Ep. 58: What does Sesame Street music have to do with guide dogs? September is National Guide Dog Month; with Rena Strober

Ep. 58: What does Sesame Street music have to do with guide dogs? September is National Guide Dog Month; with Rena Strober

Photo by Matthis Volquardsen from Pexels

September 1, 2020

 

Rena Strober is a Broadway, film, and television actor (Disney’s Liv & Maddie, VEEP, and Shameless) as well as an advocate for the blind. Her brand new album, “Imagine That! The Sesame Street Music of Joe Raposo & Jeff Moss,” features an all-blind children’s choir, as well as many famous guest artists. Rena tells us what makes this album so incredibly special. “What the world needs now, more than ever, is the music of Sesame Street. We need to be reminded that being kind is simple and being ‘different’ is beautiful,” says Rena.

Photo by Peter Konerko

Guest

I am thrilled to have with me today, from LA, Rena Strober, a Broadway, film, and television actor who is also an advocate for the blind. Most kids know Rena from her recurring role on Disney’s Liv & Maddie, and adults might recognize her from TV shows like VEEP and Shameless. Rena taught for five years at The Academy of Music for the Blind, and continues to teach voice lessons to blind and sighted children in her LA home.

Notes

  • Rena tells us about her brand new album, and what makes it so incredibly special.
  • “Imagine That!” is being released in celebration of National Guide Dog Awareness Month in September.
  • Rena tell us how the songs were chosen for inclusion in the album, and about the special guests who are a part of this album: Jason Alexander (Seinfeld), French Stewart (3rd Rock from the Sun), Michael-Leon Wooley (The Princess and the Frog), Deborah Grausman (“Smartie” on Sesame Street), acclaimed opera singer Cristina Jones (the “Blind Soprano”), and DOTZ, The Blind Children’s Choir.
  • She describes producer Fred Mollin’s involvement.
  • A portion of the proceeds from the album sales will go to Guide Dogs of America and the Gavin R. Stevens Foundation. Rena tells us about these organizations and her connection to them.
  • Rena, the proud mother of three-year-old Isadora “Izzy” Rose, says, “My biggest job is making sure I raise a strong and kind daughter.”
  • From press release: “These iconic songs inspire decades of fond memories, yet are as engaging as ever for new little ears. They deserve the luxury treatment they get from this wildly talented, top-of-their-game team coming together to put on a classy show filled with a cheerful Broadway sense of style.”
  • Rena reminds us of Guide Dog etiquette (please don’t pet a dog that is working).

Connect/Other Resources

  • More about the album:

Coda

Rena on “Being Green”.

Closing Words

Thank you so much to Rena and the extended team of participants in this album for enhancing lives with music. These songs are classics and it’s fun to hear the fresh, Broadway-style take on them. And their message is more important than ever – the message of empathy, the power of kindness, and that being “different” is beautiful. If you’d like to support these messages – AND support Guide Dogs of America and research to cure blindness – click here to purchase this music for yourself, for the child in your life, or for someone who is young at heart. Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.

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