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Archive for May, 2018

Last week I took the two older boys out on a theater date to see the musical production of James and the Giant Peach. First of all, let me just say that I absolutely love live theater, especially musicals. There’s just something so magical about watching a story unfold on a live stage without the help of any special effects or editing. The talent and skill of those involved in a live theater production, from the actors and actresses to the people who design the costumes and props,  never cease to amaze me. In my opinion, a good musical is really entertainment at its best.

For many years this kind of entertainment was usually something we’d reserve for “special occasions,” since most of the time it involved expensive tickets and making the trek out to the city. That’s why I was absolutely thrilled when I discovered the Berkeley Playhouse a couple of years ago. It’s a small community playhouse (designed by Julia Morgan) literally walking distance from our house. They always have a production every season that’s geared more toward children and families. It’s a small theater so no matter where you sit, you’re guaranteed a good view of the stage, and they also provide booster seats for kids so that they can see better. And they have an actual orchestra in the pit! The first production we took our boys to was The Little Mermaid a couple of years ago. They absolutely loved it, and I did too. The quality of the productions that this little theater churns out is truly amazing.

On top of that, for every production they have at least two shows that are “pay what you want” nights. They’re usually on a Thursday and tickets go for a minimum of $5 each. So even though it is a school night, we usually take the kids on those nights when we can. Just to give you an idea of how easy and accessible it was, last Thursday after we ate dinner, I put Ezra to bed around 6:30pm, had the boys change to their jammies, drove to the playhouse at 6:45, parked, got tickets, and we were seated ready for the 7pm show with time to spare. All for less than the cost of 3 happy meals! I had them back and in bed by 9:30pm, both dreaming of singing bugs and giant peaches.

So how was James and the Giant Peach? I have to say I was a little skeptical; it’s not exactly a story that lends itself to an easy musical rendition. The main characters are bugs after all, and it is set mostly inside a giant peach. But as with all the other shows I’ve been to, this one did not disappoint. The musical interpretation of this classic Roald Dahl story was creative, endearing, and hilarious! My favorite scene was earthworm singing, “Plump and Juicy” to tantalize the seagulls. The boys got such a kick out of the show that afterwards the man who sat behind us remarked to me that he had more fun watching CC and Turner than the actual show.

James and Giant Peach will be playing until May 6th. Go see it for yourself and bring any kids in your life. I’m sure they will enjoy it as much as mine did! #supportcommunitytheater

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