Director Jewels

Friday, July 15, 2016

Beauty and the Beast at Kansas City's Starlight Theatre {Review}

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this event. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own. 


There's no better way to spend a night out under the stars in Kansas City than at Starlight Theatre! A classic show has rolled into town for just this week, and it's one you will not want to miss. NETworks presents Disney's Beauty and the Beast - a family favorite that is a wonder to behold.

Brooke  Quintana as Belle and the cast of Disney's Beauty and the  Beast. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

You're in for a treat with this touring Broadway adaptation of Disney's 1991 animated film. This particular tour has been on the road for eleven months, but that doesn't stop them from bringing a high-energy, visually stunning production right here to Kansas City!

The show features the famous songs from the movie including Belle, Gaston, Beauty and the Beast, and Be Our Guest, plus additional numbers created for the expansion of the show on Broadway. I was a little disappointed that two songs were cut from those included in the original Broadway production (No Matter What and Maison de Lunes), but all the favorites are there!

Christiaan Smith-Kotlarek  as Gaston and the cast of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

The original creators of the 1994 Broadway musical came together again to launch the NETworks’ touring production. The show is directed by Rob Roth and choreographed by Matt West, with costume design by Ann Hould-Ward (Tony Award® winner for the Broadway production), lighting design by Natasha Katz, scenic design by Stanley A. Meyer, sound design by John Petrafesa Jr. and music supervision by Michael Kosarin.

My three-year-old daughter attended the show with me - it was her first Starlight production! While she was a little frightened of the wolves and the Beast's roaring, she adored all of Belle's dresses and hasn't stopped talking about them. It was magical to share such a special night with my girl - and we didn't even mind the heat.

Brooke  Quintana as Belle and the cast of Disney's Beauty and the  Beast. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
The touring production uses 81 wigs and 580 costume pieces, including some from the original Broadway costumes. Make sure you arrive early at Starlight to go on a tour of the theater - you might get to go backstage and catch a glimpse of all those wigs waiting for their actors and actresses.

The production design lends itself to a storybook feel, with a vine-covered proscenium encircling the cast as they move from Belle's provincial town to the Beast's castle and back again. Be Our Guest was a crowd favorite for sure, with streamers shot out into the audience multiple times. I saw little girls in Belle dresses holding tight to some of those streamers on their way out of the theatre.

The Enchanted Objects of Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Thank you, Starlight, for bringing this wonderful production to Kansas City. This experience with my daughter is one I will never forget. I'm sure she and I will share many more magical evenings at this beautiful theater in the future.

Sam Hartley  as the Beast and Brooke  Quintana as Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Tickets for Beauty and the Beast at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $15-$143+. Tickets are available online at Starlight Theatre, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. Evening performances begin at 8 p.m. and there is a Saturday morning show at 10:00 a.m.

Thanks to Starlight Theatre for providing my tickets to the show. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Coterie Theatre Presents MADAGASCAR: A Musical Adventure - Now through 8/7/16

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this production at The Coterie Theatre. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own.



There are a lot of days here in Kansas City when the heat is just too much and we moms have to find something engaging to do with our kids without fear of heatstroke. Last week was so warm, I didn't want to go outside at all. So we spent the week coloring endless pictures, reading books, using our imaginations, and - my favorite - heading to one of our most-loved local spots, Crown Center, for a day of fun.

In addition to hosting amazing free kid-friendly exhibits that change throughout the year, Crown Center is the home of The Coterie Theatre - one of my favorite places in Kansas City! This summer, you'll find that The Coterie has been transformed into a tropical paradise featuring some familiar characters that kids will be delighted to see onstage: Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo, and Melman the giraffe!

Left to right: Enjoli Gavin (as Gloria), Patrick Beasley (as Alex), Joey Boos (as Melman) and
Donovan Woods (as Marty) Madagascar – A Musical Adventure, featuring, based on the DreamWorks
animation motion picture, with book by Kevin Del Aguila, original music and lyrics by George Noriega
& Joel Someillan, and directed by Jerry Jay Cranford, receiving its world premiere as part of The Coterie’s
Lab for New Family Musicals in its 2015/2016 Season, June 14 – August 7, 2016.
Photo by J. Robert Schraeder and courtesy of The Coterie Theatre.

This world premiere show, Madagascar: A Musical Adventure follows the hilarious antics of these four rambunctious friends on their madcap journey from New York’s Central Park Zoo to the beaches of Madagascar. With ten memorable new songs added to a pop favorite from the original score, their journey goes from the wilderness to just plain wild when they are tracked by Skipper and his always plotting penguins, and then learn to “Move It! Move It!” from King Julian and his loyal lemur subjects. The story is brought vividly to life on stage by imaginative sets, colorful costumes, and a high energy, dance-filled production.

We were able to catch a matinee performance of the show that was filled with children of all ages. Their energy filled the air with anticipation and before the show even began, we were treated to cast members teaching us several dance moves in preparation for the "Move It! Move it!" dance break partway through the show.

The show features excellent pacing and the cast does a fantastic job of keeping their young audience engaged at all times. My kids are three and five years old and while they were a little fidgety, they never asked to leave the show. They were pretty mesmerized by the animal characters and asked questions about the story. My daughter (she's three) did not enjoy the "Foosa" song and hid her face for a minute, as she thought that was a little scary. But otherwise, she loved it - and once I told her that the "Foosas" were just people in costumes, she was okay.

Left to right: Donovan Woods (as Marty) and Patrick Beasley (as Alex) in The Coterie’s summer musical,
Madagascar – A Musical Adventure, based on the DreamWorks animation motion picture, with book by
Kevin Del Aguila, original music and lyrics by George Noriega & Joel Someillan, and directed by
Jerry Jay Cranford, receiving its world premiere as part of The Coterie’s Lab for New Family Musicals
in its 2015/2016 Season, June 14 – August 7, 2016.
Photo by J. Robert Schraeder and courtesy of The Coterie Theatre.

Standout characters for me were the four primary animals: Marty (Donovan Woods), Alex (Patrick Beasley), Gloria (Enjoli Gavin) and Melman (Joey Boos). Each of these actors displayed personalities that were evident from every corner of the theater. The supporting cast was phenomenal, as well. The songs are catchy and led to much dancing in our seats as we watched the show. The "Move It! Move It!" dance break truly has to be experienced in person - you won't be sorry! It was so much fun. Plus, a big shout out to the writers, directors, or cast members who decided to throw in some references to other popular Broadway shows. I laughed until I cried when Marty the Zebra alluded to a certain recent Tony-winning production. You'll just have to go see it to find out what I'm talking about!

The cast of The Coterie’s summer musical, Madagascar – A Musical Adventure, featuring
Enjoli Gavin (as Gloria), Patrick Beasley (as Alex), Donovan Woods (as Marty) and Joey Boos (as Melman),
based on the DreamWorks animation motion picture, with book by Kevin Del Aguila, original music and
lyrics by George Noriega & Joel Someillan, and directed by Jerry Jay Cranford, receiving its world premiere
as part of The Coterie’s Lab for New Family Musicals in its 2015/2016 Season, June 14 – August 7, 2016.
Photo by J. Robert Schraeder and courtesy of The Coterie Theatre.

Make sure you check out the remaining schedule of special extras that are included with certain performances -

Friday, July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, and August 5, 7:00 p.m.: Friday Family Fun Night. Post performance autograph session and photo op with cast members.

Saturday, July 9, 2:00 p.m.: Interpreted performance in American Sign Language. 

The cast of The Coterie’s summer musical, Madagascar – A Musical Adventure, featuring Donovan Woods
(as Marty), Patrick Beasley (as Alex), Enjoli Gavin (as Gloria) and Joey Boos (as Melman), based on
the DreamWorks animation motion picture, with book by Kevin Del Aguila, original music and lyrics by
George Noriega & Joel Someillan, and directed by Jerry Jay Cranford, receiving its world premiere as
part of The Coterie’s Lab for New Family Musicals in its 2015/2016 Season, June 14 – August 7, 2016.
Photo by J. Robert Schraeder and courtesy of The Coterie Theatre.

Hats off to the entire crew and creative team for bringing to life a show that so many kids will recognize and enjoy. I am actually not very familiar with the original Dreamworks film, but I still had a grand old time. Get your tickets and head to The Coterie - just make sure you're ready to dance!

The cast of The Coterie’s summer musical, Madagascar – A Musical Adventure, featuring Francisco Javier
Villegas (as King Julian), based on the DreamWorks animation motion picture, with book by
Kevin Del Aguila, original music and lyrics by George Noriega & Joel Someillan, and directed by
Jerry Jay Cranford, receiving its world premiere as part of The Coterie’s Lab for New Family Musicals
in its 2015/2016 Season, June 14 – August 7, 2016.
Photo by J. Robert Schraeder and courtesy of The Coterie Theatre.

If you're in Kansas City, you don't want to miss this outrageously fun show! Madagascar: A Musical Adventure plays now through August 7 at the Coterie. Tickets are available online.

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this production at The Coterie Theatre. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Saving Time with a #DotComDIY with Pennzoil & Walmart

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DotComDIY #CollectiveBias



As parents, most of us are probably drowning in responsibilities - at least to some degree. I never worried about my brain cells before I became a mom, but in the last five years I have spent a lot of time wondering where all my time goes and how I never seem to catch up. And unfortunately, sometimes things slip through the cracks - like, forgetting we're almost out of orange juice while I'm at the grocery store, or neglecting to put the lid on the kids' sandbox before a big storm, or realizing that my car is almost 3,000 miles overdue for an oil change. I don't have to admit that all of these have recently happened, right? Okay, good. 

There are so many other things I would rather do than try to keep up with all the errands and to-dos and lists of things in my head. I mean, I want to have free time to paint my nails in whatever variety of pink my three year old picks out for me this week.


I'd love to spend hours every day coloring with crayons and markers in a perfect world of Lisa Frank-inspired rainbows. 


If I manage to get the lid back on the sandbox before the sand turns to mush, the kids and I can have a Disney princess beach day where everybody goes sand diving. The giant bulldozer running them over is definitely the five-year-old boy's idea.


And I'm not gonna lie... it's been maybe years since I have read a fictional book all the way through. I would happily trade in all the things that need to be done for the excuse to just sit and read a book from cover to cover in one sitting. That sounds amazing.


While I may not be able to make all of these things happen on a routine basis, I can certainly improve my brain capacity when I am able to purchase the things I need before I even get to the store. Remember what I said up there about orange juice? If I can't remember that, there's no way I'm going to recall that my car needs oil while I'm at the store. Usually these things come to my mind at about midnight, when everyone is asleep and the house is quiet and I can think clearly.

I was super excited this week when I realized that I can actually order Pennzoil motor oil online at Walmart.com. It can be either shipped directly to your house or you can pick it up from your local store. Bonus - right now, a bunch of Pennzoil products are on Rollback right now (for a limited time) at Walmart.com.




A store like Walmart can be busy during the summer months, with so many families out and about running errands together. If I can save time and the effort it takes to get the kids back to the automotive section of a store, I'm all for it! Plus, Pennzoil cleans out the sludge that other oils leave behind...so it's kind of like clearing out mom brain for my car, too.

What's on your to-do list this week? How could ordering basics like motor oil online save you time in the long run?

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Matilda the Musical at Kansas City Starlight Theatre {Review}

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this event. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own. 


I'm so excited for summer, because that means another season of exciting Broadway productions at one of my favorite Kansas City theaters - Starlight Theatre! I was able to catch a performance of Matilda the Musical this week at Starlight, and it was simply delightful. Keep reading for more info on the show and to find out how to get tickets.

Matilda is based on the beloved children's book by Roald Dahl - but surprisingly, I have never read it! I also have never seen the movie adaptation, so this was a completely new experience for me.

Mia Sinclair Jenness (Matilda Wormwood) and the Company of Matilda The Musicalnational tour.
Photo by Joan Marcus.

I went in with not a lot of expectations, since I was so unfamiliar with the tale. I was wildly impressed. So, if like me, you have no idea what this story is even about, here's a synopsis:

In a world where most parents believe that their children are precious miracles, Matilda Wormwood’s parents think that she is nothing more than a “lousy little worm.” How wrong they are! Brilliant, brainy, bold and brave, Matilda really is the most special and miraculous kid imaginable.

Bullied mercilessly by her father and her dance-obsessed mother, Matilda still stands up for what she believes is right, even if that means breaking the rules and being “naughty.” Though Matilda is little in a world ruled by adults, she doesn’t let that deter her from exercising her own brandof justice. As she tells us, “You mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you...if it’snot right, you have to put it right!”

Neglected by her greedy, scheming, vulgar parents, Matilda is left to fend for herself, spending her days in the library, hungrily reading everything she can. Here she is drawn into an imaginary world, weaving fantastical tales of her own that keep Mrs. Phelps, the story-loving librarian, on the edge of her seat.

While Matilda yearns to attend school and escape her awful parents, she soon learns that Crunchem Hall Elementary is no better than home. Under the iron fist of Miss Trunchbull, a child-hating, hammer-throwing headmistress, school turns out to be a terrifying place where children are punished by being thrown in the “Chokey,” a dark, narrow cupboard with spikes in the walls and nails sticking up from the floor.

Matilda’s one solace amidst all of this terribleness, besides her books and stories, is her teacher, Miss Honey, who recognizes how truly special and gifted Matilda is. Though Matilda may be little, we soon come to learn that she is far from powerless, and with the help of her schoolmates and Miss Honey’s courageous support, Matilda discovers that she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. Will she be vanquished? It could go either way!


When I Grow Up” –The Company of Matilda The Musical National tour.
Photo by Joan Marcus.

The tour features four young ladies sharing the title role of Matilda and the performer the evening I attended was Savannah Grace Elmer. She captivated the audience with her antics and charm in the song Naughty and held our attention until the very end. The rest of the cast was top-notch and delivered the show with excellent timing. Standout characters for me (besides Matilda) included Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood (Matilda's parents, played by Brandon McGibbon and Darcy Stewart), Lavender (Charlie Kersh), the Doctor (Justin Packard - hilarious and loved his vocals), and Bruce (Ryan Christopher Dever).

The show is appropriate for an audience of all ages, with no content that I found offensive. The kids around me in the audience were a little confused as to why the role of Miss Trunchbull was played by a man (David Abeles), but it was a creative casting choice that was not done in an offensive manner and added some additional comedic perspective to an already funny story.

“Bruce” –Jennifer Blood (Miss Honey), Evan Gray (Bruce), Bryce Ryness (Miss Trunchbull),
Gabby Gutierrez (Matilda Wormwood) and the Company of Matilda The Musicalnational tour.
Photo by Joan Marcus.

The music is catchy and memorable, the supporting characters were hilarious, and the audience was thoroughly entertained all evening. Amidst the hilarity of the zany characters, we grew to love Matilda and her teacher, Miss Honey. There were a few moments I was brought to tears - specifically the song When I Grow Up, which in addition to lovely, thoughtful lyrics, featured an onstage playground with kids swinging out toward the audience (photo above). There aren't words to describe it - the simplicity of kids on a swing presented in such a fashion was majestic and unlike anything I've seen onstage in the past.

Overall, the creativity and heart of the show was just what I needed in a night out - I wish I had time this weekend to see the show again! This may be the don't-miss show of Starlight's 2016 season.

Danny Tieger (Michael Wormwood), Cassie Silva (Mrs. Wormwood) & Quinn Mattfeld (Mr. Wormwood).
Photo by Joan Marcus.

Tickets for Matilda at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $14 to $142. Tickets are available online at Starlight Theatre, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. Evening performances begin at 8 p.m.; tomorrow's matinee begins at 2:00 p.m.

Thanks to Starlight Theatre for providing my tickets to the show. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rosemary & Panaway Essential Oil Soap

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

I remember making homemade soap in a homeschool activity group when I was a kid. It was so much fun! I have been out of the soap making world for many, many years, but have decided it's time to jump back in. DIY bath and beauty products are easy to make and they're perfect for gifts. Make this Rosemary & Panaway Essential Oil Soap for yourself, then whip up a batch of Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub for a friend. You can do both in one afternoon!

If you're not already using essential oils for wellness in your home, you're missing out! We use Young Living essential oils because of their amazing seed-to-seal promise and have loved seeing the benefits of these oils for the last year.

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

Rosemary & Panaway Essential Oil Soap

Items Used:

- Melt and Pour Soap (1/4 of the brick)
- Fresh Rosemary, 4 oz.
- 1/4 cup Grapeseed Oil
- 1/4 cup Chia Seed
- 1 cup Oatmeal
- Panaway and Rosemary Young Living Essential Oils

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

How to make it: 

1. Melt soap as directed on the package. You'll know it's melted correctly when it is the same consistency as heavy cream.

2. In a blender, mix the chia seeds, fresh rosemary, and oatmeal until powdered. Add this mixture to melted soap.

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

3. Add in 15-20 drops of each of the essential oils.

4. Stir and pour into a soap mold.

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

5. Set aside for about 45 minutes until firm. Once it has hardened, remove from mold, cut into bars, and enjoy! If you're storing multiple bars, use sheets of wax paper between them to minimize sticking.

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

It's really that easy. This soap smells divine and makes a wonderful gift. Try wrapping it up in a cute paper bag tied up with a ribbon as an end-of-year teacher gift or as part of a Mother's Day basket.

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

DIY Rosemary Panaway Young Living Essential Oil Soap Recipe

What's your favorite DIY beauty product? 
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