Monday, March 15, 2010

New Children's Musical!!!

One-page Play Festival

John Chatterton Presents Inc


Captain Marbles and His Acting Squad
Songs, Dances, and Laughs for a Young Audience

Come see the fantastic New York premiere of CAPTAIN MARBLES AND HIS ACTING SQUAD. In addition to an amusing script by famed actor William H. Macy and David Kovacs, in which director Captain Marbles tries to convince a flaky acting company to mount a production of ROMEO AND JULIET, it features a sprightly score and songs by Alaric Jans. Running time is about an hour. Performances are at Where Eagles Dare's Studio Blackbird (347W. 36th St., 13th fl, Manhattan) at 11am on weekends. Tickets for previews are only $10! First performance is Sat. Mar. 13; official opening is April 10, at which time tickets will be $15.

Directed by Kate Gleason (NYC Artist Babysitter!). Musical Direction and Choreography by Kara Napolitano, Starring Patrick Cann, John Curcuru, Amber Dickerson, Troy Gochenour, Kara Ayn Napolitano, and Ivan Perez. For tickets and to confirm location information, please call SmartTix at 212/868-4444 or visit and search for "Captain Marbles."~

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Lot of Glitter and a Little Imagination!

I love every facet of the arts, but when it comes to visual art, I believe that there can never be enough glitter. Glitter glue, glitter paper, glitter's all good. However, my favorite thing to do with kids is play pretend. Whether I am an evil fairy witch bent on world domination, a taxi driver named Murphy, or a bookseller named Tom Jordan (all of which I am informed of by the inventive children I sit for), I always have a blast encouraging imagination and playfulness among the next generation.

Kate Gleason

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Use Your Imagination!

When the cold days of NYC confine us to the indoors, its time to use your imagination! I will have a brief "huddle" with parents and children to see if there is a specific agenda, and will incorporate that into our creative plans. The children and I then brainstorm and create a list of what is "topical" and important to them. This could be something they learned in school, a new favorite pop song, an upcoming holiday, or a favorite movie. A great example was a recent Will Wonka Day Talent show that a close family of mine and I created! We created an audience of cut-out faces, all shapes and sizes, and gave them personal names and backgrounds. We all had a task, like coloring and cutting out shapes. We applied them to our "audience" wall and then moved on to our next sweet creation. We decided 5 lucky audience members would receive our homemade Golden Ticket Bars! We recycled some old halloween candy and funky ingredients like cereal sprinkles and fruit and created graham cracker sandwiches. We ended with a well rehearsed and approved pop song sing and dance. The whole family played a part from the host to the dancers to the audience, with special guest Mom and Dad. It was a great project that was not only fun, but demonstrated creative personal choices, music, and the idea of putting a show together from start to finish!

Jennifer Bartels

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What a great day yesterday was!

Here are some things we did to fill our fantastic snow day...

Fun things to do when it snows...

Take pictures... Get your camera and take some pictures of the winter beauty. It is short and fleeting, so take advantage of that newly fallen snow. Use the day to make a family picture, or take silly pictures of yourselves playing in the snow.

Build a snowman... Put on your boots and waterproof gloves and get t work! Or, if snowmen aren't your thing - use your feet to scrape a message in the snow. (You can even use food coloring in a spray bottle to make it stand out.)

Have a snowball fight... There's nothing more playful than a total free-for-all in the snow. (You can even make some forts to hide behind.) Everyone against everyone, no teams allowed. Just run around and practice your throws.

Make a snow angel... There's just something fun about lying on the ground and making a pretty angel in the snow. Make a family of snow angels, or build a snowman for each family member, and decorate them. Or, try to catch a snowflake on your tongue. (It's harder than it looks.)

Watch the snowfall... Sit inside on the window seat, or if you have a covered porch watch from outdoors. The snowfall is such a peaceful scene. What a great way to pass a little time. Have a cup of hot chocolate or apple cider to keep warm. Yum!

Roast some marshmallows... If you have one of those little fire pits for your deck you can roast marshmallows over it. If you have an indoor fireplace, go inside and sit in front of the crackling fire for a few hours. Maybe even tell a story or two.

Go sledding... If you have a hill nearby and are feeling adventurous, get your sled out and go for a spin. Just watch out for trees!

Put on a show... Who doesn't love to perform!? Ask if they would like to: act out a scene from a movie, lip sync to a hit song, read aloud from a book and use funny voices, or showcase another talent.

Bring out the board games... There's nothing quite like spending time doing something that everyone can join in on. Grab some board games and enjoy some friendly competition.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Need for Arts

The arts have taken blow after blow from schools lately. People just aren't supporting them. They push them aside and think there's no use for them in society. But without them society would fall apart. Without relief, without distractions, we would be mindless servants following the ever-winding path of greed and corporate business.

The arts come in many different forms. There's painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, computer graphics, dancing, performing arts, etc. Music and all its components can be included in this when it comes to the limiting the more creative aspects of education. They are not just for entertainment. They promote creativity, originality, patience and discipline. They increase intellect, relieve stress, and provide an outlet for people to be different, to feel welcomed. They are more than just a hobby. They can be a way of life.

Schools don't want to waste time with this stuff. All that matters to them is the more prominent curriculum and sports. That's what seems to make the world go around these days. They are nice, a good and important part to education of course, but they shouldn't be the whole thing. People need a range of understanding in life to truly benefit from its teachings.

The reason schools focus on subjects like science and history and English is that society is driven on a very business and corporate track. We focus on that knowledge makes us better people, that it solves problems and brings us goodness. It does, but not always. When it fails or lets us down, when it stresses us out or overwhelms us, we need a break. That is the arts, the more light-hearted subjects in the world. Society tends to see these more important subjects as the serious ones that get us through life. People think they're the ones that make the world go around. They think that it's what makes the world. But if we were so serious all the time, so bent on our corporate ways of greed and power, we'd be a society that would fall apart quickly.

We tend not to see how good we have it until it's gone. Art isn't gone and won't be any time soon, so it's hard to really show its impact. It is a vital part of society though even if we don't always stress this. It provides business, support, design, creativity, and entertainment for the world.

The arts a vital part of the growth a child undergoes. It helps them both with realizing who they are and becoming who they are meant to be. It doesn't matter if they don't have a full passion for it or don't pursue it in a career. Just the opportunity to allow them to define themselves on their own, to create a personality other than what the real world wants to make them, allows expression and creativity that will stay with them for years. They may not appreciate it at the moment, or acknowledge it later on, but it will become a part of who they are regardless.

We can't just think that if a child wants to do something he will do it on his own. This provides little encouragement in their life. We need to support a variety of education and experiences in school for children to grow with. Society can't be serious all the time and it can't just say that business is the only that matters. It's vital to mankind's well being to promote the arts at a young age and allow children to grow and blossom on their own. They need ways to break free from the mold, to be given opportunities they may not with other subjects. It would be a sad day if a child weren't allowed to express themselves and be who they really are.

About The Author

Jake Rose is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Creative Writers.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Posing Choreography

My favorite activity is one that involves a lot of movement, and is fun for children of many ages. It's called "posing choreography". basically I have them walk around to the beat of their favorite music - when I clap my hands, they are to strike a pose - any pose; as creative and complicated as possible. The poses can be laying down, up on tippy-toes, or anywhere in between. Then, when I clap my hands again, they go back to walking. This can be done literally with any type of music (changing it from classical to pop is really interesting) and you can speed it up so that they are doing one pose after another - changing when you clap your hands. The trick is they have to stay perfectly still when they are in pose. You can spice it up by requiring every pose to be touching another person (if there are more then one) or change levels (low to ground, standing, or reaching up). The amazing thing about this game is that no matter who is playing it is actually very beautiful an inspiring to watch - and for all you choreographers out there, it is a very easy and very sophisticated way to begin choreographing a new dance. If you ever have a performance with children, this is a great way to create seamless choreography on even the youngest children that looks good. And they always have a blast doing it, and feel confidence in themselves as well because it is easy for them.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Time Out NY

Time Out NY has a great kids section that has weekly information about whats going on in all boroughs. Lots events are free! The best feature is that its categorized by the date so you're not filing through listings looking at event times, hoping its current! It has the standard daily events like story times at FAO Schwarz, to special specific events in places you may already frequent like the Childrens Museum of Manhattan. I have used it the most to pinpoint the times and places for the many great seasonal children's festivals in the city.

Mandy Moore