For more information on any of the notes below, check out the BeatBlog.
• BalletMet Columbus has a new children’s book.
Leap and Twirl is about two friends who take a class at BalletMet and along the way learn about friendship, creativity and, of course, exercise and dance.
BalletMet education director Ambre Emory-Maier told The Beat that having a book as part of the education program at the company has been a longtime dream of hers. It was created as part of the “Magic in Movement” program, supported by the PNC Foundation and led initially through a partnership with the Columbus Urban League.
The book was written by Steven C. Anderson, artistic director with CATCO-Phoenix, and illustrator Sarah DeAngulo Hout.
“It’s told from the perspective of preschool children – who are not children but animals – who participate in the weeklong dance program at BalletMet. It mirrors that experience, but it also features themes like friendship and literacy.”
Anderson, who has written many stage productions, said working on the book was “a fun process. I got to exercise some different muscles in my brain.”
“I wanted to make sure that it taught humanity,” he said. “There is a lot of kindness. For example, Twirl is a little bit klutzy. But there is a lot of helping others, a lot of forgiveness.”
Emory-Maier said BalletMet carries the rights to the book and expects it to be made more widely available eventually.
• Columbus playwright Nanette Marie’s Mamas’ Drama has been selected as one of 50 (from a field of more than 350) plays to be a part of the third annual DC Black Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C.
The dramatic play first was staged in 2011 by Nia Performing Arts. The original cast will make the trip to Washington for the performance, which will be Saturday, June 30.
“It was a glorious day” when she learned the play had been selected for the festival, Marie told The Beat. “To say I’m excited is an understatement.”
The play is based on the playwright’s personal experiences growing up not knowing who her real father was. The play spans seven decades, following main character Josephine from age 8 to age 83 and how family secrets have affected her and members of her family.
“I wanted to convey a message of forgiveness and redemption,” she said. “The topic of ‘mama’s baby, daddy’s maybe’ is touchy, but it touches so many lives.”
• The 26th Drexel Theatre Summer Kid’s Film Festival opens this weekend at the Bexley cinema.
“We always mix classic children’s films with some newer films and one Columbus premiere,” artistic director Jeff Frank said.
The festival opens Friday, June 29, with a screening of The Muppet Movie. There will be seven features in all, running throughout the summer. Most of the films carry a G rating, with Ghostbusters and The Pirates! A Band of Misfists PG.
Two of three screenings of The Wizard of Oz will be sing-alongs, with the words on the screen. Audience members also will be encouraged to come in costume, Frank said.
For the first time in many years, the festival will include a Shirley Temple picture – this year, Wee Willie Winkie. Frank said a selection of Temple’s best song and dance numbers from her films will be shown as well.
The premiere is an award-winning documentary about teen magicians, called Make Believe.
Visit Drexel.net for more information.