Family theater performances have something for everyone

| April 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

CaterpillarA story on Education.com recently caught my eye. Why Children’s Theater Matters noted that “Longitudinal data of 25,000 students involved in the arts, conducted at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education by Dr. James Catterall, shows that consistent participation greatly improves academic performance and significantly bumps up standardized test scores. Students who make time for the arts are also more involved in community service, and less likely to drop out of school. And we’re not just talking about upper middle class kids. These facts remain, regardless of a child’s socio-economic background.”

The good news for Chicagoland parents is that there are great opportunities to take your children to see a live performance. As you’d expect from an area as diverse as Chicago, there are a lot of different plays and musicals to keep children of all ages entertained. Here are some shows to keep your family entertained this spring and summer.

The Chicago Children’s Theatre is bringing The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle Favorites to stage in two locations. We saw The Very Hungry Caterpillar several years ago when our daughters were young. The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia creates an engaging experience for children as young as two years old. This show uses innovative puppetry, charming music and amazing black light visual effects to bring three Eric Carle stories – The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Little Cloud and the Mixed-Up Chameleon – to life on the stage. The show runs for one weekend only, April 25 & 26, at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 W. Skokie Blvd. in Skokie. Tickets start at $20. For tickets and information, call 847.673.6300 or visit www.northshorecenter.org. After the Skokie run, the Chicago Children’s Theatre brings The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle Favorites to its home theater at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. For tickets starting at $25 and information, call the Chicago Children’s Theatre box office (872) 222-9555 or visit www.chicagochildrenstheatre.org.

Beginning May 9, the Chicago Children’s Theatre will launch a new series called Later Stages, which is designed for children ages 8 and up. These cutting-edge new works are performed by smaller Chicago theater companies. One of the new shows is SuperMan 2050 by Theatre Unspeakable and SuperMan 2050 is described as “an epic story with pocket proportions in which seven actors share one tiny platform, just 3-by-7 feet of space, and upon it an original Superman tale unfolds.” The other new show is called Lula del Rey, from Manual Cinema. Lula del Rey is called “a mythic reinvention of the classic coming-of-age story about a young girl who lives with her mother in the middle of the desert. After a chance encounter over the radio, Lula becomes obsessed with a soulful country music duo, the Baden Brothers, and runs away from home to find them in the city.” All Later Stages productions will be at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. Tickets are $15. For tickets and information, call the Chicago Children’s Theatre box office (872) 222-9555 or visit www.chicagochildrenstheatre.org.

The Chicago Shakespeare Theater brings Dr. Seuss to life this summer in the Broadway show Seussical. This musical comedy runs July 5 – August 17 at Navy Pier. Described as “Playful, energetic and full of whimsy, Seussical engages the imagination with clever lyrics and melodies, unforgettable characters and the vibrant rainbow of Dr. Seuss’ colorful world. Seussical is written by the Tony Award® winning team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, whose works include Ragtime and Once on This Island, and was co-conceived with Eric Idle of Monty Python and Spamalot fame.” Some parents balk at heading to Navy Pier to see a show due to the parking costs. Chicago Shakespeare Theater patrons receive discounted parking. Ticket prices are $18 for children 12 and under, and $28 for adults. For more information, visit www.chicagoshakes.com or call (312) 595-5600.

The Drury Lane Theatre for Young Adults has a magical retelling of the Brothers Grimm tale Sleeping Beauty from April 23 – June 7. This well-loved musical is reimagined to entertain audiences with a “soaring score and lively choreography.” There are certain to be a lot of little girls in princess costumes at these performances. In addition to the performances, families can have a buffet breakfast with the Sleeping Beauty characters on certain dates in the newly renovated Drury Lane dining room. The character brunch is scheduled so you can eat before or after the show, depending upon the performance. Performance tickets are available for $15. For more information call (630) 530-0111 or visit www.drurylane.com.

Redmoon, Chicago’s wonderful Spectacle theater, presents its 2014 Spring Spectacle May 18 – June 8. For Bellboys, Bears and Baggage, guests move through Redmoon’s 18,000 square foot Pilsen warehouse encountering different performers including scenes, images, dances and music. “The story is not linear. Audiences can choose for themselves what scenes, and in what order, they experience during the event. Secrets and magical surprises reward viewers’ curiosity, challenging and encouraging them to create their own journey. Movement, gesture, imagery and music combine for a mostly language-free storytelling experience.” Bellboys, Bears and Baggage guests start their experience at staggered entrance times, allowing each guest to move through the space with some freedom. Redmoon is at 2120 S. Jefferson Street. Tickets are $30 each. For more information visit http://redmoon.org/ or call (312) 850-8440

The Skokie Theatre showcases young artists in The Revenge of Red Riding Hood, a sequel to the fall hit The Trial of Goldilocks. This original show includes cast members ranging in age from 10 – 18 years old.  I know our daughters always like to see kids their age on stage. An original story based on a beloved character with a cast the age of key audience members is sure to please families. The Revenge of Red Riding Hood is at the Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln Avenue in Skokie, from April 19 – May 3. Tickets are $12. For more information visit http://skokietheatre.com/ or call (847) 677-7761.

 

Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of the Mermaid Theatre of Novia Scotia.

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Category: Shari's Corner

About Shari: Shari is a mom, wife, marketing communications professional, gardener, Chicago Blackhawks fan, college sports fan, traveler, quilter, community volunteer, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, Siberian Husky owner, Girl Scout troop leader and book lover. You can find Shari blogging about life with twins at Two Times the Fun and tweeting @slcs48n1. View author profile.

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