By Debbie Adams
The Vinton Public Library has kicked off its summer reading program with a host of fun
activities, including programs in collaboration with Mill Mountain Theatre and the Kids Square
On June 22, Mill Mountain Theatre presented the interactive musical comedy “Mad-Libs Live”
for a standing-room-only crowd at the Vinton Library.
Mad-Libs is a popular word replacement game that teaches kids about nouns, verbs, adverbs, and
adjectives to reinforce reading comprehension and vocabulary, but funnier than it sounds. The
game involves stories with some of the words removed and replaced with blank spaces. The
audience, who hasn’t seen the story, is asked to fill in the blanks with nouns, verbs, adverbs, and
For the Vinton Library performance, children were asked to write down parts of speech on cards
and drop them into fish bowls for use during the actual performance, making each performance
different and unique to the particular audience – and usually hilarious. The words were randomly
drawn by the actors and inserted into songs in the script during the show. Children who
contributed the chosen words got to identify themselves, adding to the fun.
As for the plot, “The story begins at the finals of Teen Superstars, the live TV show that will
determine the most popular singing group at Blankville Central High. A group of four teenagers,
Virtuosa, Gogo, Geyser, and Merrily, is competing against other teens from the high school for
the title of Teen Superstars. Virtuosa wants to be recognized as a great singer and get a contract
with ‘Cool Library Records’; Gogo wants to win back his girlfriend; Geyser wants to make
friends; and Merrily is trying to come out of her shy shell.
“The four seem to have nothing in common, in fact they haven’t even come up with a name for
their group and, unfortunately, realize just before airtime that their songs are missing words. In
the spirit of the ‘World’s Greatest Word Game,’ the gang fills in the blanks with words
contributed by the audience.”
“Mad Libs Live” was presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals who will be
performing in libraries and other children’s centers around the Roanoke and New River Valleys
The cast was made up of collegiate performers from all over the country who are staying in
Roanoke for just over a month.
According to Mill Mountain Theatre, “Mad Libs Live” “is part of the theatre’s initiative to
connect theatre to literacy.”
As an added bonus to the performance, free books were available to audience members.
Sponsors and grantors include Dunkenberger-Waskey Group at Morgan Stanley, American
National Bank & Trust Company, Boxley Materials, Carilion Clinic, Cary Street Partners, Cox
Communications, Davis H. Elliot Company, Member One Federal Credit Union, Nancy Ruth
Patterson, Punch Boutique, TheRoanokeStar.com, Center in the Square, National Endowment for
the Arts and Virginia Commission for the Arts.
On June 23, the Kids Square Children Museum presented an interactive program with various
STEM-related activities at the Vinton Library. Kids Square is a museum in Center in the Square
in downtown Roanoke that encourages hands-on learning.
Veronika Geier from Kids Square introduced the children to the STEM activities they would be
participating in, using the story of the “Three Little Pigs.”
Enthusiastic children rotated among different stations to explore electrical circuits, wind power,
construction, diffusion, and more – like a mini-summer science camp.