One of my favorite things to do is take Hudson on mommy-son ‘dates’.  A lot of the time, these outings are things that he chooses, and range the gamut from going to get a sno-cone, to seeing a movie, to just going for a jog around our neighborhood.  The whole idea is just for us to spend some uninterrupted, one-on-one time together.  We both cherish these times – and eagerly await our next date day!

As a performance-loving, musical listening, theatre kid myself, my favorite dates are when I can take my kids to the theatre.  (It’s also my favorite date with my husband!)  Exposing yourself and your children to the arts, has a lifelong impact.  In addition to physiological and emotional effects, it’s a wonderful family bonding experience that can last a lifetime.

“The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic…music, dance, painting, and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.”

   –William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education

I have been going to theatre myself since I was a little girl, and have fond memories of those times.  Whether a local community theatre production, or seeing a show on Broadway, every performance motivated and inspired me!  Now, as an adult, I have dusted off my dancing shoes, and have had the amazing opportunity to get on stage again, and expose my kids to the creative process of theatre – not only as audience members, but also to what it takes to put on a production.

watching momHudson saw his first show, Bye, Bye Birdie! when he was 2 1/2.  I was a little nervous about him coming, because I was in the show, and didn’t know how he would react to me being on stage.  He loved it!  At the end they even put him up on the stage and he wheeled flowers over in a little wagon.  (And yes, I cried a little.)

Since that show, he has seen many other plays and musicals, sometimes with me on stage, sometimes as my date ~ and each one has stuck with him.  The stories and songs will forever be embedded in his little soul, and that makes me very happy.

So, now what?  We are so lucky in the Austin area to have a plethora of theatre opportunities for families and children.  From the Zach Scott Theatre, to mainstage touring companies at Bass Concert Hall, to smaller local theatre’s, there is something for everyone!

In fact, opening this weekend, is a classic, family friendly musical, AnnieLake Travis Music Theatre, Inc. is producing the beloved classic in Lago Vista (about a 30 minute drive to the Hill Country).  This Tony award winning musical has been delighting audiences since it opened on Broadway in 1977.

In addition to excellent costumes, story, and sets, Annie features a chorus of adorable kids who can sing and dance the paint off of the walls!  Also, Sandy the dog.  A real – live dog, folks!

If you’re looking for something fun to do with your kid’s (or anyone else!), come on out and see Annie – and if it’s your first time to take your kids to a show, I’ll give you with a few tips:

Top 6 Tips for Taking Kids to Musicals:

1.) Set the expectation.  Let your child know what you are doing.  Explain the show to them, answer any questions they have, and set the expectation for their manners – quiet voices, still hands and bodies.

2.) Arrive a little early – but not too early!  Get to the theatre in plenty of time to find seats, if general admission, or to locate your assigned seats.  Give yourselves time to explore the theatre and see all of the new things.  There are usually ushers and other theatre staff and crew around to answer any questions that your budding actors and directors might have!

3.) Bring snacks that won’t make noise or messes.  String cheese, fruit snacks, and grapes are great choices.  Tuck a few wet wipes into your bag in case of sticky fingers.  And, be sure to clean up any messes before you leave!

4.)  After the show, see if the cast has a stage door or comes out to sign autographs.  Be prepared to hang out and let your kiddo meet and greet the actors that they saw on stage.

5.) In the days and weeks following your theatre experience, answer any questions your kids might have about theatre – you might even consider downloading the cast album on iTunes or Amazon and letting them listen to the songs.  My first CD’s (back in the olden days) were cast albums!


Annie Flyer

For more tips on taking kids to musicals, check out this article, and this one.

Where is your favorite place to take your kids on a date?  I’d love to hear from our fellow Austin moms:  what are your favorite places to see live theatre?  Any favorite musicals playing right now?


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