Saturday, February 18, 2017

New Kids TV Available on DVD from Shout! Kids

This February, celebrate the season of love with adorable family TV shows on DVD from Shout! Kids in collaboration with Hasbro Studios. Three DVDs from the My Little Pony, Littlest Pet Shop and Transformers Rescue Bots lines are being released this February as the perfect way for kids to spend some quality time with the characters they love.

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Exploring the Crystal Empire


My Little Pony – Friendship Is Magic: Exploring the Crystal Empire is coming to DVD on February 7, 2017 in the U.S. and Canada from Shout! Kids in collaboration with Hasbro Studios.

Join Twilight Sparkle, everypony's favorite studious princess, and her very best friends – Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie and Spike – as they explore the wondrous arctic kingdom, the Crystal Empire! Old enemies return and new friends are made in this collection of episodes that will have you exploring the Crystal Empire with magical adventure!








Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Stars

A pet star is born! On February 14, 2017, buddy up with Blythe and her superstar pet pals with Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Stars on DVD from Shout! Kids, in collaboration with Hasbro Studios.

Sinister king cobras! Comedy festivals! Pet hotels! And a monkey on Mars?! It's all here, as Blythe and her best friends – Russell the Hedgehog, Pepper the Skunk, Zoe the Spaniel, Minka the Monkey, Sunil the Mongoose, Penny the Panda and Vinnie the Gecko – share one outrageous adventure after another in The Littlest Pet Shop: Pet Stars!







Transformers Rescue Bots: Protect and Explore


Get ready for big adventures and rescues in the great outdoors! Transformers Rescue Bots: Heroes of Tech will be released on DVD on February 21, 2017 from Shout! Kids, in collaboration with Hasbro Studios. Featuring five exciting episodes that the whole family can enjoy, this DVD is priced to own with a suggested retail price of $14.93.

When a mysterious iceberg is spotted off the coast of Griffin Rock, it brings both danger and the interest of an old nemesis. On a nature hike, the Rescue Bots team will have to battle escaped snakes. And when the Burns family is stranded at sea by a swarm of jellyfish, the Bots must control miniature souvenir replicas of themselves. Enjoy these adventures and more in Transformers Rescue Bots: Protect and Explore!


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Circus 1903-The Golden Age of Circus Coming Soon to Boston: GIVEAWAY!


As a vegan momma, I have never been able to take the Monsters to the circus because we don't like the treatment of the animals. It bummed me out big time because I always loved the big top as a kid. Lucky for me, the girls are finally going to get to see a real circus this March when Circus 1903-The Golden Age of Circus comes to Boston.

In a world premiere event, the producers of the world’s biggest magic show, The Illusionists, have teamed up with the award-winning puppeteers from War Horse, to present a thrilling turn-of-the-century circus spectacular. The show has all the thrill and daredevil entertainment one would expect from the circus, with an exciting new twist. Sensational puppetry puts Elephants back in the ring as never seen before by introducing the largest ever performing African elephant and her baby, along with a huge cast of the most unique, amazing and dangerous circus acts from all four corners of the world, from strong men to contortionists, acrobats to musicians, knife throwers, high wire and much more!
Amazing work on the tight rope!

The award-winning team of puppeteers and model makers who created the National Theatre’s War Horse will design, build and bring to life two stunningly beautiful elephants for the show making the circus 100% ethical. Featuring groundbreaking advances in design and expression, the puppets appear throughout the show as the mother teaches her calf the tricks of the trade. Discover the golden age of circus this winter as Circus 1903 sets to captivate audiences of all ages.

How cool is this elephant?

Circus 1903 –The Golden Age of Circus plays at the Boch Center Wang Theatre Wednesday, March 8 through Sunday, March 12, 2017 for 8 performances: Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 7:00 pm, matinees at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm on Saturdays; and on Sundays at 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm. Tickets prices begin at $35.00 and are on sale at the Boch Center box office, through www.bochcenter.org by calling 800-982-ARTS (2787), or through Ticketmaster. Groups of 10 or more may reserve tickets now by contacting Boch Center Group Sales at (617) 532-1116 or groups@bochcenter.org.

I also have a family four pack of tickets up for grabs for the Wednesday, March 8th. show exclusively on our Facebook page. Enter today for your chance at a thrilling night under the big top!


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Lion King Roaring into Providence Performing Arts Center: Interview with Nick Cordileone!


As you all know, I love Broadway shows, and since touring the prop lot for Disney on Broadway, I have put seeing The Lion King on my Broadway bucket list.

Channeling my inner Simba
Well this March, I will finally take Zoe Monster to see the show when it comes to PPAC. In its 19th year, The Lion King continues to be one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of The Lion King is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award®-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to the haunting ballad “Shadowland.”

Nick Cordileone playing Timon on stage


I was lucky enough to score an interview with Nick Cordileone who plays everyone's favorite meerkat, Timon. Check out our interview below:

Thank you so much for taking time to interview with us. First up, what made you want to pursue a career as a stage actor?


I knew from a very early age that story telling spoke to my core. I couldn't fall asleep until I knew how Banner and the Hulk were going to fare week to week on T.V. I imagined flying Airwolf to school every morning. My dad and I would fabricate Indian Jones' signature outfit, complete with bull whip. I loved pretend, as most kids do, but it was always the stories that resonated with me. As soon as I learned of a profession where you could become anyone and go anywhere I was hooked.

The Lion King has been touring for years. What makes one performance feel memorable or stand out when a show is this long-running?

One of the joys of this art form is the balance between routine and discovery. Lion King is a story that we know inside and out. We memorize lines, learn choreography, and develop consistency over the course of not just 8 shows a week, but, for some of us, years and years. But the beauty is that the nightly collaboration between cast, crew, orchestra, and audience is completely unique every time. And no matter how many repetitions there are, every night Timon and Pumbaa meet Simba for the first time. We set benchmarks for the truth of the given circumstances of each scene and then have the freedom and flexibility to navigate any fluctuations from night to night. It's like a tightrope!

The show utilizes actors and hollow puppets. How do you balance your own acting and
emoting with the use of the puppet?


The puppet is both a magnifying glass and a funnel. It is a way to focus energy. Julie Taymor calls it the double event. For each of us there are 2 performances happening simultaneously. The audience is free to watch either and ultimately, if we do our jobs well, the performances combine almost subliminally.

My daughter, as well as many other children, dreams of being on the stage one day. What advice could you give them, as well as their parents, to see that dream come to fruition?

I would encourage both parents and young ones to be open to opportunities that arise while feeling free to make their own. There are so many ways to exercise your talents. Youth Theatre, Community Theatre, school, reading plays with friends. Any time we engage with art, there is a chance for growth. I've been fortunate to carve out a career doing what I love and I think a lot of it has to do with being open to being surprised. I never set out what it had to look like.

I have heard that you travel with your daughter and actually home school her on the road. Can you tell me a little bit about that experience and a typical day for a touring family?

It has been great. Hero is 14 and started touring with me about 5 years ago. My wife Amy teaches at NYU and can schedule her workload to facilitate popping out to meet us wherever we happen to be. We have online lessons. Sometimes flash videos, sometimes a taped lecture. The best part has been how serendipitously our studies and travels have lined up. We studied volcanoes when the show was in Hawaii, pueblos in New Mexico, Jamestown in Virginia. It has been uncanny how well our curriculum has lined up with the tour, just by chance. Now, we also take full advantage of wherever we happen to be. Adding to our course work with our unique situation.

We write a lot about Disney on this site so I have to ask you some Disney related questions…Besides Lion King, what is your absolute favorite Disney movie and why?


I adore Mulan. I love the courage she shows. The art is beautiful. All of the voice talent is so strong, particularly Miguel Ferrer who will be so missed.

If you could belt out any Disney song on stage, which would be your go to?

I Wanna Be Like You. I used to work as a singing waiter and that was my favorite song to sing.

Finally, being a busy touring actor, how do you make the idea “Hakuna Matata” work for you in your daily life?

Well, not unlike what I described for the show, we try to have equal parts routine and flux. We work to control what we can and then enjoy what comes at us unexpectedly. It has worked pretty well for our family so far.
***

I can't wait to see Nick and all the other talented actors this March. The Lion King follows a traditional Taco/White Family Foundation Broadway Series schedule (Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7P, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30P, Saturdays at 2P & 8P, and Sundays at 1P & 6:30P), with the following exceptions: there is an added matinee performance scheduled on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 1P and the final performance for THE LION KING is Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 1P. Please note that there is no Sunday evening performance at 6:30P on March 19.

Tickets are available at the PPAC Box Office (located at 220 Weybosset Street in downtown Providence), online at www.ppacri.org or by calling (401) 421-ARTS (2787). Box Office Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. , Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and two hours prior to curtain times on performance days. Premium Ticket Packages, which include prime seat locations, a commemorative souvenir program, and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available. Orders for groups of ten (10) or more may be placed by contacting Paul Hiatt at phiatt@ppacri.org or (401) 574-3162, Monday through Friday, 9A to 5P.
















Sunday, January 29, 2017

Playing Detective at The Great Escape Room was a Blast!


I have to say, I had the BEST time last night at The Great Escape Room: Providence. The Great Escape Room is an exciting Sherlock-themed escape adventure that has proven to be a favorite around town. The rooms are part scavenger hunt and part puzzle-solving. All groups must work together as a team to escape. You have just 60 minutes… will you escape?

I gathered up a group of ten to try out this lock room with me. We were greeted by our host for the night, Carson, who had us put on nametags and explained the rules. We were to be locked in Sherlock's library for 60 minutes and would have to solve five different puzzles. Hidden in the room were an abundance of color coded clues. It was up to us to work together to discover the clues and then make sense of them to find a way out before the hour was up. We were encouraged to leave no stone unturned and search through everything in the room (we were legitimately dissembling furniture!)

I don't want to give away too much of what we did in the room, but it was a blast and also super challenging! The puzzles are not dead giveaways and you really need to collaborate with your team to figure things out. Our room only had about a 30% success rate and sadly we did not add to in. In a heartbreaking turn of events, we were within 30 seconds or so of beating the clock but just didn't make it in time.

All the losers together #baddetectives

This was one of the most fun nights I have had in a long time. We all started the room being silly and just having fun, but within the first 10 minutes the mood changed and we were hard boiled detectives on the case. Carson was a great host and really kept us focused; there were three magnifying glasses hidden that we could turn in for clues from him, and those were definitely lifesavers. As adults, and parents at that, we rarely get a chance to just go have fun and play, and the Great Escape Room gave us that chance.

The Providence location offers two different rooms. We tried out The Library where you have to put your skills of deductive reasoning to the test and see if you can be selected as an apprentice for the legendary Sherlock Holmes. It is your task to unravel the mystery set before you and join The League of the Masters of Elementary Deduction. I really want to go back and give Professor Moriarty's Gameroom a go where your help is needed to find the antidote and save the world from Professor Moriarty’s nefarious scheme. You must beat Professor Moriarty at his own game, solving his puzzles before time runs out. Not from Rhode Island? Don't worry, there are other locations nationally. Trust me, get some friends together (pick your smartest ones) and give The Great Escape Room a try; it will be a night to remember!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

5 Wits is Fun for the Whole Family!


Hope all my readers had a fabulous winter break! For the first time in years we had no obligations over the holiday break so we really got a chance just to do some local attractions with the Monsters and relax as a family. One of my favorite trips this week was visiting 5 Wits in Foxboro. If you don't know about this place, you are missing out. 5 Wits was created in 2004 to offer a live-action, immersive adventure experience within a realistic, hands-on setting. Rather than watching an action movie or playing a video game, customers get the chance to BE the action hero and get inside that movie or video game.



We got a chance to experience both adventures: Espionage and 20,000 Leagues. First up was Espionage where we needed to discover the mole in an organization. We slid through laser traps and debugged rooms while narrowly avoiding a massive explosion! In 20,000 Leagues we learned that Jules Verne perhaps left something more than fiction in his "novel" 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Through puzzle solving we discovered the clues left in the Nautilus and even took part in an epic sea battle!




Both adventures were awesome, and part of that is because of the hosts that guide you along the way. They are humorous and also helpful in solving the puzzles when you get totally stuck. Some advice for when you go: get in there and play! On Espionage we were the only guests and had to solve all the puzzles ourselves. In 20,000 Leagues other families were in our party and seemed hesitant to get in there and touch stuff and try to solve the problems so we ended up doing most of it again (fine by us!) To have the best 5 Wits experience allow yourself to be a kid again and really play the game...trust me, you'll have a blast.

Right in the thick of a major spy mission moment!

Each adventure takes about an hour, and if you pay for one, you can add on the second for only $5 more which is a huge bargain and definitely worth it. So what are you waiting for? Get off your couch and get in the game at 5 Wits!


Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Dog's Purpose: Free Advanced Screening!



You know a movie is going to be good when just the trailer gets you teary eyed. That's how I knew I would definitely be seeing A Dog's Purpose. Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, from director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Dear John, The 100-Foot Journey), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love. The family film told from the dog’s perspective also stars Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson, K.J. Apa, Juilet Rylance, Luke Kirby, John Ortiz and Pooch Hall.

A Dog’s Purpose is produced by Gavin Polone (Zombieland, TV’s Gilmore Girls). The film from Amblin Entertainment and Walden Media is executive produced by Alan Blomquist and Mark Sourian, and it will be distributed by Universal Pictures.

The film opens nationally on January 27, but how would you like to see it on January 24th for FREE in Boston. I have a link for you to enter to win a pair of passes to an advanced screening (make sure you list Lil' Blonde Monsters as the site that sent you.) Click HERE to enter and get your tissues ready!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Moana Toys from Disney Store are Perfect Christmas Gifts

Are your kids obsessed with Moana? I don't think Zoe has stopped singing "How Far I'll Go" since we saw the movie. With Christmas creeping up at lightening speed, I need to get to The Disney Store to get some of their amazing Moana line.

Moana Costume for Kids

The Moana dress up is super accurate to the movie and I know Lea would love it!

It's Maui time baby! This talking action figure would be a dream for Zoe who thinks Maui was just hilarious!

Talking Maui Action Figure - Disney Moana
Finally, who can resist the classic Moana doll. So pretty and detailed and the perfect addition for any doll lover's collection.

Disney Moana Classic Doll - 11''
You can get these and more from the Disney Store and bring some Christmas joy to your little Moana fans.