"I can fly!"
T hose words were chanted joyfully by Wendy, John and Michael in Casa Manana's production of the children's classic "Peter Pan."
And the audience flew with them as well as fought pirates, danced with Indians and followed around Tinkerbell for the Casa production, running through May 11.
Seeing this as an opportunity to bridge "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" to a real literary moment for my 5-year-old and another same-aged friend, we set out to see how long they would be able sit in their seats at attention or if we would have to enjoy the rest of the story from the book at home.
I am excited to report not only did they sit perfectly in their seats during the entire show, they also were ecstatic to meet the cast, the common practice of the Casa crew to give little audience members a chance to get signatures on their playbills, take a photo for mom, and grab a hug.
It was our first time at Casa Manana and our foursome was elated to see theatrical modifications had been made to make it kid/parent-friendly with house lights being just-the-right brightness to keep an eye on the kids, especially if one had slid out of their seat and down the aisle. And while cell phones and other devices are not allowed (this is a rule at any production at any playhouse), there were no squinting eyes if you had to throw in a "shhh" or a child had a question that was spoken louder than a whisper. The rules had been set by the director of the show allowing all parents and grandparents in attendance to relax a little and enjoy the show with their child then to stand at attention which is what normally happens when attending other playhouses.
The oohs and ahhs from the kids obviously came upon the entrance of Peter Pan, Alyssa Robbins, and the occasional pixie dust thrown before taking flight, which our kids quickly informed us was done by a string, but didn't seem to lessen the magical experience for them. However, it was Captain Hook and the patriarch of the Darling family, played by David Coffee, that received the chuckles from the adults with his boisterous tone and exaggerated expressions, as well as his Smee, the dumbwitted "right-hand man."
The synchronized choreography of Tiger Lily and the other Indians was a delight to both young and old and kept the show going at the perfect pace for the mostly under 10 crowd as the story progressed. Tiger Lily, played by
Stefanie Tovar Francis
, was also one of our crew's favorite with her dancing, motions and great costuming. And of course, the pirates with their instruments and funny jokes made our two hours fly by as the show came to a close.
Afterwards, all children took their places in line and each cast member in character patiently signed playbills, asked each child their favorite part of the show and stood with beaming smiles as parents snapped a few shots for the scrapbook, aka Facebook. And then the audience dissipated to their next adventures to satisfy hungry tummies and promised ice cream treats for good behavior.
Tip: There is a nearby Dairy Queen for immediate ice cream gratification at 2050 Montgomery Street or enjoy any of the fun places off West 7th for a complete evening with the family.
One recommendation is to take the opportunity to look at the next season of shows hanging from the ceiling to plan more date nights with the kids. Childhood moments like these do "fly by" way too quickly before they are off to their own adventures. I know we are already scheduling "Charlotte's Web and "The Wizard of Oz," and I may have even spotted some girls' night out opportunities with my favorite, "Steel Magnolias."
Tip: All funds from merchandise sold at the show go to fund educational programs like the summer camps put on by Casa Manana, so make sure to get your Tinkerbell wings!
Casa Manana's Peter Pan runs now until May 11.
Tickets are $16 - $36 as well as out the door.
3101 West Lancaster Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Disclaimer: I received 4 tickets for purposes of this review.