The boys and I were so excited to be invited to Saturday’s press opening of Emerald City Theater’s Alice in Wonderland at the Apollo Theater in Chicago. Based on the book by Lewis Carroll and adapted by Producing Artistic Director Ernie Nolan, Emerald City’s spin on the classic children’s tale is a colorful and interactive theatrical experience for both children and parents alike. Alice follows a motorcycle driving White Rabbit into a magical world filled with problem solving adventures and encounters bold characters such as the Cheshire cat, Caterpillar, Mad Hatter, and Queen of Hearts.
It was a great way to spend our family adventure day.
What I loved about the show . . .
- Emerald City and the Apollo created an atmosphere that was casual and family friendly. Kids were invited to decorate their own paper tea cup in the lobby prior to the show so they could join in with the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Outside food and beverages were permitted into the theater which was a huge plus for our family since the performance time ran over our normal lunch routine. The ushers were chill before, during and after, and I was impressed with the company’s forethought to create two different handbills for children and adults.
- From the moment the production began to the final bow at curtain, the actors and actresses held my boys attention. Emerald City qualifies on their website that the show is best suited for kids age 5-10, but my 16 month old and 3-1/2 year old did more than fine. The bright costumes, interesting scene changes, and animated songs and dance kept them engaged with what was happening on stage and having fun for the entire hour performance.
- I personally appreciated the quality of the casts’ performances and the technical integrity of the crew. They maneuvered a lot of creative elements onto a small stage and they did it well. Nolan’s adaptation put some wonderfully imaginative touches on Caroll’s classic characters (my favorite being the motorcycle riding White Rabbit) and I liked it a lot.
What I loved less . . .
After the show everyone was invited to stay and mingle with the cast and enjoy homemade Bobtail Ice Cream. This is a fabulous idea in theory, if your children are older, and if there is a place to eat said ice cream. The lobby at the Apollo isn’t really set up to facilitate a meet-and-greet-ice-cream-party and Mike and I ended up trying to spoon dripping ice cream into very excited little boys in the stairwell of the theater – not ideal.
All that aside . . . I did eat my own ice cream. And I enjoyed it very much.
If you’re planning a visit to Wonderland make sure to see Alice and the Emerald City gang at the Apollo.
- The show is running through December 29, 2012. Regular tickets are $13 for kids and $16 for adults. If you’re daring enough to brave the ice cream social, tickets are available every Saturday through August 25 ($16 for kids and $19 for adults), but if I had to make the choice again I’d probably skip it and grab ice cream a little cheaper somewhere else.
- Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.
- The Apollo has parking available for $10 per car, but there is ample street parking on Lincoln Ave. as well (we got away with only paying $1.75!).
- Don’t forget to bring your own snacks for the kiddies, but nix any stroller ideas. They’ll just be in your way.
Special thanks to Aileen McGroddy from Emerald City Theater for putting together the press opening and ice cream social. We were so grateful to be part of the fun!
Disclaimer: My family was given four tickets to see Alice in Wonderland at the Apollo in exchange for posting a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.