Live performances for youngsters to include dance, music, theater, puppets


January 08, 1993|By Rona Hirsch | Rona Hirsch,Contributing Writer

Youngsters out for a good time could turn on the television. But youngsters out for a really good time should check out the life-size circus puppets, castanet-wielding flamenco dancers and customized mini-musicals heading to Howard County.

They are just a few of the dozens of live performances offered for children and teen-agers throughout the winter by the county Department of Recreation and Parks, Oakland Mills Community Association, Kinetics Dance Theatre and Candlelight Concert Society.


Performing Art Series

The circus is coming to town. And the 5-year-old Performing Art Series will present not one, but two.

The Theatricks "Circus Berserkus" will feature four juggling clowns while the Crabgrass Puppet Theater's "Save the Earth Circus," for environment-conscious circus-goers, will present near-life-size puppets delivering messages about saving the planet.

The theme of the series, "Classics, Clowns and Circuses," begins with an original musical adaptation of "Pinocchio."

Out of appreciation for the support Ocean City gets from Maryland families, the production is sponsored by the "Ocean City Thanks the Families" program and will be presented at no charge.

The story of Hans Christian Andersen's "Snow Queen" will be performed by life-size puppets, courtesy of the New York-based Das Puppenspiel puppet theater.

The final production, an original musical adaptation of "Cinderella," involves "lots of audience participation," said Barbara Lett, Assistant Special Events Coordinator.

"It's really exciting to see the children involved in the actual live theater, as opposed to watching video and movies. And it gives an opportunity for family entertainment on Sundays, when working parents can bring their children."

The county Department of Recreation and Parks is sponsoring the Children's Performing Art Series for children aged 4 and older and their parents through March.

The Parker Playhouse will present "Pinocchio" at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday at Howard High School. The show is free. Tickets are limited to eight per request.

Das Puppenspiel puppet theater will present "The Snow Queen" at 2 p.m. Jan. 24 at Atholton High School; Theatricks will present "Circus Berserkus" at 2 p.m. Feb. 28 at Mount Hebron High School and "Cinderella" at 2 p.m. March 14 at Glenelg High School. The Crabgrass Puppet Theater will present "Save the Earth Circus" at 2 p.m. March 21 at Atholton High School.

6* Tickets are $3. Information: 313-2762.

Lively Arts for Little Ones

Lively Arts for Little Ones has triple appeal: It's geared to preschoolers, involves audience participation and is presented primarily on weekdays.

"We have people who come from Laurel, Burtonsville, Baltimore, and Baltimore and Carroll counties," said Oakland Mills manager Susan Schmugge.

The Other Barn where the programs will be presented in the village seats 280. Its last presentation, featuring "The Kinderman" with John Taylor last months, was sold out for all three performances.

"The Blue Sky Puppet Theater is also very popular," events coordinator Roni Noodelman said about the March event. "It tends to get sold out."

Although several performers have returned in the Lively Arts' 15-year history, the programs are always varied.

"It's not easy to find performers who gear their programs to preschoolers," Ms. Noodelman said.

"And they're just that, not watered-down programs of school shows. Or, if we repeat a performer from one year to the next, the performer puts on a different program."

The returning Washington-based Blue Sky Puppet Theater will feature "The Bunny Brothers," a program about the environment.

A sing-along next month will feature "Billy B," children's songwriter Billy B. Brennan, who will "talk about how fun it is to go to school and how important it is to be safe," Ms. Noodelman said.

"The kids just love it. He makes up songs and uses crazy gestures. And the kids do hand motions to the choruses."

The series comes to a close with Rae Owings drawing room-size chalk pictures to illustrate her tales. "It seems as if they come to life," said Ms. Noodelman. "She asks children for ideas and creates stories based on their ideas."

Ms. Owings also plays classical music, drawing the children's response to what they've heard. "And they're all different," Ms. -- Noodelman said.

The hottest attraction on the Lively Arts roster is "Lively Arts Extra." The "one show only" Sunday performance will showcase irreverent children's songwriter Barry Polisar, creator of the poignant, "Don't Throw Up On My Stuffed Bunny."

The Oakland Mills Community Association will present "Lively Arts for Little Ones," a series of live performances for children 2 1/2 to 5 years old, at The Other Barn in the Village of Oakland Mills in Columbia. All performances are at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

"Imagimime" with David Geyer will be presented today; Billy B: Sing-a-long Feb. 5; Blue Sky Puppet Theater with "The Bunny Brothers" March 5; and artist/storyteller Rae Owings April 2.

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