On a snowy Saturday afternoon in Chicago, my
daughters and I were thrilled to be in the audience for the opening
performance of "Ramona Quimby" at the Emerald City
Adapted from the wonderful books of Beverly Cleary,
"Ramona Quimby" shares the story of Ramona and her family during
the course of a year. They are faced with normal challenges that
families face: out of work parents, learning to budget money and a
beloved relative getting married and moving away. Ramona learns
that with a supportive family around her, she can find new ways to
cope with her ever-changing world and get through the difficult
The show was warm and engaging, funny and serious
all rolled together. The production is designed to have the cast
come into the audience as part of the show, which was a real treat
for the kids. The show is approximately 60 minutes - with no
intermissions, which is a perfect length for kids ages five to
"Ramona Quimby" achieves the wonderful balance of
entertaining and connecting with the adults in the audience, as
well as the children. The dialogue doesn't talk down to anyone,
which is a major accomplishment given that they are adapting a
children's book. The storyline is relatable for parents and
children alike, and the simple sets and decorations along with the
creative way they showed the season changes, kept everyone's
attention and imagination brewing.
There is a portion of the play that deals with
Ramona's dad trying to quit smoking. In telling the story, there is
a prop electronic cigarette that is on the stage that produces an
odorless water vapor that looks like smoke. The actor does appear
to be smoking and it was confusing for my girls for just a moment
until I explained to them that it was, indeed, a prop, and there
was nothing for them to be fearful about.
Founded in 1996, Emerald City Theatre "creates
theatre experiences that inspire early learners through play." You
can tell they are all about the family experience, which I can
really appreciate and admire. There was an activity before the show
- a "make your own journal" page that allowed kids to color a
picture and then write down ways they liked to help their family
They provide the standard play programs, but then
print a "kid size" program that is perfect for little hands. In
addition, they had some of the favorite Beverly Cleary books in the
lobby for sale. My girls were able to get a book signed from the
entire cast after the show.
Despite living in the western suburbs, Emerald City
Theatre is definitely a place that we will be returning to for
their next production! I urge you to take a weekend before May 18
and go visit Ramona Quimby and Emerald City Theatre. Tell them the
Evers girls say "Hi!"
Jennifer Evers is a 40-something blogger and small business owner living in the Chicago suburbs with her two young daughters and a DVR full of reality television shows. She blogs about her life at Me, Myself and Jen (www.memyselfandjen.com) - single parenting, recipes, crafts and home projects, crazy things her children do, travel, celebrity encounters, community events and those wacky "Real Housewives."
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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