Tag Archives: friendship

The Ten Reasons Everyone Produces The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

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The Ten Reasons Everyone Produces The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

 

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ten reasons everyone produces The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is pretty simple.  Let me explain.. Recently, our youngest daughter directed her church’s first Christmas pageant.

  The church, Greenhouse Culture, is still in its infancy in my opinion but growing quickly.  Most churches that I have frequented are comprised of middle age citizens and seniors.  But not Greenhouse Culture!  The median age seems to be about thirty years old! My husband and I are twice that age, obviously.

It doesn’t matter though.  These younger adults have their hearts in the right place.  They are a real joy to call friends.

Everything is new to this lovely group–youth group, outreach, Sunday school classes and holiday programs.  They approach every challenge with enthusiasm.

In true Baldwin fashion and a way to have family time, my husband and I volunteered to help our daughter.  My husband erected the barn and manger while I stage managed the show with a cast of thirty, two to sixteen year olds.  It was a rousing success. How could it not be?

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Everyone loves to see kids in animal costumes, young boys dressed as kings and sweet little girls as angels complete with halos and battery operated lights twinkling on their wings. The evening was well attended by this supportive group of younger adults. Our daughter, though exhausted,  appeared triumphant in her quest to create the annual event.

But that’s not what I’m posting about today.  I wanted to write about another guaranteed successful play, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Folks, if you don’t know TBCPE, you need to look it up at SamuelFrench.com and get a copy!  Click here: http://www.samuelfrench.com/p/2282/best-christmas-pageant-ever-the

I have directed this play four times with youth theatre companies.  The pros to this show are evident right from the beginning. I can’t think of one reason not to produce the show.

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Creche

The Elements

Plot–This is NOT only the story of Jesus’ birth, though it is the vehicle for the rest of the plot. It is never maudlin or preachy (sorry, the pun.)

This heartwarming story is told through the eyes of the main characters Beth and her mother.  The Herdmans, ” the meanest kids in the neighborhood”, crash the pageant auditions because they think they’ll get free candy. Then terrorizing the church kids, the Herdmans grab up all the meaty roles,  and kidnap the Christmas story to tell it the way they think it should be told.  It is quite comical, but respectful at the same time. Nice!

  1. A varied cast in gender, age and number–4m, 6f, 8boy(s), 9girl(s)–adults can play the adult roles or have kids portray all of the parts. Your cast can be the suggested size ( or you can add additional angels and shepherds, etc. to give more kids an opportunity to perform.

  2. A simple set–You can use the stage as the main acting space, then place the other locales down left and right.  The most complicated of those is the main character’s kitchen in their home. When the pageant is performed, your audience can be involved serving as the church members observing the actual pageant as it enfolds.

  3. Simple, modern costumes–Always a plus!  Additionally, you will need Christmas pageant type costumes, so check with a church in your area to borrow them.

  4. Props are easy to collect–You’ll need a wheel chair, manger, a baby doll, maybe battery operated candles, and several other present day pieces.

  5. Lights can be area lighting or general.  Whatever your theatre is capable of doing will be fine.

  6. Ninety minutes in length and one act. You might consider breaking it into two acts, however.

  7. Intermission–I suggest you sell the applesauce cake mentioned in the show.  People LOVE that.  One company sold hand made dough art angels as a fund raiser and made a heap of money.

  8. Royalties are $100 per show or 10% of the gross box office.  That’s inordinately fair.

  9. If you need someone to direct it, I’m willing to visit your community and direct it for you.  (Paid with a stipend, of course.) It’s that good!

As you plan next year’s season for your company, I highly recommend you consider The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for your holiday slot.  When people leave the show and compliment you, you tell them “Deb Baldwin told us about this show. She promised it would be a good one.”

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Who is Deborah Baldwin Interview Video

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Goodreads Giveaway 

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Hurry! Our Goodreads giveaway is ending Monday! Five winners of award winning Bumbling Bea. Will you be one? Sign up today. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22914434-bumbling-bea?from_search=true

Ten Reasons Why Everyone Produces Anne of Green Gables

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Ten Reasons Why Everyone Produces Anne of Green Gables

Netflix is televising a new series of Anne of Green Gables which begins on May 12.  This is super news!anne-of-green-gables

Anne of Green Gables is a perfect play for your company.  How do I know?  I have directed it (not surprised, are you?) and produced it as well. In fact, I know that many companies have produced the play.

There are certain shows that are guaranteed winners for a company.  Anne of Green Gables ranks up there with The Diary of Anne Frank, The Miracle Worker, Alice in Wonderland, The Best Christmas Pageant to name a few.

If you want to attract people to your theatre, Anne of Green Gables is one of those plays of which you can’t go wrong.

There are many reasons to include it in your season, but suffice to say you will make happy a lot of your potential audience members and your regulars.  In particular, I recommend Sylvia Ashby’s adaptation. It is published by Samuel French at http://www.samuelfrench.com/p/8856/anne-of-green-gables-ashby-non-musical

The strengths:

1.The cast  is comprised of both males and females, BUT two of main characters are females.  Hallelujah!

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2.There are roles for adults and children of many ages. Nine females and seven males.

3.The costumes can be as easy or complicated as your costume budget allows.

4.You’ll have to figure out how to make Anne’s hair turn green at one point, but that’s not too difficult.

5.There are several scenes with many characters on stage at once which means more time for everyone to have fun.

6. It’s a good length, about 120 minutes.

7.The set can be as elaborate are you require (I’ve seen it produced on a revolving stage.) or simple. I have directed it with the house up center and the other various locales down stage of it.

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8.There is a need for a boat.  One time a father went crazy on me and built an entire boat (yes, you read that right), but really, that’s not needed.

9.In a school setting I directed it with two  Marillas and three Annes (one for each age we see as she grows up).  This plan was terrific for a number of obvious reasons.  It gave more females the opportunity to perform leads and lessened the number of lines they had to memorize.

10. The themes of family and friendship radiate through the plot.  It is suitable for all audiences.

There are no cons against producing the play, in my opinion.

So, the next time you are looking for a play that will become a guaranteed winner for your  audience, select Anne of Green Gables.  You’ll be glad you did!

Purchase my book, Bumbling Bea at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356

 

 

 

Dear Music Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

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This is a four part series of posts (this is the fourth). Click here for the other posts:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/11/15/dear-drama-student-i-recognize-you-a-mile-away/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/11/17/dear-dance-student-i-recognize-you-from-a-mile-away/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/11/12/dear-art-student-i-recognize-you-a-mile-away/

I love arts students. They are fun to be around and never fail to entertain you, that’s for sure.  Honestly, they are pretty easy to spot.

These are generalizations and just for fun, to be honest. I asked for a little help from the people who know–teachers, artists, dancers, musicians and directors. This post describes a music student in a tongue in cheek manner. Let’s see if you agree with us.

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Music students: (thanks to Tim Baldwin, instrumental music teacher)

  • sing all the time, maybe in harmony with others, maybe not but they sing all.the.time

  • play their instrument or if nothing else, they air play their instrument

  • wear ear buds and listen to music all.the.time (are we seeing a pattern here?)

  • if they are in marching band, they walk  heel/toe, heel/toe  in a rolling step

  • they practice constantly (I think some of that is just to hear themselves.)

  • they own band shirts or the trendiest show shirt (right now it would be Hamilton) or don their most favorite musical show shirt (a lot of the girls love Wicked)

  • love Math (which is said to have a strong correlation to music)

  • certain personalities play certain instruments for instance, trumpet players are self assured and cocky, while drummers are raucous, flutes are the sorority girls of the group

  • orchestra students tend to be quiet and very intelligent, but they also love Anime

  • sopranos  can be a little snobbish, altos are more down to earth, tenors are flirtatious and basses are masculine.

    music-kids

Generally, if you are an arts student you are involved in one of the other arts as well.  These kids are very busy and like it that way.

What is most interesting about arts students is their popularity hierarchy within themselves.  If a guy is a tenor and he can sing as high as a female, that makes points for him.

The same goes for a girl who can climb a tall ladder and focus a light on a set.  If you are first chair violinist, you are popular, too or at the very least, respected. If a guy is a bass singer and he can dance, that’s another biggie.  If a girl can tap the heck out of a combination, you are considered “cool”.

However, if you are too serious about your art, the opposite is true.  Although revered, your friends may not even think to invite you to social events because they assume you are more interested in dancing or rehearsing than a pizza.

And anyone who is comical or can make everyone laugh automatically accrues popularity points no matter which art form they love.

Like most interests, there is a fine line to balance.  What is too much and what is not enough?

I appreciate this hierarchy somewhat, because it makes room for everyone in the arts. This popularity has nothing to do with beauty or brawn.  It’s all about talent and hard work. Everyone is an artist if they allow themselves to be.  Look for them. You’ll see.

Which art do you enjoy the most?  I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or Bumblingbea.com

 

Dear Dance Student, I Recognize You from a Mile Away

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This is a four part series of posts (this is the second). Check out one, three and four here:

Dear Drama Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

Dear Music Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

 

I love arts students. They are fun to be around and never fail to entertain you, that’s for sure.  Honestly, they are pretty easy to spot. These are generalizations and just for fun, to be honest. I asked for a little help from the people who know–teachers, artists, dancers, musicians and directors. Let’s see if you agree with us.

hip-hop-dancer

Dance students: (Thanks to Keturah Grunblatt, professional  director of operas and choreographer)

  • have a natural turn out when they walk
  • are poised
  • have erect posture
  • are always moving, dancing, stretching
  • girls can put their hair in a bun in record time, in fact their hair is always swept up
  • hear a beat to anything and dance to it–the washing machine, hammering on a set, slamming of lockers
  • sit like large dogs, with their legs all folded up underneath them
  • a knowledge of classical music
  • unnatural stretching,
  • health conscious appetite at a young age
  • wear form fitting clothes
  • look at their image and check themselves in any window reflection or mirror

 

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Generally, if you are an arts student you are involved in one of the other arts as well.  These kids are very busy and like it that way.

What is most interesting about arts students is their popularity hierarchy within themselves.  If a guy is a tenor and he can sing as high as a female, that makes points for him.  The same goes for a girl who can climb a tall ladder and focus a light on a set.  If you are first chair violinist, you are popular, too or at the very least, respected. If a guy is a bass singer and he can dance, that’s another biggie.  If a girl can tap the heck out of a combination, you are considered “cool”.

However, if you are too serious about your art, the opposite is true.  Although revered, your friends may not even think to invite you to social events because they assume you are more interested in dancing or rehearsing than a pizza.

And anyone who is comical or can make everyone laugh automatically accrues popularity points no matter which art form they love.

Like most interests, there is a fine line to balance.  What is too much and what is not enough?

I appreciate this hierarchy somewhat, because it makes room for everyone in the arts. This popularity has nothing to do with beauty or brawn.  It’s all about talent and hard work. Everyone is an artist if they allow themselves to be.  Look for them. You’ll see.

Which art do you enjoy the most?  I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Purchase my book, Bumbling Bea on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Information on this website may be copied for personal use only. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the author. Requests to the author and publisher for permission should be addressed to the following email: jadeandoak@gmail.com.

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Ten Years Later: A Chat with Beatrice 

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Ten Years Later: A Chat with Beatrice 

img_0464-4Bumbling Bea can be purchased through Amazon:

To purchase a copy of Bumbling  Bea, go to Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/product-reviews/1500390356/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=recent#R1O9MYUNK49KNA

 Beatrice Ten Years Later

I thought it might be fun and interesting to interview Beatrice ten years after the story ended.  So, I posed the idea to her and she happily agreed.

Imagine I travel to New York and the two of us meet at a local coffee shop (because everyone knows that’s where I’d meet her, right?).  Beatrice likes rainy, cool days, just as I do and she loves fall.  We have that in common.  Today was both.

Here is what I think she might look like:

beatrice-adult

(She’s cute, yes?)

Beatrice:  Hey, Deb.   (She gives me a quick, big hug and takes the pumpkin spice latte I ordered for her.) Pumpkin spice latte! If I ever meet the person who thought up pumpkin spice lattes, they get a big hug from me. (She places a maple leaf colored like fall in my hand ever so carefully.) I brought you a beautiful leaf I found on the ground.  Isn’t it fabulous?

Me:  Thanks, Beatrice.  What a gorgeous shade of orange it is.  I love the color orange.

Beatrice:  I know, me too!

Me:  I remember that about you.  Thanks for meeting me today.  (We sit in a corner booth.) Wow, ten years have passed by since we last saw each other.

Beatrice:  I know.  I’m twenty-five years old now.  Oh my gosh, that sounds so old!

Me:  Well, considering I’m sixty years young, you are doing just fine.

Beatrice:  (She laughs.) Ten years ago, I never thought I’d turn out this way.

Me:  What way?  You look great to me–all trendy clothes and hair. I thought you’d be a “positive, contributing member of society” and you are.

Beatrice:  (She leans forward and snickers.) Considering how I used to dress when you first met me, I’ve come a long way. I can’t believe how dorky I was!  The only thing I kept from middle school was my “I Heart Sarcasm” shirt  which Mom sewed into a tee shirt quilt along with all my  other show shirts.  I was so involved in college shows that I could have made three quilts!

Me:  Really?  Did you major in theatre in college?

Beatrice:  Yes, I did.  But I didn’t perform after my first year there. I’m not a performer.   I took an art class with a professor friend of my mom’s and found I wanted to combine theatre with art.  Voila, set design!

Me:  Are you working in theatre now?

Beatrice:  I am!  After high school, I attended Mary Baldwin College and received my BFA in theatre there.  I designed several sets for the department’s black box theatre and won an award for outstanding design.  Then I went to graduate school at NYU/Tisch.  I’ve been out of school and working about a year now.

Me:  Wow!  That’s an impressive resume.

Beatrice:  I guess so.  I don’t think about it much.  I’m too busy designing and getting my foot in the door.

Me: How so?

Beatrice: When I was in grad. school, I apprenticed for several professional designers on Broadway. Then I designed several shows for regional theatres.  I’m slowly building a resume. My goal is to design for Broadway by my thirties. In the mean time, I love it!  If you’d told me ten years ago I would become a set designer, I’d laughed.

Me:  I bet so.  How’s your family?

 edmund-adult

(Here is Edmund, all grown up.  Isn’t he handsome? And so smart!)

Beatrice:  My brother, Edmund, is in his second year of college  at University of Florida  studying zoology. Remember Bernie his ferret?

Me: Yes.

Beatrice: Well, we had Bernie number 3 and 4 before Edmund finally figured out he wanted to study animals and care for them since he’d done such a lousy job with his Bernies.

Me: Oh gosh.  What happened to his interest in flags?

Beatrice:  He still loves them.  He collects flags from all over the world.  You should see his apartment! The walls are covered with them.  I feel so sorry for his roommate.

Me:  And your parents?  People have asked about them.  Did they end up staying together?

Beatrice:  Uhm, no.  They didn’t.  But that’s okay.  It seems Dad wasn’t being completely honest with himself.  He came out about two years later, met a nice guy and they married last summer.

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(This is Dad and Fred during a recent trip to Italy. Don’t they seem happy?)

We are all happy for them.  Mom wasn’t as fast to date. It took her longer.  She didn’t want to date while she was raising us.  She said she had enough responsibility just getting us grown.  But, I’m happy to report that  she is now dating a wonderful guy we all like a lot.

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(A great, recent photo of Mom.)

Me:  Are your parents friendly with each other?

Beatrice:  Oh yes.  They were always very civil with each other. And more than anything, they respected each other.  Dad was the really unhappy one.  He was afraid of his feelings and didn’t want to admit them for a long time.  You’d think someone in the arts wouldn’t worry about other people’s perceptions, because when you are in the arts, you explore social issues  all the time.  But he worried anyway.

Me:  I’m sorry to hear that he worried.

Beatrice:  It was hard for all of us for a while, but not because of his lifestyle choice, but because he was so unhappy. I guess  when Dad was a kid, his parents ridiculed different lifestyle choices.  Plus, Dad’s parents thought his profession was silly and unnecessary.  It was Grandma Percy, Mom’s mom,  who helped him through his fears.

Me:  Really?  Your Grandma?

Beatrice:  Yes, my  eighty year old, awesome grandma was in the background observing us all the time.  She sees everything, but keeps it to herself.  She’s the one who urged dad to admit his homosexuality.

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(Grandma Percy prior to her death last year.)

 It wasn’t a really big deal, because Mom and Grandma Percy handled it carefully and respectfully with us. Edmund and I were fine with it.  We want our parents to be happy. period.  And Mom and Dad are the best of friends.

Me:  I’d be surprised if you had a problem with your dad’s lifestyle choice.  I thought you were a pretty cool, open minded girl.

 

Beatrice:  When you first met me, I was such a brat and a little bit of a bully to Michiko. Thankfully, Michiko helped me see what I was doing when I caught her imitating me after the  fateful play performance. Since then, Bumbling Bea took a hike and doesn’t show up much anymore. And my parents’ open mindedness rubbed off on me.   When you are raised around parents who are artists, you see the world with different eyes.

Me:  Whatever happened to Michiko?  Do you have any news about her?

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(Michiko trying out modeling.  She didn’t enjoy it as much as she thought she would.)

Beatrice:  Yes! I didn’t hear much from her for several years.  Just a few emails back and forth, you know?  But guess what?  She’s moving to the US next month and going to share my apartment  with me in New York while I’m traveling for set design jobs.

Me:  So, you’ll be back together just like the old days?

Beatrice:  Kind of.  Hopefully, we won’t end up locked in our bathroom together. (She laughs.)

Me:  (laughing)  Those are great memories, though.

Beatrice:  You bet. When Michiko and I decided to room together, I teased her about having guys over.  She always has crushes on fellas, but I am sworn to secrecy in telling anyone. She laughed  about guys coming over and said that if she couldn’t have Peter, then she didn’t want anyone.

Me:  Peter!  I forgot about him.  What happened to him?

beatrices-peter

(Peter, now the cool guy.)

Beatrice:  We remained friends through high school and continue to see each other from time to time when I get home to my parents.  Peter is a middle school counselor  and still lives in Virginia. Apparently, kids love him and he’s hugely popular with all the staff.

Me:  I’m not surprised.  He had a winning personality. Did he and Jerri become a pair in high school?

Beatrice:  Yup.  All four years, if you  can imagine.  And Jerri was even home coming queen our senior year!  Jerri had a level head and other high school kids looked to her for advice.  Consequently, in her junior year, she created a youth friendship program between high schools pairing kids of the same interests with each other, sort of like a meet up group.  It was amazing.  Now, she works in student affairs in a college in the mid-west.

Me:  Wow!

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( A candid shot of Jerri.)

Beatrice:  I am lucky to know Jerri.  She helped me a lot when Dad came out.  So did Peter.  I’m still waiting to repay the favor to them, but they say they love my creativity and that’s enough for them.  They just want front row seats to the first show I design for Broadway.

Me:  Me too! So what will Michiko do in New York? Is she involved in theatre as well?  Does she have job prospects?

Beatrice:  Surprising even to me, Michiko did not continue her studies in Theatre when she attended college. She found it wasn’t as mesmerizing to her once she moved away from her parents. She said that one day she discovered that she loved world cultures.  I guess she was dating a guy from India at the time.  They broke up shortly afterward, but her love of cultures continued.

Me:  I’m surprised too!

Beatrice:   Michiko loves to travel.   She is applying for jobs in the travel industry.  She wants to become  a professional tour guide taking groups on international trips.  With her intense interest in history and her love of anything multi-cultural, becoming a professional tour guide would be a good fit.  I think she’s right.

Me:  Isn’t it amazing what can happen in ten years of one’s life?

Beatrice:  It is.  I mean look at you.  You’re a published writer now. And award winning, too! What’s your next book going to be about?

Me:  Well…..I can’t tell you much yet.  It’s still germinating in my brain.  Plus, we have moved to a different state and become first time grandparents all at the same time. (I pull out my cell phone to show Beatrice a photo.) Here’s a photo of our granddaughter.

 Abby and Grammy.jpg

(Grammy and Granddaughter)

Beatrice:  (laughing)  This photo is you all over!

Me:  Yeah, well, orneriness doesn’t die easily…..

(Beatrice’s cell phone dings a text.  She reads it.)

Beatrice:  (She sighs, smiling.) It’s Michiko. She arrives next week and is all ready having a hissy fit over the apartment. Apparently, when she visited our apartment to see if she wanted to live there, she noticed that the heat wasn’t working too well. I hadn’t even noticed.   In typical fashion, she notified  our super and demanded we get a better furnace system in the building.  Now, the guy is mad at her and threatens to make her life miserable once she moves in.

Me:  Oh gosh! You ready for life with Michiko again?

Beatrice:  (She stands and hugs me, ever so warmly.) I am ready.  I have been ready since she moved back to Japan when we were kids.  Some people never leave our life no matter what.  Michiko is that kind of friend to me.

Me:  I agree.  So, I’ll see you again in ten years?

Beatrice:  No, let’s make it two years.  I think readers might like to hear what happens to us next.

Me:  It’s a date!
Information on this website may be copied for personal use only. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the author. Requests to the author and publisher for permission should be addressed to the email: dhcbaldwin@gmail.com

Award winner: Bumbling Bea What’s a girl to do? Plenty.

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To purchase a copy of Bumbling Bea, go to Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356

 

Find my award winning book at Amazon.com

both ebook and paperback

Notable Quote from Bumbling Bea

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Notable Quote from Bumbling Bea

 

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Michiko slapped her script and blurted,” Ms. Phillips this script is inaccurate.  This is a mistake. Pocahontas did not wear any clothes when John Smith met her. She was naked.”

The whole cast broke out in fits of laughter. The fifth graders were no longer bored and several turned bright red in the face. Peter’s eyes were about the size of a Frisbee when he choked out, “What?”

Ms.Phillips shushed the cast, “Yes, I know, Michiko.  But I don’t think that would go over very well in a middle school. Sometimes we have to bend the facts of history just a little to make it theatre friendly and acceptable to the public.

I heard Peter mutter, “Oh man. That was close for a second.”

Purchase a copy of my award winning book, Bumbling Bea at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356