Cotton Club Nicholas Brothers Dance Circles Around Everyone!

Years ago, I saw a documentary on a black dance duo, the Nicholas Brothers, on PBS. They were entertainers at the prestigious Cotton Club during the Harlem Renaissance. These dancers inspired Lionel Richie, Gene Kelly, Gregory Hines, Michael Jackson and generations of others. They danced with Ziegfield's Follies. Yet I've rarely met anyone who's ever even heard of them.   tCotton Club Nicholas Brothers Dance Circles Around Other Performers

Watch Poirot Labours of Hercules, The Big Four, Curtain, Dead Man's Folly Free Online

 I am an Agatha Christie addict, a Poirot-o-phile and Marple-ian. Read all the books cover to cover, watched every film adaptation I can find. We were getting new Marples and Poirots with Geraldine McEwan/Julia McKenzie and David Suchet from BBC regularly then in 2011, nada. The Christie train stopped. No more films. We were tantalized with rumors of new Poirots, but none materialized. Well I'm happy to report that you can Watch Poirot Season 13 Labours of Hercules, The Big Four Free Online. And putlocker.com has "Dead Man's Folly" and "Curtain" free, too.

Saved Half Price on Tickets Not Ordering Online

 We took our youngest daughter to see A Streetcar Name Desire,
opera at Devos Hall in Grand Rapids last weekend. We're not big on movies, but we like theatre. I'm always looking ways to get reasonably priced tickets.

It's a little bit like roulette, getting the best deal. I never know till the last minute if husband will have the night off. So I don't dare purchase tickets early online. Opera Grand Rapids gives students half-price tickets at the door. I wanted to cash in on that for daughter. But I also wanted to make sure we got seats and got them together.
 I Saved Half on Theatre Tickets Plus Got Coupons

Props for Bible Character and Saints Costumes

Need a Bible character costume for Halloween, trick-or-treat, All Saints Day, church harvest or costume party? Or maybe you're doing a Christmas or Chanukah pageant. Here are props and symbols for major Biblical figures. I've included men and women. Bible character and saints costumes end up looking similar, so use props to identify who you are. This Bible character symbols list will make a great party game like 'Who Am I?', Bible scavenger hunt or Bible 'Sword Drill'. This list of Bible characters is taken from the older, more comprehensive Catholic Douay-Rhiems Bible. These characters are in somewhat Biblical chronological order. Props for Bible Character Costumes: Halloween, Vacation Bible School, All Saints Day

Gothic Haunted Theatre Costumes, Make-Up, Tableaux

 Saturday I dressed in costume and worked the Haunted Museum at our local historical society. I don't believe in spook houses nor in scaring children but I thought it would have an educational bent. And I was desperate to do some theatre. Having a museum for a setting is great. But you could employ these ideas in any spook house or scary play. Teens especially love this kind of theater. Read on I Have a Flair For Scaring People with Gothic Horror, to My Chagrin

Homemade Dioramas, Miniatures, Props

It's 8 pm and darling daughter is wailing. She forgot to make her school diorama project due TOMORROW! Been there done that. I was furious and thought "tough luck. Take the F. It's what you deserve." But being an eleventh hour girl myself, I understood and bailed her out. The whole family pitched in. We made an awesome woodland Native American diorama with stuff around the house. From that experience grew this guide to making homemade shoe box dioramas for any content area. All you need is a recycle bin, craft scraps, household junk and a little ingenuity.  Homemade, Recycle Bin Shoe Box Dioramas, Miniatures, Props

Homemade, Recycle Bin Theatre Costumes for Kids--Hats and Helmets

From years of putting on plays, I've learned to make homemade costumes cheap. How? With my handy-dandy recycle bin. If you need a quick costume, try these cheap, easy and teacher-friendly crafts. Today's drama mama diy--homemade hats. Rainy Day Recycle Bin Crafts for Kids--Homemade Hats Use for school projects, too.

Theatre Stage Management: Why Minimalist Theatre, Actor-Directed Plays Work

I've acted in several plays, worked behind the scenes and directed student productions. I've watched a lot of theater, too. I've observed two schools of thought about stage management: actor-directed and traditional. Here's rationale for actor-directed minimalist theater. Stage management dichotomy: In traditional theater, directors visualize the production, actors create the characters and stagehands manage behind the scenes. There are costumers, dressers, make-up and hair stylists, properties handlers, set construction and deck crew. In actor-directed theatre, performers assemble their own props, costumes and even sets. They may have some assistance from non-performers, but mostly, it's actors working together to make shows happen.
Theatre Stage Management: Why Minimalist, Actor-Directed Plays Work

Restored 1928 MCTOS Redford Theatre Houses Barton Theatre Organ, Classic Movie Memorabilia

In downtown old Redford just outside Detroit Michigan, there lives an aging but glorious movie queen. She's not a living person but a restored 1928 Japanese garden style movie theater known as The Redford Theatre , With its historic original three-manual, ten-rank Barton Theatre Pipe Organ. The theater is owned by the Motor City Theatre Organ Society (MCTOS), which continues to work on restoring the theater to its original grandeur.  Restored 1928 MCTOS Redford Theatre Houses Barton Theatre Organ, Classic Movie Memorabilia 

Reader's Theatre, Poem Party, Writer Workshops for April National Poetry Month

March 21 is World Poetry Day and April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. Teachers and homeschoolers, why not helps kids access their inner bard with a poem party and creative writers' workshop? This can be done in any grade from preschool to college. Or do this with a group of adults. Host a Reader's Theatre production and share your poetry.Read more

What to Do in Detroit This Weekend: April 5-7, 2013

Could it be? Spring finally remembered Michigan? It's been a long, cold winter in Detroit, and we're ready for sunshine! Schools are starting or finishing spring break. If you'll be spending the April 5-7 weekend in Motown, here's an event lineup to warm your spirits. Broadway shows, jazz, Yom LaShoah. What to Do in Detroit This Weekend: April 5-7, 2013

Recycled Theatre Crafts, Props, Set Design

Recycled materials work great for theatre props, sets and even costumes. These items are expensive, but you can make them cheap or free. I've written, directed and produced three children's plays. I've taught school for years. I've organized Sunday School and VBS crafts. I've taught and led groups in public, charter, parochial and home-schooling settings. I've organized and led activities for scouting, religious groups, daycare, special interest clubs and more. I've never found any group that was rolling in funds. Economy and resourcefulness were always a must. With that in mind, here is a great idea for using that recycling bin, which will just pack a landfill anyway. You'll be amazed at your savings in suppliesRecycled Theatre Crafts, Props, Set Design Dioramas
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Greg Pritchard 'Britain's Got Talent' Male Soprano Counter

Britain's Got Talent is getting a reputation for landing some surprise vocal talent and Greg Pritchard is one such find. This article is a few years old. I wrote it when Pritchard first appeared. But I called it then that the male soprano would turn heads and he still is. BGT has a lot to answer for, with their talent treasure finds.  First shy Paul Potts sang impeccable opera. Then frumpy Susan Boyle did Les Mis as well as Elaine Paige. Now young eye-linered, leathered Greg Pritchard sings counter-tenor, aka male soprano. Interestingly, he chose the Paul Potts audition piece "Nessun Dorma," from the opera Turandot, for his audition.

BGT judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan gaped and looked confused as Pritchard began his song in flawless first soprano. I'm second soprano and can't hit notes like this kid can. The emcees muttered between themselves, wagering whether Greg could pull off the astral notes toward end. And by golly, Pritchard not only touched it, he nailed it--repeatedly--in perfect pitch.

The 24 year-old hotel waiter from Wales looks no more like an opera singer than chubby, crooked toothed, sloppily dressed Paul Potts did in his audition. Sporting dyed-black, wedge-spiked hair, lots of guyliner, a little chin tuft, cowboy boots and black leather, I was expecting The Ramones or maybe something from Rent. None expected opera and definitely not pristine Baroque soprano opera. Greg Pritchard 'Britain's Got Talent' Male Soprano Counter -Tenor

Purim Spiel--Act out the Megillah

Mazel Tov! In 2013, February 24-25 (14 Adar in the Hebrew calendar) celebrates Purim in the Jewish faith. Hebrews celebrate Queen Esther and Mordechai's courage defending their people exiled in Persia from King Ahasuerus and Haman. Here are resources for Jews and gentiles to explore Purim and embrace the holiday more deeply. Why not act out the Megillah story in your Jewish school? There are links in the article for ideas. Kids will love dressing in Bible costumes and retelling the story. Be sure to make some of the graggers (paper noisemakers) for booing Haman! Mazel Tov! Activities to Celebrate Queen Esther and Purim

Top Non Sappy Valentine's Day Movies, Plays

If Valentine's Day in your area bodes anything like mine, you and yours will be trapped under several feet of snow. You might make it out of the driveway and out to a local restaurant or pub. But anything else? Not likely. So how about picking up a few flicks, a bottle of Shiraz, a six pack of microbrew or some herbal tea, and some snacks. You can cuddle on the couch or haul out your camping mattress. Turn on the TV and enjoy some new movies or some old favorites. Some of these films are plays, dramatic presentations or taken from theatre productions. In my original list, I forgot to add "Sabrina" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's."  Top Non Sappy Valentine's Day Movies

Homemade Castle Props for, Theatre Play

Snow is great for winter play, but near-zero wind chills aren't. During the holidays, there's usually enough to keep homebound kids occupied. But around February, creativity wears thin and winter blues set in. Here's a cheap, cabin fever reliever for kids and parents--homemade castle. These crafts work well for preschool dramatic play, children's theatre or improv plays. Perfect an easy Shakespeare play--Romeo and Juliet balcony scence. Cheap, Kids' Cabin Fever Reliever: Homemade Castle

Best Boys Read-Aloud Books for Readers Theater

As a teacher and homeschool parent, reading for research and pleasure is elemental. Each person in my family, male and female is a passionate bibliophile. I'm surprised when parents say that their kids, especially the boys, don't like to read. I suggest that this is less a distaste for reading, as that they haven't found books that engage them. To remedy that, I've created a list of favorite books and authors, in several genres, geared to boys ages 10-14. Most of these books have some mature content and that's one reason boys love them so much. They feel respected and not talked down to. I recommend using these as read alouds and teen readers theatre. Books, authors to ignite tween boys' reading passion

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