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Emerald City Theater

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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.

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(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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Emerald City Theater

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Emerald City Theater

emerald city theater 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.

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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.

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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.

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