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Review: “Winnie The Pooh” on Stage at Tyler Civic Theatre

“Winnie The Pooh” on Stage at Tyler Civic Theatre:

A Family-Fun Classic Production

By John Baggett

“Winnie the Pooh” opens on Thursday, November 16th and runs through Sunday, November 19th. Tickets are available at the tylercivictheatre.com or call the box office at (903)592-0561.

Sometimes it’s really hard to find activities that the entire family can enjoy. Luckily for all of us Tyler Civic Theatre has us covered. Join them as they venture into the Hundred Acre Forest with their special production of “Winnie the Pooh.”

Based on the classic tales by A.A. Milne, the play opens as Christopher Robin (Karter Simmons) is told a bedtime story by his Nanny (Georgi Dumas) about his stuffed bear, Winnie the Pooh (Justin Wayne Purser) and his best friend, Piglet (Gianna Mahfood). The story she tells finds Pooh attempting to get a beehive down from a tree because it is full of honey. This mission causes him to ignore the concerns of Piglet and everyone else in the forest who is nervous about the arrival of Kanga (Dumas), her son Roo (Tres Taylor), her big blue bathtub, and her bottle of “poison.” (Spoiler alert – it’s shampoo.)

The looming threat of Kanga arriving has Rabbit (Carter Oyer), Owl (Eliot Burk), and Eeyore (Joshua Alexander) in an uproar. (Well, as much of an uproar as Eeyore can have.) But, what they don’t know is, outside the potential threat of a bath, Kanga is no threat. She is just looking to settle into a new home with Roo. Roo, however, just wants to find a new playmate, be it Tigger (Steven Divon Young II), or Rabbit’s nephews Huey (Alec Anderson) and Dewey (Levi Kreichbaum).

However, when his attempt to float to the top of the tree to retrieve honey goes awry, Pooh leaves Piglet alone, whom Kanga latches on and takes him off for a bath and a new place to stay as Roo’s new playmate. Now, Pooh must work with the rest of the Hundred Acre Forest to get Piglet back.

“Winnie the Pooh” was written by Kristen Sergel, who also penned stage productions of “Seven Days in May” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” The Civic Theatre production is directed by Robin Root, who previously directed runs of “Our Town” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Root assembled a wonderful crew of young actors to bring these beloved characters to life.

As our lead, Purser embodies the honey and marmalade obsessed gentle bear, making his voice almost exactly match the one we’ve heard in decades worth of animated representations of Pooh. That being said, he makes the character very much his own and is delightfully funny and charming. Mahfood is simply adorable as Piglet, delivering a performance that can’t help but make you smile.

Oyer is delightfully grumpy as Rabbit, getting big laughs and setting up laughs for others in the cast. After spending some time this year working behind the scenes on “Legally Blonde” and “The Disappearance of Maud Crawford,” it’s nice seeing him on the stage again. Alexander almost steals every scene he is in, with wonderful comic timing. How he kept it together on stage and didn’t break into laughter, I’ll never know!

Simmons is great as Christopher Robin, earning some big laughs during his interactions with Pooh and Piglet, and tugs at the heartstrings at the end. Burk is incredible as Owl, displaying a talent beyond his years, ensuring he has a bright future on the stage. In her dual role, Dumas also is a joy to watch, a wonderful young talent that I hope to see in more shows as she continues her journey as an actress. Taylor is also fantastic as Roo, another bright young star in the making, as are the rest of our cast – Young, Anderson, and Kreichbaum, all of whom I hope to continue to act because they are all a delight to watch.

“Winnie the Pooh” is not just a production for children. Yes, it is “children’s theatre,” but as someone that wasn’t always the biggest fan of Pooh and his friends growing up, I was absolutely won over by this production. It is a heartwarming, laugh out loud night at the theatre that will entertain everyone from age 1 to 101. You should absolutely go see it. You will leave with a smile on your face.

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Downtown

Dinosaurs are Back at Discovery Science Place!

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Return of the Dinosaurs This Summer at Discovery Science Place

Discovery Science Place (DSP) is located at 308 N. Broadway Ave., Downtown Tyler. DSP is open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 1-5pm, and closed on Mondays. Summer Hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm, and Sunday 1-5pm.

Tickets are $8 for adults (ages 13 and up), $6 for children (ages 2-12), $6 per person for seniors (65 and up), $5 per person for active military (must provide ID), and children under 2 are free. For more info call (903)533-8011 or go to discoveryscienceplace.org.

Return of the Dinosaurs, Coming This Summer!

Come walk among the dinosaurs again as DSP’s celebrates its 25th anniversary! Take your picture riding a Triceratops or braving the jaws of a T-Rex. See two Protoceratops guarding their nest or view the long-necked Apatosaurus. View actual fossils along with animatronic models of the “terrible lizards” of long ago.

“Return of the Dinosaurs” is featured in the DSP Annex building next door to the main museum building. Tickets are purchased at the main museum front desk (under the green portico) and exhibit entry is on Broadway under the blue awning.

“Return of the Dinosaurs” is a separately ticketed exhibit. Ticket prices are: $8 for adults ages: 13 and up, and $6 for children ages: 2-12. Current DSP members get in for 1/2 price ($4 and $3). Children under 2 are free.

You can view actual fossils along with animatronic models of the “terrible lizards” of long ago. The exhibit runs June 9th-August 19th.

Summer Camps at Discovery Science Place

8 weeks of camps are planned, from June 11th-August 10th. Each week has a different theme, and campers are divided into two age groups based on school grade: entering 1st-3rd grade, or for students entering 4th-6th grades. Every camper this summer will also be able to tour the exciting summer 2018 traveling exhibit. Camps are from 10am-4pm each day, and extended programming is available from 7:30am-5:30pm.

The cost is $175 per week per camper with a 10% discount for DSP museum members. Cost includes a snack and all camp materials each day, but campers will need to bring a sack lunch. Camps are:

June 11th-15th: Vex Robotics 1

The Discovery Science Place will fill with the sounds of whirling wheels and motors during this robotics camp. They have upgraded to Vex Robotics and are excited to see campers build claw bots and tackle new challenges! This camp is limited to 15 per class.

June 18th-22nd: Make: Create

Curious makers will want to sign up for this camp! During the week children will learn about the design process, then apply those ideas to bridges, buildings, fog cannons and more.

June 25th-29th: Mad Science

If it bubbles, oozes, or pops, campers will give it a try during this camp. Young camper scientists will make slime, rockets, and more. Campers need to be prepared, because science can be messy!

July 9th-13th: 3D Modeling featuring Minecraft

Everyone loves Minecraft, and campers will put that knowledge to good use by transforming their Minecraft designs from the digital space to the real world using 3D printing technology. This camp is capped at 15 students per class.

July 16th-20th: Vex Robotics II

The Discovery Science Place will fill with the sounds of whirling wheels and motors during robotics camp. They have upgraded to a new robotics system, and are excited to see their campers build claw bots and tackle new challenges. This camp is limited to 15 per class.

July 23rd-27th: 3D Modeling featuring Minecraft II

Everyone loves Minecraft, and will put that knowledge to good use by transforming their Minecraft designs from the digital space to the real world using 3D printing technology. This camp is limited to 15 per class.

July 30th-August 3rd: Take Flight/ Make it Move

This exciting week lets campers explore various forms of flight, from airplanes to rockets, as well as learning the basis of movement and flight. Rockets will launch, planes will glide, cars will loop-de-loop, and more.

August 6th-10th: Kitchen Chemistry

No Summer camp at the DSP would be complete without Kitchen Chemistry week. Nearly all the activities done during this week can be replicated at home with parent help. Campers will make slime, learn about cooking with solar power, and create paint using vegetables and spices.

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Around East Texas

June 22nd-23rd: 10th Annual Tyler Coin Show

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For more events and to add your events for free, go to EGuideMagazine.com/calendar.

June 22nd-23rd – 10th Annual Tyler Coin Show will be held at Harvey Convention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler. Friday, June 22nd the show will be 12 noon-5pm and Saturday, June 23rd 9am-5pm. There will be coins, currency, tokens, gold and silver on over 50 tables. They will do verbal appraisals and there will be door prizes, educational displays, and more. For more info call (903)570-3136 or email ucce@hotmail.com.

July 4th (8am-11pm) – Smith County Freedom Ride and Festival 2018 – This free event will feature fireworks, hotdogs, drinks, watermelons, kids, pets, hot-rods and motorcycles, and there is no better way to celebrate the 4th of July on a Wednesday! Come out, celebrate our freedom, and honor all those who serve at this Independence Day festival and ride. Downtown businesses will be open to the public. Public will vote on “Smith County Most Patriotic Ride” and “Smith County Most Patriotic Hotrod” from 12 noon-4pm. The Independence Day Ride will begin at 5pm to the clubhouse to the free firework show at dark. Everyone in the community is welcome to join in on the fun. For more info go to facebook.com/events/129556567877651.

July 29th (12:30-4:30pm) – Bridal Expo with East Texas Bride focuses exhibitors, bridal fashion presentations, grand prizes, and fabulous fun. This is sponsored by All American Party & Tent Rentals, Complete Weddings & Events East Texas, and Fantasy & Fairytale Floral Designs. There will be grand prize giveaways that include The Landing at Joshua Farms offering a fabulous Saturday Package valued at $4500; Bella Sera Ranch offering a Friday DIY package for 150 guests valued at $2695 (excludes December); Old Omen Guest House “Event Day Free” for 150 guests; Eagle’s Bluff $1800 venue package; Venue 31 Events $1,000 in event rentals; Fantasy & Fairytale Floral Designs offering Floral Package valued at $1,000; Complete East Texas Weddings & Events offering DJ, Video, and Photography Packages; Lisa Gallant Photography Package valued at $1,200; Simply Beautiful Flowers & More a $500 Floral Package; Nichole Beth Photography $500 Bridal Session; The Barn at the Silver Spur Cabin overnight stay. Don’t miss this wonderful summer bridal event. Register for reduced tickets for $8 online and secure your bride bag and your Symbolize It gift card. Tickets at the door are $10. This will be held at Harvey COnvention Center, 2000 W. Front St., Tyler.

Ongoing Events

Hit the Bricks: 2nd Saturday Downtown Tyler (Second Saturday of each month, 12 noon-10pm) – Get out and about on and off the square where Downtown businesses will be offering fun events all day long. There is free parking in the Fair parking garage. Rain or shine, Downtown Tyler will be the place to be every second Saturday. For more info and a full list of events go to visittyler.com/secondsaturday or find Hit the Bricks on Facebook. Dates are: May 12th, June 9th, July 14th, August 11th, September 8th, October 13th, November 10th, and December 8th.

Canton First Monday Trade Days Market is held Thursday-Sundays. What started more than a century ago as a flea market has become home to some of the most exciting, cutting-edge home furnishings, antiques, and collectibles that can be found anywhere. For more info call (903)567-6556 or go to firstmondaycanton.com. Dates are: May 3rd-6th, May 31st-June 3rd, June 28th-July 1st, August 2nd-5th, August 30th-September 2nd, September 27th-30th, November 1st-4th, November 29th-December 2nd.

Free Yoga Saturday (9am-12:30pm) – Every 3rd Saturday of the month, beFree offers a free day of yoga. You don’t have to sign up ahead of time but you can if you’d like to, and there are no catches – just free yoga with the beFree instructors in their beautiful and healing studio space. Check the schedule to choose any class on that day that you will most enjoy at befreeyogatyler.com. beFree Yoga is located at 212 Old Grande Blvd., Tyler, (903)630-6142, befreeyogatyler.com.

Every 4th Thursday, April 26th, May 24th, June 28th (6-10pm) – Geek World Paint Night – With all the excitement around games requiring models, Geek World has had a few of the communities best painters offer to lead a free painting night the 4th Thursday of every month. Bring your painting projects and get your questions answered plus learn some new tricks and techniques. This is free to attend and all painting supplies will be 10% off during the event and 20% off special orders. Geek World is located at 410 WSW Loop 323, Tyler, (903)363-9751, geekworldconsignment@gmail.com. Geek World also offers nightly tournaments, game nights, all day Commander games, Friday night magic, and many pre-release sneak peek events.

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Family

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir Set to Perform, August 3rd

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Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir set for August 3rd Concert at Oil Palace

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is coming to East Texas for a concert at The Oil Palace on August 13th at 7:30pm.

The 270-member Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is directed by Carol Cymbala, the wife of Pastor Jim Cymbala. Made up mostly of church members without formal vocal training, over the years the choir has received  five Dove Awards and six Grammy Awards. The choir has performed at Billy Graham Crusades and the 2012 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C.

After nearly thirty years of recordings and live performances, Carol and the choir continue to rely on the Lord for his grace and direction in their ministry. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is a highly unlikely group of people, a mixture of ethnic and economic backgrounds, in the heart of a city synonymous with coldness and decay. Made up of doctors, attorneys and former street people, nurses and ex-crack addicts, the choir is a unique cross section of humanity. Pastor Cymbala explains “None of us would have met if it weren’t for Christ. Our backgrounds are just too diverse. But all of us have one thing in common: we have all been lifted up and changed by the power of Jesus Christ. So the choir sings, not about a mere theological doctrine, but about what has happened to them. It’s not just the lyrics of a song; it’s a reality to each of them.” Starting each rehearsal with prayer reinforces that principle as the choir asks the Lord to bless their music and anoint their songs for the services.

“After the $2 million renovation of The Oil Palace, we made a decision that we were going to broaden the scope of our concerts and events,” Kevin Michael Barbaro, The Oil Palace spokesman, said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to the people of East Texas and will bring in events from around the world that will enhance the lives of the community.”

Tickets start at $15 and will be available at oilpalace.com. The Oil Palace is located at 10408 TX 61, Tyler, (903)566-2120.

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