Few experiences are as awesome as witnessing your kid experience live theatre; the amazement in her eyes, the rapt attention to stage magic, and the thrill of seeing her favorite stories come to life before her.
My three year-old daughter Nora and I recently caught a double header of Emerald City Theatre’s The Cat In The Hat and The Frog Prince, Continued. The Dr. Seuss classic was geared towards her age group (3-6 years), but had enough wit, pacing, and hilarious bits to keep even older kids (and their parents) invested. Some of Nora’s favorites: The “girl in the blue dress” (Giselle Vaughn’s perky Little Sally). How hard I laughed at the orange fish (a hilarious combination of puppetry and actor Erik Strebig.) Every single time The Cat (a charming Danny Taylor) performed balancing tricks. And my favorites? That would be a tie between realizing that the first show clocked in at just under an hour and hearing Nora’s starstruck applause during the curtain call.
The Frog Prince, Continued was a fun spin on a well-known classic; what happens when Happily Ever After leaves you with some doubt? The audience was a mix of kids big and little, girls dressed as princesses, and at least one boy clad as Spiderman. Although geared for a slightly older audience and with a lengthier run time, Nora enjoyed this one as well. As she and I both consider ourselves connoisseurs of fairy tales, frogs (her frog lovey is an important member of the family), and singers with exceptional pipes, there was a ton to dig about this production. And Nora was beyond thrilled to hug Princess Tina and Prince Tad (the positively adorable duo of Lianne Rodriguez and Mark Kosten) after the play.
These shows- as is always the case with Emerald City Theatre productions- bring it 100%. Neither The Cat In The Hat nor The Frog Prince, Continued talks down to their core patrons, understanding just how perceptive young audiences are. Add in a pre-show lobby craft for the kiddos, meet n’ greets with the characters after each matinee, plus special programs with talking points (Learning Responsibility for The Cat In The Hat and Building Self-Esteem for The Frog Prince, Continued) and activities for the slightly older theatregoers, and you’ve got a theatrical experience the whole family can enjoy.
Dr. Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat
Runs January 26th- May 19th, 2013
The Frog Prince, Continued
Runs January 25th- June 2nd, 2013
Both shows perform at The Apollo Theatre
2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Box office: (773) 935-6100
For more information, please visit emeraldcitytheatre.com
Disclosure: I was provided tickets for this review, all opinions are my own.