March 4, 2018

Review Of The Outstanding ‘Seedfolks’

There’s an incredible play at The Rose right now. “Seedfolks” is a little different than what you’re used to at the theater, but it’s exactly why I think you need to see it before it ends this weekend. It’s about the transformation of a immigrant community in Cleveland, all thanks to a community garden that began with one young girl planting seeds.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets so I could write this review.

Sonja Parks portrays 20 characters in the play “Seedfolks,” on stage at The Rose through March 11, 2018.The show was originally developed by the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis. Photo by Alex Myhre

What to expect

“Seedfolks” is a one-woman show featuring Sonja Parks playing 20 different characters. She does this seamlessly through voice and posture, and with the help of light and music changes sometimes. I loved it. It was a challenge for my younger daughter, who’s 6, to keep track of everything, though.

Parks explained in a press release: “With ‘Seedfolks,’ the biggest challenge is the sheer number of characters that I need to play, coupled by the fact that some of them not only talk to each other, but interact with each other…And every single one of those characters [is] me! Several characters are from different countries and speak different languages. It was necessary for me to research the culture of each country to understand and honor their traditions, to work with a dialect coach every day getting each accent correct and, in some cases, to learn my lines in another language.” 

Seedfolks promo photo

“Seedfolks” stars Sonja Parks, who worked with a dialect coach to get the accent of each of her characters correct and learn some of her lines that were in another language. Photo by Alex Myhre

The set is minimal, though there are video projections to help set the scene.

This show is recommended for ages 8 and older. There are some themes that you don’t typically encounter with children’s theater, or at least, for the shows I’ve been to with my kids since only one has recently turned 8. There are mentions of marijuana, gang shootings, and racial tension. The characters in this community are realistic and dealing with very real problems.

Pre-show music is pretty awesome and you might feel like dancing.

Post-show, plan on sticking around for the Q&A with Parks.

Timing a potty break

This show is one hour without intermission. Go ahead of time.

Is it kid-friendly?

It’s children’s theater, and only an hour long, but not for the itty bitty. I’d stick to the 8 and older recommendation. My 6-year-old said she liked it, but I could tell it was hard to follow and not as exciting as some of the shows she’s seen at The Rose. She got antsy toward the end.

My 8-year-old seemed pretty into the show the entire time.

As mentioned before, some of the characters in this realistic play talk about troubling things.

Make it a complete date and check out my favorite places for post-theater treats in Omaha. Ice cream, anyone?

Will an adult like this?

Yes. This is children’s theater at its best. It was thought-provoking. It had funny moments. It was fantastically performed by one actress.

What was it about again?

“Seedfolks” is based on a book by Newbery Medal-winning Paul Fleischman about an immigrant neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, that is transformed by a community garden. Aided by video projection and a lively mix of recorded music, a dozen distinct and diverse characters are brought to life by Ivey Award-winning actor Parks, named a featured artist by TIME Magazine and one of “Seven Artists You Must See” by American Theatre magazine.

“Seedfolks” begins as 9-year-old Kim plants the first seeds in the vacant lot next to her apartment building. They are six lima bean seeds, planted in honor of the father she never knew. Soon, each member of Kim’s neighborhood finds a reason to plant their own seeds, resurrecting a derelict lot and uniting a fractured neighborhood.

The show was originally developed by the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis under the direction of show director Peter C. Brosius, and The Rose is has brought that CTC production to its mainstage. In May 2017, CTC’s production of “Seedfolks” was selected from over 800 works worldwide to represent the United States at the prestigious ASSITEJ International (International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People) World Conference in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

If you go

“Seedfolks”

Where: The Rose, 2001 Farnam St.

When: Through March 11, 2018; performances on Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m

Cost: Tickets are $20. Discount ticket vouchers are available for $16 at area Hy-Vee stores. Members of The Rose receive four free tickets to the production. Purchase tickets here.

 

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October 28, 2014

‘A Wrinkle In Time’ Comes To The Rose

This season, it’s like The Rose is staging a theatrical versions of many books of my childhood: The recent “Cat in the Hat”; this spring’s “Charlotte’s Web”; and starting Saturday, “A Wrinkle in Time.”

"A Wrinkle In Time" opens Nov. 1 at The Rose. Photo courtesy MJB Photography.

“A Wrinkle In Time” opens Nov. 1 at The Rose. Photo courtesy MJB Photography.

Anyone else remember that Madeline L’Engle book?

If your kids thought the first productions of The Rose season were more for younger crowds, then this is the show for them. First off it’s an intricate plot with sophisticated scientific concepts about time and space.

And second, it’s got some dark imagery and scary moments. According to the director, Kit McKay, “This is definitely a show that is darker and skewed to older children.”

Got it. The other-worldly science fiction adventure is not for the 5 and under crowd I roll with lately.

But maybe it is for your crowd… you’ll want to get to the end of this post for a giveaway!

“A Wrinkle in Time” opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 16 at The Rose. As with all shows at The Rose, the opening night features some special activities: There is a pre-show presentation by The Rose Brigade, a video about space presented by the Mueller Planetarium and a special goodie after the show.

 

If you go

“A Wrinkle in Time”

When: Runs Nov. 1-16, with performances Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 5 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. An additional performance will be held Sunday, Nov. 2, at 5 p.m. Run time is 60 minutes. Arrive early, since about 10 minutes before the show, there is a video about space that may interest your kids.

Where: The Rose, 2001 Farnam St.

Synopsis: “A Wrinkle in Time” tells the story of Meg, a quintessential square peg who must find her inner courage and strength to save her father from a mysterious intergalactic villain determined to eradicate the world of individuality. With the help of some rather unique characters, Meg teams up with her younger sibling, Charlie Wallace, and her friend Calvin to travel through the universe to try toput her family back together again.

Tickets: Tickets are $18 per person. Discount ticket vouchers are available at all area Hy-Vee stores for $14 each. Members of The Rose receive four free tickets to the production.

Recommended for ages 7 and up.

 

Giveaway!

The Rose would like one Oh My! Omaha reader to attend the show with his or her family! Enter to win four vouchers to see “A Wrinkle in Time” – the vouchers are good for four tickets to any show date (valued at $72). Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. The contest ends Friday, so don’t wait to enter! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The Rose provided the vouchers for this giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are mine. I was not compensated for this post.

October 6, 2014

Review: The Cat in The Hat

There was no doubt in my mind my kids would love seeing the latest show at The Rose. “The Cat in the Hat.” Is there any kid over the age of 3 who hasn’t heard that story? Hadn’t wanted a cat to come to their house and cause all sorts of trouble with two insane little blue-haired thingys?

My family attended opening night – our first opening night show at The Rose. The theater does a great job  generating excitement on opening night. Cool balloon characters were spotted throughout the lobbies.

Fun accessories were on nearby tables so kids – and me – can goof it up in their pictures.

Mooch auditions to be the next Dr. Seuss character.

Mooch auditions to be the next Dr. Seuss character.

There was also a large canvas for kids to write and draw on, answering the question “What do you do on a rainy day?”

If you have the option, go on an opening night at The Rose!

What to expect

It is a 45-minute production of a book that takes about 15 minutes or less to read…so expect a few dance sequences. They’re fun though, particularly the ones involving Thing 1 and Thing 2 (Sue Gillespie Booton and Aaron Ellis). One had my 3-year-old bouncing in her seat, waving her arms around.

Noah Diaz portrays The Cat in The Hat - and he's fantastic.

Noah Diaz portrays The Cat in The Hat – and he’s fantastic.

Noah Diaz plays a marvelous Cat in the Hat. From his balancing act to his cat-like antics, he had my kids hooked the whole time. He was The Cat in the Hat to them. As a side note, great job in make up design, Erin Bragg.

Timing a potty break

Go before the start of the show. There is no intermission.

Is it kid-friendly?

100% kid-friendly. There’s a bit of theater magic in the show to capture their imagination – think: Flying items.

Here's trouble.

Here’s trouble.

And I think the entrance of Thing 1 and Thing 2 – how they magically appear out of a box on stage – just about blew their minds.

Will an adult like this?

It’s not going to have you on the edge of your seat, but it is amusing and Noah Diaz as The Cat in the Hat is exactly how I imagine the cat to come to life. You might raise your eyebrow to House of Pain playing at the entrance of Thing 1 and Thing 2.

What was it about again?

“The Cat in the Hat” brings the beloved Dr. Seuss classic to life: A rainy day becomes a zany day when a boy and his sister receive a chaos-causing caller: The Cat in the Hat!
Like all productions at The Rose, there is a Q&A from the stage after the show ends, and an autograph session with some cast members on the upper level of the theater.
Expect a fairly long line to get autographs and pictures with the cast of this show.

Expect a fairly long line to get autographs and pictures with the cast of this show.

Bring your cameras when your kids meet the cast!

If you want to go

The show runs through Oct. 19 at The Rose, 2001 Farnam St. Shows are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 5 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Due to audience demand, there’s also a show Sunday, Oct. 12, at 5 p.m. Tickets are $18. Discount vouchers are available at area Hy-Vee Food Stores. For reservations, call (402) 345-4849, go to www.rosetheater.org, or visit the box office. Reservations are required. The performance is about 45 minutes. Best for ages 3 and older.

Disclosure: The Rose provided complimentary tickets for me to review the performance. All opinions are mine own.

September 8, 2014

Review: ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’ At The Rose

There’s always a buzz of excitement for my family when we go to the first show of a new season at The Rose. On our way to see “The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites” this weekend, that buzz was there.

I’ve been anticipating the show probably more than my kids since I had an inkling of how visually cool it would be. They were just excited because the colorful caterpillar would be involved somehow.

Caterpillar-2

What to expect

The 60-minute performance is a black-light puppet show of three of Eric Carle’s stories. The look is distinctly Carle, as if his characters have jumped off the pages. There is a narrator, two invisible-to-us puppeteers, and playful music accompanying each story.

It’s general admission seating, by the way. so if you want to get up close, get to the theater early. We sat in the balcony and the view was just fine.

Something about a balcony thrills a kid.

Something about a balcony thrills a kid.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is the last of the three stories, so yeah, you’ll probably have to explain 50 times why the caterpillar isn’t on stage yet. I haven’t actually read the other two stories featured, so they were unfamiliar to us, but still very much Carle.

It’s pretty dang cool to watch, with slow pace that suits a bed time story time (ie., don’t bring your sleepy spouse or father-in-law, for example, along). They make it rain, they create caterpillar bites in fruit and somehow, they make a cloud seem joyful.

Stick around after the show, first for the Q&A that begins immediately following the show, then head upstairs to meet the cast and stage manager and get their autographs.

Like all shows at The Rose, there is a chance to get autographs after the show.... or in this show's case, meet some puppets, too.

Like all shows at The Rose, there is a chance to get autographs after the show…. or in this show’s case, meet some puppets, too.

Ah, who am I kidding? You go to that autograph session to see and touch the puppets. They’re really impressive up close. I wanted to see the puppets more than my kids.

Celebrity sightings, the Eric Carle edition.

Celebrity sightings, the Eric Carle edition.

Timing a potty break

Go before the start of the show, as there is no intermission. Of course, kids never plan ahead. Each story is about 15 to 20 minutes long and you can leave and come back without missing much. You know Carle’s stories. There will be no plot twists to miss.

 

Is it kid-friendly?

Truly, this one’s an all-ages show. It’s recommended for 3-year-olds and older, and that’s a good reference. My almost-3-year-old sat through it with rapt attention. My older son and the kids around us who looked about 5 or 6 were really into it, shouting out the different animals in the “Mixed-Up Chameleon” and the cloud shapes in the “Little Cloud.” It’s pretty amusing since from the start, they tell us parents it’s a “no shushing” show. You can’t stop the kids’ excitement.

 

Will an adult like this?

Yes, more than you think. There is an artistry to puppetry. The stories are pretty simple, which you might find refreshing compared to the loud and sassy shows that seem to pervade youth pop culture and TV shows these days. If all else, you might find it quite relaxing. That narrator, Gordon Pinsent, has the most soothing voice, I wonder if he has relaxation tapes for adults.

 

What was it about again?

Featuring evocative music, innovative puppetry, and stunning black light visual effects, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar: comes to life on The Rose stage courtesy of the renowned Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia. Mermaid Theatre is an award-winning production company that you should take the opportunity to watch live.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” follows the adventures of a very tiny and very hungry caterpillar who eats his way through an amazing variety of foods towards his eventual metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly.

 

If you want to go

The 60-minute production features three Eric Carle stories adapted to the stage, including the "Mixed-Up Chameleon," seen here. Photo courtesy Theater

The 60-minute production features three Eric Carle stories adapted to the stage, including the “Mixed-Up Chameleon,” seen here. Photo courtesy Theater

The show runs through Sept. 21 at The Rose, 2001 Farnam St. Shows are at 7 p.m. on Fridays, and 2 and 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18, general admission (so don’t get there too late!). Discount vouchers are available at area Hy-Vee Food Stores for $14. For reservations, call (402) 345-4849, go to www.rosetheater.org, or visit the box office.

 

Thank you to The Rose for giving my family four tickets to the performance!

 

 

September 2, 2014

The Rose Opens With ‘Very Hungry Caterpillar’

The Rose Theater opens its 2014-2015 season with a show featuring the work of a very recognizable children’s book author and illustrator. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites” opens Friday and runs through Sept. 21. The other two stories in this adaptation are “Little Cloud” and “The Mixed-Up Chameleon.”

Caterpillar-2

Don’t leave this page without seeing the tip about opening night and how to score 50% of tickets!

If you went to any show at The Rose last year, you might recall the activities pre-show or at intermission. According to Kori Radloff, Marketing and Public Relations Manager at The Rose, they’re keeping up those audience engagement activities, which were designed to enhance children’s experience and understanding of the show. I liked them because they added an extra layer to my day out with the kids, and it gave us even more to talk about.

They’re one-upping themselves this year, though. Expect similar activities surrounding the show, but now, if you go on opening night, they have really neat plans! I’m bummed I won’t be able to go on Friday night because from the details I heard, it’s going to be special for your child. I’ll make sure we’re free on opening night for the next show in The Rose season, ‘The Cat in the Hat”!

Back to this hungry caterpillar show, now.

This show is unusual for The Rose in that it’s puppetry done by another theater company. They’ve never done something like this, but Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is the only theater company with the rights to stage this black-light puppet show, so there you go. I think we’re in for a treat.

Just looking at the colorful promo pictures makes me excited to see how this will all go down.

The 60-minute production will feature three Eric Carle stories adapted to the stage, including the "Mixed-Up Chameleon," seen here. Photo courtesy Theater

The 60-minute production will feature three Eric Carle stories adapted to the stage, including the “Mixed-Up Chameleon,” seen here. Photo courtesy The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia.

This sounds like a great intro to puppetry and live theater, set in a welcoming environment for the youngest of theater-goers. The show’s director, one of Canada’s most esteemed puppetry creators Jim Morrow said this is a “no-shushing” show. Since my youngest tends to talk in just two volumes, loud and loudest, I love this policy.

 

If you go

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites,” 60 minutes without intermission

Where: The Rose, 2001 Farnam St.

When: Friday through Sept. 21, with performances on Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 5 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Interpretation for the hearing impaired at the 2 p.m. show on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Best for: Children ages 3 and up, and is 60 minutes long without an intermission.

Tickets: $18; call (402) 345-4849 or purchase online at www.rosetheater.org. Discount ticket vouchers are available at all area Hy-Vee stores for $14 each (you need to make a reservation if you get vouchers).

 

Tip

The Omaha Children’s Museum is having their First Friday Family Date Night this Friday and it’s theme is all things Eric Carle! You could visit the museum at 5 p.m. and play for a while and still make it over to the opening night production, which starts at 7 p.m. They really are just two blocks away. The museum is giving Rose ticket holders $1 off their museum admission, and families can get their Rose tickets for 50% off if they show their OCM sticker at the box office (opening night only).