The Next Generation

Elf Jr. CAPIt looks like it's time to spotlight the amazing number of young people involved in theatre these days. There are a number of groups specializing in shows that introduce kids to the wonderful world of plays and musicals, and many of them are presenting shows this weekend.


Photo - Class Act Productions Altoona

If you're a parent, you have an overwhelming set of choices this weekend.  No fewer than four different productions from some amazing theatre organizations are showcasing drama for kids opening shortly.  They include:
Elf - the Musical Jr., by CAP (Class Act Productions) in Altoona.
The Boxcar Children, from the DM Playhouse in their Kate Goldman Children's Theatre.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, from Story Theatre Company in Ames.
Alexander, Who's Not, Not, Not, Not, Not, Not Going to Move, from Grand View University.
It's an unfortunate quirk of scheduling that so many plays aimed at the younger set end up being presented essentially at the same time (and there's going to be a similar situation in April as well), but it's kind of the nature of the beast.  Having to work around schedules for school and other extra-curricular activities, it's common for availability to only work during certain times and certain weekends for these groups.  
That having been said, there are still a wonderful variety of experiences to be had out there for those parents who want to expose their children to the world of theatre, whether it's for the first time or to continue to develop their enthusiasm for the wide world of live entertainment.  Many of these organizations provide multiple shows during each Saturday or Sunday, making it more possible to fit into the busy modern life schedules of families.  
And the range of show styles means there's something for everyone, no matter what source material you might be familiar with. Elf is taken from the holiday movie of the same name.  Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe is from the perennial Young Adult Narnia book series.  The Boxcar Children is also from a series of books, aimed slightly younger.  And finally, the Alexander play is targeting even a slightly younger audience, hoping to develop the theatre habit as early as possible for fans of that series.
No matter what age your child might be, there's probably a theatre experience out there for them.  Whether it's one of these shows, or even the Friday Funday performances at the DM Playhouse (which feature 45-minute shows for the younger set, ages 4-8), developing a love of the arts, and theatre in particular, helps create a more thoughtful, active, and engaging child at an early age.  The benefits of exposure to theatre are significant, and we have tons of possibilities for children of all ages here in the Des Moines area.
Take advantage of this weekend, and take your favorite young one to a show.  Enjoy the delight on their faces as they experience the unique and long-lasting effects of live performance.  And you just might enjoy yourself too....