Wednesday, December 01, 2010

We're off to see the Wizard!

I can't take my 3 year old to the movies, but she's sat stock still and absolutely rapt--forgetting even to blink--at the two theatrical productions she's seen at Chicago's child-friendly Emerald City Theatre. Having found Pinkalicious a sweet treat, we headed down the yellow brick road this past Sunday.

And while Pinkalicious managed to stretch a popular picture book into a 60 minute musical, this production of the classic movie musical The Wizard of Oz is a fast-paced, condensed version of the film that manages to pack all of the famous song-and-dance numbers and major plot points into just over an hour. The munchkins were cleverly done with puppets and an actor played Toto the dog. There were loud noises (hello, the show starts with a twister) and the drag queeny Wicked Witch of the West is no more huggable than her cinematic predecessor, but the scarier elements of the movie (like the flying monkeys) are much less intense in this version.

Although I'm a sucker for any musical theatre, I thoroughly enjoyed this performance and I've already recommended it to some friends. But the actors and director are only indirectly responsible for my very favorite part of the experience: watching my children's faces as they took in the show.

It also bears mentioning that at the very end of the performance, the children in the audience were invited to "send us an email at" Naturally Z couldn't wait to do exactly that and her ransom note-looking fan mail received a prompt, personalized--if somewhat salesy reply. She was thrilled.

Disclosure: The Emerald City Theatre provided me with 4 tickets to the show.