Beat The Heat
Family Friendly Theatre in the City this Summer
Looking for a way to stay cool this summer? From big Broadway shows to small venues in The Village, seeing a play provides a brief reprieve from the sun as well as a chance for you and your family to explore a new and exciting world. And it's never too early to be introduced to the world of theatre.
Pinkalicious the Musical is based on the best-selling children's picture book by Brooklyn sisters Elizabeth and Victoria Kann, who also wrote the book and lyrics for the musical that looks into the possibility of what happens with too much pink. Pinkalicious, a young girl infatuated with the color pink, can't stop eating pink cupcakes. She ends up with a bad case of Pinkititis, a disease that turns her pink from head to toe. Though at first this seems like a dream come true, Pinkalicious soon realizes that there is more to life than just one color.
Now in its third year, Pinkalicious the Musical is an entertaining production for both children and parents produced by the Vital Theatre Company. Artistic Director Stephen Sunderlin explains that the show is so successful because the creators take their audience seriously.
"The shows and characters have heart and soul," Sunderlin says. "Like any good theatre, at the end of the play you've learned something about the characters and yourself. Many of the kids here have never been to the theatre before and we want to present something that they will enjoy. They are future theatre audiences and theatre practitioners and we want to give them a quality show." Sunderlin adds that parents often approach him after the play, surprised that they enjoyed the show as much -- if not more -- than their children.
If you're ready to introduce your young folks to Broadway, look no further than the smash hit Shrek the Musical. Featuring a dynamic cast and catchy tunes, Shrek is sure to please both fans of the movie as well as those who have never seen it. A highlight of the musical is a show stopping song that includes extensive burping and gas passing from Shrek (played by Brian d'Arcy James) and Princess Fiona (played by Sutton Foster).
"I think that scene's pretty ingenious," says Foster. "I just love that it becomes a fart-off. It begins as a challenge, but Shrek and Fiona realize what they have in common and fall in love with each other "My favorite part of it is the way that the audience responds. They often can't believe that it's happening!"
In addition to providing laughs, Shrek also explore issues important at any age including understanding yourself and those around you. "Shrek is about not judging a book by its cover," Foster explains. "It's all about misconceptions - the big bad wolf isn't really bad, the wicked witch isn't really wicked and the princess isn't all she seems. It's all about embracing who are you are on the inside and letting your freak flag fly!"
For those looking for a different kind of theatrical experience, check out The Gazillion Bubble Show. This interactive show will stretch your mind and imagination with bubble magic and fantastic light effects. Select audience members are brought onstage to assist with the performance. If you are chosen, you might just find yourself in the middle of a giant bubble!
Your adventure doesn't have to end at the theatre! Both Pinkalicious and Shrek are based on books that can be read as a family. And who doesn't love an afternoon blowing bubbles outside? No matter what show you choose to see, use this summer to share the magical world of theatre with the young people in your life.
Shrek the Musical: http://www.shrekthemusical.com/
Gazillion Bubble Show: http://gazillionbubbleshow.com/
For a fuller selection of family friendly performances, go to TDF's SHOW SEARCH at the top of this page, and use the pull down menu to choose "Age Guidance."
Author: Julia Rosenfeld
Julia Rosenfeld is a writer and teaching artist and the editor of TDF's Teen Theatre Magazine Play by Play.