This was one tough weekend for parents across the nation. With lumps in our throats, we shut off the news and swallowed our feelings, putting on a happy face for our kids and trying our best to make them feel safe while the events in Newtown, Ct. had destabilized our whole sense of how the world is supposed to work. Being from the area, I never realized just how important a role my secure enclave of a hometown played in my overall sense of well-being. Now that such horrific danger has touched a place I once believed to be sheltered and impregnable, just minutes from my hometown, I, like many parents, have been left to wonder if I will ever be able to protect my children.
It was weeks ago that we had secured tickets to see the Grinch at Madison Square Garden. I was especially excited to see this with the whole family as it's not often I find a show that appeals to both my nine-year-old and my four-year-old. By Friday, my husband and I had spent the day absorbing the news from that morning and we couldn't wait to be together as a family and spend time with our precious kids. And I was glad that we had already made plans to see a show, because hanging around the house would have lead to sneak-peaks at news on the TV and Internet. We needed a full-blown distraction and we needed to see our kids happy.
I am so thankful to the amazing cast, crew and orchestra of The Grinch for not disappointing. My kids were absolutely memorized by this colorful, uplifting, 65-minute explosion of imagination and Whoville charm. My little guy, usually over-active and not easy to please, spent the entire first 45 minutes staring trance-like at the stage with his jaw hung open. My nine-year-old stopped being "over it" long enough to be genuinely delighted and my husband and I were impressed by the incredible performances. (Yes, Natalie Hil. Your voice is Un-Be-lieve-a-ble).
This is one of the rare shows in NYC that truly is great for little and big kids. There is enough spectacle and humor to entertain kids over five, but the big space at MSG is very forgiving of children who shout out during a show or get out of their seats. Behaviors that would be distracting in a more intimate house just get absorbed in the garden, which makes it such a great space for kids' shows. That said, this is one of the rare times I would recommend trying to get seats closer to the stage. There are some nuanced performances happening here, and it would be a shame not to be able to see everything.
At the end of the show, a special, snowy surprise left my kids all twinkly and hopeful. It was one of those magical parenting moments when you are sitting next to your children, watching them be delighted, and you feel the image of their happy faces being etched into your memory forever. On a day like last Friday, I needed an image like that. The joy of being in that theatre, in that moment, with no awareness of the bad things happening in the world. A moment of pure, child-like delight at a much needed moment. Perfect timing for the magic of theatre.
GET TO THE POINT, MOM!
- -Good for the whole family. Kids as young as 3 and as old as not-kids-any-more will have fun at this light-hearted and imaginative holiday show.
- -For more info or to puchase tickets, visit the show's website
- -Seeing a show is a great way to connect with your kids without distractions from world events, both good and bad. I wish there was a way to pre-order tickets to a great show for every evening of crisis my family endures. Is that a service someone could provide?