Every once in awhile, I enjoy a date with my main (little) man: Fratellone, age 9. During the years that I raised my son as a single mom, Fratellone was my one and only Valentine and frankly, until I re-met my husband, the only “date” that always managed to make me laugh. Together, Fratellone and I have been on some of the most fun dates ever: We’ve been flushed down a toilet bowl, covered in green slime, licked by long giraffe tongues; we’ve surfed, zipped around the gulf in a wave runner, and bonded over burgers and cupcakes. Since both a new marriage and baby came along, I make it a point to sneak away with my firstborn – just to remind him that he’s stuck with me as a mom forever.
I’m always on the lookout for creative plays, exhibits – anything that gives us a chance to see a live performance, anything that might spark discussion, anything that will make the both of us laugh.
This past weekend, we left Papa and Pupa at home for a date of their own (which involved watching a few Timon and Pumpa music videos on YouTube and an early kiss goodnight at 7:30), and sneaked away to catch Jackie and Me, presented by the Chicago Children’s Theatre, at the Ruth Page Center for the Performing Arts (on Dearborn/Oak, in the Gold Coast) .
This adaptation of the eponymous novel by Dan Gutman is the perfect fit for elementary-aged boys and girls , especially those interested baseball. The positive messages of the performance really reached my 4th grade son and led to a lot of frank discussion between the two of us after the show.
The plot centers around schoolkid Joey Stoshack, who, when asked to write a report on an African American who’s made an important contribution to society, finds a unique way to travel back in time and hang out with the man who broke baseball’s color barrier, the only and only Jackie Robinson. Along the way, Joey witnesses courage in action. The tone is never preachy yet the messages – always try your best, tune out the negativity, be a positive force – were clear. Be sure to pick up one of the great Jackie Robinson playing cards, which lists Jackie Robinson’s values for life, available free alongside some other souvenir tshirts and books.
Looking for a date for you and your (little) Valentine? Check out Jackie and Me, presented by the Chicago Children’s Theatre, now playing at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts (until March 27th). Purchase your tickets here.
Disclosure: The author received tickets for to see this play.