Director Jewels

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mary Poppins 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. 

Fiona Scott as Jane Banks, Analisa Leaming as Mary Poppins, and Maddox Bane
as Michael Banks in Starlight Theatre's production of MARY POPPINS. Photo by Kelsey Clark.

I've wanted to see a professional production of Mary Poppins for years. I was delighted to learn that this show would grace the stage under the stars this summer at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City.

With a rehearsal time period of under two weeks, sixteen Kansas City actors, and a heaping spoonful of magic, this production is breezing by in a hurry - it's only playing through August 2. The production was designed just for Starlight's audience and features new costumes created by Kansas City Costume Co. plus a set that was designed and constructed in collaboration with four other regional theatres across the country. The set design is seamless and scene changes fly by in a blink.

Each member of the cast exhibits the expected spirit of the familiar characters. I feel that a longer rehearsal time period may have built some additional chemistry and better pacing between the characters, but the energy was high and the crowd was enthusiastic. The musical's plot is a combination of the Disney musical adaptation and the original stories written by P.L. Travers.

Most people expect to see someone who reminds them of Julie Andrews in the title role, and Analisa Leaming (last seen at Starlight in The Sound of Music) did not disappoint. She was anything but a carbon copy, but portrayed a lovely character both reminiscent of the practically perfect movie and filled with new spirit of her own.

Fiona Scott of St. Louis stars as Jane Banks, and Maddox Bane of Kansas City stars as
Michael Banks in Starlight Theatre's production of MARY POPPINS. Photo by Kelsey Clark.

All in all, it is a magical production that will delight both young and old. There's a particularly supercalifragilisticexpialidocious bit of magic toward the end of the show that had the audience in awe! Make sure you stay for the curtain call singalong, too. I have to say that this is the first Starlight show I have seen in years where everyone stayed in their seats until the last note of music played. The fun was just too much - no one wanted to leave!

Tickets for Mary Poppins at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $12 to $92. 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. All 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, July 10, 2015

Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella 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 was so excited to learn that Starlight Theatre in my Kansas City hometown would be featuring Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella as part of their summer season. I wanted so badly to see this production on Broadway in 2013, but that wasn't logistically possible at the time. I'm a big fan of Laura Osnes, who originated the role of Cinderella in the Broadway revival, and just from watching promo spots back then, I knew this was a show not to be missed. I was not wrong about that!


Paige Faure in the National Tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
Photo © Carol Rosegg.

It was raining at Starlight on Tuesday evening for opening night, but that didn't stop the air from being filled with great anticipation. Everywhere I looked, there were little girls sporting princess dresses and painted faces. Starlight is offering a pre-show family event, the “Fairy Tale Festival.” The festival is open from 6:00 to 7:45 pm each night and includes activities like face painting, crafts, games, storytelling and more. If you have a pair of outgrown children's shoes taking up space in your house, make sure you bring them to donate to Operation Breakthrough as part of Starlight's "If the Shoe Doesn't Fit, Bring It!" charitable program.

The Cast of the National Tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo © Carol Rosegg.

Cinderella dazzles the audience from start to finish, from the ornate set design to the more than three hundred beautiful costumes (more on those later) to the breathtaking choreography. There are so many positive things I could say about this show that I think it would be easier for you to just watch it yourself and be astounded right along with me. A truly family-friendly spectacle, with nothing offensive for parents to worry about, this show was the highlight of the season for me, so far.

From Ella's In My Own Little Corner to Impossible/It's Possible to Ten Minutes Ago, we're captivated by Ella (played on tour by Paige Faure) and her desire to see her greatest wishes granted, while maintaining her character of kindness. You can't help but root for a character who displays a heart as pure as gold. Faure brings Ella to life with sweetness and charm, and I'm guessing every little girl in the audience went home dreaming of starring in that role someday.

Beth Glover, Kaitlyn Davidson, Aymee Garcia & Paige Faure in the National Tour of
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo © Carol Rosegg.

The supporting cast is strong and brings joy and laughter to the audience over and over again. Madame (played by Beth Glover), Gabrielle (Kaitlyn Davidson), and especially Charlotte (Aymee Garcia) stole the show with their lovely over-the-top character representations of Cinderella's infamous stepmother and stepsisters. The characters themselves have been redefined for the production, and it's nice to see some development in them, rather than just watching three ladies be "evil" throughout. A Lovely Night was hilarious and well-acted by these ladies and Ella.

Kecia Lewis & Paige Faure in the National Tour of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
Photo © Carol Rosegg.

Marie (the Fairy Godmother, portrayed by Kecia Lewis) stole the show at moments for sure. She has more than one magical transformation. It's always a delight to see young audience members light up at a bit of stage magic, but this show successfully caused more than just the little girls in princess dresses think that the impossible was indeed coming true right before their eyes.

Speaking of impossible, I have to throw it out there that I was one hundred percent blown away by the onstage costume transformations. I've never seen anything like it in my life. Go see this show for that, if for nothing else! I'm a director/actress/costume designer (not for Broadway by any means), but I was flabbergasted and have spent quite a few hours since seeing the show trying to figure out the costume design. Kudos to costume designer William Ivey Long for creating "impossible" magic to take this show above and beyond magical.

Adrian Arrieta, Paige Faure & Blakely Slaybaugh in the National Tour
of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo © Carol Rosegg.

If you need a night of magic and adventure, this show is at the top of my recommendation list this summer. Don't miss the tour stop here in Kansas City!

Andy Huntington Jones & Paige Faure in the National Tour of
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Photo © Carol Rosegg.
Tickets for Cinderella at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $12 to $92. 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. All performances begin at 8 p.m. You can follow the Cinderella Tour on Twitter and Facebook - and make sure you check out the Cinderella YouTube channel for sneak peek videos!

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, July 7, 2015

Under the Sea Birthday Party Supplies from Oriental Trading

Looking for Under the Sea party ideas? Make sure you check out our Octonauts Party Favor IdeasOctonauts Birthday Party Food IdeasOctonauts Birthday Party Decoration IdeasSea Anemone Pipe Cleaner Craft and Paper Plate Fish Aquarium CraftThis post may contain affiliate links. I received samples from Oriental Trading to facilitate this review. This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the products listed. No other compensation was received.



After the success of Lincoln's firetruck party last year, I turned to Oriental Trading again when I was planning our Octonauts themed party earlier this year. I love decorating for parties, but there are only so many hours to DIY things for my celebrations - so it makes sense to add in some awesome supplies from a reliable company.


Oriental Trading sent me a big box of goodies to use for the party. The Jumbo Realistic Sea Life Cutouts were so helpful for transforming our house into an ocean wonderland! Everyone loved them, and the kids thought it was fantastic to help me hang them on the wall.


The Under the Sea Stamps have been a huge hit, for weeks after the party! I have to pay close attention so my ink pads don't get other colors of ink embedded in them, but I think Lincoln would happily play with stamps for an entire day if he could.


These stamps make for a really simple birthday party craft for preschoolers, as they are both fun and educational and help kids with fine motor skills.


I know we'll get many more uses out of these stamps!


The party guests loved being able to select things to add to their favor bags. We used Squishy Jelly Fish, as well as Mini Light-Up Spiky Balls (as sea urchins).


Other things we included in the favor boxes were Ocean Life stickers and Sea Life Creatures. The stickers were used up by my kids extremely fast, but the sea life creatures have been favorites in our Octonauts play bin for months now!


The Ocean Life Stampers were a lot of fun to give to guests as well. And I have good news to report: they wash off walls easily!



The octopus in the favor photos above is part of the Plush Mini Tropical Toy Assortment. These were perfect for the fishing game that we rigged up in our hallway. The kids loved fishing for treasures and they were all quite pleased to receive the little creatures.


To create the game, I just hot glued a piece of fishing line to a wooden dowel and a clothespin. It was the fastest DIY ever. The "ocean" wall in the hallway was a plastic tablecloth taped to the wall. So easy and cheap!


We also received some Fish Straws (which were of course a big hit) and some paper plates for our guests to use with our oceanic food options! The party was greatly enhanced by Oriental Trading and we can't wait to go shopping again when it's time to plan another party. 

Disclosure: I received samples from Oriental Trading to facilitate this review. This review is based strictly on my opinion. Others may have a different opinion or experience with the products listed. No other compensation was received. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy

Friday, July 3, 2015

20 Crafts for the 4th of July

20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Independence Day is upon us! As I write this, my neighborhood is a cacophony of firecrackers and loud booming sounds in the sky. Thankfully, the kids have slept through it all! I had great intentions to make a bunch of the projects on this list of 20 Crafts for the 4th of July to display in our house, but it hasn't quite happened yet. Maybe I'll pull out some supplies while I wait for my neighbors to stop lighting things on fire!


American Flag Pom Pom Worksheet | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

4th of July Recycled Wind Chimes | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Hand Made Flag Shirt | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

4th of July Sparkle Candy Dish | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Patriotic Pinwheel DIY | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

DIY Temporary Patriotic Tattoos | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Toothpaste Box Firecrackers DIY | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Popsicle Stick Flag Magnets | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Patriotic Duck Tape Parade Stick | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Upcycled Flag Craft | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Patriotic Ribbon Coasters | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Easy Patriotic Bandana Wreath | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

4th of July Cupcake Toppers | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Hand Winged Bald Eagle | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Upcycled Patriotic Windsock | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

American Flag Popsicle Stick Craft | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Red, White & Blue Kids Placemats | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Uncle Sam Fascinator for the Fourth of July | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Faux 4th of July Paper Sparklers | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

Magazine Mosaic Flag | 20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

20 Crafts for the 4th of July - Independence Day DIYs | directorjewels.com

What are your plans for the 4th?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

$50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

I don't know about you, but I think a $50 Amazon gift card would be a great thing to win this summer! I have a big list of books I would love to get for the kids to enhance our summer reading list.

What would you buy with a $50 gift card?

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Kinsights Summer Splurge $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Hosted by Tales From A Southern Mom

Co-Hosted by Michigan Saving and More IMHO Views, Reviews, and Giveaways Director Jewels

Sponsored by Kinsights.com

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