As the State of MInnesota dials forward COVID-19 regulations, the Reif Arts Council is reopening the doors of the Wilcox Theater to 25% occupancy for The Power of Good Manners on Friday, Jan. 15 at 1:30 p.m., masks and social distancing is at the Reif in Grand Rapids. This new, one-person magical and acrobatic show featuring Kenny Ahem is geared mostly to kids in grades 3-5. Live virtual and video on-demand tickets are also available.
“With kids getting back in the in-person school groove, we thought Kenny’s show about manners was a good refresher,” said Reif Arts Council marketing director Paul M. Gregersen. “With recent current events in Washington D.C. dominating the news, we could all use a reminder about respect and politeness.”
Ahern has performed for thousands of school children world-wide and this production was developed through consultation with educational professionals. The main aspects of the show feature the Importance of asking for help, making good choices and the power of saying “please” and “thank you.” The performance educates, inspires and entertains audiences of all ages.
“A lot of children and students have been stuck at home for a while now, a place where we are all a little more comfortable,” Gregersen said. “Proper etiquette reminders are needed every once-in-a-while. As Kenny says, character virtues are not just words—they are a call to action.”
Ahem’s mission with this performance is about creating an honest message with a fun and relevant presentation. He has been touring across the globe for over two decades and has steadily built his reputation as a world-class family entertainer through “edutainment.”
It all started in 1983, when a college professor suggested Ahem audition for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and write a research paper about the experience. That was 25 years and thousands of performances ago.
Ahem has taken master classes in physical comedy with Broadway star and Tony Award recipient, Bill Irwin and Yale School of Drama faculty head Christopher Bayes. He studied with Pavel Groditsky of The Soviet National School for the Circus and Variety Arts (movement workshop) and trained at Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Clown College—receiving a BFA (Bachelor in Fun Arts). Ahem has learned from thousands of the best directors in comedy throughout the world ... his audiences.
An accomplished educator, Ahem has been a faculty member with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and The University of Wisconsin—La Crosse’s Clown Camp. He has guest lectured for the drama departments of The University of Virginia and The DePaul University, and presented workshops for The University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program.
A few performances of note include those with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus; The China International Children Arts Festival—Taipei, Taiwan; Variete Theatre Festival—Singapore; The 2005 World Expo—Aichi, Japan; The Brooks & Dunn Neon Circus and Wild West Tour; The International Street Performers Vaudeville Festival—Edmonton, Alberta; The Disneyland Grand Ballroom Theatre; The Moscow Circus School—Moscow, Russia; The White House; The WI, IA, MN, OH, UT, MO, SC State Fairs.
“We are so excited to welcome Kenny to the Reif,” Gregersen said. “This program is a great way to kick off the new year and hopefully look toward to a post-COVID world while remaining safe and socially distanced.”
Virtual and in-person tickets to The Power of Good Manners with Kenny Ahem are available at reifcenter.org or by calling the Reif between noon and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at (218) 327-5780. The Reif Box Office is currently closed to foot traffic.