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Agnes Scott staging musical that teaches kids about money

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Agnes Scott staging musical that teaches kids about money

Photo provided by Agnes Scott

Decatur, GA — The Department of Creative Arts at Agnes Scott College received a National Endowment for the Arts Research Grant to study whether musical theater can help kids with financial literacy.

The play, “Million Bazillion,” is a musical theater adaptation of American Public Media’s Marketplace podcast of the same name.

“The content from the podcast will creatively transform into messaging and narrative for the theater production, a key aspect of the research. Marketplace’s nationally syndicated daily business news and economics broadcast is heard by more than 11 million listeners on public radio stations throughout the U.S.,” the press release from Agnes Scott says.

The show runs from Feb. 22 through Feb. 22. To buy tickets, click here.

The show is about an hour long and includes the songs “Dollar Scholar,” “Open-ended Question Maker-Upper Formula,” and “The Rewind Song.”  The play is a collaboration between theater professor Toby Emert, who wrote and will direct the musical and who is overseeing the research project, and podcast co-host Bridget Bodnar. Their project began in the summer of 2021 when Emert first had the idea to translate segments from the podcast for the stage, the press release says.

“I had wanted to develop a show for young audiences that used theater to help them understand important ideas, but I hadn’t considered working on a play about money and the economy until I started listening to the podcast,” Emert said in the press release. “That could be a fun challenge, I thought—to develop a musical that teaches kids about financial concepts and instills a healthy relationship with money early on.”

The press release says Emert and psychology professor Bonnie Perdue have designed the study to measure if the musical is effectively teaching the audience about key concepts.

“They hypothesize that arts engagement will have positive effects on children’s comprehension and that the musical presentation of the information will resonate differently and prove to be more effective than a classroom lesson about the same content,” the press release says.

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