As a parent who understands the impact the arts can have on a child’s life, you’ve probably thought about introducing your children to the wonderful world of musicals. For less than the cost of a ticket to Disneyland, you can introduce your child to these awe-inducing, inspiring productions with the many Broadway shows in San Diego.
Broadway Shows – What’s the Big Deal?
Broadway shows, originally named after the 40 professional theaters in the Theater district of Manhattan in New York City, are widely reputed to be the highest quality productions of commercial theater. Directly connected to Broadway New York, Broadway shows in San Diego represent this level of musical theater to residents of San Diego and surrounding areas.
Your First Broadway Show: Tips for You and Your Children
Keep age in mind. Children under 4 or 5 are generally not advised to attend most Broadway shows in San Diego. In fact, many theaters will not allow them to attend at this age. However, you can usually find other musicals and specific venues and playhouses geared toward younger children’s shorter attention spans. If you have a slightly older child, consider whether or not they can sit through the length of the shows, which are typically over 2 hours.
Understand how young children experience the art of storytelling. Young children experience theater differently than adults, since they often live in a world of pretend, where the line between reality and play is quite blurred. They often become mentally, emotionally, and (when allowed) physically involved in the story without reservations. This is an advantage in getting children excited about the arts.
Make sure content is appropriate. Choose your child’s first Broadway show wisely. “Little Women” might bore a young child, and “The Lion King”, though geared toward children, may still be scary for young or sensitive children. If you’re not sure how the show will be received, try film musicals at home before attending live Broadway shows.
Talk about manners. Remind children how they are expected to behave at the theater. Discuss both quiet times and times during the show when it is polite to clap. Make sure your kid are aware of how to let those sitting around them enjoy the show, as well.
Know before you go. Learning about the background of a musical before attending the show can make the show easier to follow and more enjoyable, particularly for younger children. For example, you could introduce your children to books and movies similar to the show they will be viewing before attending the show.
Arrive early, and consider when to depart. Arriving early will allow you time to use the restroom, find your seats, and explore the many areas of the theater children may find exciting, such as the edge of the stage and the orchestra pit. Recognize that it’s okay to leave early if your children are having difficulty lasting through the performance, or to take turns with another adult playing with rowdy children in the lobby area so the rest of your group can enjoy the show.
After the Show: Making the Most of Your Child’s Broadway Experience
What just happened? Take the time to discuss what you just witnessed after attending the show. Good topics of conversation include favorite and least favorite parts, as well as general impressions. For older children watching shows with more serious topics, discuss how settings, time period, and culture differ from their life today.
The effects of music. Live musical performances help your children understand that music doesn’t just come out of a box like the radio or TV. Ask your children how they felt about the music in the show and how it contributed to or took away from the experience.
Make it a project. After attending a show, plan an art, music, or dance project focusing on related material so your kids can reenact the performance. It just may turn out that attending a Broadway show impacts their entire lives by inspiring them to get involved in participating in musicals on their own!
Conflict resolution. Because theater sometimes showcases scary situations in a safe manner where no one gets hurt, Broadway shows offer a great opportunity to discuss conflict resolution with your children, such as confronting and overcoming fears. How would your child have reacted to that situation? What are some of their fears?
Supporting your Child’s Interest in Participating in Musical Theater
If you find yourself regularly attending Broadway shows in San Diego, you may soon discover that your child wants to not only watch, but to participate in musical theater! With these tips, you can focus on helping them achieve their performance goals and gain enjoyment out of the experience:
Don’t make it about you. Ensure the focus of your child’s musical theater career has their best interests at heart, not your own fears or desires.
Provide encouragement. Don’t point out every flaw. Constructive criticism immediately after a performance may not be the best idea, as kids are not as thick-skinned as they may appear. Instead, praise all the hard work your child put into his or her performance.
Inspire your children’s goals and passions. Attend as many plays, operas, concerts, and dance events in San Diego as you can. This will show your child that you both admire and respect his or her passions for the theater.
Showing your children a more exciting, cultured alternative to sitting on the couch watching TV by attending Broadway shows in San Diego is a great way to encourage a love for the arts. It’s a fantastic creative outlet and an escape from the ordinary!
Photo by Gary’