Childsplay Theatre takes The Hula-Hoopin' Queen from Page to Stage
By Claire Natale -
Thursday Apr 20, 2023
Tempe, Ariz.– Childsplay Theatre, a pioneer in theatre for youth since 1977, is excited to announce that The Hula-Hoopin' Queen will be the final show of its 46th season. Beginning April 29 through May 21, this charming production will take place every weekend at the Herberger Theater Center.
An adaptation of Thelma Lynne Godin's book (illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton) and written by celebrated playwright Gloria Bond Clunie, this fun-filled production tells the story of Kameeka, a young girl who is confident that she will finally beat her rival, Jamara, and become the Hula-Hoopin' Queen of New York's 139th Street. Kameeka is so preoccupied with thoughts of victory that she accidentally ruins her neighbor Miz Adeline's birthday cake and has to confess to her that there won't be a cake for her special day. But to Kameeka’s surprise it turns out Miz Adeline also loves something else — hula hooping! The Hula-Hoopin' Queen is a charming celebration of family and community ties. Set in Harlem, this intergenerational story shows the importance of staying young at heart.
After seeing the stage adaptation, book author Thelma Lynne Godin remarked, “Words cannot convey the magic of this experience! The beauty and energy of these beautiful joyous women performing... watching the children’s reaction was amazing. I cried and laughed and cried and laughed. This play was sheer magic in its ability to bring the happiness and joy of childhood, community and love to the audience. A radiating circle of magic. Thank you.”
The show will feature an entire cast of Arizona-based actors: Ryan Jenkins in the role of Kameeka, Savannah Inez as Miss Evelyn, Deatra D. Branston as Jamara, Karley Parnell as Portia, Brooke Leigh Davis as Mama, Shonda Royall as a swing, and Lillie Richardson as Miz Adeline. The Hula-Hoopin' Queen is directed by local theatre professional and Arizona Theatre Company's Associate Artistic Director, Chanel Bragg. It is recommended for children ages 5 and up. The play has been co-commissioned with Maryland-based Imagination Stage.
Tickets start at $13. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit childsplayaz.org.
Childsplay, Inc. is a nonprofit theatre company of professional, adult artists who perform for and teach young audiences and their families. The mission of Childsplay is "to create theatre so strikingly original in form, content or both, that it instills in young people an enduring awe, love and respect for the medium, thus preserving imagination and wonder, the hallmarks of childhood which are keys to the future. For more information, visit childsplayaz.org.