Yesterday was one those wonderful days out in New York City where my 9 year-old daughter encountered a very special play. We were invited to the Vital Theatre, a theatre I have long respected for quality children’s entertainment. I was looking forward to the program, accompanied by a red carpet premiere, but I truly had no idea what we were about to see.
Theater can be a powerful educational tool in the lives of children. It can change the world by unlocking the creative and collaborative potential of children through the simple process of storytelling. It has the power to explain history and change our tomorrow through peace and understanding. I feel that it’s part of my obligation as a mother to introduce this type of theater to my daughter (hence this blog). Check out this post I wrote on “Integrating Culture into Family Life” on the New Victory Theater blog a few years ago.
So, when the lights went down and the play begun yesterday morning at the Vital, I felt the heavens open up and I knew we were both in for an experience that would linger in our minds and hearts for some time to come. With Martin Luter King about to happen at the end of the long weekend, the play was even more poignant and meaningful to us both. As I watched my daughter digest and learn about how life was for black Americans several hundred years, I felt a sense of pride in the moment.
In Show Way, based on the Newbery Honor-winning book by Jacqueline Woodson and written by Melody Cooper with direction by Melissa Maxwell, 11-year old Toshi Georgiana has lost a beloved family heirloom. As she searches for it, she is led by generations of women who came before her, from slaves who sewed paths to freedom to civil rights marchers. Along the way, she’s joined my friends and family members, and the spirit of her great great great great grandmother . As seven generations of women pass on the family tradition of the “show way”, or a secret quilt to freedom, from slavery to today, they also pass on their strength and determination to be free.
The Show Way cast includes David Andino, Ashley Lynette Brown, Adiagha Faizah, Norma Hernandez, Christine Lee,Danea Robinson, and Donnell E. Smith. They all have wonderful, solid singing voices and stage presences and made the one-hour fly by. More importantly, their performances came from their hearts.
With performances every weekend through March 3, this entertaining and engaging world premiere musical is perfect for kids ages seven and up.
Performances run January 19 – March 3 on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 am and 1 pm, with special school holiday performances on Jan 21, Feb 6, and Feb 18 – 19 at 11 am and 1 pm. Tickets begin at $25. Premium seats are available for $30. For reservations, visit www.vitaltheatre.org, call us at (212) 579-0528, or visit the McGinn/Cazale box office. Vital Theatre Company is located at 2162 Broadway on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets but all opinions are my own.