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Princess and the Pea!

This year we spent spring break at home. Although we would of much really enjoyed spending our days on the beach in the sun, building sand castles, we enjoyed some of the amazing things living in Chicagoland has to offer us. I planned a few special days for the kids and I. On Tuesday we went to see Princess and  the Pea at The Marriott Theatre.

It has been awhile since Mia and I have been to the Marriott Theatre to see a play or musical and Dylan has never been. I wasn't sure if a 5 year old boy would enjoy Princess and the Pea or not. The show was colorful, funny and only one hour. It captured both of their attention and they really enjoyed it.

We were seated in the 3rd row which was awesome but the Theatre is round, intimate and you really can't have a bad seat. It is a show that all ages will love and a perfect way to introduce live Theatre to the little ones in your life!

After the show their was a question and answer session with the actors. Mia and Dylan loved hearing about what goes on behind the scenes. The both asked questions as well. Mia had a chance to get her picture with the Princess after the show.

You can find the all current and upcoming productions for The Marriott Theatre here and follow them on facebook.

 

Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets but our thoughts and opinions are honest and are own.

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Ramona Quimby at Emerald City Theater

Klickitat Street. Beezus and Howie. And of course, Nosmo King. If any of these ring a bell, you’re the target demographic for Emerald City Theatre’s fantastic new show, Ramona Quimby. This tale of everyone’s favorite third grader, directed by Emerald City’s Education Director Jacqueline Stone, follows a year in the life of Ramona and her family. Themes of this sweet story (based on Beverly Cleary’s beloved book series and adapted by Len Jenkins) include growing up, tough times, and the constancy of a family’s love through it all.

(photo credit Tom McGrath)

 The production’s multitasking cast is an absolute joy to watch; Marsha Harman’s hilariously creaky Mrs. Kemp (and overworked Mrs. Quimby), glamorous Aunt Bea (portrayed by Emerald City fave Giselle Vaughn), Aaron Lawson’s impressive turn as Howie, Uncle Hobart, and Mr. Quimby (that’s right, every single dude in the show), Molly Parchment’s long-suffering Beezus and, of course, the whirlwind that is Rachel Van Marter’s energetic Ramona. And the set, designed by Michelle Lilly, is a striking series of dollhouses which turn and change with the seasons on Klickitat Street.

emerald city theater chicago

(Nora and Director Jacqueline Stone)

 Gliding seamlessly between funny, poignant, and cool, the show does justice to a childhood mainstay. Although the show is geared towards kiddos ages 5-10, my four year-old was absolutely in love with this play- as were the adults who rocked out to the downright killer soundtrack of 70s classics and deep cuts. Emerald City productions are always a sure bet but, if I had to pick a favorite, Ramona Quimby would absolutely be it.

Runs February 6th- May 18th

For tix and info, visit www.emeraldcitytheatre.com or call 773.529.2690

Disclosure: I was provided complimentary tickets to this show, but all opinions are my own.

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The True Story of The 3 Little Pigs

Looking for a howling good time for the kiddos? Try Lifeline Theatre’s The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, adapted from those masters of hilariously reworked fables, Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. This new work (with script and lyrics by Robert Kauzlaric, music by Paul Gilvary and William Rush, and direction by Amanda Link), focuses on the “other” side to the well-known piggy and wolf tale. As in- what if he didn’t do it?

The audience gets to be part of the action in this zippy production, acting as jurors in Piggsylvania, and deciding if a misunderstood wolf can get a fair trial in this hog-happy town. This show has it all: fun dialogue, upbeat musical numbers, and a cast that must sleep for days after performances (the quick character changes on the part of Marissa Lessman in particular left me impressed and sympathetically exhausted.) The utterly likeable “big and bad” Wolf (the charming David Sajewich) was a fun twist on an infamous character, and the prosecutor and judge (Amanda Roeder and Allison Cain, respectively) brought slick humor in droves. Tying it all together is Diana Coates’ energetic Magill, an ace reporter getting to the bottom of the scandal- and acting as narrator for the jury box.

This terrific production is adorable, hilarious, and sharp enough to keep kiddos 5+ (and, ahem, a reviewer’s 2 and 4 year olds) engaged for a full hour. Parents and other grownups will dig it, too. (See how many Beatles references you can catch!)

Looking for even more reasons to love this show (and theatre)? Every Saturday and Sunday (at noon during the run of the production) is a series called Stories Come Alive where, for five bucks per kiddo, your child can participate in interactive storytelling and theatre games.

And good news, folks: this family-friendly romp has been extended by two weeks. Which gives you plenty of time to get your huff n’ puff on with the baddest of them.

Now extended through March 2nd, 2014

Shows at 11am and 1pm

For more details and tix, call 773.761.4477 or visit www.lifelinetheatre.com

Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets to this performance, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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A Christmas Carol #Chicago

There’s a reason some traditions become traditions: because they’re that magical, that pivotal, and that pitch-perfect for the holiday season.  

A Christmas Carol at The Goodman Theatre is exactly that event (or will be for my family, if I have anything to say about it). Long familiar with the tale of Scrooge, Marley, the three ghosts, and Victorian-era London, I was prepared to enjoy this famous story. I was not, however, prepared to belly laugh, weep, and get caught up in this tale as if I were hearing it for the first time.

Larry Yando (whom my daughter gleefully recognized as The Jungle Book’s Shere Khan from this past summer), is a spectacular Ebenezer Scrooge. Curmudgeonly, sympathetic, and genuinely funny, he’s the absolute embodiment of what the famed character should be. The ensemble cast is wonderful as well, including a refreshingly multicultural Cratchit family (headed up by Ron Rains and Penelope Walker) and anchored by the terrific ghosts (Elizabeth Ledo, A.C. Smith, and Robert Hope, respectively).

 

Having been warned that some scenes and special effects might be too intense for the Little Kid set, I was slightly nervous about my four year-old’s reaction (and yes, okay, my own- that Ghost of Christmas Future gets me every time). But I really needn’t have worried. From the show’s festive opening, Nora was absolutely riveted. The only time she wasn’t perched on the edge of her seat was when she was crawling onto my lap to get a better view of the buzzing street scenes. (Spoiler: Immediately after Jacob Marley’s startling entrance and ominous words of caution to Scrooge, Nora turned to me and said “Was that the spooky part…or is it still coming?”)

don’t think anyone would be surprised to hear that the world-famous Goodman Theatre can bring the level of wonder that they do- but it’s still worth mentioning. The set itself is stunning. Scrooge’s residence in particular is a marvel of Wonderlandesque proportions, and the many backdrops and rotating set pieces were sheer fun to witness. Adapted from the Dickens classic by Tom Creamer and artfully directed by Henry Wishcamper, this retelling has enough new dialogue, character motivations, and unexpected moments to delight even the most Bah Humbug of theatergoers.

Or, if they happen to be nine months pregnant, make them bawl like a baby.

 

Runs Nov. 16th- Dec. 28th

Show time is approx. 2 hours, inc. one 15 minute intermission

For tickets and info, visit http://www.goodmantheatre.org/joy.

 

Disclousure: I was provided with complimentary tickets to this performance, but all opinions are my own.

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Rapunzel at Emerald City Theatre #chicago

I’ll admit it; I fought the whole “princess” thing for a while. But guess what’s even more convincing than a four year-old clad in a ball gown? A stellar show featuring strong, female characters (and enough hilarious bits to keep even the most fairytale-weary parent engaged for the full hour).

photo credit: Tom McGrath

Rapunzel, Emerald City Theatre’s newest musical, is a quirky breath of fresh air. Created by Marta Kauffman and David Crane- the folks behind TV’s Friends- and under the direction of Morgan Ashley Madison, this show zips along with humor, energy, and smart lessons for the under-10 set.

 

As with all of Emerald City’s performances for young audiences, Rapunzel featured a theme; this time about growing up and facing your fears. (A far cry from your typical “damsel in distress” tale!) All Rapunzel (the spunky and adorable Katrina Kiss) wants for her 16th birthday is the day outside of the tower promised to her by her “mother”, the Witch (the always-enjoyable Tamara White). When the gift is reneged upon, Rapunzel takes assistance wherever she can get it; namely with the sweetly insecure Prince Brian (Tommy Thurston) and his world-weary valet Simon (Emerald City superstar Danny Taylor). My daughter and I enjoyed plenty of true laugh-out-loud moments throughout the hourlong show; Taylor’s brief turn as a wigmaker still sends her into fits of giggles.

With a terrific score and performers who bring it 100%, Emerald City’s Rapunzel is a must-see for the fairytale-obsessed theatregoers in your life…and for the rest of the royal family as well.

Running through Jan. 4th

For more info & tix, call 773.529.2690 x824 or visit emeraldcitytheatre.com

Disclousure: I was provided with complimentary tickets to the show. My opinion is honest and my own.

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