In March 2010 I took my son, D, to his first play. It was "Pippi Longstocking", a production put on by the local children's theater, the San Diego Junior Theatre. He was almost 6 years old at the time. I saw an ad in one of those local free children's magazines, and thought it would be a fun thing to do with him.
Little did I know that 4 years later theater, especially musical theater, would be one of our great bonding experience. For a few years, we would choose a few plays from the Junior Theatre to go to; last year I gave in and bought season tickets, as we had started to go to more and more of the shows. While it's a children's theater, their caliber of execution is amazing----the acting, props, costume and choreography are simply amazing. We have seen too many shows there to count, including "Beauty and the Beast", "Guys and Dolls", and "The Sound of Music".
In recent years we started to branch out to other theaters in San Diego; why limit ourselves just to the Junior Theatre? I "liked" the Facebook pages of most of the theaters all over town, from downtown to Coronado to Oceanside. As a result, we have gotten to see some really neat productions, including "Cats", "Annie Get Your Gun", "Seussical the Musical", "Annie" and "Into the Woods". Actually we have seen so many shows over the past 4 years that I truly can't remember them all. While I would love to take him to more shows at the magestic Civic Theatre, those tickets are very expensive and therefore we only see shows there that I feel we cannot miss (i.e. I'm trying to get tickets to take him to see "Wicked" there).
Musical theater is something I didn't expect to have in common with my son, but, like running and reading, it's something I delight in sharing. A few weeks ago we were waiting to see "Thoroughly Modern Millie", and in the program was an ad for Les Miserables. I asked him if he wanted to see it. He looked me in the eye, and said, "Mama, I want to see ALL the plays.". A boy after my own heart. We saw "Les Mis" last week. We have also rented some musicals to watch on tv, and if I am able to rent the soundtrack from the library, we like to listen to the songs on the way home from the show.
Growing up, I didn't go to the theater too often, but the times I did really stick out in my mind. I remember my parents taking me to the big theaters in Los Angeles to see Cats, Pirates of Penzance and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. My mother furthered my love for musicals by renting movies such as "Carousel" and "Oklahoma!" for me and my sisters while I was in my teens. These memories with my parents will always be with me---and I hope my son has the same warm memories when he gets older.
I have taken my daughter to a few plays as well, and have tickets for some in the coming months, but she doesn't have the love for it (yet) that my son has. If she develops that passion, I'll include her more as well. In the meantime, I'm really enjoying my one-on-one time with my boy---and seeing some great live theater to boot!
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