The production is being hosted by the Missouri State University-West Plains University/Community Programs (U/CP) Department and the West Plains Council on the Arts (WPCA). Partial funding has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.
The 60-minute play is recommended for children in grades four through six. It explores:
- adaptations of historical events;
- themes of acceptance, growth and friendship;
- understanding and appreciating differences in others.
“This play touches on such important topics like inclusion, diversity, acceptance and love in a way that children will easily understand,” said U/CP Theater and Events Coordinator Katarina Vetter.
In the story, the “Squares Only” town of Rockaway is turned upside down when Lily Polkadot arrives. As the first Polkadot in an all Square school, Lily faces an almost impossible task of gaining acceptance from her peers. From daily bullying to segregated drinking fountains, everything seems hopeless until Lily meets Sky, a shy Square boy whose curiosity for her different skin leads to an unexpected friendship.
Inspired by the events of The Little Rock Nine, this musical serves as a colorful history lesson, reminding us that our differences make us awesome, not outcasts, according to Vetter.
“‘Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical’ sheds a light on the struggle of being different than what is accepted, and then being treated differently because of those differences. But it includes a wonderful message of compassion and kindness, and we are excited to share this story with our community,” Vetter said.
There will be two daytime performances for area students free of charge and an evening performance at 7 p.m. for the community.
Organizers note the evening performance will be in a sensory-friendly format.
“If you know a child who lives with sensory sensitivity, this is the perfect way to introduce the child to the theater,” said WPCA President Paula Speraneo.
Admission is $8 for adults. Children age 13 and under will be admitted free, as will university students with a BearPass ID. Tickets are available at the civic center box office.
To reserve seats for students at the daytime performances or for more information, call 417-255-7966 or email email@example.com.