Director Jewels

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Little Mermaid 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. 




Travel under the stars - and under the sea - to the most magical show in town this week... Disney's The Little Mermaid at Starlight Theatre! You can catch the performance through June 11. This show was certainly a fun kick-off to Starlight's summer season and we can't wait for more.


The opening production of Starlight's 67th season is a family-friendly adventure, and the night that we attended there were lots of little Ariels out in the crowd waiting for the show to begin. The "Princess Cam" was a fun perk of the pre-show screen entertainment - watch for that if you have little ones attending with you.

Starlight's season consists of The Little Mermaid, Jersey Boys, An American in Paris, Something Rotten!, The Bodyguard, Motown the Musical, Grease, Mamma Mia!, and Kinky Boots. We'll be featuring reviews for a few of these shows here at Director Jewels, so make sure you stop by again to hear about our next adventure in July!


The familiar Disney version of The Little Mermaid was updated for the 2007 Broadway adaptation. I was lucky enough to catch that production on Broadway in the summer of 2008, and this is the first time since then that I have seen a professional production of the show. I couldn't wait to see another interpretation.

I was truly not disappointed! The use of fly lines to convey the mermaids swimming to and from the surface of the water was very convincing and different from the original production I saw almost nine years ago. I appreciated very much the artistic decisions that were made to include several little moments from the movie. Even small things, like the way Ariel and Eric looked at each other at certain points, were clearly taken directly from the film and since I grew up in the 90's when Ariel was a big deal - this was amazing for me to see.


The cast was excellent; they truly seemed to be enjoying themselves and did a wonderful job of bringing the story to life for us. Standouts were Scuttle (Jamie Torcellini), Sebastian (Melvin Abston), and Flounder (Connor Russell), who were given the not-so-easy task of bringing The Little Mermaid's beloved creature characters to life. Sebastian's crab walk cracked me up all night.


My four year old daughter attended the show with me and she was pretty enthralled for the majority of the performance. She was able to follow the story and was thrilled with Ariel overall (but especially her pink dress). I would advise getting to Starlight early if you have a little one in your party - head to guest services and grab a booster seat for them. We weren't there early enough to get a booster seat, but she switched back and forth between her seat and my lap and was able to see the whole show. Her visibility was definitely increased by the use of the large screens above the stage, which projected the show larger than life (concert-style) so that the audience could all see what was going on. While I appreciate that my daughter was able to follow the story a little better thanks to the screens, I was actually not a huge fan of them. I'm not used to screens during a live performance of this nature and they were a little distracting for me. I like to be able to take in the show as a whole, without necessarily needing to have a closeup view. But I do see how the screens would definitely enhance the viewing experience for those who were further back in the house.

Overall, it was a perfect evening at Starlight and I'm so thrilled I was able to continue this fun tradition with my girl after taking her to see Beauty and the Beast last year.


Tickets for The Little Mermaid 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.

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.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at Kansas City's Coterie Theatre (now through December 31)

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.


Two years ago, one of my favorite theaters in Kansas City - The Coterie - put on a joyous holiday production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. I saw it back then (read my review here) and was so excited to see it return to the Coterie stage for this holiday season as well. My kids enjoyed the show last time, but weren't really old enough to remember it after the fact. This time around? I don't think they will soon forget how magical the production was to watch!

Ron Lackey as Sam the Snowman in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical.
Photo by J. Robert Schraeder. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ® The Rudolph Co., L.P.
All elements under license to Character Arts, LLC. All rights reserved.

It's hard work bringing iconic characters to life, but the design and directing team at the Coterie has again done a spectacular job. It felt like we could have been watching the classic cartoon special!

Left to right: Drake Taylor, Hannah Thompson, Zoe London, and Allison Banks (as Elves),
Emily Nan Phillips (as Mrs. Claus), and Zachrey York (as Santa Claus) in Rudolph the
Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. Photo by J. Robert Schraeder. Rudolph the Red-Nosed
Reindeer ® The Rudolph Co., L.P. All elements under license to Character Arts, LLC.
All rights reserved.

My four year old daughter was a little nervous going into the show because she's not a big fan of the Abominable Snow Monster in the TV special. Happily, she made it through the production without any big complaints and said after "he wasn't as scary as I thought!" Kudos to the Coterie for making an impressive looking villain come to life onstage with staging that prevented the youngest audience members from being terrified!

Background: Tony Pulford (as Rudolph), Foreground
(Left to Right): Elise Campagna (as Clarice) and
Jacob Valle (as Puppeteer) in Rudolph the Red-Nosed
Reindeer: The Musical. Photo by J. Robert Schraeder.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ® The Rudolph Co., L.P.
All elements under license to Character Arts, LLC.
All rights reserved.

Even if it's been a few years since you've seen the original on TV, you will still be able to appreciate the very authentic characters portrayed on the stage this winter. The cast is strong all around, with each member completely immersing themselves in their role and making the most of it. The kids in the audience were all in stitches over the Boss Elf, Hermey, Yukon Cornelius, and of course, Rudolph himself. I wish we could have seen it several times!

Left to right:  Drake Taylor, Zoe London, Hannah Thompson, and Allison Banks (as Elves),
David LeVota (as Hermey), and Evan C. Phllips (as Boss Elf) in Rudolph the Red-Nosed
Reindeer: The Musical. Photo by J. Robert Schraeder. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ®
The Rudolph Co., L.P. All elements under license to Character Arts, LLC. All rights reserved.

With a 60-minute runtime, this show is the perfect introduction to theater for young kids - or just a delightful part of a day's adventure at Crown Center. I am so excited to live in Kansas City, where we have excellent children's theater in our own backyard. Put this entertaining show - and future Coterie productions - on your must-see list!

Left to right: Jake Walker (as Yukon Cornelius), Tony Pulford (as Rudolph), and David LeVota
(as Hermey) in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. Photo by J. Robert Schraeder.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ® The Rudolph Co., L.P. All elements under license to
Character Arts, LLC. All rights reserved.

If you're in Kansas City, you don't want to miss this heartwarming holiday production! Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer plays now through December 31at the Coterie. Contact The Coterie for more info!

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.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Relaxing Lavender Bath Bombs DIY + Printable


Being a mom is tough. Having kiddos who are rambunctious and energetic even when it's three hours past bedtime is tough. Finding a way to relax everyone when it's time for bed is an absolute necessity.

I recently made up a batch of these Relaxing Lavender Bath Bombs to share with some friends, but ended up keeping a lot of them for myself! I have loved using Epsom salts for bathtime for years - they're awesome for relieving tension and inflammation. I've started trying to add in essential oils for even more benefits.

These bath bombs are super easy to make - they're great for a make and take girls night, Christmas gifts, party favors...whatever you want!


Relaxing Lavender Bath Bombs
Supplies Needed: 
-2 1/2 cups Epsom salts
-12-20 drops Lavender Young Living Essential Oil
-2 tbsp Water
-1 splash Vanilla (yes, a splash! Probably about 1/2 teaspoon, but the amount isn't critical)
-Muffin Pan (I used a mini pan to make these, but you could easily make them in a regular size tin, too)
-Mixing Bowl & Spoon

Optional:
-Relaxing Lavender Bath Bombs Printable
-Mini Clear Treat Bags (I found mine at Walmart)
-Staples


How to make them: 

1. Combine Epsom salts, water, vanilla, and essential oils in bowl. Mix well. I made multiple batches and used different amounts of oils each time. When I used about 20 drops, the lavender smell was much stronger. It just depends on how strong you want them to smell!


2. Scoop the mixture directly into the muffin pan. Press firmly down into each muffin cup. Let the muffin pan sit while the bath bombs dry. I advise letting them sit overnight - for a minimum of at least 12-24 hours. I set mine out in the sun one afternoon when I needed them to be ready sooner and that took a couple of hours off the drying time. You want to wait until they're totally dry to remove them from the tin or they will fall to pieces!

3. Once they are dry, carefully flip the tin and gently tap on the cups to release the bath bombs.

4. Optional - if you're packaging these for gifts, add one to each clear treat bag. Print the Relaxing Lavender Bath Bomb tags, cut them out, fold, and staple on each bag.


There's no reason to stick with just lavender... You can add any essential oil that you might want to support your specific wellness need! I've used Stress Away, Endoflex, Thieves, and many others in the past! What oil would you like to try?

Friday, August 12, 2016

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 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. 



If you live in Kansas City and you haven't made it to Starlight Theatre yet this summer, it's not too late! This week (through 8/14), you can catch the Tony Award winning show A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder out under the stars and the night sky.


This show is a stylized piece that features a toy stage inside a larger proscenium, which constantly opens to reveal new two-dimensional settings. The score has echoes of Gilbert and Sullivan, Lerner and Loewe and English music hall - it sounds very proper and refined, while some of the plot (it's about murder, after all) being played out onstage is anything but genteel.

The story begins as we meet Monty Navarro, a man who should have been born into a family of wealth and splendor, but who has instead spent his days poor and without connections. Upon learning he is eighth in line to inherit an earldom, he sets off to meet (....and possibly murder?) all of his distant relations.

The relatives are nearly all played by the same actor - in this production, John Rapson. I have seen a lot of theater and a lot of quick costume changes, but I was astounded by the way this one actor transformed into so many different characters - usually within a few seconds. Beyond the basics of a costume change, he adapted to completely different personalities right and left. It was amazing! I want to watch the whole show again so that I can time all of the costume changes.


This show is a bit unlike most other musicals - it had its very own flare and I enjoyed the new feel. I wouldn't recommend for kids or young teens due to some suggestive content and stylized violence, but for date night (or girls night), it was very fun!



Tickets for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder 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.

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.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Done With Diapers...But Not With WaterWipes!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by WaterWipes as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.



I've never really made it a secret that I wanted to use only the most natural products for my kids when they were babies. It never made sense to me to slather them in chemicals during bathtime, bedtime, or even during the constant diaper changes. My son, especially, had very sensitive skin and a lot of products made his eczema breakouts worse. It became normal for me to seek the purest products I could find as I forged my way into motherhood.

Baby wipes were something I was always very particular about - because my son's skin was sensitive and we ended up with diaper rashes if we weren't careful! By the time I found out about WaterWipes, both of my kids were nearly out of diapers - but that didn't stop my rejoicing. Finally, I had found a baby wipe that I was comfortable using all the time.


So, what's all the hype? WaterWipes contain only TWO ingredients - yes, two! Those two things are 99.9% pure Irish water and 0.1% grapefruit seed extract. That is it! I used to be so frustrated reading packages of baby wipes where there were a dozen ingredients listed. How is all that necessary?! These wipes are effective - they work for diaper changes, for washing sticky fingers after a snack at the zoo, for cleaning up a spill in the car...as fellow moms, we all know that the possible messes with little ones around are unlimited.

And the best news? You can now purchase WaterWipes at Target! Do you hear the angels singing? Picking up my favorite baby wipes at my favorite store? It makes those "quick" runs to Target even better.


We keep WaterWipes just about everywhere: on the bathroom counter, in the kids' room, in my bag, in the car, with our arts and craft supplies, and anywhere else it seems they might come in handy. We may not be using diapers anymore, but we are definitely not out of the baby wipes days yet! Thank goodness for this chemical-free option - we're so happy to have them!

Want to win some WaterWipes from Target?  I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes (5 winners).

WaterWipes Target Giveaway



What's your must-have baby product?
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