Children have never had more entertainment options. In addition to watching television, playing video games, surfing the Web and listening to downloaded music, they have a host of new and innovative gadgets that we baby-boomers aren’t savvy enough to list. If you need them itemized, feel free to consult your friendly neighborhood youngster.

The same could also be said for adults, many of whom grew up in an era when the best toy in the world was the empty box your parents’ new refrigerator came in. Much of today’s electronic diversion comes at the expense of live entertainment, which several local groups, schools and organizations work throughout the year to provide quality shows to the public.

Area high schools produce outstanding theater, musical or otherwise, and Howard Payne University students elevate that art form to an even higher degree. Brownwood Area Live on Stage brings a series of professional acts, most of them musical, to the community each year. And this weekend, the Lyric Performing Arts Company is staging its summer production for children, “The Stinky Cheese Man.” Seven performances are planned, including four today, two Saturday and one Sunday. Performance times are 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The 7:30 p.m. Friday performance is not listed on the show’s flyers, but that performance has been added to the schedule.

Cody Eoff, the Early High School and Howard Payne graduate who is on summer break from his teaching duties in San Antonio, described the show as a fun, rollicking play, based on the children’s book, “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales,” by Jon Scieszka. It’s certainly a program parents and grandparents will want to take young people in their families to see. It could even be of interest to adults, as well.

Attendance will not only help support live entertainment in Brownwood, it will also support the restoration of the Lyric Theatre. Proceeds from the performance will help return the downtown showplace to its glory days of the early 20th century, and that will help attract shows and other events to the central business district. Tickets are only $5, so good crowds at the current venue — Howard Payne Theatre — will help the cause greatly.

The children who see the show will also learn about the excitement that comes from live shows, and it may even encourage them to become participants. And if that gets them away from the front of a television screen or a computer game for a while, they will benefit even more.

Brownwood Bulletin