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Chicago Shakespeare Theater

The Little Mermaid, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, travel, family

One of my favorite Disney Cartoons is The Little Mermaid. Even before I had children, I loved it. I thought it was all about the music but this past weekend, I took my daughters to see Disney’s The Little Mermaid the live production at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, a Broadway musical adaptation of the beloved film, staged by award winning director and choreographer, Rachel Rockwell. I fell in love all over again with this charming tale but this time for completely different reasons.

Every summer we make a trip to the city and spend the day at Navy Pier. It always starts with a family series production at The Chicago Shakespeare Theater. If you’ve never been, you really must go. Each year, the productions seems to get better and better. Last year, the girls saw Seussical and the year before, Shrek the Musical but we all agreed, the 75-minute production of The Little Mermaid is our new favorite.

The Little Mermaid, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, travel, family,ursula

There is just something so charming about bringing your child (or your own) childhood favorite cartoon to life. It truly is magical and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater never disappoints. The theater is intimate and interactive, with characters flowing in and out of the aisles. The stage is so close that you not only feel like you can reach out and touch the story but you feel a part of it. If you want to teach your children to love the theater, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a great place to start. I took my children to their first production when they were 5 and 3-years-old.

Ariel, The Little Mermaid, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, travel, family

This summer’s Chicago Shakespeare theater production surprised me because I saw the story through new eyes, maybe it’s because I am a parent of daughters now, myself. The musical follows Ariel, (Rachel Eskenazi-Gold) a young mermaid that longs for a life beyond the sea. In her adventure to independence, she defies her father, King Triton (Matthew Jones), makes a deal with the sea witch, Ursula (Rebecca Finnegan) and find her happiness with Prince Eric (Brandon Springman) all while accompanied by her loyal friends, Sebastian (joseph Anthony Byrd) and Flounder (Matthew Uzarraga).

This time, I not only saw the story of a young girl trying to assert her independence and the arc of falling in love for the first time, I saw the story of a parent letting go and I found myself crying in the audience. It was unexpected and beautiful. This time, it wasn’t just about first love it was about the ultimate love, that of a parent and a child. I don’t know how I never saw it before.

My daughters are only 8 and 10-years-old but the letting go has already begun. The asserting of independence started almost immediately and now, well, tweens seem a lot more independent then when I was their age.

The stage design was vibrant and beautiful and I felt like I was under the sea with Ariel and all of the others. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater really made The Little Mermaid come to life and it was beyond memorable.

Ursula, The Little Mermaid, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, travel, family

If you have small children or as the lady sitting next to me, have grown children who grew up on The Little Mermaid, bring them. They will love it and you will all leave the Pier feeling absolutely nostalgic and wanting to hug one another, just a couple minutes longer. That is the magic of the marriage of Disney and the stage.

The 75-inute production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid is best enjoyed by ages 5 and up and runs from now until August 16 in CST’s Courtyard Theater. Tickets are $22-$24 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more. All patrons receive a 40% parking discount at Navy Pier Garages. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s box office at 312-595-5600 or visit the website at www.chicagoshakes.com

While you’re there make a day of it. Navy Pier is growing like crazy. We had lunch at Harry Caray’s and dessert via Garrett’s Popcorn (Chicago Mix, baby!) but there are so many options and you can’t beat the view of the city! Just walk outside and wander after a show and the possibilities are endless.

The Little Mermaid, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago, travel, family,ursula

If The Little Mermaid is not your favorite Disney production, which one is?

Disclosure: I was provided tickets for review purposes of The Little Mermaid but all opinions are my own.

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Seussical, Chicago, Shakespeare Theater, Dr.Suess, Review, arts, culture, kids

Chicago Shakespeare Theater Presents Seussical A whimsical adventure through the world of Dr. Seuss July 5–August 17, 2014.

Do your kids love Dr. Seuss? Do you? I grew up reading Dr. Seuss and now, I read Dr. Seuss to my girls. They love the Lorax, the Whos in Whoville and especially the Cat in the Hat! Well, guess what? The awesomeness that is Dr. Seuss has been made into a musical, perfect for kids of all ages to enjoy this summer.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is bringing the humor and magic of Dr. Seuss to life onstage this summer for young audiences and their families in the Broadway musical comedy Seussical. I hear that it’s playful, energetic and full of whimsy and Seussical engages the imagination with clever lyrics and melodies, unforgettable characters and the colorful world of Dr. Seuss. I don’t know how they will top last year’s production of Shrek the Musical but I can’t wait to see them try.

Seussical will be performed July 5 through August 17 in CST’s Courtyard Theater with a run time of 75 minutes.

Every performance features special opportunities for audiences to interact with the actors for one-on-one conversations and photo opportunities. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, CST partners with the Chicago Children’s Museum (CCM) to offer hands-on craft activities in CST’s Lobby. Tickets start at $18.

My girls can’t wait. They look forward to our annual family trip to The Shakespeare Theater. It’s become quite a tradition. We walk along Navy Pier, have lunch in the city, ride the merry-go-round, munch on some Garrett’s popcorn and just go where ever the day takes us. The best part of the entire weekend is that we make memories; just the four of us and that makes me look forward to it too.

Aside from getting to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Chicago with your family taking in the arts I get to giveaway a family 4-pack to the 2 pm shows this Saturday, July 12th, to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment naming your favorite Dr. Seuss book and/or quote below and 1 winner will be chosen randomly. But hurry. The contest ends on Wednesday July 9th at midnight. Good luck.

I can’t wait to tell you all about Seussical and our weekend in Chicago this weekend!

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Shrek-the-musical-Chicago-Shakespeare-Theater-Shrek-Fiona-Musical-kids-Broadway-show-funny-arts-culture

Recently, we took our children to see Shrek the Musical at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier.

Our girls have been waiting to see this production since they knew it was on Broadway. Unfortunately, we live in the Midwest and so we have been waiting patiently for Shrek the Musical to come to us. Luckily, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater for about 4 years now. Our daughters have been to many performances at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater but never have we seen a production like Shrek the Musical. It was bold, bright and outrageous; everything any child or child at heart would want in a production.

Just like the movie, in a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre, Shrek, not the usual expected handsome prince, shows up to rescue a feisty princess, Fiona.

Throw in a donkey who won’t ever shut up, a hilariously small bad guy with a temper, a fire breathing dragon who needs some love, a cookie with an attitude and a whole bunch of other fairy tale misfits and you’ve got a story that calls for a real hero.

I was really concerned how an onstage adaptation would measure up to an animated movie but let me assure you, it exceeded my expectations in every way. The characters were rich and vibrant, passionate and colorful, and even though they were not cartoon characters, they were larger than life.

Every actor in the production lived and breathed their character. The characters were multidimensional and lovable. I felt like I was part of a fairy tale. If you’ve ever been to a Chicago Shakespeare production, you know that the stage and theater are small and intimate and you feel like you are part of the story, part of the production itself.

Shrek the musical, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Shrek, Fiona, Musical, kids, Broadway, show, funny, arts,culture, Chicago, Navy Pier, Travel, FamilyI’d advise anyone who lives in the Chicagoland area to bring your whole family to Navy Pier this summer for this heartwarming, 75-minute musical adventure based on the Academy Award-winning film. It recounts the story of a swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim his once-secluded home.

Shrek the musical, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Shrek, Fiona, Musical, kids, Broadway, show, funny, arts,culture, Chicago, Navy Pier, Travel, Family

Accompanied by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon and rescues the cursed Princess Fiona. On this fairytale journey, Shrek discovers the value of friendship and realizes that true love is more than skin deep.

Following each performance, audience members are invited to meet the cast in the theater lobby. We did and my girls, and my husband, were thrilled to have their photo taken with Donkey.

In my opinion, make a day of it! We had lunch at Harry Caray’s and walked the pier. It was a beautiful July afternoon in Chicago. The girls rode the merry go round and we made some memories. Then we picked up some Garret’s popcorn and headed home.

If your children liked the Shrek movies, they will adore the stage production.  I don’t know that I have ever been quite so captivated by performers. Shrek the Musical calls for big, larger than life character to deliver a larger than life story and this production pleasantly exceeded all of my expectations.

Shrek the musical, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Shrek, Fiona, Musical, kids, Broadway, show, funny, arts,culture, Chicago, Navy Pier, Travel, Family

Shrek the Musical will be running at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater from now until September 1, 2013. Tickets are $25 for adults and $18 for children 12 and under.

Disclosure: The Chicago Shakespeare Theater provided me tickets to the production for review but all opinions are my own.

 

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