Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Where Hope Lives

Fairyland’s creators wanted to send a clear message to adults: this park is all about the kids. “A surprise around every corner, and no straight lines” has been Fairyland’s design inspiration for 66 years. We’ve seen first-hand the positive and even therapeutic effect of a whimsical, colorful environment that’s both energizing (as in slides and rides) and calm (as in gardens and the Chapel of Peace).

So we understand the vital importance of the design of a Ronald McDonald House—a place where families live while their loved one undergoes care for life-threatening illness. After all, this is a place that is a temporary home to people under tremendous stress, who’ve had to leave jobs, schools and communities during a medical crisis.
A robot-themed bathroom in the new Ronald McDonald House.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Girls Can Be Warriors

“It’s better to give than to receive.”

As of last Friday, I’m a born-again believer in this adage.

Late that afternoon, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's office got word that Paul Wong, who heads Oakland’s We Believe Foundation, had an extra pair of tickets for the Warriors playoff opener against the Houston Rockets. Wong was looking to give away two tickets to a deserving Oakland student.

Michael Hunt from Schaaf's office mentioned the incredible opportunity at the close of a meeting with our team at Fairyland. Did we have any ideas?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Premiere of Puff

This week marks the premiere of an original Fairyland puppet show, and I couldn’t be more excited.

The show is based on “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” a song written by Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow and made popular by Yarrow's group Peter, Paul and Mary in a 1963 recording. The lyrics tell a story of the ageless dragon and his playmate Jackie Paper, a little boy who grows up and loses interest in the imaginary adventures of childhood, leaving Puff alone and sad.

The song became a classic. It also played an important role in the early life of Fairyland’s master puppeteer, Randal Metz.

“My grandmother sang it to me all the time,” Randal recalls. “We sang it together, so it’s a special memory for me that I wanted to share with another generation.”

But because this is Fairyland, we wanted to make it our own.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Of Costumes and Characters

This week our Children’s Theatre kids will be measured for their costumes for this season’s three shows. Two of those productions — “Johnny Appleseed” and “Needle and Thread”  will be costumed by a very talented woman who has created a figure for a wax museum, repaired sports-figure heads for the Oakland A’s, and made giant popcorn boxes she rents out as walking movie advertisements.

TonyaMarie, who divides her time between Ohio and Alameda and has an MFA from the Academy of Art University, also divides her talents between her two loves: art and animals. “Theyre what I live for,” she says. She’s worked on Children’s Fairyland productions since 2012.

Jacob wore a TonyaMarie costume in our 2012 production of The Tortoise Who Flew.