Kid Stuff

Friday, May 10, 2019

Popular Children's Theater Stage Door Productions Announces Shut Down

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2019 at 4:11 PM

  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Kroc Center
UPDATE: The Kroc has responded to questions. Says understanding differs from social media accounts but does not say how. A lightly edited version of their statement is quoted at the bottom of this report.

Stage Door Productions, a 501C3 company that has hosted classes and camps and produced kid-sized Broadway musicals at the theater housed inside Memphis' Kroc Center, announced it would end operations Monday, May 13th. The announcement arrives in the wake of public allegations related to the procedural handling of a harassment complaint.

"We want each and every one of you to know how incredibly difficult this decision is to make," an email to the Legally Blonde cast and camp attendees read. The announcement came with a charge to the company's young participants: "Feel every emotion freely, but only for one hour. After that let your anger go."
"I can confirm Stage Door Productions programming will cease on Monday, following the final performance of Legally Blonde Jr. this Sunday," Stage Door co-founder Brandon Kelly wrote in an email. Kelly said he would consider sharing more information at a later time. "Right now, we will be focusing our love, passion, and support entirely on the kids in our final show. They are the ones most affected and need our support and complete attention."

Allegations regarding the mishandling of a harassment complaint appeared on Facebook last week. They were widely shared, generating community support and backlash. Less than a week after the original May 3rd posting, Stage Door shared a letter that appears to say there was no official knowledge of the complaint prior to the recent Facebook posting. "Since this has been brought to our attention, we have had an internal and external review done at Stage Door," the communication stated.  Stage Door's Facebook page is now offline. The website is live but inactive. 
The Kroc Center has not yet responded to The Flyer's request for information. Pages related to the facilities art programs and to Lindsay and Brandon Kelly are not currently live.

According to the most recent information posted at, Stage Door had posted regular losses of up to $10,000 in net assets since 2015 when that value was pegged at $91,425.

Latest Update: The Kroc responds:

"For the past five years, The Salvation Army Kroc Center – Memphis has partnered with Stage Door Productions (SDP) to provide quality theatre opportunities for the youth in our area. SDP, an independent non-profit, worked to provide a meaningful arts experience for its participants. Kroc Center members valued SDP’s programming expertise and SDP valued the Kroc’s outstanding facilities.

Last week, we were made aware of a social media post with troubling accusations within SDP of sexual harassment and abuse between two underage cast members from 18 months ago. We acted immediately—launching an internal review and ensuring the incident allegation was reported to Tennessee’s Child Protective Services."

"The Salvation Army has a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of abuse or harassment. Our staff are well trained in appropriate behavior and how to spot signs of abuse in others. Though SDP is a separate entity, we hold them to the highest standards for safety and professionalism.

Our understanding of events vary from those reported in social media. We are still conducting our review and will fully cooperate with the authorities in investigation. Because those referenced are minors and this is an ongoing investigation, we are unable to comment about specifics. Our prayers are with each one and we ask you to join us with your prayers.

Today, SDP announced it is ceasing programming effective Monday, May 13, 2019. While we are ending our work with SPD, the Arts remain a vital and vibrant pillar of the Kroc’s purpose. We are looking at ways to expand our existing arts education offerings. We know the value the Arts have on overall student achievement and want to do our part to build tomorrow’s leaders. We consistently look for ways to improve member experiences, program quality, and program offerings. Just as we strive to inspire excellence, so do we strive to be excellent." 

This post will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Mömandpöp Bring a Rocking "Pizza Party" to GPAC

Posted By on Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 2:21 PM

At home with mömandpöp.
  • At home with mömandpöp.

Okay, there probably won't be any actual pizza involved, but I'm betting this song gets played at least once. There may be encores.

mömandpöp isn't "kid rock." The band's "Comeback Special" may be aimed at the shorter short people in our lives — and younger kids really do love it — but the musical variety show quickly transcends. Husband and wife duo Bobby and Virginia Matthews are terrific writers with a knack for improv and a gift for crafting infectious pop ditties so full of love and life they defy easy categorization. If you're physically able to take your kids (or somebody's kids!) to see mömandpöp at GPAC Saturday, you really should. If you don't have access to kids, you'll  have to go it alone. It's only 50-minutes. You won't be sorry. 

The gimmick goes something like this. Once upon a time mömandpöp were rock stars, but they abandoned all that to become plain old mom and pop. Now after many (many, many, many) years off the scene, they're pulling their British Invasion/folk revival-inspired act out act out of mothballs and retooling it for younger listeners. Think Schoolhouse Rock meets the Partridge Family, but more mod 60's than groovy 70's.

Click the video below to listen to one of my favorites. (Okay, my very favorite. But "A Week in the Life" is also pretty spectacular. So is "Take Care.")

So good.

The Matthews family has deep roots in Memphis. Bobby was an art teacher here and played alongside the Grifters' Tripp Lamkins and Stan Gallimore in a band called Dragoon. Virginia worked with Voices of the South for years, composing original music for the company's shows and developing original scripts like An Old Forest Fairy Tale. 

For event details and tickets click here. To watch a deeply silly (and wonderful) reenactment of old ladies in tennis shoes saving Overton Park, click below. 

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

New Theater Memphis Youth Company to Perform "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Posted By on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 1:15 PM

A last supper
  • A last supper

Fantastic Mr. Fox, what a cussing great children'sn story. Roald Dahl out-cussing-did himself with this one, and Wes Anderson's film adaptation is just cussing brilliant.

As adapted to the stage by Sally Reed, Fantastic Mr. Fox is an adventures that pits the titular antihero against a group of nasty farmers, and, at times, his own nature.

Leslie Barker, Director of Outreach and Education at Theatre Memphis, has assemblrd a new summer youth company, and is currently preparing her cast and crew for a "fully realized production" on TM's main stage.

Fantastic Mr. Fox runs Monday through cussing Friday at 11am and Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, July 15 — 21, 2013.


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