Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical

CD. 31 min. Masterworks Broadway/Sony Music Entertainment. 2016. $8.98.
K-Gr 6—This soundtrack of a new musical is inspired by the story of Ruby Bridges and the Little Rock Nine. Lily Polkadot has just moved to the small town of Rockaway, which is populated by Squares. Lily tries to gain their acceptance but is bullied and segregated until she meets Sky, a shy Square who accepts Lily for who she is. When newcomer Troy Triangle joins the class, everyone welcomes him with open arms as another Cool Kid. Douglas Lyons (concept and lyrics), Greg Borowsky (composer), and Melvin Tunstall III (book) offer this polished production featuring singer/actors from TV and Broadway, such as Shanice Williams (The Wiz Live!), Alex Newell (Glee), Alysha Deslorieux (Hamilton), Lilli Cooper (The SpongeBob Musical), John Arthur Greene (American Idol, Season 15), and Talia Thiesfield (Veep) and a full band (including woodwinds, horns, strings, piano, and percussion).
VERDICT This mix of 14 singable, high-octane show tunes, ballads, and hip-hop songs filled with introspection and snazzy jazzy melodies reinforces the show's premise: our differences should make us awesome, not outcasts. A fresh approach for teaching units about bullying.

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