I am reposting this entry from March 1, 2010 because I came across it in my archives and it really is a pretty darn good list if I do say so myself. I’ve got to really focus if I want to get to all of these things before my kids head off to college.... Read more »
Harold and The Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson is a popular bedtime story pick at our house. In fact, my husband has declared that this book was his childhood favorite and it was the first children's book we purchased when we were expecting our daughter 8 1/2 years ago. So needless to say, expectations were high for the Chicago Children's Theatre's rendition of Harold and the Purple Crayon
at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts when we went to check it out last week.
We've been lucky to see a number of performances courtesy of The Chicago Children's Theatre (most recently Goodnight Moon) -- and this group consistently delivers high quality children's theatre (that mom and dad truly enjoy as well).
In case you are new to the the story of Harold and his adventures, let me get you up to speed. Harold is a curious four year old boy dressed in super cute pjs. Armed with his trusty purple crayon, has the power to create a world of his own simply by drawing it. When Harold wants to go on a walk in the moonlight, he finds there is no moon. So Harold draws one. When he has nowhere to walk, Harold draws his own path. Along the way he encounters dangerous dragons, embarks on a perilous sea voyage in a trim little boat, takes a hot air balloon ride, and enjoys a nine-pie picnic. When he grows tired, Harold draws himself back to his own bedroom.
Chicago Children's Theatre's Chicago premiere of Harold and the Purple Crayon
stars Nate Lewellyn
(Harold), and Alex Goodrich
and Bethany Thomas
. This performance features Goodrich and Thomas as "storytellers" who embark on this creative journey with Harold. I have to confess that I have mixed feelings about this departure from the story. While I understand that the charter of Harold needed other people to interact with on stage, the other two performers were often way more entertaining and engaging than Harold himself. We absolutely love Alex Goodrich from his work in previous shows and his performance is once again the real stand out. The scenery is the other show stealer. We all loved how the set really brought the story to life as Harold used his larger-than-life purple crayon to create purple images across the stage. My kids were marveling at the special effects here. In addition to the cool set and inventive costuming, the live music was another real treat.
We took advantage of the pre-show pizza party (offered for select performances) and my kids also enjoyed the program books full of activities (and complete with a purple crayon naturally) almost as much as the show. Other pre-show activities included the chance to draw on butcher block paper attached to the wall of the theatre. The one-hour run time was about as long as my kiddos could handle on school night. They were wiped out by the end of it. The performers hung out in the lobby after the show and did an amazing job of interacting with the little theatre-goers. Seriously, this is a first-class cultural opportunity for Chicago-area families. Worth every penny...
Have you heard about Stages, Sights & Sounds? This unique event is an international performing arts festival for families (and theatergoers of any age really). The festival showcases fresh, original work from Europe and Canada that you won’t see anywhere else. The festival is in its thirteenth year and runs May 2–12, 2012 at venues in... Read more »
When I was invited to experience “theatre for babies and toddlers,” I was skeptical. Seriously skeptical. We’ve had several bad experiences with children’s theater in the past (think crying, begging to leave, running out of the theater). So it was hard for me to believe that theater for babies and toddlers could possibly be a... Read more »
This is a bittersweet time of year. On the one hand, I want to hang on to these lazy, unscheduled summer days. But another part of me longs for structure, afterschool activities and a few hours a day when my house isn’t overrun with children. No matter how you feel about it, one thing is... Read more »
A trip to Navy Pier during the busy summer season can be kind of an ordeal. Unless you are entertaining out-of-town guests and feel compelled to show them all of the typical tourist spots, my guess is that most of you could skip the crowds, ridiculous parking prices and souvenir booths at Navy Pier. (At... Read more »
Forgive me if I sound like a broken record — but you really do need to plan an excursion to Millennium Park this summer. This is my #1 can’t-miss summertime destination. This place embodies what it means to be a Chicago kid. Kids love it here. Adults love it here. The Family Fun Tent offers... Read more »
Photo courtesy of the Emerald City Theater Company Last Saturday, we took our two oldest kids to see the Emerald City Theatre Company’s production of Peter Pan at the Apollo Theater. I am happy to report that the production definitely passed my test for children’s theater productions — it was actually theater for kids. The... Read more »
Today, I am pleased to welcome Scott Letscher of Adventure Stage Chicago, located in the West Town neighborhood. Adventure Stage Chicago (ASC) creates dynamic and transformative theatre for young audiences that activates the imagination, inspires dialogue and strengthens community among families, educators and artists. ASC is one of Chicago’s premier destinations for theatrical productions and... Read more »
When’s the last time you wore a clown nose? It had been awhile for me too. But I recently discovered that a some family clown-nose-wearing is a very good thing. If you are looking for a light-hearted family experience where you and your little ones can let loose and have a little fun (while all... Read more »