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Big Ryan’s tales thrill Needham kids

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By James Ensor
Hometown Weekly Reporter

Needham Park and Recreation presented Big Ryan, who told tall tales at the Children’s Theatre Program on Tuesday, August 2. The day featured original stories, puppets, some music, movement and lots of family fun.

A rainy Tuesday afternoon gave the event some extra appeal to parents looking to get their kids out of the house. For the past four weeks, Children’s Theatre has been getting about 50-100 local kids to attend the free performances at Broadmeadow Elementary School every Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.

Other acts included the music group Karen K & The Jitterbugs, magician Rob Clarke, and storyteller Mark Binder. Big Ryan, however, was unique in his use of puppets to provide the animation for his stories. One tale of Ryan’s featured a young boy named George who had just lost his first tooth, only to have it swallowed by his grandfather in a glass of milk. George quested to find a tooth look-alike so the tooth fairy would leave him his prize, and hilarity ensued.

“This is our last Children’s Theatre for this summer, but this is an annual program in Needham,” said Sarah Mallard of the Needham Park and Recreation department, who sat at the desk in the auditorium housing Ryan’s show. “We are already looking forward to next year’s program.”

The Needham Park and Recreation department also hosts the Arts in the Park program on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Park Gazebo. These events feature a wide variety of music, from big band to soul and funk as well as acoustic acts. Up next is the Bill McGoldrick Acoustic Duo on August 4. The duo plays popular jazz, rock and blues. Arts in the Park will be closing out its summer of performances on Thursday, August 11, with The Reminisants, who play fun oldies rock ‘n’ roll tunes.

“Attendance can sometimes be weather or vacation related,” Sarah concluded, “Children’s Theatre and Arts in the Park are different, but their goals are both along the same lines - to get involved in the community, no matter how large the audience.”

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