Giving my daughter her first experience of seeing live theater at the Des Moines Civic Center is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in her young life.
Early on, my wife and I both made a commitment to expose our girls to everything the world has to offer. Age and $$$ appropriate of course. We try to avoid “deciding” for our kids. Instead, we want them to experience as much as possible, then make up their minds. This has been fun with food. Both girls tried salmon as young as three years old. To this day, it remains one of their favorites.
Such is the case with the Arts. Riley is three weeks away from turning five. I had concerns about bringing her to a Broadway production, and wondered if she’d have the patience to actually sit through it. No matter how much I’d like to gently set a brick on top of her head – stunting her growth and keep her little forever – my little girl is growing up. When WICKED announced its return to Des Moines, I knew she’d want to go. We talked about it constantly. “Why not!” I thought. After all, this is the same girl who couldn’t wait to ride the Dragon at Adventureland (c’mon…it’s upside down!!) – and is counting the days before she can board the Space Shot. She also adores “The Wizard of Oz” – so, being scared at the show was a non issue. So, we put on our fancy clothes, and off we went.
When we arrived at the Des Moines Civic Center, she couldn’t wait to show off her dress to everyone we ran into in the lobby. “I’ve got change in my purse so we can get a snack during the break,” she’d tell everyone. Ha! We headed to our seats and she was immediately taken with the dragons red eyes. “Look!” she pointed, then sat back in her seats and waited for the show to start. When the lights dimmed, and the curtain rose…she leaned up close to the edge of her seat so she could take it all in.
So, what was the highlight of the night? Easy. Elphaba singing “The Wizard and I.” If you’ve never seen the show, this is a big number. At the end of the song, while the audience applauds, Riley cuddled up close to my side and wrapped herself around my left arm. She looked up at me and gave me the biggest smile of her life. It was the “OMG…I’m having the time of my little life” kinda smile. I may have gotten a little teary after that.
It was a great experience – one I have stored away forever. I think much younger than five could be a mistake. But, like me…if you have a patient young one and you’re on the fence: Do it. You won’t regret seeing WICKED through their eyes.
In her own words, Riley talks about WICKED:
Galinda travels by bubble
Elphaba in full witch attire
Emily Behny (Nessarose) stopped by the station on Friday morning