Only 1 express subway ride away from 72nd street and the Upper West Side, I promised myself I’d go with my family to more shows at The New Victory Theatre. We went this weekend to see The Gruffalo since it is a story that I had read to my older daughter regularly. I thought it was just a story that my sister bought while living in England and thought was cute. Well, it turns out that this has become a classic around the world! This production has traveled globally and of course, it was a packed house in NYC! While the show is already over for this visit (it was here years ago but brought back for the 20th anniversary of The New Victory Theater), I can’t wait to see the next show that they do there. The brochure, which surely everyone received at home, looks so diverse and creative. And the performers on the stage for the Gruffalo were so talented, captivating and funny, it is clear that the people who pick the shows for the theatre know what they are doing. In fact, I would recommend you look at the ages that they suggest for the shows. For the Gruffalo, they suggested ages 4-7. I took my oldest, almost 9, since she was the one who got to hear me read the book the most, and she thought she was too old for it. BUT… every time I looked over, she was engaged, smiling, and answering the questions the performers asked of the audience.
They were so engaging! We also had a sweet live theatre moment when the snake came out on stage in his shiny, ornate costume and his funny accent… the whole audience laughed so hard and gave him such feedback that it was clear the performer himself and the other character on stage, let the laughter guide the timing of the next line. They may have even improvised a bit, I’m not sure. But it felt live and real and hilarious! I loved that my daughter got to experience live theatre in that way. Later, too, there was a moment where I think the predator came out an extra time or two and the mouse added a little joke in there. Whether rehearsed or not, it felt very real and I was drawn in – and so was my daughter, but don’t tell her you know she loved it… She’s eager to see the next shows for older kids. But I wish I had started taking my little ones to their 6-month-old and 2-year-old performances. We are so lucky the theatre is so close!
The other thing I love about the New Victory Theater is that they have creative activities before and after the shows for kids to learn the craft or meet the performers. They also have activities on their website to keep the lessons going… such as the Gruffalo. We’ll be spending a lot of time at this theater this year. I highly recommend it. And the prices are reasonable… with incentives for multiple shows etc.