Musical ‘Hats’ includes many lessons for children

The Performing Arts Academy will present the musical “Hats” Friday, March 20 and Saturday, March 21 at New Covenant Church in Franklin. The show begins at 7 p.m. each evening. Tickets are $5.

“Students from all over the Miami Valley will be a part of the production,” said Executive Director Nina Markle, of The Performing Arts Academy.

Directed by Dawn Cooke, who also serves as assistant director at the academy, the show’s cast will be made up of about 14 students in kindergarten, first and second grades.

During the show, hats of all shapes and sizes will take over the stage. Actors and audience members alike, will explore a variety of hats and their uses as they learn about the people who wear them. Ultimately, everyone will discover that it’s not the hat that makes a person special, but what’s underneath that matters the most.

“No matter what kind of hat you wear, it’s what’s underneath the hat that really counts. Hats don’t make us, it’s what’s inside of us that makes us,” said Markle.

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The show has a good moral for kids. We’re not just about singing and dancing. We try to help children, socially – to believe in themselves and to raise self-esteem – and we do that through fun things,” she said.

“We want the kids to know that we value them as a person, and it’s not just about the hat they are wearing.”

By participating, children are learning things like how to focus, listen, to react and to follow through. They are also being taught how to get involved and to make a difference in a positive way.

“It’s exciting to see the children grow and blossom through each performance. At first, they come in and they are scared to death,” Markle said. “They are afraid to open their mouths, and some of them have never sang or danced before. When you see them at the first rehearsal, then at the performances, it’s a wonderful thing, seeing how the kids have changed.”

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