Big Tadoo Puppet Crew 2012

At the Friday assembly last week, the florescent lights in the multipurpose room made Emily Butterfly (dressed in black and operating Granny) magically disappear into the black fabric behind her. Granny is the first puppet to go on stage, much to the amazement of the children watching the show. Seeing that the human was invisible, I told the cast. We decided to snap pics after our second run. We only had cellphone cameras, but managed to snap some nice photos of the 2012 cast for the Big Tadoo Puppet Crew’s Safe Routes to School show. This is the puppet show I run sound and do pre-production for.

The 2012 Big Tadoo Puppet Crew Safe Routes cast.
The 2012 Big Tadoo Puppet Crew Safe Routes cast.

(from L to R: Jonathan Youtt as The Dancing Grandpa, Aima the Dreamer as DJ, Gina Rawgirl as Freeda, Emily Butterfly as Granny, Chatterbox as Jun)

Someone just asked me what the story of our show was about. I took a moment to write a synopsis of this assembly. It still makes me laugh sometimes!

Once upon a time…

… in a neighborhood, not too far from your elementary school, it is Walk and Roll to School Day. That’s the day when children walk, bike, scooter, or skate to school. Outside, in front of a porch, young June Rollalot gets ready for his ride to school.

He has a boom box on his scraper bike and is playing the hip hop loud. The “Scraper Bike” song wakes up Mrs. Mahi. She goes out to turn off the boomba boom box. While she has June’s attention, they talk about bicycle safety. June then starts his ride to school and sings a song about pedaling on his bike to spare the air. A friendly bee sings back up vocals.

In another house, little Freda Walkaton is getting ready for her walk to school. She doesn’t want to walk but her abuelo tells her it’s good for the planet. And it’s healthy. He asks Freda about walking safety, especially reminding her about sticking to her route and using her inner voice. Her friend DJ knocks an she leaves for her walk. Abuelo break dances off the stage.

Meanwhile, Granny is looking for her birdy friend. Vinnie the rock dove flies over and complains about all the pollution from the cars and trucks. He gets so mad, he wants to poop on them. Granny tells Vinnie that pooping on cars is not the solution for pollution. Showing you care makes all the difference, just like Freda and DJ.

Freda complains about walking to school, so DJ distracts her by making up rhymes. DJ tells Freda what a difference they are making. Freda gets into the ways to get better energy, and then DJ shows her a music player. DJ plays “Walk it Out,” her favorite song for walking to. They begin to dance and forget their safe walking rules. So a stop sign stops them at the edge of the street and teaches them a rhyme to keep them safe:

Stop every time at the edge of the street.
Use your head before your feet.
Make sure you hear every sound.
Look left right left and all around.

DJ and Freda cross the street and come up to a barking dog. DJ gets scared as Granny comes out of her house to see what is happening. DJ admits that she is afraid of Granny’s dog and then asks to pet the dog. Granny shares some dog safety with the girls and allows DJ to pet her pooch. There is much licking and wagging of tails and Granny sings a song about people that you’ll meet in your neighborhood.

Meanwhile, June rolls along on his ride to school. He sees a curb and decides to jump it. He crashes and, as birds tweet around June’s head, a traffic signal starts talking to June. June and his bike are OK, so the traffic signal quizzes a careless June on bicycle safety. June then crosses the street and meets up with Principal Mariposa. She rides her bike to school and loves to sing a song about not needing fossil fuels while riding a bicycle.

As DJ and Freda get closer to school, they sing about the fact that they love to walk. Freda sees an alleyway and tries to convince DJ that it will be a shortcut. Then, Freda’s inner voice tells her that she needs to stick to her route. “Stick to my route no matter what lurks about.”

They walk to school and meet up with June. Then school crossing guard rolls by on his unicycle. They all sing a song about what the learned that morning as well as healthy ways to get to school. The school bell rings and they all head off to class energized for a great day.

… and they all live happily ever after …