A life-long love of the arts and theater can start with LBC’s Family Fun Series 2022-23 Season launches this month

Doktor Kaboom stands on stage in a bright orange lab coat with a pair of black goggles pushed up over his yellow hair, which stands on end like he stuck scissors into an electric socket. In his hand, he clutches four long ribbons, each attached at the other end to a corner of a flat board with a plastic cup of water at the center. He calls a boy to the stage, hands him the ribbons, and says, “Spin it like a Ferris wheel, but don’t let the glass fall off.” The boy spins it slowly, and the cup falls off. The scientist replaces it with another cup and suggests spinning it faster. This time, the cup stays in place. The crowd cheers, and the boy smiles broadly, as Doktor Kaboom hails him for revealing how gravity, inertia, and centripetal force work. Meanwhile, all the adults who thought they would be napping through a kids’ show suddenly are eager to go home and try the experiment themselves.

After two years of virtual programming, and thanks to the generous sponsorship of Clover Sonoma and Exchange Bank, LBC’s Family Fun Series returns to the live stage once again for a new season of playful, family-friendly theater. For its 2022-23 season, LBC has selected five shows for the series: Doktor Kaboom!  Sunday, November 6, 2022, The Pout-Pout Fish, Tuesday, November 29, 2022; The Peking Acrobats®, Monday, January 30, 2023; The Lightning Thief, Monday, March 6, 2023; and Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie Staring Indigo Blume, Tuesday, April 25, 2023. All shows run about one hour except The Peking Acrobats, which runs for 2 hours, including an intermission.

Also returning this year are on-site family arts activities preceding each show, a chance to meet the cast for autographs, pizza on the concessions menu, and a special visit from Clover Sonoma’s Clo the Cow.

LBC’s Family Fun Series is a subscription-based program of dynamic, child-positive stage performances curated to be enjoyed by family members of all ages. Employing imaginative costuming and dynamic staging, they often are inspired by children’s books or topics like science and cultural exploration. Each performance also presents themes that foster social emotional learning, such as overcoming adversity, processing feelings, and creative thinking.

Today, LBC has one of the most extensive family series programs in California, presenting for four decades in one of the largest theaters designated for family shows, according to Melanie Weir, LBC’s Associate Director of Education and Community Engagement and current President of California Presenters, a nonprofit presenters’ organization. LBC also often presents more family shows in a season than most other centers in the state. To ensure accessibility for families, LBC sets relatively low prices for subscriptions and tickets.

Using theater to discover the wonder within

“LBC’s Family Fun Series is the perfect entry point to prepare kids to be lovers of the arts and theatre for the rest of their lives,” said Melanie. “We want children to experience the magic of live theater, when there’s only one chance to see a show and when it commands special attention because there’s no pausing or rewinding it.” That experience takes on a whole other level of wonder for families who select a full-season subscription, which also includes a meet-and-greet with most artists after each show, plus an invitation for a backstage tour and on-stage activity.

With our Family Fun Series, LBC hopes to convince kids that anyone can be an arts lover, and it doesn’t require special skills or interests. Instead, we want to help Sonoma County’s kids discover something of themselves everywhere they look in the new context of the theater: in its larger-than-life grandeur, in the wonder of animated sets and props, and in the risk/reward of public performance. We want kids to step into an expanded version of themselves by taking small, sometimes vulnerable strides, like interacting with ushers, exploring their curiosity about acoustics or lighting, and adapting to theater etiquette when all they’ve known is watching movies in the cinema or at home.

Subscription packages for the Clover Sonoma Family Fun Series go on sale starting July 19. Individual ticket sales start on August 23. For more information about individual shows and to purchase subscriptions and tickets, visit lutherburbankcenter.org/family-fun.

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