Location: Emerald City’s Little Theatre, 2933 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago
Dates and Times: The Teddy Bears’ Picnic has been running since September 2013 and after a sold out run has been extended for a second time. It will run through August 15, 2014. For a full schedule of show times, visit the Emerald City Theatre calendar online.
Admission: $14 for children and adults, $7 for children under 1.
Parking: Metered street parking is available.
Bathrooms: A bathroom is available with a changing table.
Nursing: There is no designated nursing area. There are a few seats available for those who need them, but most attendees sit on the floor.
Handicapped/stroller accessibility: The theatre is handicapped accessible. Stroller parking is available outside the theatre.
We paid: Nothing. The parking meter was broken so we did not pay for parking. We received complimentary tickets to see the show; our tickets would have cost $35 ($14 each for me and Dexter, $7 for Campbell).
I attended a weekday show with Dexter (4) and Campbell (nearly 1 at the time). The Little Theatre has seating, toys, and books in a large room when you enter. We were asked to remove our shoes and the boys loved exploring the toys and playing with the other kids while we waited for show time.
The room began to fill up and then one of the actors entered with a small bird (a small puppet he made chirp with a whistle). After just a few whistles every kid in the room was entranced.
A few minutes later it was time to move into the theatre space. Picnic blankets were spread out and each family or group chose where to sit. Each blanket had a picnic basket. Dexter and Campbell couldn’t wait to dig into the basket and found things like a mirror, a small flashlight, pieces of fruit, a fan, and a napkin.
The Teddy Bears’ Picnic is about Mama Bear (played by Amanda Hartley) and Buddy (puppeteered by Cameron Turner) preparing for a picnic. Mama Bear is very sweet, maternal, and soothing to the kids in the audience. Buddy is very playful and within minutes you forget that he’s only a puppet.
The kids are encouraged to interact with the characters and are an integral part of the show. The 45-minute show is filled with interactive elements where the children get to do things like contribute fruit to make the perfect picnic lunch.
Toward the end of the show the lights go down so the kids can use mini flashlights to act as fireflies; this was the highlight of the show for Dexter and Campbell.
We thoroughly enjoyed the show. The show is recommended for children 0-4, but I think even at 6 Cooper would have enjoyed it.