The Kids Beat

Music to Your Peers

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If music hath charms that soothe the savage beast, perhaps a new musical with beastly stars can soothe the savage bully. Set in an alternate universe called the Land Between, "Bully Be Gone!" uses animal characters as both bullies and targets, upending the typical burly-bully-meek-victim dynamic. Producer and director Elaine Davida Sklar hopes the approach will speak — or sing — to kids in a way that seminars or lectures on the hot topic of bullying do not. As a teacher in the Greenwich, Conn., area, Sklar got to see bullying firsthand. "I realized it was growing quicker, faster than the drug problem," she says. Now living in Vermont, Sklar drew on her background in theater to write the musical, engaging locals Jon Gailmor and Jeff Slevin to compose the score. Sklar hopes the show will be picked up by a licensing company and go national; she'd like to see Vermont banish bullying and get the rest of the country singing the same tune.

"Bully Be Gone!": Showing at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe: Fridays, September 16 and 23, at 7 p.m.; Saturdays, September 17 and 24, at 2 and 7 p.m.; Sunday, September 18 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20 to $25 for matinees, and $25 to $35 for evening shows. Tickets are available through sprucepeakarts.org. Info, 203-249-8880, bullybegonemusical.com.

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