Most recently our family has started enjoying the theater as it gives my husband and I an opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with each of our kids which is something that can be a challenge when you have four little ones (5 and under).
In Charlotte we're fortunate enough to have one dedicated to children productions, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte which has grown to become one of the top theatre and education organizations in the country serving over 300,000 children and families a year with technically imaginative productions and wide ranging education programs for ages 3-18.
On a yearly basis, the theater puts together around 15 productions, many of which include classic stories and characters the likes of Dr Seuss, Rapunzel, and Busy Town to name a few.
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend a showing of the children's classic, "The Velveteen Rabbit" with one of my children, my 4 year old son. We had read the book by Margery Williams many times during storytime so he was familiar with the story and characters and I thought the production's length would be a good fit for his age. What I love about this Theater is that they really pay attention to child ages when preparing their productions. Each production references a recommended age that is usually right on target and this time it was no exception. While my Kindergartener, eldest daughter can sit quietly through a bigger and longer production like Seussical or Commedia Cinderella, my youngest three seem to have a one hour limit right now. And that is ok. Introducing them to live performance arts at a young age is wonderful and knowing what is appropriate at each developmental stage is critical to them enjoying the experience.
As you enter the theater, in addition to receiving your program you also receive a "Family Play Guide" which is replete with great ideas to deepen the play-going experience and includes activities for the kids, information about the play, author and playwright and wonderful questions for discussion that help you as parent start a conversation with your child after the play is over. I love this!
As we sat in our chairs, my little boy was captivated by the colorful set design and lighting that depicted a little boy's nursery/play room. The toys turned to life with delightful costumes and sounds. The actor's portrayals were so energetic and fun as was evident by the delightful giggles in the audience. The changes in set design and costumes were so effortless it's as if the actors were dancing their way between scenes.
The play depicted the growing love between the sweet, stuffed animal and a little boy while posing the question of "What is Real?". Along the way the little rabbit learns what it means to be loved and what it means to become real seeing the boy through an illness and eventually turning real and letting go.
The performance was wonderfully vivacious, humorous and physically captivating. Most of the kids in the audience were taken in by Leslie Ann Giles' portrayal of the rabbit as well as Stephen Seay's little boy while laughing and enjoying the antics of Nick Kern who played the toy train and Caleb Sigmon's mouse.
I love looking at my kids' faces and seeing their reactions to a live show in front of them. Their smiles and eyes widening, their bodies arching forward as if to want to get closer to the performance before them. Nothing compares to live theater from this perspective.
The performance was the perfect length for this age and my little boy got a little restless about 5 minutes prior to the end of the performance. A wonderful way to spend an afternoon with one of my little guys. I highly recommend it!
For more information on this show and how to get tickets visit Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. You can learn about it as well as the other productions, events and theater classes they have going on the rest of the season.
We're also giving way 2 FREE tickets to the 11am showing on either Dec 29 or 30 (your choice) when you visit Empowered Mommies on Facebook, "like" us and tell us why you like theater or performance arts.
Review Submitted by: Empowered Mommy Ivanna