A Magical Journey Through Wonderland

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My dad was the attorney for most Broadway theaters, so my childhood was steeped in the glitz and glamour of the stage. I vividly remember my first encounter with the theater world, watching luminaries like Walter Pidgeon in "The Happiest Millionaire" and Ethel Merman in "Gypsy." These larger-than-life performances left an indelible mark on my soul, and I knew I wanted to share the magic of the theater with my child. But when it came time to introduce my 5-year-old daughter, Hudson, to the world of theater, I approached it with a different perspective. I chose a dance romp through Wonderland, and it was a game-changer.

Wander Through Wonderland:

Artistic directors at Pasadena Civic Ballet, Tania Grafos, Zoe Vidalakis, and Diane De Franco Browne, partnered with Storyland Productions to create "Wander Through Wonderland," an immersive theatrical experience designed to captivate the hearts and minds of young audiences.

 

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Why did I choose this for Hudson's first theatrical adventure?

Because I know Hudson is athletic, I wanted her first theater experience to align with her fun, active, hands-on entertainment style. Sitting quietly through a lengthy play was not her idea of fun.

The "Wander Through Wonderland" production is crafted to heighten all the senses. It pays homage to Lewis Carroll's beloved Alice and captures the creative spirit of its creator's mother. For Hudson, this unique blend of storytelling, dance, and interactive elements brought Wonderland to life in a way that a traditional play might not have. It was a magical journey that resonated with her, and I saw her fascination with the world of theater bloom.

Etiquette and Preparation:

Introducing children to the theater is a beautiful experience but requires some preparation. Here are a few tips for a smooth outing:

  1. Explaining the Experience: Before attending a theater performance, take a moment to explain to your child what to expect. Let them know that they will be watching a live show, that it may get dark, and that they should remain quiet during the performance.
  2. Intermission: Mention that there will be an intermission, a break, during the performance. It's an excellent time for a restroom visit and a snack.
  3. Toilet Break: Plan a pre-show visit to the bathroom to avoid disruptions during the performance.
  4. Merchandise or Candy: Decide in advance if you'll buy merchandise or candy during the intermission or after the show. This will prevent any impromptu requests.

Famous Children's Theaters in the U.S.:

If you're looking for unique children's theater experiences, the United States boasts diverse venues. Here are a few renowned theaters known for their spectacular performances tailored for young audiences:

  1. Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), New York: BAM's Family programming offers a wide range of theatrical productions and workshops for kids of all ages.
  2. Children's Theatre Company (CTC), Minneapolis, MN: The CTC is known for its innovative and thought-provoking productions designed to engage and inspire young minds.
  3. Center for Puppetry Arts, Atlanta, GA: Home to the Jim Henson Collection, this museum and theater highlight puppetry's magic.
  4. Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Los Angeles, CA: Known for its enchanting puppetry shows, it has been a beloved institution for decades.
  5. Storyland Productions: As mentioned earlier, Storyland Productions crafts immersive, interactive theater experiences like "Wander Through Wonderland."
  6. Story Pirates-New York City

Where to Find Shows for Kids:

To discover upcoming shows for kids, you can explore various online platforms and websites:

  1. Mommy Poppins (mommypoppins.com): A fantastic resource for finding family-friendly events and activities in your area, including theater shows.
  2. FEVER (feverup.com/m/138154): Fever offers children various events and experiences, including theater performances.
  3. CLUB FREE time (clubfreetime.com): This website provides information on accessible and affordable family-friendly events, including theater productions.

Conclusion:

Introducing children to the magic of theater is a precious gift. As I discovered with "Wander Through Wonderland," there are innovative and interactive options that can make the experience genuinely enchanting for young minds. With a bit of preparation, an understanding of theater etiquette, and access to incredible children's theaters, you can create unforgettable memories and foster a lifelong love for the performing arts in your child. So, why wait? Today, take your child on a magical journey through Wonderland or any other exciting theatrical adventure!

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