**This post has been sponsored by the Eisemann Center to bring you this experience. All opinions are 100% our own!**
I was invited to a showing of The Wizard of Oz at Richardson’s Eisemann Center recently. And traveling between my house and this beautifully modern performance center, I considered my own road to Oz – driving in a storm way too similar to the twister in the movie, and fearing that instead of the wonderful Wizard, my boys and I would meet our maker on Central Expressway. It was enough to deter a weaker woman from the task at hand, but we persisted, thanking the gods of safe travel for the invention of anti-lock brakes.
But when we arrived, we saw this…
and I knew something magical was about to happen on this rainy afternoon.
It was an almost full house for the 2pm matinee show, filled with kids of all ages, but mostly the preschool and early elementary set. And though I saw several young boys, with all the adorable Dorothy costumes filling the seats – it looked to me, for this particular show, to be a heavy female crowd. And one thing I noticed in particular was that many kids were on a special Saturday afternoon date with their grandparents. So moms, please take note….. grandparents + quality, entertaining shows = a lovely weekend for all. I actually had no idea that so many young people loved The Wizard of Oz, and as the mom of only giant boys, I had absolutely no clue that Dorothy costumes could be found on Etsy. Who knew?
Everyone was casually dressed for the matinee show, no suit or tie spotted anywhere in the crowd. And parking was super easy – covered, self-parking within steps of the front door for $5, and on a bad weather days like we’ve been having, the option of valet parking for $10. Hallelujah. The Eisemann has a restaurant open for certain shows, but it wasn’t available when I was there. However, the concession stand was open before the performance and during intermission, with a decent offering of quick snacks and drinks – even a margarita on the menu. My boys loved it when I left them to find my spot in line for the ladies room and handed over my debit card for them to buy only what was reasonable and necessary – which reminds me…I should totally check my bank statement, and soon.
For this time and this moment, I had my boys, all to myself, the three kids who are usually so engrossed in all things cell phone, sports event, or Xbox – and that all by itself is worth a million dollars to me.
If you wonder if your kids are big enough to see this, or any show, at The Eisemann – there was an endless supply of booster seats especially for them. This little perk stood out to me, especially, as super family-friendly.
I’ve always been a lover of good musical theater, and have taken my kids to a show a time or two over the years, but found most theater environments to be as restrictive as big church, so we just never made it a habit; opting for movies instead. I love the idea of introducing kids to live theater or live musical performances, and anything arts related to keep it alive in a world of digital entertainment. These days I see even the youngest babies working mom’s phone like a pro, so I felt all the warm fuzzies yesterday when I saw kids fully immersed in the show, and carrying little baskets with their own stuffed Toto dogs. The imagination of a child is a theater of its own, if we give it an opportunity to play out. (Yes, you may quote me.)
With 28 shows and 45 performances on their calendar for the 2018-2019 season, the Eisemann Center has worked hard to fill their show calendar with music, dance, theater, comedy, Broadway and special family shows that appeal to families and audiences of all ages. Add to that a growing educational outreach program and y’all, it looks like the Eisemann Center is helping us to raise culturally aware and artistic kids.
And finally…the quality of the show was outstanding. If I were a real live theater critic, I would say some real live theater review words… but let me just leave you with a picture of some happy teenagers who were happy and fully entertained.
Now you know how good it really was.
Here are some upcoming Eisemann Center family series shows you should go ahead and put on your to do list: Like, right now.
Tomás and the Library Lady, Sunday, October 28, 2018, 2:30pm
“Tomás, the son of migrant workers, was born in Texas and loves the stories Papa Grande tells to him. One day while his family is in Iowa picking crops, Tomás meets the Library Lady and nothing is ever the same again. Soon his imagination takes off as he reads book after book, discovering a world filled with dinosaurs, tigers, and explorers! An Eisemann Center Presents Family Theatre Series production.”
The Magnificent Circus Mystery, Sunday, November 18, 2018, 2:30pm
“A steamer trunk, a mysterious book, and a hat belonging to Harry Houdini begin a show filled with magic, juggling, unicycling, and physical comedy. The audience must solve clues, overcome obstacles, and figure out a 90 year-old-secret as they help to create the story from beginning to end. Based on a real character, the kids are empowered to write about people and events in their own lives, while discovering how authors develop story ideas. An Eisemann Center Presents Family Theatre Series production.”
Dragons Love Tacos, Sunday, January 20, 2019, 2:30pm
“Theatreworks USA presents their newest musical revue of beloved contemporary children’s books including: Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin; Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein; The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds; Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride by Kate DiCamillo; and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa School Days by Erica Silverman. An Eisemann Center Presents Family Theatre Series production.”
The Boy Who Would Be Captain Hook, Saturday, January 26, 2019, 3pm
“In a moving, yet humorous look at growing up, David Harrell brings to life a story of his childhood in The Boy Who Would be Captain Hook. Born without his right hand and fitted with a prosthetic hook before he starts school, he is kept on the sidelines of recess until the game becomes Peter Pan! He fits perfectly into the game as Captain Hook but soon grows tired of playing the part and decides he wants to be a hero. What happens when you decide not to be defined by your circumstances and change the game? With appearances from hilarious and colorful characters from his childhood, David serves as story teller and performer, teaching the importance of accepting and including others that may not look exactly the way that we do. An Eisemann Center Presents Family & Broadway Specials production.”
B-The Underwater Bubble Show, Sunday, March 10, 2019, 5pm
“Inspired by Cirque du Soleil, the show is rich in various stage effects using the latest laser technologies, snow cannons, soap bubble tornadoes, theatrical fog, gigantic smoke rings, smoke-filled soap bubble machines, optical illusions and many other surprises. After another long day—as always filled with things to do, meetings and deadlines to be met—Mr. B finds himself transported, as if by magic, to a special, colorful, happy place called Bubblelandia. The “inhabitants” of Bubblelandia—seahorses, dragonfish, starfish, mermaids, clownfish and others—will carry Mr. B along his imaginary journey in this beautiful underwater world, where fantasy becomes reality. An Eisemann Center Presents Family & Broadway Special production.”
STOMP, Friday March 22, 2019, 7:30pm; Sat, March 23, 2019, 2pm and 7:30 pm
“STOMP, the international percussion sensation, makes its Eisemann Center premiere in March 2019. A unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy, STOMP has created its own inimitable, contemporary form of rhythmic expression: both household and industrial objects find new life as musical instruments in the hands of an idiosyncratic band of body percussionists. The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms.”
Shh! We Have a Plan, Sunday, March 31, 2019, 2:30pm
“A nonverbal tale featuring magic, music, and puppetry based on the Chris Haughton book of the same name. Follow the delightful and surprising journey of a family adventuring through the woods − when they see a beautiful bird perched high in a tree, each of these three madcap characters have a plan to capture it! Join us as the youngest teaches everyone that kindness and treating nature with respect is more important than getting what you want at any cost. An Eisemann Center Presents Family Theatre Series production.”