Our girls are officially tweens now, so it’s harder and harder to keep them entertained. They are too old for children’s theater often, and they are too young for most adult fare. There are two different performances at local theaters right now that are worth a family outing.
The Game’s Afoot is a new, award-winning play making its premiere at the Drury Lane Oakbrook. A stellar cast takes full advantage of every nook and cranny built into the gorgeous, Art Deco set. The set-up brings friends together at an elegant Connecticut mansion owned by Broadway star William Gillette, a man made famous by his Sherlock Holmes performances. Several sources credit Gillette for creating the Sherlock Holmes persona we all know with the hat, pipe and coat we immediately associate with Holmes. Of course, this is a fictional story that uses Gillette as the central character. It also puts his Sherlock Holmes character to work solving the murder mystery. This is a murder-mystery, but it’s also very funny. Sometimes you aren’t sure if you should laugh or not, but you just can’t help yourself. This is all due to Ostrander Award winner Angela Ingersoll’s performance as the murder victim. She is by far the most active dead person I’ve every seen.
The Game’s Afoot was the “Best Play” at the 2012 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allen Poe Awards. Tweens and teens will enjoy the mystery aspect, as well as the physical comedy. What’s great about the murder is you spend a lot of time trying to decide if the victim is really dead or not. You’d think this would be clear by the way the murder happens, but there are so many funny scenes that make you wonder if you really saw a murder or not. The show is suitable for tweens and teens who will understand the humor while they try to solve the mystery. The Game’s Afoot runs through October 19. For performance times and ticket information, visit www.drurylane.com.
The elegant Paramount Theatre in Aurora brings CATS on stage for a wonderful, G-rated family show. We might have been the only people in the audience who had never seen CATS. Believe me when I say I didn’t tell anything that we had never seen CATS. All the people sitting around us were CATS fanatics in the truest sense. They bubbled with excitement and were rewarded with a glorious performance. From the moment we saw the opening performance we were mesmerized. The set is the most beautiful sewer we could ever imagine. The colors were illuminated by a lovely, almost soothing lighting. The Jellicle Cats wore fabulous costumes. One thing that struck me about CATS was the fabulous dancing. Chicago’s premiere dance troupes were well represented as the performers trained at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano dance Chicago and the River North Dance Company.
For two people who didn’t know the story, we certainly knew the music. More than once I looked at my husband and said, “Ah, that’s where that song comes from.” Of course we knew Memory and Magical Mr. Mistoffelees. Other songs were delightful discoveries. When Sawyer Smith performs The Rum Tum Tugger, he goes through the audience, making them part of his performance. There was a sweet moment when he leaned down in front of a tween and points to his cheek. She had a huge smile as she kissed him on the cheek. Throughout the performance the characters came out into the audience using the full theater as their stage. CATS is at the Paramount Theatre until October 12. For more performance times and ticket information, visit http://paramountaurora.com.
During the past couple of years, the Drury Lane Oakbrook and the Paramount Theater have proved over and over again that there is great theater in the suburbs. A bonus is that tickets are very reasonable and it’s easy to park at either theater. These shows are kicking-off fabulous seasons filled with interesting shows sure to keep seats full. Both locations are worth a visit whether you’re looking for a family outing or a date night.
Disclosure: We did receive media tickets to review the shows. My words and opinions are my own.
Shari writes about life with her tween twin daughters at Two Times The Fun. Images courtesy of Brett Beiner for the Drury Lane Theater and Liz Lauren for the Paramount Theatre.
Category: Shari's Corner