Photos courtesy of Childsplay Theatre
Childsplay Theatre, a trailblazer in youth theater since 1977, is thrilled to reveal The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen as the final performance of its 46th season. Set to run every weekend through May 21, the heartwarming production will be held at the Herberger Theater Center.
Adapted from Thelma Lynne Godin’s book (illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton) and penned by renowned playwright Gloria Bond Clunie, “The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen” follows the story of Kameeka, a young girl determined to defeat her rival, Jamara, and become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street in New York. So focused on her goal, Kameeka inadvertently ruins her neighbor Miz Adeline’s birthday cake, forcing her to admit there won’t be a cake for her special day. However, Kameeka soon discovers that Miz Adeline shares her love for hula hooping. Set in Harlem, this intergenerational tale emphasizes the significance of maintaining a youthful spirit and showcases the value of family and community connections.
Upon witnessing the stage adaptation, book author Thelma Lynne Godin commented, “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 “Hula-Hoopin’ Queen” features an all-Arizona cast, including Ryan Jenkins as 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. Chanel Bragg, the associate artistic director of Arizona Theatre Company, directs the production. Suitable for children aged 5 and older, the play has been co-commissioned with Maryland-based Imagination Stage.
Ticket prices start at $13. For additional information and to buy tickets, visit childsplayaz.org.