The Very Hungry Caterpillar presented by The Chicago Children’s Theatre

“This is horrible,” Mack declared.

We were sitting in a cozy theater watching the start of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” presented by The Chicago Children’s Theatre, and 4 year old Mack was not amused.  When I told him we were going to see a show, I think he assumed a movie.

Thankfully, an announcement at the start of the performance let the audience know that this was a “shush-free show”, because within minutes Mack was totally enthralled.  Engaged, actually.  He was pointing and laughing and talking.  He snuggled up close to me several times, his own quiet way of letting me know he was enjoying the moment.

The show really was magical.  Almost dreamlike.  Bright and bold puppets made to look like images from popular Eric Carle books playfully told three stories.  Black lights make the scenery glow and pop – Evie and her adorable friend Terese both commented that it looked 3-D.  Charming music accompanied the action, and it was all so composed and creative.  Even I loved it!

I really admire what the Chicago Children’s Theatre is trying to do, and I appreciate the challenge that it can be. In an age when iPads and on-demand cartoons make passive amusement all too easy for kids, adults have to work so much harder to capture childrens’ imaginations and attentions.  “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” did a remarkable job of turning Mack’s skepticism into curiosity and joy.

Living with small kids in a big city can require sacrifices, but the rewards and benefits far outweigh the challenges.  Here in our own backyard is a truly amazing theater company catering to kids.  How lucky are we?!  I will make a bigger effort to support the arts in my community, and taking my kids to a show presented by The Chicago Children’s Theatre is a great way to do just that!

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