Pleasure Guild of Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Elise Rucker Senior Capstone

Why a Musical?

Willy Wonka is a story loved by millions. But looking past the catchy songs, quirky characters, and enchanting story, we find a deepeElise Rucker Headshot 8x10r reasoning for putting on a show. Being in the Pleasure Guild shows over the past few years, I’ve encountered the wholesome benefits of performing for children firsthand. The annual musical is always magnificent, entertaining, and a whole lot of fun. Attended each year by thousands of families and musical lovers. But amidst all of the dance numbers, magical scenes, and heroic quests, we must wonder: why a musical?

Music and theatre are both some of the highest forms of expression in existence. Whether you’re performing on stage or enjoying the story from a seat in the audience, the experience is filled with emotion, excitement, and an element of relaxation. Engaging in music and theatre strengthens children’s cognitive skills, giving them advanced thinking in and out of the classroom. At the same time, music and theatre act as an outlet for children: singing, dancing, and acting releases pent up emotions through the beauty of art. A generous number of studies have shown that children who are less advantaged are hugely benefitted from engaging in the arts.

The Pleasure Guild musical supports the scope of music therapists. Bycombining an entertaining story with music, children are engaged from the overture to the finale, helping them develop, mature, and heal. Even music alone evokes a child’s desire for learning, their body’s yearning to move, their brain’s attention for patterns and higher reasoning, and eye-hand coordination, to name just a few benefits. Adding dancing and acting to the mix propels children’s comprehension for empathy, resilience, and expression. And the coolest part is that this development is achieved through either performance or observation. This is why there are always children in the cast and the musicals are always child-friendly, because it is so important for children to engage in the arts now, since the benefits will last a lifetime.

About the Author

Elise Rucker has been involved in music since she was a toddler. Making her debut in Dallas Ballet Center’s The Nutcracker, Elise has been extensively involved in the performing arts ever since. Elise appeared in Pleasure Guild’s Seussical (Jungle Animal, Featured Dancer), Peter Pan (Indian, Featured Dancer), and Shrek (Three Blind Mice, Little Bo Peep, Duloc Dancer, Rat Tapper). Other credits include Mary Poppins (Winifred Banks), Antigone (Choragos), Julius Caesar (Julius Caesar 2.i), How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Les Miserables, and In The Heights. She is also currently the soprano section leader of the Vocal Music Program at Upper Arlington High School. In addition, Elise plans to pursue a BFA in Acting this fall.


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