‘Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical’ presents a colorful history lesson for audiences of all ages

“Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical” as part of its 2019 professional summer season at Carbondale’s Southern Illinois University. “Polkadots” opens on June 8 and runs select Wednesdays and Saturdays through July 20. 


Inspired by the civil rights movement

“Polkadots” is inspired by civil rights pioneers Ruby Bridges and the Little Rock Nine. It follows 8-year-old Lily Polkadot, who just moved to the “Squares Only” small town of Rockaway. As the first Polkadot to attend an all-Square school, Lily faces an almost impossible task of gaining acceptance from her peers.  

From daily bullying to segregated drinking fountains, Lily’s quest seems hopeless until she meets a shy Square boy whose curiosity blooms into an unexpected friendship. Their friendship shows everyone that our individual differences do not make us weird or wrong, they make us cool! This brand new musical features a book by Melvin Tunstall III, lyrics by Douglas Lyons, and music by Greg Borowsky and Douglas Lyons. 

The MSP Summer Season is sponsored by SIH Medical Group and “Polkadots” is sponsored by Carolyn Wagner Snyder.  

New talent and familiar faces

Directing the “Cool Kids Musical” is Danae DeShazer, who returns to MSP after directing last season’s “9 to 5, The Musical,” and “Once Upon a Mattress.” 

“‘Polkadots’ takes hard-hitting topics like racism, segregation, sexism, bullying and hate, and turns them into a fun-filled, heartwarming, musical celebration of diversity and differences,” DeShazer said. “It teaches the young and young-at-heart that being a ‘cool kid’ means being unabashedly proud of who you are, faults and all. At its core, this story is about friendship, love, and embracing our differences.” 

In addition to DeShazer, the artistic team includes music direction by Jenna Mee Dosch, scenic design by Ronald Naversen, costume design by Kristina Sneshkoff, lighting design by Michael Frohling, and sound design by Jerome Veit.  

The cast of “Polkadots” includes MSP newcomers Kalyn Glover (Lily Polkadot) and Brooke Bucher (Penelope Square) and returning MSP actors Bryce Beliveau (Sky Square) and Lyndsay Manson (Ms. Square/Mama Square). The ensemble includes SIU Carbondale students Jakob Sommers, Amanda Talor, Julia Cicero and Mainyia Xiong.

Tickets on sale now

Performances will take place in SIU’s Christian H. Moe Laboratory Theater, located in the Communications Building, 1100 Lincoln Drive. 

Catch “Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical” on the following performance dates: 

  • 10 a.m., June 12, June 26, July 3, and July 17. Note: The June 12 performance is already sold out.
  • 2 p.m., June 8, June 15, June 22, June 29, July 13, and July 20. 

General admission prices are: $14 for adults and $10 for children and SIU students. 

Tickets are available by phone, online, in person or by mail:

  • Online at
  • By phone at 877-SALUKIS (877-725-8547).
  • In person at the SIU Arena (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) or McLeod Theater box office (noon-4:30 p.m.) Monday through Friday when the university is in session.
  • By mail through the SIU Ticket Office, Lingle Hall - Mail Code 6620, 1490 Douglas Drive, Carbondale, Illinois, 62901.

Some fees may apply. Purchase tickets for individual events or take advantage of multiple subscription options.

‘Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical’


A Theater for Young Audiences production.

Performances take place:

  • 10 a.m., June 12, June 26, July 3, and July 17. Note: The June 12 performance is already sold out.
  • 2 p.m., June 8, June 15, June 22, June 29, July 13, and July 20.

General admission prices are: $14 for adults and $10 for children and SIU students.

The McLeod Summer Playhouse season also includes:

  • “The Full Monty” – June 21-23 and 28-30.
  • “Gypsy: A Musical Fable” – July 12-14 and 19-21.
  • “The Drowsy Chaperone” (All Southern High School Theatre Project) – Aug 1-4.

Purchase tickets or find the complete schedule and additional details online at Or, call 877/725-8547 for more information.

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