When Roll Play launches its second season on Treehouse Monday, September 1, parents might end up appreciating it as much as the kids it's aimed at.
"The end goal of the show is movement for movement's sake," said producer J.J. Johnson on the TV, eh? show on Blogtalkradio. To that end, the new episodes include a diverse array of musicians, including 54-40, Bedouin Soundclash, Barenaked Ladies, Randy Bachman, Bran Van 3000, Delores O'Riordan of The Cranberries, Holly McNarland, Platinum Blonde, Sam Roberts, Tal Bachman, and more, in a soundtrack that should be released on iTunes in October (the first season is available now).
Though each wrote kid-appropriate lyrics centred around a particular puppet character – brought to life on the show by the Famous PEOPLE Players – "we definitely didn't want them to change their sound," emphasized Johnson, a partner in Sinking Ship Entertainment, the folks who are also behind This is Daniel Cook and This is Emily Yeung.
I confessed to him that I may have listened to the preview CD a few more times than was strictly necessary to prepare for our interview, but it's hardly like confessing to a secret fondness for the sound stylings of Barney the Dinosaur. The goal of Roll Play is to get children exercising in fun and imaginative ways, but the music makes it easy enough for adults like me to shrug off the fact that the lyrics are about centipede sisters or Tasmanian devils having temper tantrums.
"A lot of people truthfully signed up because they have kids or nephews nieces and who watch some of the shows so it was their chance to put something on they'd be able to listen to," Johnson said of the renowned musicians who created songs especially for the series.
The music and lyrics together blend perfectly with the dancing children and puppets featured in the short Roll Play segments, which air a couple of times a day. Johnson directs the kids in their dance moves, though he describes the process as being something of a, well, collaborative effort. "I'm trying to show them these moves and they're frowning at me and doing their own thing anyway," he laughed, pointing out that kids at home will likely make their own choices as well.
Johnson and I both named a Kulcha Connection song called "Lucy the Woodpecker" as our favourite, though he recalled thinking it would be a challenge to choreograph. Playing it for the Roll Play kids during a break in another episode, "they all started to do the Soldier Boy dance to it," Johnson explained. "It's bizarre to watch a bunch of 5 year olds do the Soldier Boy, but then they started to interpret it their own way. That was a real example of letting them show us how they wanted to move."
Roll Play premieres Monday, September 1 at 8:25 am Eastern on Treehouse.