ARTS & CULTURE
By Grace Lindquist | Photos courtesy of Walton Arts Center
More than a Trip to the Theater
Kids shows are fun, entertaining and educational
Whether it’s a brand-new story or a retelling of a beloved classic, Kellogg’s Kids Series and Family Fun shows at Walton Arts Center are a great way to introduce children to the magic of the theater and learn a few life lessons along the way. The upcoming month provides a few opportunities to see an entertaining and educational show with your little ones.
With the help of characters like Duck Ellington, Dairy Parton and Chickee Minaj, Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogiehelps young audiences find their voice and learn more about the power of music. This book-turned-musical will be presented at Walton Arts Center at 4 p.m. on March 5.
New York Times best-selling author Kwame Alexander brings two of his beloved children’s books — Acoustic Rooster and Indigo Blume — to the stage. The cast will explore jazz, soul music, bossa nova, go-go, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, rap, boogie, ballad, country and more during the show, spreading energy throughout the theater and keeping viewers on the edge of their seats. The audience will spend 60 minutes with adaptations of musical icons Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Dolly Parton and Nicki Minaj, as well as Alexander’s original creations Acoustic Rooster and Indigo Blume.
Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie. Photo by Jati Lindsay
According to the show’s writers, “Indigo Blume is based on brave young people like the children in the audience who want to accomplish amazing things on this earth … like keeping your community clean and green, growing a rooftop garden of dreams or sharing musical and artistic talents with family and friends.”
Blume and the other lovable characters will tell a story about being scared, being brave and believing in yourself. Viewers will watch Blume overcome her fear of performing, help friends and strangers in need, work hard to clean up her community and plan a festival.
The Jungle Book
And don’t miss an original adaptation of The Jungle Book, a tale of strength, loyalty and courage on March 25 at 4 p.m. Featuring a cast of local professionals and kids, this version of the classic children’s story seamlessly melds theatrical storytelling with classical Indian dance. Tickets are $10.
Three local arts organizations teamed up to reimagine this coming-of-age story. Trike Theatre, one of Walton Arts Center’s artistic affiliates, creates extraordinary theater experiences for young people and families, strengthens community and inspires young voices. Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation seeks to bring pieces of Indian culture to Northwest Arkansas, and Megha Rao from Dhirana Academy of Classical Dance choreographed the production and instructed the local dancers.
The Jungle Book is the first project to bring the three professional arts companies together, and only the second collaboration in the nation between a professional theater for youth and a professional classical Indian dance company. “All three of our companies are equally producing this show; each of us brings our strengths to the rehearsal room,” said Kassie Misiewicz of Trike Theatre.
“The young dancers are incredibly talented and dedicated. When our entire cast rehearses, I’m thrilled to see performers from different backgrounds building community and creating a space where they feel like they belong,” Misiewicz said. “The Jungle Book follows Mowgli’s journey to embracing that she is stronger when she trusts her community instead of going alone. The strength of the jungle is us. And the strength of us is the jungle."
More Shows for Kids:
Windmill Theatre's Hiccup! | 4 p.m. | April 16
A Letter for Alena | 4 p.m. | April 23
Annie | May 5-7 | 5 performances
Madagascar The Musical | June 2 & 3 | 4 performances