It’s not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting *ideas*, and *thinking*…
- Gaston (from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast)
Where we explored:
When we explored:
Details of our adventure:
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, my step mother introduced me to the theater – and it has been one of my passions ever since! This is why I was so incredibly excited to learn that the Chicago Shakespeare Theater was doing Disney’s Beauty and the Beast as the summer family musical (geared toward ages five and up). Not only would I get to introduce my oldest ewok to the theater, but it was also my favorite Disney movie being brought to life!
When we left our house for Navy Pier, the ewoks had no idea what was in store for them. My oldest ewok knew she would be spending some time alone with Mommy (alone time with Mommy is a rare commodity) and the little ewok knew she would be spending time with Daddy (they had a separate adventure). The drive wasn’t bad because it was early in the day on a Sunday – so we arrived at Navy Pier within about an hour and a half and the ewoks were still in good spirits. Parking was a breeze because there is a special garage for patrons of the Chicago Shakespear Theater (and discounted parking, too) and the theater is located just upstairs from where you exit the parking lot. We all walked together to the theater and then parted ways with the Wookie and little ewok.
My daughter noticed the Beauty and the Beast signs outside of the theater but was too excited to figure out that was what we were there to see. We picked our tickets up from will call, got admitted to the theater, and started to explore while we were waiting for seating to begin. When I had her standing in front of a picture of the esteemed William Shakespeare, I finally told her we were there to see Beauty and the Beast. I was a little worried that keeping it from her had been a bad idea because she was completely speechless (which is rare for her) but she recovered a minute later!
Once we were allowed to go to our seats, she was full of questions. While we waited for the performance to begin, we discussed the stage, the setup of the seating, and she flirted with our usher (he was amused). I also took this time to explain to her how she should behave during the play so as not to disrupt the show or bother those sitting around us – I am proud to say she was perfectly behaved the entire time!
The show began and it is true to the Disney interpretation of Beauty and the Beast with only mild modifications due to being on stage. My ewok was more than happy to quietly point out all of the differences to me and even got a laugh from the teenager next to her when she commented on Chip (“Mommy, why is Chip a head on a cart? Did they have to cut his head off for the play?”). The performance was the perfect length of time for kids while still telling the tale in complete detail - and while it was geared towards children, all of the adults were equally engaged.
After the show, we took the opportunity to get some autographs of the performers that were available (my only complaint is that neither Beauty nor the Beast were available for autographs or pictures). We even got a photo with Chip in his boy form and my daughter made certain to ask him about his head (once he explained that his body was inside the cart and his head was attached the entire time, she seemed relieved). Once photos and autographs were complete, we found the Wookie and my other ewok and headed off to lunch! My first mommy/daughter theater date was a complete success!
Tips for a successful trip:
The Chicago Shakespeare Theater mostly focuses on plays geared toward the adult crowd (I am going to see Henry VIII there next Spring), but I highly encourage taking your ewoks to see any family friendly performances there.
- Allow yourself adequate time to get to Navy Pier, park, and walk to the theater – it is a busy place and cutting it close may mean missing part of the show.
- Have your ewoks use the restroom before the performance begins – I thought this was a no brainer, but there were hoards of people leaving throughout the performance to take their ewoks potty (it is a small theater and easy to hear what everyone is saying).
- Explain to your child BEFORE the performance begins that you must whisper if you talk and that they must sit in their seats (there were several children that were running in the aisles and the ushers had to go talk to the parents).
- Relax and enjoy – theater is a treat for parents as well.