Lexi says:

head shot

 

 

 

 

 

 

What ACT Means To Me

Where do I begin?  I guess I’ll start where it all started, when I was five.  I began at Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre at that age, and I can still remember that my first play was Cinderella as an evil step sister along with Emma Horn and Megan O’Neall  as our mother. Cinderella with Evil StepsistersIt was so much fun that I had just had to do another play with ACT the next time around.

My second play with this theatre was Sleeping Beauty and I proudly got the part of Maleficent (this was one of my favorite roles ever), and guess what? It was so much fun again I just had to continue with this.

Once again landing the evil role of the evil queen in Snow White, I realized that I must of had a knack for evil characters!  Snow White & Evil Queen
as CruellaI especially enjoyed playing Cruella Di Vil and Mom tells me that was her favorite character that I have played.  It was so much fun!

Now I don’t want to sit here all day listing every part I had ever since I was five, but I’ll definitely tell you that not every part was nearly as special as my beginners luck in the first part (that I referred to in the first paragraph) and that’s honestly what it was, beginners luck.

I’ll tell you once I got used to that, it was a pretty big shock when I got a part that didn’t even have a name. I thought my world was over and kept feeling that way over the years every time my assigned character wasn’t what I had hoped for after auditions.  But the experience definitely made me grow and become wiser.

Now I realize that every part that I was assigned, regardless of the character, really did make me stronger and better at what I love to do.  cast picAnd that makes me appreciate even more now when I do get a part that’s close to the top of the cast list….if you know what I mean.

It excites me even more to know that I still have so much to learn about this profession that I hope to continue in.

ACT helped me learn, thrive, grow, and mature in so many ways that I can’t even describe.  I want that to continue for boys and girls of new generations for as long as possible. Don’t you, too?

lex in oliver playIt’s funny how writing this to you guys is bringing tears of joy to my eyes as I think about all the amazing lessons that I’ve learned and memories and the friends I’ve made at ACT.

Traveling with my show choir two summers ago.

Traveling with my show choir two summers ago.

We also like to go see our friends in ACT plays and cheer them on. erin in play

I have felt a lot of love over the years at ACT. echo

I hope they continue fighting and receiving donations so they can keep this amazing place going and sharing the love that they have bestowed upon me.
alex annie stage

Please help them out in their fight to reclaim confidence of keeping this amazing place going for years to come. Even the smallest donation of $20 helps unbelievably.  rolesPLEASE HELP KEEP THEIR DOORS OPEN!!!

Before I sign off I want to give a special thanks to some of the people that have helped me grow, both as a young actress and a person….with directors

*Bailey Isenberg for giving me amazing opportunities to thrive as an actor and for dealing with me as a toddler!

*Melissa Snow for keeping me on track and focused throughout my roles and my dancing.

*Kendall Snow for being so sweet and kind and showing me so many more things that I’m able to do with my feet….and letting me sleep that one time during dance practice when I didn’t feel good.

*Lori Olawski for being one of the best neighbors ever and inspiring me to keep it together and organized as you have done!

*My family for supporting me and believing in me and coming to every show and accepting me when I was young….when I had those fits when there was no reason for one.  family 2014And for paying the bills and working so hard to give me the best life possible.

And to Michele Rubino who has shown me so much throughout the years.  You always give me a laugh when you know I need one and even when I didn’t.  Thank you for helping me so extremely much with my voice and acting and everything.  I always feel like you have my back. with Mich

I think you’ve all heard enough to understand.  Well this is Alexis signing off.  Thanks for reading my article.  Please consider making a donation to my beloved children’s theatre.  Any amount helps so much!  You can simply and easily donate here.

 

 

Our Local Version of Glee Took 1st Place in Hollywood!

show choir groupManic:  I thought that manic would be a word that would appear in my article about traveling with my daughter’s middle school show choir to Hollywood last month.  I was wrong.  There truly weren’t any manic moments, if you can believe that.  It went that smoothly!

Managed:  Everything!  All went so well and the trip went off perfectly.  I must give credit to the amazing Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre (ACT) directors who worked with Kathy Jones from the L.E.A.D. tour group.   Our ACT directors, Michele, Melissa, Bailey and Abby knew exactly what they were doing with the talented tweens from the moment we boarded the bus for our 7-hour journey to Hollywood up until the moment that the exciting trip came to a close five days a later.

And the kids were terrific!  They had amazing energy and nailed each competitive performance.  Behind the scenes, they were respectful, courteous and well-behaved as we went from one exciting Hollywood place to the next.  It was awesome.

And the icing on the cake….our Treble Makers Show Choir took 1st place in the national competition that consisted of 67 show choirs from around the nation!  I am a proud and happy show choir mom.  Congrats to our kids and to the directors.

Read on to see the cool places that were on our itinerary and if you plan a trip to Hollywood, you will learn about some interesting spots that are not to be missed that we got to experience.  This article is part 1 and I will have more Hollywood stops to see in part 2 of this journey that I will publish next week.  Now back to day one…

Our show choir bus left Phoenix bright and early on a Sunday morning and we arrived in Hollywood seven hours later with a little bit of time to unpack and head out to the choir’s first competitive performance.

Hollywood

Our first Hollywood stop was Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum that sits right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the active Hollywood Blvd.   The kids performed right out front and underneath the big welcoming sign that they had on display for us.  under signThat was very cool!  And they had a big crowd cheering them on, which was a terrific Hollywood welcome for us desert folk.dancingwelcome signAfter they wrapped their first set, they stood proudly posing for pictures and they deserved to be proud.  post poseThey were fresh, focused and performed a sharp and beautiful set of dancing and singing.  And they weren’t done yet.  Next up was a tour of the cool wax museum and then yet another competitive performance at Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood after that. Meryl StreepMy girl’s idol is Meryl Streep, so she was thrilled to pose next to Meryl’s wax figure at Madame Tussauds.  And her gal pal, who is crazy about JT was thrilled to find his likeness to stand with, too.  JT

And my favorite wax museum pics are just too much fun, don’t you think? wax musAnd I can’t forget her improvised conversation with the great Jack Nicholson.Jack NicYep, Madame Tussauds was loads of fun, so if you go to Hollywood, check it out and you will also see a lot of characters outside the building, too.  And after all of that excitement, it was time to go perform at Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood.  The kids were still going strong and gave an outstanding performance at the restaurant.  Hard Rock stageAnd the audience was just terrific, clapping and cheering and commenting to each other how good this Phoenix show choir was on stage.  The choir directors and us parents were very proud indeed.  audienceIf they only knew that these kids had been up and at em and traveling since 7am that morning, they would have been even more impressed.  By this time, it was close to 8pm.

And they weren’t done competing yet because the next day they would perform at Universal Studios.  universal signStay tuned for that and for the rest of our Hollywood adventure in my post that will run on Monday.   Make sure to look for it because I will show you a couple of Hollywood attractions that you will want to know about.  In the meantime, I’m wishing our amazing Ahwatukee Treble Makers Show Choir a huge congratulations for taking the very coveted 1st place!

American Girl Fashion Show Ticket Winner!!

Congratulations to Lori Hartshorn!  

Lori won 2 tickets to the big American Girl Fashion Show presented by the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre!  The big event takes place on Saturday, November 3rd at the Chandler Center for the Arts!  For more details about this must-see special day for girls and their families, see my article all about the big show that I get to emcee, too!  

Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster.com!!

Congratulations to Lori!!!

***Winner drawn through random.org***

AZ Local: Win Tickets to the Nov. 3rd American Girl Fashion Show!

Looking for a fun and educational event to take your daughter, granddaughter or niece to?  Check out the 2nd annual American Girl Fashion Show presented by the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre happening on Saturday, November 3rd at the Chandler Center for the Arts!

***And email us your name if you want to be in the drawing to win tickets to the big event!  Email your entry to [email protected]  All names will be put in a drawing through random.org!

Here is more about this great event…

Over 75 young girls from across the state of Arizona will take center stage in front of their family and friends modeling clothing from the beloved characters of the American Girl book and doll series.

Fun fashions will be presented, while lively commentary, music and decorations create a memorable experience for girls and their families.  Audiences will delight in historical clothing, from daywear to sleepwear to special occasion clothing that resembles what the popular American Girl characters Kaya, Caroline, Josefina, Marie-Grace and Cecile, Addy, Rebecca, Kit, Molly and Julie might have worn. Contemporary, Girl of the Year and My American Girl outfits for girls ages 8 and up and sweet Bitty Baby fashions for little girls complete the program.

The event also includes a doll hair salon, tea party treats, party favors, and raffle prizes.  It is a great day out for girls and their families!

Tickets are $30.00 per person and can be ordered by calling Chandler Center for the Arts at 480-782-2680 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com.  There will be three shows at 10:00 am, 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm on Saturday, November 3rd at Chandler Center for the Arts.

Plus, I am extremely honored to announce that I was asked to be the show emcee, so come and join me on Saturday, November 3rd for a day of fun, for both your young girl and for the adults that accompany her, to this special event that celebrates American girls through the years!

 

The American Girl dolls are diverse, so girls of all cultures and races are represented in the fun fashion show.  And the fashions are fabulous too, from the pajama sets to the fancy dresses, this is a fun fashion show for all ages!

Plus, it all goes to a good cause.  Funds received from the American Girl Fashion Show event will benefit the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre (ACT), enhancing A.C.T.’s outreach to disadvantaged and special needs children in Arizona.

So join me as we sit back, relax and enjoy a fun filled fashion show!  Don’t miss it!  My daughter was in the show last year and her friends that attended the event told us that they had a blast!

 

American Girl has sold 139 million books and 21 million dolls through the company’s catalogue, retail stores, and web site since 1986. The American Girl magazine has a circulation of over 450,000, ranking it among the top 10 children’s magazine in the nation. The American Girl Web Site, www.americangirl.com, receives 43 million visits per year.

Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre (ACT) was established in 1997 and provides local families participation, education, and appreciation in all aspects of the performing arts. ACT believes that involvement by children in safe, productive, healthy activities helps to foster more constructive citizens for their communities.

**About the ticket giveaway….2 tickets will be given away to the winning name drawn through random.org.  To be entered into the drawing, simply email your name to [email protected] by 9am this Friday morning, November 26th  The winner’s name will be posted on managedmoms.com this Friday, November 26th by 12 noon, Arizona time.  You must be 18 years old or older to enter your name in the drawing.  Tickets cannot be sold, but can be given as a gift.***

AZ Local: American Girl Casting Call This Weekend!

Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre, a prominent Arizona community theatre is looking for girls, size 6x or size 10 to star as fashion models in their second annual American Girl® Fashion Show event scheduled for November 3, 2012 at the Chandler Center for the Arts.  Auditions take place this Saturday, August 18, 2012 at the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre, located at 5051 East Elliot Road, Phoenix, AZ 85044.  Audition times for Size 10 goes from  2:00pm – 4:00 pm.  Tryouts for Size 6x also happens this Saturday from 4:00 pm -5:00 pm.

Popular direct marketer of dolls and accessory products, American Girl Programs offers nonprofit organizations a fully-conceived fashion show event that will leverage the American Girl brand to raise funds for children’s charities.  Up to 150 young girls from across the state of Arizona will take center stage in front of their family and friends modeling clothing from the beloved characters of the book and doll series.  The event also includes a doll hair salon, tea party treats, party favors, and raffle prizes.

American Girl Programs provided the clothing for the show in size 6x for the Little Girl clothing and size 10 historical and Dress Like Your Doll apparel. Girls must be able to attend orientation, fittings, and rehearsals and a production fee is also required. Girls can earn credit for their production fee by participating in various fundraising activities. The American Girl dolls are diverse, so girls of all cultures and races are encouraged to apply. More information about the model search can be found at the website, www.americangirlfashionshowaz.com.

Funds received from the American Girl Fashion Show event will benefit the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre, enhancing A.C.T.’s outreach to disadvantaged and special needs children in Arizona

American Girl has sold 139 million books and 21 million dolls through the company’s catalogue, retail stores, and web site since 1986. The American Girl magazine has a circulation of over 450,000, ranking it among the top 10 children’s magazine in the nation. The American Girl Web Site, www.americangirl.com, receives 43 million visits per year.

 Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre (ACT) was established in 1997 and provides local families participation, education, and appreciation in all aspects of the performing arts. ACT believes that involvement by children in safe, productive, healthy activities helps to foster more constructive citizens for their communities.

What Theater Can Teach Your Child

Manic:  My daughter during her preschool years!  With her energy and spirited ways, we had our hands full with our sweet girl!

Managed:  Finding Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre (ACT)!  She has thrived acting in plays, singing solos, dancing and reciting good-sized monologues….I remember when she had to do the magical potion monologue when she was the Evil Queen in Snow White.  She did it, she did it well and she was only 6 years old at the time! 

Now as she approaches her teen years, ACT has become an important part of her life, both educationally, socially and when it comes to setting goals.

And managedmoms.com writer and school teacher, Lisa Walton, has a son who has also thrived at ACT, so I thought it would be interesting to get her perspective when it comes to having a boy who is involved in theater, so read on to see just how much theater can teach your child!

Lisa says:

There are many soccer, and hockey moms out there.  In our family it is basketball; we spend a lot time running to games and practices.  However, first and foremost I am a theater mom.  No, not one of those scary stage moms portrayed on shows like “Toddlers and Tiaras”, but I am a huge advocate for children’s theater.

In fact, for the past five years our second home has been Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre.  We spend a lot of time volunteering and helping raise awareness of the theater because we value it so much.  There are so many benefits to the Performing Arts that I try to share with others, but there are also some myths that need to be dispelled.

Myth:  You already have to know how to sing/act/dance

Truth:  You do not need to have those skills already to participate.  Singing, acting, and dancing are skills that you learn just like anything else. While some children may have a natural ability for these things, their talents can be honed through formal classes.   Our children’s theater teaches all of those skills and proper techniques.  They offer classes, lessons, and camps for all age groups of kids with varying levels of experience.  Classes and camps offer parts in shows for everyone that signs up.  Auditions occur within the class/camp setting for principle parts.  The running mantra in our theater is that “there are no small parts, just small actors!”

Myth:  Theater isn’t beneficial for boys

Truth:  There are many boys involved in theater.  My son has several older mentors and alas, idols in our theater.  They are great role models for him to look up to and go to for advice and support.

Boys (or girls for that matter) shouldn’t have to choose between sports and the Arts.  In addition, children in this day and age should not be defined but what activity they participate in.  My son plays basketball and does theater.  In fact, he fancies himself a younger Troy Bolton.  But neither of those things DEFINE him.  That is one thing I love about theater, it’s accepting and finds a place for everyone.  It gives kids a chance to feel important and feel like they belong somewhere.

Myth:  Theater is just for fun, they don’t really learn anything important

Truth:  In addition to singing, acting, and dancing, musical theater teaches important life skills.  It teaches children creativity and how to use their imagination.  It teaches them to become a team player and cooperation.  It teaches respect, acceptance, and responsibility.  Kids gain confidence and learn critical public speaking skills.  It improves their memory skills, music and language skills. But yes, most importantly they learn by having fun.

When my son was in first grade we enrolled in a summer camp program at Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre.  They performed “Cinderella”.  He was asked to be the Prince, but vehemently refused.  He just wanted to be a mouse, or a townsperson, lacking the confidence to do a bigger role.  But by the end of camp, he was hooked!  Not only did he sign up for a class in the Fall, but he eagerly auditioned and accepted the role of Prince Phillip in “Sleeping Beauty”.  Of course, getting to carry a sword and slay a dragon may have also been an incentive!

I have seen huge growth in my son since he started in theater five years ago.  He’s no longer afraid to get up in front of the class.  Actually, now he loves oral presentations and school performances.  He looks people in the eye and speaks clearly and directly to them.  His confidence has grown by leaps and bounds.  In fact, this year he not only ran for student council, he campaigned to be president.  He lives to perform, any where, any time.  He even shocked me and looked somewhat calm during the school spelling bee this year.

While theater may not be your child’s life passion; the lessons they learn from theater will last them a lifetime!

 Have your kids try out theater this summer!

Ahwatukee Children’s Theater has summer camps for ages 5-19.

“Cinderella” will be performed in June at a wonderful venue, Chandler Center for the Arts.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for our kids to perform on a professional stage.  We are also holding camps for kids in grades K-6 to do “Flat Stanley’s Musical Adventures” in June and July. A.C.T. offers vocal camp and an audition workshop too.

For more information go to www.azact.org

About our writer, Lisa Walton:

Lisa Walton–Parenting tips, Valley Teacher and Mother

Lisa Walton has been a teacher in the Valley for over 18 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Deaf Education from Illinois State University; and Master’s Degree in Special Education from Arizona State University.  She currently works as an itinerant teacher, collaborating with regular education teachers in the public schools.

 

Read more about Lisa on our team bio page