Jim Camacho Does It for the Kids in Nutcracker Musical Backstory The Mouse King

For a quarter century, the ever-youthful, heck-no-I-don't-need-hair-dye singer/guitarist Jim Camacho has rocked South Florida's stages with a cheerful vigor and a melodic knack. His mother, the ever-present "Momma Camacho" nurtured the Goods -- the band Camacho led with his brother, John between 1987 and 1999 -- to the point that they signed several record deals on the strength of a song called "I'm Not Average."

The wellspring of optimism Mama Camacho instilled in Jim led him to a second career as a composer of kid's musicals. In the past two years, Camacho has shuttled back and forth between New York City and Miami in a whirlwind of kid's friendly entertainment activity.

In the Big Apple, Camacho collaborated on musical puppet shows for the Bronx Zoo with Sesame Street & Disney puppeteer/actor Noel MacNeal. MacNeal is best known for his Emmy-nominated portrayal of "Bear" on the Disney Channel show: Bear In The Big Blue House.

See also: Backstage In South Florida: Jim Camacho Shows Off His Theatrical Flair

Back home in Miami, Camacho composed and created two kids musicals that went live at the Mandelstam Theater in South Miami: 2011's The Cavie Islander's & The Troll and 2012's The Guru of Gir.

This weekend, Camacho brings his New York State of Mind home with him and consolidates his career. He and MacNeal debut their new musical, The Mouse King, at the Mandelstam Theater tonight at 7 p.m. with an encore matinee Saturday at 3 p.m. The Mouse King is MacNeal's reimagining of The Nutcracker from the rodent characters' point of view. It is a bold new take on a Holiday Classic that has already attracted attention from the big cheeses in family programming.

It's no secret that entertainment executives like expense-paid trips to the tropics, so join them as they witness MacNeal's puppets, Camacho's music, and a cast of talented child actors breathe new life into the Holiday canon.

The Mouse King makes its world premier with two shows, 7 p.m. on Friday December 13, and 3 p.m., on Saturday December 14, at the Mandelstam Theater, 8530 SW 57 Ave., South Miami. Tickets for Mouse King cost $20, and can be obtained via Brown Paper Tickets, or call 800-838-3006.

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Tom Bowker