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November 9, 2011

The Game Plan: Experience the arts with Shrek: The Musical at Bass Hall

The Game Plan: Experience the arts with Shrek: The Musical at Bass Hall

A major part of my parenting strategy is to introduce my kids to the things I like so we can share them together. Of course, this is sometimes a challenge when it’s a fine dining establishment or in this case, an upscale musical performance at Bass Hall in Fort Worth. However, since the show was Shrek: The Musical, I expected that my 3-year-old could enjoy one of his favorite movies as a live feature and my 2-month old (with a full tummy) could snooze while we watched. So we prepared ourselves for the evening’s adventure by following play protocol in nice attire and arrived in enough time to get a good lay of the land (the location of our seats to the bathroom) just before the curtain pull for opening night.

Highlights:  The show begins by introducing the characters and the plotline in a basic way a child could understand and follow. Shrek and Fiona started things off quickly so his interest was piqued early on in the show. The very short Lord Farquaad was a complete riot as he did his entire performance and dance on his knees and kept the crowd clapping as he showed his moves. For us the full-scale dragon, made possible by several puppeteers was the ultimate crowd-pleaser as her eyes glowed and she danced. The puppeteers excellent handiwork, along with all the backdrops, lighting and fog used to create her lair really brought the dragon to life. And of course, just like in the movie, Donkey, Shrek’s trusty and hilarious companion, was a mainstay of the musical and kept the adults entertained with quick quips throughout.

Prepare the team: This is a live performance and was a bit loud sometimes which made things a little uncomfortable for my 3-year old, so perhaps picking aisle seats at the back of hall would make it easier for quick exits like bathroom breaks. Also, because it starts at 7:30 PM and goes until past nine, bathroom breaks are unenviable, but screens outside of the hall allow you to stay tuned to the musical if you need to break before intermission. As always in a public setting, a visit to the bathroom, whether your child warrants it or not at the time is a necessity. And because the musical is much longer than a Dora the Explorer episode, make sure to adjust dinner and sleep time accordingly. (Getting out the Goldfish and bringing their pillow is not permissible, although I saw a few small blankets and that seemed to make the late night easier for the littlest patrons.)

Overall Game: Use the evening as a learning tool and quietly ensure the child understands what is happening throughout the play. Quietly whispering to him about each scene and giving cues when things were funny, he seemed to enjoy it more as we shared it together. However, make sure to explain performance etiquette and that being loud and getting up and down is frowned upon since it interrupts the show and the people around you.  You will also need to bring a little extra money to buy the Shrek ears all the kids were wearing so you can take home a little token of your evening of arts and enrichment. Besides they were really cute and so was Shrek: The Musical that you can check out only at Bass Hall until this Sunday, Nov. 13. The hall is also decorated for the holidays so it's a great place to get a few good photos next to the tree and purchase a few decorations to take home. What a great way to start the holidays and prepare your kids for the upcoming holiday shows like The Nutcracker and the Gaylord Texan’s ICE - Shrek the Halls , which starts Nov. 11 through Jan. 1.

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