THE OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
FAMILY-FRIENDLY SHOWS EACH SEASON
Since moving to Southern Oregon and being so close to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I have been dying to see a show in the amazing Allen Elizabethan Theater. I partnered with Oregon Shakespeare Festival to share our experience going to a kid-friendly show. It was so much fun being able to take Violet since she absolutely loves The Wizard of Oz and has been to a dozen musicals from the time she was 3).
We were lucky enough to attend opening night of THE WIZ.
(Lion (Christiana Clark) tries not to appear cowardly when she meets Dorothy (Ashley D. Kelley), Scarecrow (J. Cameron Barnett) and Tinman (Rodney Gardiner). Photo by Jenny Graham, Oregon Shakespeare Festival.)
I felt The Wiz would be a perfect match for us and to share whether an OSF play could actually be kid-friendly! I communicated with a member of the OSF team to make sure The Wiz would be appropriate. The minimum age into a play is 6 year old, and he gave me this recommendation:
“While the musical is a joyful and energetic romp, there are some double entendres and other mature moments that parents and teachers need to take into consideration. For example, the Lion ventures into the forbidden poppy field, where, in an opium haze, he is accosted by sexy flowers that entangle him in a seductive bump-and-grind. Middle and high school students able to handle mature elements will be delighted by the music, spectacle and heartwarming story of Dorothy’s journey.”
(Tinman (Rodney Gardiner), backed up by hatchet-wielding dancers (Ensemble), revels in his return to movement after being found by Dorothy (Ashley D. Kelley) and Scarecrow (J. Cameron Barnett). Photo by Jenny Graham, Oregon Shakespeare Festival.)
I knew my daughter most likely wouldn’t even understand what was going on, but I was glad for his information! I actually found it less seductive than I was expecting. There are a few innuendos, that of course my daughter didn’t understand in the slightest… especially when the night was getting so late!
(The Wiz (Jordan Barbour) dazzles his Emerald City subjects (Desmond Nunn, Eean S. Cochran) as he prepares to leave Oz. Photo by Dale Robinette, Oregon Shakespeare Festival.)
The play started at 8pm and we didn’t get home till almost midnight!
Overall, we loved it. We love musicals, the venue was amazing, the weather was perfect, it was such a fantastic night. The night turned quite cold – even in the middle of summer – so definitely be prepared with coats and/or blankets!
I would definitely encourage everybody to see an OSF play this season! If you are wanting something kid-friendly, and your children are over the age of 6, I would recommend The Wiz. I was also told depending on the age of the children, it’s possible that “Twelfth Night” and/or “Great Expectations” would be a good bet as well.
Also, OSF has their doors open in the mornings for people to see inside the Elizabethan Theatre! You aren’t allowed to take photos inside when a show is going on, but if you’re curious to see what the stage looks like, you can go inside the gates in the mornings!
We also LOVE the FREE Green Shows “on the bricks” right outside the Allen Elizabethan Theater! They have summer shows Tuesday through Sunday each night starting at 6:45pm. We have seen a handful of performers and have enjoyed each one! The majority of the shows are definitely kid-friendly.
Hope you all are able to experience and share with your children the magic of live theater, especially right here in our backyard!
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