Catherine McNamara observes two immediate reactions from children when they experience the gigantic, moving puppets in live theater show, “Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure.”
First, they are eager to learn about the dazzling sea creatures on stage.
And second, they get inspired.
“They begin to dream up the creatures they might come across, themselves,” says McNamara, the show’s cowriter and costar. “I think children get very excited at the thought that still only 10 to 15 percent of the ocean floor has been explored to this day.”
Entertaining and engaging children – while also promoting learning and literacy – encompass the delightful family shows coming soon to The Smith Center.
These productions offer eye-popping visual effects and thrilling audience participation, as well as beloved characters who children will recognize from books and television.
Read more below about these whimsical shows that families can enjoy together, to make lasting memories.
Double Dare Live – October 20
100 minutes, recommended for ages 9 and over. Tickets from $30
Get ready to run the obstacle course — and even possibly get Slimed.
Based off the wildly popular, and wildly messy, Nickelodeon TV show “Double Dare,” this production brings all the thrills, action and nonstop fun of the show to the stage.
Featuring exhilarating audience interaction that will challenge children’s minds and creativity, this production can choose anyone in the audience to compete to win by answering brain-bending trivia questions, completing messy physical stunts and even running the legendary obstacle course.
Led by the TV show’s famous host Marc Summers, families will delight in experiencing this show’s barrage of Slime soaking, pie plastering and booger busting.
Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure – November 20
60 minutes, recommended for ages 3 to 12. Tickets from $14.95
The anticipated follow-up to the roaring dinosaur puppets of “Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo,” this all-new production takes audiences on an immersive journey of prehistoric ocean life.
Showcasing wondrous, lifelike puppets of prehistoric, marine reptiles — including glowing moon jellyfish, long-finned plesiosaur babies, and a fearsome-toothed koronosaurus — this show combines puppets with technology, actors, science and comedy.
With children invited on stage to interact with the show’s immense and elaborate creatures, the audience will participate in a storyline packed with both silliness and suspense.
“We can learn about (ancient creatures) and feel like we've come face-to-face through the use of real-life puppets,” McNamara says.
Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical - November 26 to December 1
Approximately 85 minutes, with no intermission, recommended for ages 5 and older. Tickets from $30
Families have fallen in love for generations with the story of the Grinch, both through Dr. Seuss’ beloved book and the classic animated movie. Now, children and adults alike can experience this heartwarming story live on stage, in an acclaimed and festive Broadway musical.
Featuring the hit tunes fans know and love from the popular movie, such as "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch," as well as sets and costumes inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations, this show delivers a lively story ideal for introducing young ones to the theater, while also offering a powerful message about love and family.
The SpongeBob Musical – February 4 to 9, 2020
Approximately 120 minutes, with one 20-minute intermission, recommended for ages 5 and older. Tickets from $30
Starring all of the famous characters children grew up with in the Emmy-winning, animated TV show, this Broadway musical offers many highlights for adults, too.
The production delivers fun and clever surprises, including an interactive set and a sound-effects professional creating theater magic on stage for all to see.
Plus, the show’s ear-tickling score features original new songs by music megastars such as Steve Tyler from Aerosmith, Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Panic! At the Disco and more.
What Do You Do With an Idea? – April 22, 2020
Approximately 50 minutes, recommended for ages 5 and older. Tickets from $14.95
Everyone wants to see a child have courage to pursue a great idea.
That’s the heartening theme behind joyful production What Do You Do With an Idea.
Based on the New York Times best-selling book by Kobi Yamada — written to inspire children on the value of nurturing and supporting new ideas — this is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd or too difficult.
Performed by internationally acclaimed Inlet Dance Theatre, this show combines infectious original music and dazzling choreography to portray a magical world where ideas grow and take flight.
Children and adults alike will leave feeling uplifted and inspired.
Photo by Jeremey Daniel