Review: If/Then on Broadway – Appropriate for Kids?

I will admit that the main draw to me getting If/Then on Broadway tickets was to see/hear Idina Menzel perform. And the concept of the show interested me too – a look at one woman’s life depending on which choices she made. Like in the movie Sliding Doors.

if then logo

The gist is that 38 year old Elizabeth moves back to New York City from Phoenix (my hometown – they had a few jokes at the city’s expense). She’s out of a relationship and looking for work. The show goes back and forth between two different scenarios: she takes a job as an urban planner or she takes a job as a professor. She hooks up with a stranger/soldier she meets in the park and gets married and has kids. Or she hooks up with her former best friend, has an abortion, loses him and lives a spinster life for a few years. Continue reading “Review: If/Then on Broadway – Appropriate for Kids?”

Review: Avengers at Discovery Times Square with Kids

We love going to the shows at Discovery Times Square, and were excited about the world premier of Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., because it involves superheroes and was high tech.

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In case you’re wondering (because I was), S.T.A.T.I.O.N. stands for Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network. I won’t be typing it out that way in the future. Too much!

The first thing you’ll do when you get there (aside from getting your tickets and checking your bags) is to go to a computer kiosk and print out an identification card. Don’t think too hard about this, because I’m not sure they actually use any of the information, other than pulling up your name once or twice in the exhibit (more later). My husband chose the name Thunderbutt Jones, just because. Also, while I put in my email address, I didn’t get any emails within one week – so not sure what that’s about. It’s good I’m not getting spam, but I thought I’d get some kind of results emailed to me.

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Continue reading “Review: Avengers at Discovery Times Square with Kids”

Review: Newsies – good for kids?

We were kicking ourselves for not seeing Newsies the musical, when it made its pre-Broadway debut at the Paper Mill Playhouse. And it was the one Broadway show my son wanted to see (not sure why – he doesn’t know the story). I heard good things about it – from adults who went sans children – and was excited to take the kids to a show where boys were the lead. Last time we went to a show, we saw Annie, with all girls. And Billy Elliot – which was mostly girls.

newsies stage

Bottom line: We enjoyed the show, but it didn’t blow us away. The show is high energy with some great dancing and good musical numbers (it won 2012 Tony awards for choreography and musical score).

The story line is a good one for kids. Continue reading “Review: Newsies – good for kids?”

Review: Big Fish on Broadway – appropriate for kids?

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When my parents were coming in town, we wanted to find a Broadway show that they would like (my parents don’t always like the same theater), along with my 10 and 12 year old  kids. It was a tough thing to find something that would appeal to everyone. Fortunately for us, Big Fish the musical was beginning its previews, and we went to its second show not knowing virtually anything about it aside from the synopsis we read online (we hadn’t seen the Tim Burton movie).  The show officially opens October 5.

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The plot: The Broadway musical stars Norbert Leo Butz as Edward Bloom (who I last saw in Catch Me if You Can), a father whose big stories border on fantasy and frustrate his son, a realist who wants to understand who his father is. Bobby Steggert stars as his adult son Will Bloom, and Kate Baldwin stars as Edward’s wife Sandra. The show focuses on Edward, and bounces back and forth between his aging self (dying of cancer), and his life leading up to it. He was a big-man-on-campus (or rather a big fish in a small pond – to go with the Big Fish title) growing up in small town Alabama. Everything he did was grand, though not always successful. He made a life for himself, befriending giants, hunting witches, working for the circus, luring fish from the rivers, and living larger than life. Continue reading “Review: Big Fish on Broadway – appropriate for kids?”

Review: Matilda on Broadway – with kids

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I’ve read the book and seen the movie. But when I heard Matilda was coming to Broadway I did not get tickets fast enough. Which is how we ended up in the second to last row of the balcony with scalped (er, tickets from the secondary market. Ours were originally $34, but we bought them for $85 plus a ton of fees).

No worries. We got some exercise going up the stairs, and bonus! There was a bathroom very close by for a quick dash at intermission.

The excellent stage at opening. A view from the second to last row of the balcony. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
The excellent stage at opening. A view from the second to last row of the balcony. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

That said, it’s better to have Continue reading “Review: Matilda on Broadway – with kids”

Review: Annie on Broadway – good for kids?

Annie seems like a rite of passage for kids. I know all the lyrics from the soundtrack, and I know I’m not alone. I remember seeing Annie in middle school in a San Francisco theater, while visiting there as part of a performing arts summer camp. No, I had no illusions I would be a performer, but it was fun anyway. We had dinner in Chinatown and then saw Annie.

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So it was exciting to take my kids to see Annie on Broadway, with Jane Lynch (through July 14, 2013) in the role of Miss Hannigan. I told my kids I’d be singing through the whole show, which I sort of was – I lip synced.

After seeing Matilda (review coming soon) and Billy Elliot, it never ceases to amaze me how Continue reading “Review: Annie on Broadway – good for kids?”

Review: The Art of the Brick – LEGO at Discovery Times Square

While not an exhibit intended specifically for kids, The Art of the Brick definitely appeals to kids. And to adults too. The positive message extolling the virtues of art, and Nathan Sawaya’s optimism, “art can be anything” brings a fresh air to the exhibit. You can even be a successful artist like Sawaya, after going to law school and doing corporate mergers for several years. My son now wants to be a LEGO artist. Well, he did before too, but now he wants to even more.

See below for discount ticket information for the Art of the Brick.

Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The sign when you enter is probably the only thing in the exhibit NOT made of LEGOs (okay, the signs and tables aren’t LEGO either). Room after room continues to delight and surprise.

Opening the exhibit was the Paint by Bricks section Continue reading “Review: The Art of the Brick – LEGO at Discovery Times Square”

Review: Body Worlds: Pulse – Good for Kids?

If you’re unsure whether to bring your kids to Body Worlds: Pulse at Discovery Times Square, look at the pictures below. If you think they can handle these pictures, then go (more details below). This is the second “body” exhibition I’ve taken my kids to. The last one was probably in 2007 or 2008 when my kids were much younger. They still remember it, especially seeing the black lung from smoking. That had an impact on them.

If you’re not familiar with the Body Worlds world, there is a lot of history behind it. Briefly, these people donated their bodies for plastination (controversial), the technique used here to preserve the body in various shapes. I’ll go into the process in more depth later. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the Bodies exhibitions, ranging from whether people indeed DID donate their bodies, to the ethics of displaying bodies this way, to religious complaints, to the sale of plastinated organs and bodies. You can read more here – it’s quite interesting.

You’ll start out with a video which I found stressful. It talked about stress and the pace of life these days. The video was captivating (and frenetic) in that it was made with drawings of people and things that were done during the video (but sped up). For the first time in history there are more people that are over age 60, than under age 5. The show uses the plastinated bodies and organs to talk about health, how the body shows its health, how to stay healthy, focusing on areas like happiness, blood pressure, exercise, stress and food. And it shows how the body works.

Not comfortable in his own skin. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Not comfortable in his own skin. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

The first display was a bit shocking. Continue reading “Review: Body Worlds: Pulse – Good for Kids?”

Review: Shipwreck: Pirates and Treasures – Good for Kids? Discovery Times Square NYC

If you perk up when you hear about divers finding sunken wrecks full of precious metals, Shipwreck: Pirates and Treasure exhibit at Discovery Times Square would be a good one for you.

Learn about pirates and deep sea exploration at Shipwreck. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan
Learn about pirates and deep sea exploration at Shipwreck. Copyright Deborah Abrams Kaplan

Groupon has discounted tickets as I post this, but act quickly. If you’re new to Groupon, get the tickets here. If you’re already a Groupon user, get the tickets here. Search under Long Island, NY in the search bar on top for “Shipwreck.” Tickets on Groupon are $12-15 (kid/adult), which is a savings. Read the Groupon fine print before buying.

As you might imagine, treasure seeking is a high tech affair. The exhibit focuses on finds from Odyssey Marine Exploration, a deep ocean exploration public company (NasdaqCM: OMEX) that salvages items from shipwrecks and does mineral exploration. They choose from the 6,500 shipwrecks in their database, evaluating them based on archeological importance, claims to the property, and other factors.

WHAT YOU’LL SEE Continue reading “Review: Shipwreck: Pirates and Treasures – Good for Kids? Discovery Times Square NYC”

Review: Pippin – appropriate for kids?

pippin poster

With 10 Tony nominations and a positive New York Times review, I was glad I had tickets to see the Pippin revival the day after its official opening. I’ve not seen Pippin before so I can’t compare how this revival is different, though the circus theme is new, and the lead player is a woman instead of a man. And her arms are so buff that Michelle Obama’s look downright flabby in comparison.

pippin leading player

Let’s start with the million dollar question for my family-friendly theater-goers:

Is Pippin appropriate for kids? Continue reading “Review: Pippin – appropriate for kids?”