Marin Youth Performers Presents Singin' in the Rain

May 25, 2011

Singin' in the RainJoin 142 Throckmorton Theatre for a production of the classic musical Singin' in the Rain by their youth program, Marin Youth Performers. 1920s Hollywood is the setting for this stage adaptation of one of the most beloved movie musicals of all-time, a zany, light-hearted, romantic comedy about the early days of sound film, when many a movie studio found itself scrambling to salvage the career of its chipmunk-voiced silent movie star.

Singin’ in the Rain brings to life a memorable score that includes Make ‘Em Laugh, Good Morning, Broadway Ballet (Gotta Dance) and of course the signature title song.

This production of Singin’ in the Rain is performed by an all-youth cast, in 4th through 12th grade, from 20 different schools in Marin County and San Francisco, accompanied by an orchestra of young musicians, all aged 14 to 20 years old, from all over Southern Marin and San Francisco. Marin Youth Performers, 142 Throckmorton Theatre's youth division, provides affordable, engaging, and educational theatrical experiences for young people of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities and produces high quality theatrical productions with performers of exceptional potential and talent.

Outdoor Safety for Families: The Tiny and Terrible Tick

May 24, 2011

Adult deer tickWe just got back from our first camping trip of the season, and ran into a notorious and ubiquitous outdoor pest—the tick. We managed to get up-close-and-personal with one of the nasty little critters when we found one hanging out on my son's shoulder when we were getting him ready for bed. Fortunately, it hadn't bitten him yet, and we caught and disposed of the tick quickly and easily. It did reinforce for us the need to be vigilant in looking for ticks after most outdoor activities.

Often as small as a sesame seed, these nasty little parasites can be found all over California—you've no doubt seen the tick warning signs at many trailheads throughout Marin and the Bay Area. While in times past they were regarded as more of a nuisance than anything else, in the last 20 years or so they’ve become vectors for serious health problems, including the infamous Lyme disease. Of course, this article should not be a substitute for genuine medical advice, so if you suspect a real health problem, talk to your pediatrician.

Language Development and Possible Causes for Concern

May 23, 2011

Baby talkingHow should your child's language development be progressing? Marin Speech Pathologist Cydney Doerres, MS, CCC, fills us in on children's important developmental milestones and potential causes for concern in this guest article.

Do you recall how excited you were when your child said his first word? Talking and walking are two of the most important developmental milestones in a child’s and a parent’s life. We, as parents, often gage our children’s overall development based on the language that he understands and is producing. Catching a speech or language delay early is important as the ability to communicate helps your child to develop learning, play and social skills in preschool and earlier.

As a Speech and Language Pathologist/Therapist the most frequent question I hear from professionals, family, friends and parents is “Is my child talking at the right level for his/her age?” If I feel that I have observed the child well enough, then I can provide a confident answer, however, I have often only just met the child!

A Taste of Spring with Strawberry Pie

May 21, 2011

Strawberry pieIn case you haven't noticed, it's strawberry season, and the delicious red berries and popping up in farmers' fields and markets all over. We've been getting especially sweet and tasty strawberries from vendors at the Marin Civic Center farmer's market, as well as at local stores. Recently, we found ourselves with a surplus of strawberries, and wondered momentarily what to do with them. Fortunately, an answer was immediately at hand—strawberry pie.

Unlike our equally delicious strawberry rhubarb pie, this refrigerated pie requires little baking or cooking, and is something that the kids can help with in the kitchen safely and easily. Here's what you'll need:

The Insider's Guide to the 2011 Mountain Play: Hairspray

May 20, 2011

Hairspray at the 2011 Mountain PlayOne of Marin County's most beloved and unique events is the famous Mountain Play—an outdoor theater experience on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais that's been going strong for 98 years. 2011's Mountain Play production is the Tony Award-winning Hairspray, the story of self-proclaimed "pleasantly plump" teenager Tracy Turnblad as she simultaneously pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation in 1962 Baltimore. Winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Hairspray features a heart pounding score of such favorites as Welcome to the '60s, Good Morning, Baltimore, Mama, I’m a Big Girl Now and You Can’t Stop the Beat. Hairspray is based on the 1988 movie of the same name written and directed by cult filmmaker John Waters.

The Mountain Play's production of Hairspray features a professional cast (including local singer/songwriter and children's performer Susan Zelinsky, AKA Susan Z, as Velma Von Tussle), and is directed by Marin drama legend and Mountain Play veteran James Dunn.

Marin Parks & Recreation Summer Classes 2011

May 17, 2011

Still looking for fun kids' activities and camps for summer? There's still time to sign up for one of the many classes and programs offered by local parks and recreation departments and other organizations. Find your local recreation resource on our list below. We've also included links to the summer camps offered by the Marin YMCA and the Osher Jewish Community Center.

Have a Love2Dance Birthday Party

May 16, 2011

Love2DanceDo your children love to dance? Most kids do, so why not consider a dance birthday party when that time of the year rolls around. Both of my children (ages 5 and 8) recently went to birthday parties at Novato's Love2Dance dance studio. I attended both parties and have to say both of them were an absolute blast.

While Love2Dance is a serious dance studio—owner Tara-Caprice Broadwater is a former Golden State Warrior dancer with over two decades of dance experience—their birthday parties are for children with little or no dance experience who just want to have fun. Of course if you know how to dance, that makes things even better.

Day Out in Sonoma, Part I: Picnic on the Plaza

May 16, 2011

Sonoma Plaza and old City HallOne of our absolute favorite family day trips is to the town of Sonoma. Sonoma is a fantastic wine country destination for either a family outing or a weekend getawaty. About a half-hour’s drive from northern Marin, Sonoma is not as busy or as up-to-the-moment trendy as the Napa Valley, its flashier Wine Country neighbor to the east, but it manages to be at the same time both quaint and sophisticated, with a clear sense of tradition and history. Above all, Sonoma is a great place for families, since the Wine Country isn’t necessarily all about wine.

One of our favorite things to do is to stake out a place in Sonoma’s historic downtown Plaza, and have a picnic. Once the parade ground for the Mexican soldiers stationed here in the 19th century, the Plaza is an expansive park in the heart of Sonoma, with lush green lawns, two playgrounds, fountains, a pond with ducks, and plenty of shade. It’s the perfect place for families to relax and play. There's often something fun going on here, too, like art shows, a farmer's market, and even an annual ox roast celebration.

Day Out in Sonoma Part II: Explore California's History

May 16, 2011

Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma, CaliforniaIn our last look at the town of Sonoma—one of our favorite places for a family outing—we focused on the historic Sonoma Plaza, picnicing, and places to pick up lunch supplies. The Plaza itself is surrounded by the historic remains of the old Mexican town of Sonoma, which dates back to the founding of Mission San Francisco Solano by Father José Altamira in the 1820s. Sites include the mission itself, the remains of General Mariano Vallejo's Casa Grande, the Sonoma Barracks, the Blue Wing Inn, the Toscano Hotel, and Lachryma Montis, Vallejo's Victorian home, which is located a short distance from the Plaza.

The historic buildings in Sonoma, all part of Sonoma State Historic Park, are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm and admission is inexpensive (just $3 for adults and $2 for kids), so you should definitely plan a visit with your family. The park is a great way to learn about California history, especially since Sonoma was the site of the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt that proclaimed the California Republic and marked the beginning of the end for Mexican rule of the Alta California, as well as the creation of California's iconic state Bear Flag.

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