Our girls are tweens now, which means we sit in a strange place when it comes to live theater. They enjoy going to shows, but don’t want to go to the shows for younger kids. Some of the shows that interest them are still a little to “old” for them. Recently a number of shows with themes that speak to tweens and teens showed up in my email inbox. The common thread among them all, whether they are on a big stage or at an intimate theater, is the desire for characters to find their authentic selves. It’s something adults also struggle with, which is why these are good shows for families with tweens and teens.
BILLY ELLIOT is a show that speaks to a tween/teen’s desire to find their true selves. The story “follows a young boy as he trades in his boxing gloves for dancing shoes. In an unforgettable story set in a small mining town in the English countryside, a dance teacher finds a diamond in the rough when she discovers Billy—a young boy with a passion for dance who inspires the entire community.” Elton John created the score which celebrates “Billy’s journey against the odds to make his dreams come true.” The show runs April 9 through June 7. Tickets for BILLY ELLIOT are on sale now and available by calling the Drury Lane Theatre box office at 630.530.0111, TicketMaster at 800.745.3000 or visiting www.drurylane.com.
Les Misérables is a show tweens/teens will find relatable, even if they don’t know anything about the French Revolution. If you haven’t thought about Les Mis that way before, just think about the story lines. A teenage girl falls for a college student. They have a secret romance because her father wouldn’t approve. The romantic lead goes off to fight for his dreams a better France. When you throw in an unrequited love, you have a story tweens and teens will enjoy right up to the final scene of redemption. The Paramount Theatre brings Les Mis, rated PG, with a powerhouse production that both the Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune theater critics adored. Les Misérables runs through April 26. Tickets are $41 to $54. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit ParamountAurora.com or call (630) 896-6666.
Wonderland, Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure is a new family musical developed by director Rachel Rockwell and music director Michael Mahler. In this world premiere production, Lewis Carroll’s books Alice in Wonderland and Through the Lookinglass are reimagined through an “eclectic, live rock soundtrack as 7 1/2 year old Alice searches for her own inner musical voice. In learning to believe in the impossible, Alice learns to believe in herself. Throughout her journey, the actors surround Alice in a live musical tapestry ranging from classic rock to punk to ska and even a little bit of Bollywood.” This story is of particular interest to me as the mother of tween girls. As director Rachel Rockwell explains, “In our version of the Alice story, Alice is much more of an active protagonist. We’re talking girl power here, empowering girls, in particular, to boldly discover their true selves. Rock concert meets live theater as Alice reflects the vulnerabilities of all kids, and then confidently finds her own inner voice.” The Chicago Children’s Theatre production runs April 22 through May 24. Tickets are $10 – $38. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit chicagochildenstheatre.org or call (872) 222-9555.
Worthy makes its world premier this month at Vittum Theater. Adventure Stage Chicago Education Manager Dani Bryant and Director Sarah Rose Graber created an imaginary world with “a society where technology and media tell youth who they must be. Worthy whisks four young heroes on an adventurous quest, fighting dragons, breaking curses and choosing for themselves which paths to follow. Balancing of-the-moment references and resonant, recognizable themes found in classic fairy tale literature, Worthy challenges these four young people to reclaim their identities against tremendous odds. With a punk-rock-infused soundtrack, a deconstructed design aesthetic and an emphasis on the technology that tweens have adopted as second nature, Worthy packs a visual and emotional punch.” You might not be familiar with Adventure Stage Chicago, but this theater company “creates and tells heroic stories about young people” in all its shows. Performances are at the Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St. Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for youth aged 14 years and younger. Worthy is on stage from April 17 – May 16. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit adventurestage.org or call 773.342.4141.
Shari writes about life with twins at Two Times the Fun. Image courtesy of Adventure Stage Chicago.
Category: Shari's Corner