“It’s not all about sports, Don.” That’s what Don Rodman, the Founder of Rodman for Kids, remembers his wife, Marilyn, telling him.
“I always sent kids to sporting events,” Don told The Boston Globe in 2013. “She must have gotten frustrated with me after a while, and she said, ‘You know, Don, there is another world out there.’”
As a result of that conversation, Don & Marilyn took 1,200 kids to see a benefit showing of “South Pacific” in 2001. Two years later, the Theatre for Kids program was born. In 2007, it was renamed The Marilyn Rodman Theatre for Kids program.
The Theatre program broadens the horizons of at-risk youth and foster a lifelong appreciation of performing arts by exposing kids to live, professional theatre.
In July 2014, over 2,500 kids visited the Citizen’s Bank Opera House to see Phantom of the Opera. “We bought every seat in the house, because we wanted kids to experience this beloved, classic musical,” said Don. “The feedback from the kids was overwhelming. They were enthralled by the production. In fact, without any prompting, they gave a standing ovation during the encore.”
In 2018, the Marilyn Rodman Theatre for Kids program was the only organization in America granted permission for a full theatre buyout of Tony Award winning musical, Hamilton! We were excited and honored to have the unique opportunity to send 2,000 of Boston’s at-risk kids to see this transformative stage production.
Thanks to Marilyn’s insistence that kids needed exposure to other things besides sports, over 70,000 children have attended theater performances!
There has not been a theatre performance in Boston since the COViD-19 pandemic closed the theatres down 20 months ago; on November 2, 2021, the Citizen’s Bank Opera House re-opened. This first performance brought us to the Underworld with 400+ kids as we saw the opening night of Hadestown when theatre returned to Boston!
To learn more about how you can help support the Marilyn Rodman Theatre for Kids program’s trip to Hadestown, please visit https://www.rodmanforkids.org/theatre-for-kids/hadestown/