Seeing a theater show, where real people tell a story live on stage (and may even sing and dance!) can be a thrilling experience for the whole family. But taking kids to the theater can be an expensive outing, so it’s worth taking the time to make it the best you can. These 5 tips can help:
Choose the right show
Consider show length, content and your child’s disposition before spending a lot on theater tickets. For many years, my girls couldn’t sit through a 90-minute movie (they couldn’t stand the loud volume or being in the dark), so seeing a live theater show went on the backburner for a long while. In many major cities, theater companies specifically stage shows for children as young as 3, so look online for recommendations for local theaters and productions. You may also find shows that run less than an hour, which is a great way to get younger kids started on live theater.
Prep for the story
Depending on the age of your kids, you may want them to know the story ahead of time so that they can follow along with the fast-pace on stage. Read the book or watch the movie and talk about the characters, plot and resolution. You could also listen to a cast recording of the music from an upcoming show to get the kids excited about what they’ll be seeing.
Talk about theater etiquette
With any theater visit, talk about what will happen before, during and after the show. When do we need to sit still, and when can we walk around? What should we do during the quiet parts of the show? When do we clap? My kids have a hard time sitting through the previews before a movie, so having to arrive early at a theater, find parking, find our seats and wait for the show is tough. Many theaters will let you get up and walk down to the orchestra pit before the show, to peek in and even talk to the performers.
Make the kids comfortable
To get through the wait time before the show, consider bringing some quiet activities to keep busy (but be careful about bringing iPads and other electronics, since many theaters won’t allow cameras inside). Some theaters offer booster seats, so ask when you arrive. For your sake, make sure your kids are well-rested and well-fed (I made this mistake once with my son and it won’t happen again!).
After the show, talk about what they enjoyed about the performance, costumes, sets and other details. Discuss how the story was interpreted compared to whatever source you shared beforehand. My son is always fascinated with the lighting, props coming from the ceiling, and any aerial effects, so we always have a lot to talk about.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Tour
The fabulous show Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is returning to Washington DC this January 6-11th at the Warner Theatre. Tickets are on sale now! The show is currently on the West Coast and is traveling across the country over the next few months. Find tickets for your city.
Whether you’re a DC-area local or would like to travel in for the show, one lucky MoneywiseMoms reader will win 4 tickets to see Beauty and the Beast at the Warner Theatre for the opening night performance on Tuesday, January 6th. If you’re reading this in an email or RSS feed, you’ll need to click over to the blog to enter on the Rafflecopter widget.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to the US and ends at 12:00 midnight ET on November 14, 2014. I’ll email the winner, who will have 48 hours to repond and accept their prize. The winner will pick up the show tickets at the Will Call window.
Disclosure: Warner Theatre is providing the tickets for this giveaway, and my family is receiving tickets to see the show.
Original photo by Mickey Thurman on Flickr.