“Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz” at Paper Mill Playhouse

papermill playhouse

We just saw the new play,”Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz”, at Paper Mill Playhouse. Continuing until October 27, this world premiere focuses on the early life of Francis Gumm, who became Judy Garland. Best known for her breakout performance as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, her life and family are brought to life in a musical.

Honestly, I thought it was a bit….well, lets say “light hearted” in it’s presentation. Her mother, well documented as a nightmare stage parent, was portrayed as a little rough but doting. Her father, whom she adored, was also a bit much. His homosexuality was really hammered on, with long, dramatic songs, and quite a few scenes that a fellow theater-goer described as “over the top and self indulgent”- to which I agree. Over indulgent and almost mocking, so light hearted (and even joking) was made of her theater experiences with her mother and different people in the business, such as directors, owner, and other cast members. She had such a rough go in reality, and to present it in this way really seemed to belittle her life and to mock her life and experiences. It seemed very unfair to her, in my opinion. Abuse should not be downplayed as bumbling or nonsensical, her body shaming and resulting dysmorphia and eating disorders barely touched upon and again, very light, drug abuse (which killed her) pushed upon her and encouraged by those that should have been there for her, never mentioned.

NJ theater

The songs were odd and disjointed, nothing really played all the way through or presented in any sort of logical way, with the exception of “All Ma’s Children”, which was both fun and lively, as well as made sense in it’s placement (and was the entire song in one go). In my opinion, it was the best part of the show. Some songs, such as “You Made Me Love You” were done over and over, in bits and pieces, some of which were weird- such as between Judy and her father. Love songs between parent and child, not great.  The music was all over the place and jumbled, we really would have loved some consistency. As well, some more upbeat numbers to fill the 3 hour show.
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Tech Your Kids Will Really Fall For

 

Now that school is (finally!) back in session, you might be looking for fun ways to keep the kids stimulated and learning but still having fun while at home. We like board games and hiking as much as anybody, but sometimes a little hands-on building and creating goes a long way towards getting your child(ren) interested in something new, or perhaps just learning a little more about their favorite activities and what makes them “go”.

smart toys

If your kids like computers, video games, robots, or construction, Botzees might be the tech for you. This smart toy brings together virtual and hands on play in a way that is both fun and educational. Kids will enjoy playing, and won’t feel like they are having more “ugh, learning” heaped on them.  Botzees, the newest toy from Pai Technology, is a new robotics kit that is meant for kids ages 4 and up. This is a great way to sit with your kids and learn together- I have to admit this is an area my son is far and away better then I typically. It’s fun to learn together, and he loves when he can show me things. With this kit, you and your kid(s) can build, program, and code. There are six pre-designed robots, or you can go all out and create your own.

Once you build your Botzee, it can “be taught to move, drum, dance, make sounds and light up using the free Botzees app. Additionally, the 30 interactive Augmented Reality puzzles will teach even more coding concepts with visual cues.” (as per Pai Technology) It is available for $100 at https://www.pai.technology/botzees and Amazon.
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APPLE STORES INTRODUCE NEW AUGMENTED REALITY CODING ROBOT FOR KIDS

Looking for a smart toy that brings virtual and hands on play together in a fun and educational way – one that sets it apart from the rest?

Introducing Botzees, the latest and greatest from Pai Technology, innovators that excel in pairing children’s growth through all stages with technology, science, and art to strengthen imagination, problem-solving, critical thinking, and healthy lifestyles.

Botzees is a new robotics kit for kids ages 4 and up that combines creativity, construction, and coding, all in one. Kids can build, program and code six different pre-designed robots or choose to create their own with the specially designed blocks that come with the kit.

Once built, Botzees can be taught to move, drum, dance, make sounds and light up using the free Botzees app. The kit’s 130 gender neutral, uniquely shaped, easy-to-grip blocks with rounded edges will inspire kids’ imagination with tactile, tangible hands-on learning. Additionally, the 30 interactive Augmented Reality puzzles will teach even more coding concepts with visual cues.
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Paper Mill’s “Half Time” Announces Cast Recording and Pre Order

FEATURING PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE’S STAR-STUDDED LINEUP OF BROADWAY LEGENDS INCLUDING NEW TONY AWARD WINNER ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS, TONY AWARD WINNERS LILLIAS WHITE & DONNA MCKECHNIE PLUS A FINAL PERFORMANCE FROM THE LATE GEORGIA ENGEL.

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stotts- Managing Director), recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, along with Sony Masterworks Broadway announces the July 19th release of HALF TIME (ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING), with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Nell Benjamin and additional music by Marvin Hamlisch and Ester Dean.  Available for preorder now, the album features music from the Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin-written musical, which made its 2018 debut at Paper Mill Playhouse and tells the uplifting true story of ten New Jersey seniors with extraordinary dreams.

The Half-Time (Original Cast Recording) features some of the last songs written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away during the show’s early gestation.  The album also features a who’s who of Broadway talent, including five-time Emmy Award-nominated actress Georgia Engel (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Everybody Loves Raymond), Tony and Emmy Award winner Lillias White (The Life, Sesame Street), Tony and Drama Desk Award winner Donna McKechnie (A Chorus Line) and Emmy Award winner André De Sheilds (The Wiz), who most recently won a Tony for his role in Hadestown.  The Original Cast Recording is dedicated to the memory of Georgia Engel.

Based on the motion picture Gotta Dance, directed, written and produced by Dori Bernstein, Half Time tells the incredible true story of ten determined dreamers who audition to dance at half time for a major basketball team., inspired by the true story of the Brooklyn Nets NETSational dance team. They have three things in common: they love to dance, they have something to prove, and they are all over 60. Only after making the cut do they learn they won’t be dancing tap, salsa or swing—instead, they will bring down the house with a style that is entirely new to them: hip-hop. Take the uplifting journey with these dreamers—and the young coaches who inspire them along the way—as they battle self-doubt, stereotypes and even each other for a chance to bust a move at center court in front of 20,000 screaming fans. Together they remind us that in life, when the odds are stacked against you and the challenges seem too great to overcome, it’s not the end of the game—it’s Half Time.

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Blockchain and Independent Films

With the advent of the internet, independent film companies have come about readily, and this does not seem to be changing. Now, more than ever, the ability to make an independent film is accessible to pretty much any individual with a screen. Before this period, making films was reserved for big studios that were given massive budgets. Movies from these large studios are still responsible for the majority of the revenue earned in this industry, but independent films are beginning to make some noise. Film producers such as Heather Parry have seen this industry over the years, and it continues to evolve as time continues. Independent filmmakers have turned to solutions such as blockchains to receive proper forms of compensation.

Providing Faster Revenue Channels

Traditionally, there are a lot of channels independent film companies must go through before they receive compensation. Companies of this nature regularly receive publishing deals from bigger studios and are often the last entity to receive payment. With the introduction of Blockchain technology, this would no longer be the case. Independent film companies would receive more direct revenues, and these filmmakers would earn more money as a result. Since these individuals are responsible for the overall creative process that reaches the audience, they should receive compensation as quickly as the more prominent entities or even faster if possible.
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Dads are FREE at MEDIEVAL TIMES for Father’s Day!

What better way is there to celebrate dad than to make him feel like a king?  Treat dad like royalty this Father’s Day at Medieval Times!  Hope you can please let your readers know about this special Father’s Day promotion.  Thank you!
Available for all shows now through June 16, Dads are FREE at Medieval Times with the purchase of one full-priced adult ticket.  Just use the codeDAD19 to take advantage of this great special offer.

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Artists Are Turning Away From Major Labels and Turning On to Indies

Somewhat surprisingly, independent music labels collectively have led the major labels in total market share since 2017, which begs the question: why are artists signing with indies instead of major labels, which still claim the most money and clout? More money means bigger promotions for an artist’s record, along with bigger advances and signing bonuses for the artist. More clout means major labels have established connections throughout the industry to grease the wheels that help artists succeed.

In addition, because the major labels collectively still have most of the total market share, the economy of scale offers lower costs of production and distribution. Despite these advantages, things are changing and indies area gaining ground. Here are a few reasons why.

Artists Who Don’t Trust the Major Labels Now Have an Option

The major labels have a scurrilous reputation for luring artists to sign with big bonuses and then, once the artists are signed, lowballing them out of the royalties they earn from the music. It’s been estimated that the average musician in a band earns $23.40 for every $1000 the music earns. Artists have repeatedly sued the labels over royalty disputes, including James Taylor, Eminem, Kenny Rogers, George Clinton.

Once artists are wined, dined, and signed, their labels might turn their backs on them as they focus on other, more established stars. Especially if the music doesn’t sell as anticipated, the labels have been known to stop spending money on promotion, leaving the artists at the mercy of the label, with little recourse to promote their product. Until the rise of independent labels, artists had little choice because, with all their clout, the majors were practically the only game in town.
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Celebrate the Debut of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame with Special Promotion and National Super Hero Day Event at MARVEL’S AVENGERS STATION

To celebrate the debut of the new film, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame,” Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. will be offering all visitors who present an Avengers: Endgame movie ticket stub $5 off admission to the exhibit from Friday, April 19 through Sunday, May 5, along with a special gift.

In addition, visitors are invited to a special event on National Super Hero DaySunday, April 28 from 1 – 4 p.m. FREE and open to the public, the event will feature Marvel-themed cosplayers, an Avengers super hero mask making station, balloon and glitter tattoo artist, and 15% off select merchandise throughout the retail store.

On National Super Hero Day, exhibit tickets will be available at a special price of $30 for adults and $20 for kids – valid all day. Honoring our community’s real-life heroes, all first responders including Paramedics, Law Enforcement Officers, Fire Fighters and Physicians will receive FREE admission all day ($8 service fee not included).

For more information, visit Marvel’s Avengers STATION online at http://www.stationattraction.com/.

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