A few months ago, I wrote about taking Olivia to her first musical on Broadway, Mary Poppins, and what a special experience it was for me as a culture-loving mom. I talked about how we both got dressed up; about how when the curtain rose, she took a deep breath (as did I) and leaned forward to take it all in: about the costumes, the singing and dancing; about the set; about the live orchestra; her excitement during intermission at the candy calendar. She was only four years-old at the time, and little did she know that her destiny would include many more trips back to Broadway with me. On that day, a Broadway baby was born. Since then, we have been back to the theater to see many productions. I took her to see The Little Mermaid and we’ve seen countless off-Broadway productions. Each time we go is just as special as that first time, but I will never forget that first moment when we walked into the theater together as mother and daughter.
This week, I once again experienced that buzz…that rush…that I got from taking her to a show for the first time. We went to see Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre and had another memorable evening together. It’s been a few years after that first time I took her to a spectacular Broadway production, and Wicked was the ideal show to bring her to. Everything about it is what brilliant Broadway musicals are all about. It’s one of those plays you’ll never forget. The story is so imaginative, the set so big and divine, the singing goes right through you.
It’s the untold musical story of The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good… before Dorothy dropped in. Based on the imaginative Gregory Maguire novel, Wicked is a journey through the unseen side of Oz, sharing a tale of unexpected friendship and love between the two characters. There are about a dozen songs in each act that move the story along. I had heard Amy Windsor from the Bitchin’ House Wifves Club sing the song “Popular” (but she changed the words to be about the world of blogging) at BlogHer, so when Glinda started singing it, I just had to smile.
Admittedly, I had never seen it before. I had heard such positive reviews over the years, particularly about the performances of Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. At the time of it’s debut, my kids were newborns and I had experienced a hiatus in my theater going. Seeing it now with its current stars, Mandy Gonzalez and Katie Rose Clarke, I was far from disappointed. Even under the green makeup that Mandy’s character, Elphaba, wears during the entire play, Gonzalez sang and acted like a dream. I was dazzled by the play’s creativity. It was right of a brilliant’s mind’s imagination and staged splendidly. What an experience for a young girl to have.
As for my daughter, I was concerned about the lateness of the evening. The play started at 8, it ran over 3-1/2 hours. She’s only 7 and we typically start bedtime at 8, she’s usually sleeping by 9. During intermission, I asked her if she was going to make it. She looked at me with a big grin on her face and answered emphatically “yes.” When I asked her for a full report on the show, she kept telling me she loved Glinda and couldn’t understand why I adored Elphaba so much. I do wonder if perhaps the story line was a bit advanced for her, but nevertheless, it left her spellbound and glowing during the play’s finale (although she does look extremely tired in the photo on the left!).
I know in my heart that theater is as good for her as it is for me. We’ll continue to explore the NYC theater world. Just me and my new Broadway Buddy.
Disclosure: These tickets were provided to me free of charge by the PR firm that represents the show. I was given these tickets at a New York City Moms event in NYC in May of this year. However, the opinions expressed above are solely my own.