Friday, December 21, 2012

How *does* our family make it to so many shows/plays/musicals? and Two Awesome Plays We've Seen This Week: War Horse and Book of Mormom

Recently a friend asked me: How *do* you manage to see so many shows!?!

We are fortunate to live in one of the greatest theater cities in the world. There are so many free/almost free plays, musicals, operas and fun, family events on offer every day (One of our favorites this year was the Dance-Along Nutcracker!). Everybody knows about HotTix, too, right? (where you can snag $9 tickets to see the Christmas Pageant at the Annoyance, tonight!).

Our home is situated in Bucktown/Logan Square, near the Fullerton exit of the 90. This means that from our garage to a theater in the loop takes us less than 20 minutes. We have our secret parking spots, and if they aren't available, I know the best parking garages in the city! Hint: I like the parking garage on Randolph and Wabash, near the Chicago Cultural Center: It's just a few blocks from the Loop Theater District, and they will valet your car for $14 after 6pm. This means that we literally are in and out of the loop in minutes.

Also - we don't watch tv in our home. We don't even have cable or a tv in our living room. So heading out to a show at night is our version of hunkering down in front of the tv.

My youngest child, Chiara, age 3, has been attending live performances since she was one. Her first show ever was the Redmoon Winter Spectacular. She learned early how to behave at the theatre. So she can tag along to pretty much any (G-rated) show - no babysitter required.

This week, we saw two amazing, wonderful shows: War Horse and the Book of Mormon.

War Horse was nothing short of spectacular - the best show of 2012 for me. It tells the story of the loyalty and love that exist between a beloved horse and the boy who follows him through World War I, risking his life in the name of true friendship. I never thought I would become so emotional over a play involving a puppet, but Joey, the beloved horse, seemed to live and breathe through his puppeteers. My son and nephew, both age 11, were at the edge of their seats throughout the show, laughing and sometimes holding their breath, as they followed along with Albert from childhood into adulthood. Don't miss War Horse!

I also had the pleasure of seeing the premier of The Book of Mormon. This winner of nine Tony awards, including Best Musical, was everything that it was hyped up to be. It was absolutely hilarious - and the audience was filled with laughter the entire show as we tagged along with two bumbling Mormon missionaries on their first missionary trip to Uganda. The singing, the dancing, everything about this show just shined.

One quick note: My son, age 11, attended The Book of Mormon with me. He absolutely loved it and was doubled up in fits of laughter at several points during the show. That said, there are many adult themes and much adult language. Consider the maturity level of your child before you go. At age 11, my son was familiar with most of the themes  (i.e. AIDS, genital mutilation, etc.) and the show sparked more conversation. Humor is a great means to moving towards more serious talks.

Looking for that perfect last-minute gift? Consider a subscription to Broadway in Chicago!

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