Matilda The Musical {Review}

I recently had the pleasure of surprising Lucia with an early school pick up to see Tony Award winning  Matilda the Musical at the Shubert Theatre, here in New York City.  It was our first mother-daughter Broadway date.  As a child who devoured Roald Dahl novels, I couldn’t wait to see the musical adaptation of the book (by Dennis Kelly and award-winning musician/comedian Tim Minchin) come to life with my daughter at my side.

Matilda the Musical review

I gave Lucia an overview of the characters during our train ride to Times Square to help her contextualize what she soon would see.  We were both hooked from the opening musical number, entitled “miracle”.  Unfortunately for Matilda, “my mummy says I’m a miracle” is a fallacy as her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood are truly revolting, neglectful non-caretakers – a stark contrast to the incredibly gifted heroine Matilda.  Lucia immediately took to young Bailey Ryon (one of the four alternating actresses) who played Matilda Wormwood.  Her brilliant performance and vocal strength captivated audience members throughout the entire production.  I anticipated some of the dark parts of the show to be frightening for Lucia as she is two months shy of the recommended age of six.  Mrs. Trunchbull, cast so perfectly as a male, is a true mesh between pure comedy and sheer terror.  Elements of Roald Dahl’s book appear verbatim to my memory, including Mrs. Trunchbull’s swinging of children by their pigtails and ears.  Lucia was fine during scenes that some young patrons may perceive as scary.

Every component of Matilda The Musical, from the stagecraft to choreography is an experience to take in.  Rob Howell’s whimsical set design is genius.  We were entranced  by the endless amount of wooden blocks and intricate details woven throughout each set.  Lighting designer Hugh Vanstone’s special effects made my first grader repeatedly ask “how did they do that?!”.  When the production finished, Lucia called her Matilda experience a “forever memory”.   We have since been singing the memorable tune “When I Grow Up” and revisiting that glorious swing scene on YouTube more times than I can possibly count.  I laughed and cried and believe that we both left in absolute awe of the production and brilliant cast. I do hope that Lucia tucks Matilda’s empowering message of strength, love of learning and creativity deep into her young mind.  Matilda The Musical is a must see and a forever memory indeed.

Matilda the musical on broadway

Matilda The Musical is currently running a Halloween special with $97 dollar seats available this week! Special pricing on select performances is also available through the end of the year.  For tickets visit Telecharge and for more information visit the Matilda The Musical website.

Tickets to Matilda The Musical were provided to facilitate this review.  As always, opinions are strictly my own. 

Share

Pinkalicious The Musical NYC {Review}

My daughter is moderately obsessed with pink tulle and over accessorizing. So much so, that I wasn’t surprised when Elizabeth and Victoria Kahn’s Pinkalicious topped her favorite book list upon entering our home, well over a year ago.  We have slowly added the entire “licious” series to our bookshelves and most recently attended Pinkalicious The Musical at the Culture Project in New York City’s NoHo. 

This musical production, based on the New York Times best selling picture-book, tells the story of Pinkalicious Pinkerton and her pink cupcake over indulgence.  After developing a serious case of Pinkititis, she is prescribed a hefty dose of green vegetables to restore her natural complexion.  The musical tells a sweet story that children can relate to with valuable take-home messages (you’re beautiful just the way you are, remember moderation, and eat your vegetables!).  

Pinkalicious The Musical is the third Vital Theatre production that my family has seen and we were lucky enough to take in this show from the front row.  It was quite an experience, and I’m convinced that Vital has children’s entertainment down to a science.  The musical production is just under one hour, the small cast is lively, the music is upbeat, and the young audience is even encouraged to participate. The theater also has Pinkalicious merchandise (complete with small pink cupcakes) for sale.   Lucia was delighted (despite the fact that I forget to pack her pink poofy dress), and Adrian (almost three) was captivated the entire time.  My children came out of the theater chanting Pinkalicious before receiving autographs from the entire cast – another cool element that the Vital Theatre Company incorporates into all of their productions.

My husband and I are still chatting about seeing such enjoyment in our children’s eyes!  Pinkalicious, The Musical has returned to the Culture Project (formerly the Bleecker St Theatre) until August 31st 2013.  Performances are on Saturdays at 1:30 pm.  Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 212-579-0528 or by visiting the Culture Project box office at 45 Bleecker Street. 

Special thanks to The Vital Theatre Company for providing my family with tickets.  All opinions are my own.  Image number two via Vital Theatre. 

Share

Pinkalicious – The Musical {NYC Giveaway}

I have a huge Elizabeth & Victoria Kann fan in my home and can’t wait to take her to see one of her favorite books come to life next month.  Due to popular demand, The Vital Theatre Company’s Pinkalicious, The Musical will returned to the Culture Project (formerly the Bleecker St Theatre) on Saturdays at 1:30 pm, from March 30th through August 31st 2013.  Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 212-579-0528 or by visiting the Culture Project box office (45 Bleecker St, between Lafayette and Mott) one hour prior to the performance.

Win It: I’m thrilled to have a pair of tickets to giveaway!  To enter just leave a comment below and a winner will be selected via random.org in one week.  Good luck!

Update:  The Winner is Marybeth. 

Share

Angelina Ballerina – The Very Merry Holiday Musical {Review}

New York City is truly transformed into a magical wonderland during the Holiday season and enjoying family theater has become a fun component of our pre-Christmas experience.  We kicked off our Holiday excitement this year with a family trip to see Vital Theatre Company’s Angelina Ballerina, The Very Merry Holiday Musical.

Lucia (almost 5!) was bursting with excitement from the moment she learned of our plans.  Like Angelina, she has high hopes of becoming a prima ballerina and girl can choreograph some pretty astounding living room dance performances.   She also enjoys her Angelina Ballerina books, and I couldn’t wait to see her reaction of this live production.  Adrian (age 2.5) can also bust a move pretty well and recently took his first dance class.  Since he greatly enjoyed his previous live theater experience, I was so happy that he too was invited to attend. 

In this performance, Angelina and her mousy friends decide to debut a holiday dance pageant as a gift to the special people in their lives.  During performance preparations, a shipping mishap sends the wrong costumes, so Angelina and crew must collectively problem solve to save their dear pageant. Polly (Angelina’s little sister) steps up and creatively leads the way to the most magnificent performance in all of mouseland.  The heart-warming storyline reminds audience members that spreading Holiday cheer is what matters most. 

Photo credit: Sun Productions, Inc.

The fun melodies, humor and variety of dance genres won over audience members of all ages.  The energetic cast is skilled at capturing and holding the attention of young children.  Lucia smiled and bopped around in her seat the entire time, and Adrian watched intently and applauded at every appropriate interval.

Photo credit: Sun Productions, Inc. 

I think that Lucia was most excited about being invited on stage with the rest of the children to dance with cast members upon show completion.  The children also had a chance to receive cast member autographs and pose for photographs with their mousy friends.  Adrian had a moment of shyness but his big sister gladly showed off her best pirouettes.  

There is still time to enjoy this fantastic show, as production runs until January 13th, 2013!

Presented by Vital Theatre Company and HIT Entertainment at the Vital Theatre, 2162 Broadway, NYC.  Nov. 18th 2012 through Jan. 13th 2013; Sat. and Sun., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m; special school holiday performances on Dec. 24 – 27; Dec. 31 and Jan 1; (212) 579-0528 or www.vitaltheatre.org.   

My family and I received press passes free of charge.  No other compensation was received.  The above opinions are mine alone. 

Share

Ring a Ding Ding – The New Victory Theater (Review)

My daughter recently had her first true participatory theatrical experience as we embarked on a mother/daughter adventure to see Oily Cart’s Ring a Ding Ding (created for ages 3-5) at The New Victory Theater in Manhattan’s Times Square.

Our progressive, artistic adventure began as soon as we walked into the theater.  We first ventured into a crafting room where children created oversized headbands similar to those seen in the show.  As George the Music Man filled the room with drum beats, the children danced, prior to being greeted by the main characters in Ring a Ding Ding.  Lucia was thrilled when Alice (played by Alicia McKenzie) noted their matching hair bows. The process of contextualizing the productions components continued as the characters in Alice’s adventure were introduced through a series of hanging pictures.

After ringing a bell – one by one, the children  leapt through a serious of hoops before settling in their seats around a circular cut-out wooden disk.  The disk served as a stage, where the actors performed inside of it, and the children propelled it’s edges “round and round” as they sat below a rotating weathervane. 

My daughter was thoroughly captivated as she watched Alice and friends embark on a rescue mission for her lost dog, through interactive storytelling involving actors with mini puppet body-doubles and magnificent props. Writer and director Tim Web and designer Claire de Loon’s extraordinary and sometimes peculiar show are built with brilliant attention to detail.  Constructed with recycled and re purposed materials, even the ushers donned layers of necklaces made from garden hoses.  I was particularly impressed with George the Music Man’s percussion mobile and even once felt a rave-like reality complete with high intensity color changing glow balls on cords.

 At a few months shy of five years old, my daughter loved feeling like she was part of the performance and greatly enjoyed it’s multi-sensory components, including the splashing created by a miniature motor boat and the man in the moon’s glittery tears.  The show runs for 55 minutes and spouts of dancing and plyometric jumping keep audience members on their toes.  

As I watched my daughter’s wide eyed, awestruck face I hoped that she would grab onto the rich creativity and magical whimsy woven through Ring a Ding Ding and ingrain it deep into her young mind.  It is truly a treat, and a must see for both children and grown ups alike.

Ring a Ding Ding runs until November 11th at the New Victory Theaters New 42nd Street Studios.  Tickets can be purchase on their website or by calling (646-223-3010).


The New Victory theater is kindly offering my readers a 20% off discount to their upcoming production of MOJO (code MDMojo3412).

Thank you Mama Drama for providing me with tickets.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Share

Literally Alive Theatre’s Alice In Wonderland – The Players Theatre, NYC (Giveaway!)

Yesterday we ventured down a rabbit hole in Greenwich Village to see Literally Alive Theatre’s musical Alice In Wonderland at the Players Theatre.  Creators Michael Sgouros and Brenda Bell brought this childhood classic to life with an incredibly talented cast and percussion ensemble.

Since the last performance took place today, we were able to attend a special benefit performance supporting three weeks of free family theater taking place this July.  This event included a reception, multiple raffles and an auction.

Upon entering the theater the children were welcomed on stage to create a show themed craft:

The kids were really happy about the crafting and Adrian’s love of using Elmer’s glue in abundant quantities was solidified. 

As a parent, I really appreciated this part.  Instead of having antsy pants kids whining waiting in anticipation in their seats, they were able to craft (with the assistance of staff!) and feel like little stars on the stage showing off their freshly created hats.

Perfecting his serious Mad Hatter.

A great component of  Literally Alive Theatre’s productions is that each show begins with an hour-long interactive pre-show family workshop, where (in addition to crafting) the playwright and a company member discuss the transformation of classical literature into a musical.  Major themes, musical instruments and show components are discussed so children can contextualize what they will soon experience in the show.

The one hour production was magnificent.  Alice’s whimsical character really captured a child-like essence in her movements, and her pal the white rabbit was hilarious.  Additionally, the use of projections was pretty amazing.  My four year old was captivated for the entire hour and was thrilled that the Cheshire cat (which she calls the treasure cat) was female.  The queens of hearts, (my favorite character) was played so exquisitely by a male and she kept us laughing with her over the top “off-with-their-heads!”.

Here comes Alice!

The show really had appeal to both the young and the old.  My whole family enjoyed the peculiar animals- my kids liked the caterpillar’s many arms and finger cymbals, and my husband and I found it amusing when he told Alice that she was “killing his buzz.”  Although the show is deemed appropriate for all ages – we imagined our almost two year old (only four days away!) needing to be swiftly removed taken out mid-show by my husband.  To our amazement he spent the majority of the time mesmerized in his own seat (in a theater issued booster chair).  I was able to get in a few cuddles as he comfortably found his way into my lap towards the end of the performance.  

Enjoying the theatre at nearly two.

We were happy that our little guy was able to actually pay attention, enjoy himself (he did elicit a lot of laughter upon declaring “Ohhhh no Alice” during a moment of silence) and experience live theatre for the very first time.  When the show ended my daughter made it clear that she needed me to sew her that Alice costume after-all.  For those of you that know her well, the show colored her weekend fantasy play, as she has been Alice ever since.   

My entire family really enjoyed this performance and we will definitely be back for another show in the future.

Sporting her souvenir in the heart of the village.

Win It:
I’m thrilled to be hosting a giveaway for a family four pack of tickets to any show in Literally Alive Children’s Theatre’s 2012 season.  The season includes:  Sleepy Hollow- the musical, Cinderella, Percussion People, Tico Tales and A Christmas Carol.  Information on the upcoming season and ticket purchases can be found at www.literallyalive.com.

Enter:
To enter, become a follower on my blog and leave a comment telling me the show you’d like to see.  I’ll announce the winner on Thursday evening.

Update:
Congratulations Kurukurupa Tokyo Mama !

All opinions are my own y’all.  

Share