This Presidents Day weekend, American history will be brought to life in Tempe in a world premiere musical revue spanning 223 years of the American presidency – from George Washington to Barack Obama. Childsplay, a nonprofit theatre company of professional, adult artists, has been engaging young audiences and their families in Arizona for 35 years. “Rock the Presidents” was written by Arizonan Dwayne Hartford (book and lyrics) along with Sarah Roberts (music), and Arizona audiences get to see it first, before it heads out on a national tour.
Hartford says the concept of the show came from his passion for studying American history, and he wanted to come up with a fun way for parents and their children to look at how our past has shaped the nation and how the choices we make today influence our future. “’Rock the Presidents’ is about the 44 men who have been elected to lead our country, but it is also about the promise of the young people in the audience,” he explains. “Perhaps one of the girls and boys who see the show will grow up to be the first Arizonan to finally be elected President. But, there’s no question that our audiences will play a vital role in the future of our nation.”
Although, there is a lot of history packed into the 70 minute show, Hartford promises it lives up to its name and “rocks,” and audiences for the show’s preview performances agree. “Sarah’s music, sung by our amazing cast, leads to a fun, raucous environment. We have students screaming and dancing, having a great time rocking with the presidents.”
To listen to more songs from “Rock the Presidents,” click here.
After the show, the cast takes time to answer questions, but first, they like to challenge their audience to start thinking about their own place in history. They ask, “What will you do to change the world?” It’s a great question for parents and kids alike to ask each other as they leave the theatre.
“Rock the Presidents” opens this weekend, on February 18 (fittingly, Presidents Day weekend), and will run through March 11 at the Tempe Center for the Arts, before touring in schools throughout Arizona and then across the country. For more information about tickets & show times, visit ChildsplayAZ.org.
Enter to win tickets!
[UPDATE: The contest is now closed. Congratulations to Tami. Enjoy the show!] Childsplay is giving away a family pack of 4 tickets to the performance of “Rock the Presidents” on Saturday, February 25 at 1 pm to a lucky reader of this blog. Dwayne Hartford, who wrote the show’s book and lyrics, has a trivia question to test your knowledge of Presidential history. Answer the question in the comments below, and we will randomly select a winner from those who answer correctly. You must submit your answer in this page’s comments by Wednesday, Feb. 22 at noon, and we will announce the winner later that day.
Hartford asks: “Arizona just celebrated its Centennial. Which President was in office when Arizona became a state in 1912?”