I’ll admit, there are some fabulous perks to my job. One of them? Invites to lovely going-ons in the city and beyond.
Such was the case on Thursday night when I was invited with a guest to view Broadway in Chicago’s latest show, The Wizard of Oz at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.
My obvious plus one? My Dorothy-obsessed 4-year-old daughter, of course! Since my son isn’t a fan of musical theater–or theatre for my fellow drama geeks–he was happy to stay home with his Legos and let us have our mommy/daughter night out.
We started off the evening at a fancy dinner for 2 at Hugo’s Frog Bar. Our reservation was set for 5:30 and we were running on JST (Jewish Standard Time)–which is code for never on time. Everyone knows this, right? We had about five minutes to get at least 10-minutes away, and three minutes into that trip, I realized I didn’t have my iPhone with me.
So I gave my daughter a choice–we could go home, skip the fancy dinner, grab the phone so we could take pictures (and I could social media the crap out of our night together) and we could eat at Rock-n-Roll McDonald’s (one of her favs) OR we could be phoneless, yet, fancy at Hugo’s.
She opted to be fancy and out of touch. After all, she was decked out in her Dorothy costume, complete with lipgloss. And the girl NEVER gets to wear makeup outside of our house. N.E.V.E.R.
Once we arrived at the restaurant and I apologized profusely for being a few minutes late, they seated us at table number such-and-such…I heard them say something about, “she’ll love it”.
They couldn’t have been any righter on-er.
Turns out the booth is actually in an old-fashion elevator. How I’d been there a million times and never noticed this booth, I’ll never know, but it was awesome. And then they overdid the awesomeness. To top off our delicious meal, the waitress brought out an enormous hot fudge sundae and said that the restaurant wanted Dorothy to enjoy her special evening. She followed up the explanation with an apology for the sugar-rush that was sure to follow. Hey, no one has to apologize for giving my family free ice-cream. Especially free chocolate-covered ice-cream.
Fortunately, we ran into a friend of ours on the way out of the restaurant who was eating dinner at a normal time and offered to take our picture. So here’s what my mini-Dorothy looked like:
Next, it was onto the Cadillac for the show. Our energy was high, potty breaks were taken, and we were ready! The lights went down, the music started and my daughter jumped onto my lap and BEGGED me to leave…
PLEASE MOMMY, I WANT TO GO HOME!!!
I had to stay strong. I knew she was going to love the show. So Mean Mommy put her back in her seat, held her hand and rubbed her leg as the show started.
And you know what? She absolutely love it. The entire thing. So much so that she asked me if we could watch it again the minute it was over. I had to explain that the play wasn’t like a DVD.
So here are some things you need to know about Broadway in Chicago’s The Wizard of Oz if you are going with young kids:
- Take snacks. You can bring food into the theater, so throw a few easy snacks in your bag and avoid spending a fortune at the lobby bar. My friend suggested lollipops–after all, your little munchkin might enjoy one too.
- Use the bathrooms downstairs at the Cadillac. Don’t bother standing in the line on the main level for the two single washrooms. That’s an accident waiting to happen.
- The show is funnier than it is scary but if you have a child who scares easily, you might want to think it through. The wicked witch was very funny–I made sure to tell my daughter from the get go that her hair looked like an onion to make her laugh, in an effort to take away any fear, and it worked–but there are some scary parts like when the Wizard of Oz sings a song on a giant screen. My daughter didn’t seem to mind it but I was wishing that my husband wasn’t out of town that night.
- It’s not an adult play or a kid’s play. There was something for everyone. My daughter laughed so hard, I actually had to tell her to reign it in a bit so the ushers wouldn’t ask us to leave. Ok, I didn’t do that, but she was hysterical. And I loved the friend of Dorothy jokes and the witch’s digs, so it was all good.
- You may need to explain that some actors play dual roles in the play. For instance, my daughter was wondering why the farmhands came out to bow at the end but the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion didn’t. It led to a good conversation about Dorothy’s dream, but just be prepared.
- If you wear a costume to the see the show, everyone is going to call you by that character’s name. My daughter didn’t understand why everyone was calling her Dorothy, however I can promise you, it will not keep her from leaving the house in full costume the next time the opportunity presents itself. Like when we go out for Mother’s Day brunch. Or to the park.