I received press tickets to see the following shows. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
The Washington, DC metro area has a very active theatre scene. There’s something for every age and taste. Recently we’ve seen three shows that will appeal to just about everyone in your family. We were invited to media/opening night for the following shows, and the kids liked most of them. Here’s the lowdown:
Akeelah and the Bee at Arena Stage
Adapted from the movie, Akeelah and the Bee is a must see show. Everyone in the audience–kids, teens, adults–were riveted. Who knew that a show about a spelling bee could be so exciting, dramatic, and humorous? Playwright Cheryl L. West and director Charles Randolph-Wright manages to capture a community’s hope and optimism in gritty Chicago neighborhood. Akeelah has one of the most diverse cast I’ve seen on stage in a long time!
The show has already inspired Sophia to learn how to spell big words, like triskaidekaphobia (fear of the the number 13).
Akeelah and the Bee runs at Arena Stage through December 27, 2015. Buy your tickets online or by calling the box office at 202-488-3300.
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Sophia is no longer into princesses, so I was not sure how she would enjoy the national tour of Broadway revival Cinderella. I caught her singing “Impossible” the next day, which means she loved it. I was hoping the cast for this show would be more diverse like the 1997 television version with Brandy, but it was not the case.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the book had been changed to be more progressive. Cinderella is stronger and more independent. In fact, even one of her stepsisters helps her with a big secret.
The big wow factor for Cinderella are the on-stage costume changes. The beggar transforms into the fairy godmother with a toss of her rags. Cinderella has multiple “magical” costume changes that elicited audible gasps and “wows” from the audience.
Go see Cinderella for the magic of theatre and toe tapping songs!
Oliver! is a classic in musical theatre history, but Arena Stage gives this version a British punk feel. Eleasha Gamble, who plays Nancy, stole the show with her powerful voice and her commanding stage presence. Our kids didn’t care too much for the story, but enjoyed the dance numbers. Our audience loved hearing classic songs such as “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two,” “Consider Yourself,” “Where is Love?” and the scrumptious “Food, Glorious Food.”
Several ushers warned us of the violence in the show (one of the characters is killed onstage), but less violent than most movies our kids see. I wished there had been a warning about the sexual innuendo in the show. There’s a couple of numbers that are borderline raunchy and maybe be inappropriate for kids.
Oliver! runs at Arena Stage through January 3. Buy your tickets online or by calling the box office at 202-488-3300.