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The Many Ways Naperville’s Kidz Kabaret Helps Our Kidz

Annie_Ben takes a Bow

My youngest son, pictured in the middle, has found his passion in theater through Kidz Kabaret.

by Stuart Meyer

As any parent knows, no two children are the same.  As a matter of fact, its been my experience that siblings tend to be opposite in personality, interests and behavior.

As a parent, my dream for my children is for them to discover their own unique dream and support them as much as I can in their journey.

While my oldest son is a natural-born competitive athlete, it’s been a process of elimination for my youngest son in his journey to discover his own unique niche.

Over the past few years, we’ve worked our way through soccer, t-ball, cub scouts, coach pitch baseball, football and pottery.  He loved the pottery class he took through our incredible Naperville Parks District and this Summer took the leap, participated in a Theater day camp at Kidz Kabaret here in Naperville and fell in love.

The one detail I’ve left out is the fact my youngest son is a pretty shy kid and often struggles in relating and communicating with other kids.  Of course, once he gets comfortable just sit back and enjoy the entertainment.

Kidz Kabaret and its 501(c)(3) Fair Lady Productions is a Naperville-based non-audition children’s theater company that began in 2003 as a summer stock performance in Executive Director Kandiss Hernandez’s backyard.  Today, their facility on Quincy Avenue is pretty incredible in terms of its size, theater and rehearsal space.

“Non-Audition” means every kid gets a chance to perform even if that means having 15 different casts each with their own performance date.  They focus on helping kids develop self-confidence while learning the many exciting aspects of theater production.

For my son, the Summer Theater Camp “Aladdin” performance at Kidz Kabaret led to the Fall program where he performed in “Annie Jr.” to the Winter program where he just finished “It’s a Fairy Tale Life” heading toward the Spring Program. We were pretty amazed by how well these pint-sized triple threats were able to put it all together with the support of the Kidz Kabaret teachers.  Even more, we were blown away to see our little shy guy acting and singing solos… on a stage… with bright lights… in front of an audience.

It’s all the more comforting to see the absence of competitiveness and the sense that the biggest stage Kidz Kabaret is preparing our children for is the stage of life… to help them build confidence, commitment and discipline… to learn how to communicate… to work together as a cast… to express themselves and to enjoy the arts.

That’s about as much as a parent could ask for.  While there are plenty of great performance arts programs and activities in and around Naperville, I’m particularly grateful for the efforts of the whole crew at Kidz Kabaret.  Special thanks to De!  

Kidz Kabaret is located at 1665 Quincy Avenue, Suite 143 in Naperville and their Executive Director is Kandiss Hernandez.  You can learn more on their website at kidzkabaret.fairladyproductions.net

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World of Naperville is Back – 143,542 Visits Strong!!!

Riverwalk_Shelby and Ben at SunsetOn May 26th, 2006 I first wrote my inaugural post in welcoming everyone to the “World of Naperville”.  This blog was born out of my frustration of feeling disconnected from the the incredible “can do” community I chose to live in and raise my family craving a sense of my former small town roots.

My daily commute was very long and there were many days during the winter months I never even saw Naperville by daylight during weekdays.   For the next 4 years, I would continue my plight to stay “virtually” involved and invested in Naperville by being a voice that documented all of the heart and soul of our community from the perspective of someone who actually lives here.

In this time, I’ve done everything I could to contribute my passion and talents to our community.  I shot and directed a documentary film about Ribfest, I’m working on a longer term documentary film about an internationally-renowned local arts icon in the world of opera and ballet, I participated in the Naperville Citizens Academy, I’ve coached little league football, exhibited my Naperville photography including 4 commissioned photos that hang in the lobby of a corporate building on Diehl Road, I’ve volunteered at my children’s elementary school, I’ve delivered a school assembly presentation about being a composer, I’ve worked with local restauranteurs producing food-based media and have observed many things that have changed and some that have not changed at all.  I’ve seen the prosperous times and the heartbreaking lows impact our community.

Over the past year or so, my posts have declined for a very good reason.  I started my own company and now work here in Naperville on a daily basis.  But now, I feel I’ve grown distant from my community by spending a little too much time in the office disconnected.  So two things are happening, first I’m renewing my mission to publish this blog and second, in the next couple of months I’m moving my office into Downtown Naperville inside the walls of one of the oldest buildings!!!  I’m very excited about the road ahead and hope you will stay tuned for more insights and observations from the World of Naperville.

With Gratitude.  SM