Sarasota Private School Produces “Music Man” at the Sarasota Opera House

Sarasota Opera House

It’s widely accepted that Sarasota is a city of the arts. Dating back to the days of John Ringling, the arts are in our DNA. And since we have such a focus on the arts, it stands to reason that some spectacular opportunities exist for our children to be exposed to the stage from an early age.

Julie Rohr Academy’s recent production of “Music Man” is a perfect example.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a little biased. But as I often say when I talk about how gorgeous and talented my wife is, “Just because I’m biased, it doesn’t mean I’m wrong!”

Here’s why I’m biased: my daughter was in the show.

But here’s why I’m not wrong: my daughter (who is just wrapping up Pre-K) has had the most amazing experiences on stage this year in her time at Julie Rohr Academy. The school — the Sarasota private school with a performing arts focus — produces 4 shows each year. Each class is involved in each show in some way. And I’ll admit, most of the shows are parent-pleasers that feature the children singing, dancing, and otherwise enjoying themselves on stage for a production that you may not want to invite your friends and neighbors to… but the grandparents wouldn’t miss for the world!

“Music Man,” however, was quite the opposite.

In fact, aside from their diminutive stature, you’d have never guessed that not one of the kids in the show was yet out of the 8th grade. The school did cast a handful of adults in some parts — mostly as “extras” and members of the barbershop-style singing group. But all of the lead parts were played by the school’s students. And they were absolutely stellar.

Heading up the cast, and handling an enormous volume of lines, singing parts & stage time, were the young Bryce Vokus as Harold Hill and Kristina LePage in the role of Marian Paroo. Keep an eye out for the two of them — as well as many of the other young performers — they’ve got a future! Every last young man and lady in the production demonstrated a tremendous amount of poise and excellence in their work.

In addition to the excellent performances from the school’s students, the Center for Musical Theater at Julie Rohr Academy ponied up for a fantastic venue (the gorgeous Sarasota Opera House) and some amazing sets in order to produce this year’s big final show.

The school has a tradition of putting on one big show like this at the end of the year. And I’ll admit, never having previously had a child enrolled at the school… I would have been unlikely to attend one of them. But after what I witnessed this year, I’d go back any time for one of this school’s productions… regardless of whether I have a child of my own in the show or not.

Big kudos to Julie Rohr McHugh, the Center for Musical Theater at Julie Rohr Academy, and the family of teachers, faculty, staff, and parents for doing something that Sarasota can truly be proud of… and something the kids who were involved will never forget. It was no small undertaking.

Yes… I’m a proud papa. My daughter was (of course) the cutest 5-year-old who ever existed on stage in her period costume… bellowing out “76 Trombones” at the top of her lungs. But it brings tears to my eyes to think about all those kids who have learned so much from their experiences putting on shows like this one with Julie Rohr Academy. The school is truly an asset to our great city.

I have no idea what’s on tap for next year’s production. But I can’t wait!

Father’s Day Is Big Business But Not Quite As Big As…

Email to Dad:

Dear Dad,

$chool i$ awe$ome. I’ve got lot$ of friend$ and I’m $tudying and learning ton$. I’m so bu$y, I $imply don’t have time to earn any extra ca$h. I mi$$ you though and $o appreciate your ongoing $upport.  I would love to hear from you.


Your $on

The Reply:

Dear Son,

I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are quite eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student running. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, that putting your nose in your books is free and that you can never study eNOugh.



What is it about dads and money? When we think of Mom our thoughts are all flowers, hugs and appreciation. However, when our thoughts turn towards Dad things get much more practical.

Some relational experts say that this difference between the roles that dads and moms play and consequently the way we view our relationships with them is possibly why business on Dad’s Day isn’t quite what it is on Mother’s Day.

According to a BusinessWeek article published this month the projected consumer spending for Father’s day this year is $9.58 billion. Compare that to the close to $16 billion spent on Mother’s Day. The average consumer is expected to spend around $95 on Father’s Day, about 60% of what we spend on Mother’s Day.

Hallmark sold over 150 million cards for moms but is expecting to sell somewhere just over 90 million for dads.

Now this is usually where a writer would close the article with a wonderful sentiment about how we love our fathers no less than our mothers. Now that may be true but I want to go another direction.

The economic stimulus checks have gone out and consumer spending rose slightly in May. We all want to support economic growth and we all want to show dear old Dad that we love him as much as we love Mom.

So here it is, lets forget the $95. Let’s buy that electronic gadget that our dads really want and an extra card and take the spending up to Mother’s Day levels.

As a Dad I’m all for it!

Don’t Miss This

And if you want to read a great article on the origin of Father’s Day and chuckle at some awesome quotes about fathers, check out this Christian parenting site from bestselling author (and my good friend) Rick Osborne.

High-Tech Children

Now here’s a young lady who understands marketing. She’s found a medium that will evidently reach her father with her request.

Check it out on Seth Godin’s blog.

Now, my daughter’s only 2. But, since I’ve already caught her playing with a Rubik’s cube, I’m guessing that by the time she’s old enough to want new furniture in her room, I have something like this to look forward to.