|This week, Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players are bringing their theatrical concert The Mysterious Hat to the New Victory stage. It's a musical with a twist, and through puppetry and innovative storytelling it quickly becomes much more than just a concert for kids. Justin Roberts and his cohorts defy characterization as "children’s musicians". The best music for young listeners, just like the best theater for young audiences, is universal enough to be enjoyed by adults and kids alike.
With witty lyrics, memorable melodies and catchy arrangements, the best "kids' music" will stick with you into adulthood. I speak from experience—this brand of music played a significant role in my upbringing, and I never really outgrew it. In addition to still enjoying the lilt of Raffi and Peter Combe myself, I happen to have a younger brother who continues to take joy in these artists, and who has for the past twenty-six years. Why?
Like many kids on the autism spectrum, my brother has a fascination, indeed a love, of the songs he first latched onto as a little boy. He never stopped listening, and so neither did I. Many families with children on the spectrum can attest to this: there is special significance, a power even, in all the worn-out Disney VHS tapes, and the obscure Sesame Street DVDs and Raffi albums. There's a secret magic in that one song that can settle my brother back to earth with a smile, just as he's about to unravel. And so the music never stops being important.
My ongoing relationship with this genre makes me a bit unusual, but we all have fond memories of at least one or two songs from our younger days. New Victory staff have gathered together some of our favorites in a playlist below, along with a few classics. Many of them showcase artists who are real gems, reveling in a joyful genre most music-lovers overlook. Give them a listen, and be sure to check out Justin Roberts during his limited time here at the New Vic. There's also an autism-friendly performance on Saturday, April 25th at 7pm. Everyone is welcome—spread the word.