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By Tiffany Markman, copywriter, editor, mom to a gorgeous chatterbox and actor’s wife. Follow her on twitter

Introducing POLKADOTS

Whether you have little ones (aged 4 and up), bigger ones (mine is 7), or tweens, you’ll all adore POLKADOTS: THE COOL KIDS MUSICAL – which is clever enough to land some serious and important messaging and fun enough to keep the colours, quips, and tunes in your head for hours.

Written by US-based South African, Greg Borowsky, POLKADOTS recently won the Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Family Show in New York, and this is its first international production… so you should see it, like, yesterday!

What’s the story?

In POLKADOTS, we meet Lily Polkadot who is new to the ‘Squares Only’ town of Rockaway and, historically, the first Polkadot to attend its ‘all-Square school’. Inspired by Civil Rights pioneers Ruby Bridges and The Little Rock Nine (the first African-American kids to be integrated into an all-white school), the character of Lily encounters resistance, bullying, and even segregated drinking fountains, but she channels the wisdom of her mother (think ‘Sticks and Stones’) and is determined to give Rockaway School a try.

When Lily encounters Sky Square, a shy boy with a profound curiosity for her uniquely polkadot skin, an unexpected pal-ship results – but Sky’s mean sister Penelope Square makes it clear that she does not approve!

Not a history lesson

Premiering in South Africa at RedFest 2018, POLKADOTS offers a colourful lesson for the world. But it’s not a history lesson. It’s a ‘now’ lesson, to remind us that our differences should bring us together, not break us apart.

It’s also not a musical just for kids (so don’t drop them off and have a coffee during the 55-minute running time). It’s a show for human beings, tackling very relevant themes of diversity, inclusion, racism, and bullying.

Some show highlights

POLKADOTS stars Andrea Shine (Sister Act, Beauty and the Beast) as Mrs Square/Mama Square, Wits student Gugu Dhlamini in her debut professional role as Lily Polkadot, Kirsty Marillier (Freckleface Strawberry) as Penelope Square, Bonginkosi Jay Hlatshwayo (King Kong) as Sky Square and Danelle Cronje (&CO’s Seussical Jr.) as Swing and Dance Captain.

The whole cast is strong, and the performances are slick and polished, but look out for an extra-special set of eye-rolling Mean Girl nuances in Kirsty Marillier’s Penelope, who absolutely steals the show.

You’ll also enjoy catchy numbers like ‘One Pal’, ‘Cool Kid’, and ‘The Squadot’, and a clever set with all sorts of vibrantly ironic details.

Production info

POLKADOTS is led by an award-winning team: director and choreographer Shelley Adriaanzen, with musical supervisor Rowan Bakker and production designer Sarah Roberts. It is produced by Joseph Gerassi for Redhill School, in association with &CO producers Drew Bakker and Rowan Bakker, and associate producer Matthew Counihan.

Getting tickets

You can catch the show in Redhill School’s Auditorium from 2-6 October 2018, during its encore week of school and public performances.

Click here to find out where to buy tickets.

If you’re interested…

(And I am; my 7-year-old has been asking for the songs for 72 hours…)

The world premiere album of POLKADOTS by Sony Masterworks features Alex Newell (Glee), Shanice Williams (NBC’s The Wiz), Lilli Cooper (Spongebob The Musical), Alysha Deslorieux (Hamilton) and more, and is available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music

Note: If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the uniquely detailed free weekly newsletter for parents in Gauteng – Jozikids – or KwaZulu-Natal – Kznkids.

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