Director Jewels

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?

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.
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