The Elephant & The Whale – The Chicago Children’s Theatre

Website: The Chicago Children’s Theatre – The Elephant & The Whale

Location: The Ruth Page Center for Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago

Phone: 773-227-0180

Dates and times: April 10- May 26, 2013

  • Tuesdays at 10:00 am
  • Wednesdays at 10:00 am & Noon
  • Thursdays & Fridays at 10:00 am & 6:30 pm
  • Saturdays at 11:00 am & 6:30 pm
  • Sundays at 11:00 am (additional 2:00 pm performances on May 12th, 19th, & 26th)

Admission: $25.00-$36.00

Parking: Metered street parking is often available; audience members receive discounted parking ($10 for four hours) at the self-park garage located at Division and Dearborn with ticket validation. Public transportation is available.

Bathrooms: The Ruth Page Center had a large private bathroom that is handicapped accessible, but there was no changing table.

Nursing: There was no designated nursing area at the Ruth Page Center.

Handicapped/stroller accessibility: The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is handicapped accessible. You can bring strollers and there was an area in the lobby for stroller parking.

Special events:
  • Pre-show pizza party on Thursdays at 5:45 pm (for 6:30 pm show)
  • Post-show craft on Fridays after 6:30 pm show

We paid: We received two complimentary tickets to the show which would have cost approximately $50.00. Parking at a meter cost about $11.00.

Our experience:

Toddling Dad here! I recently had the pleasure of seeing The Elephant and The Whale at the Chicago Children’s Theater. Through Toddling Around Chicagoland, we’ve gotten to see a lot of the area’s children’s theatre of late. There is no shortage of good theatre for kids nearby. But consistently, Chicago Children’s Theater stands head and shoulders above the rest and this play is by far their best show that I have seen. I was accompanied by my three-year-old whose attention span is just beginning to develop. He had no difficulty paying attention to this show.

It opens with the failure and sale of a small family circus—purchased by the flamboyant Gus Quigley, a vaudevillian figure who promises to sensationalize and save the circus. The center attraction of the family circus had been Ella the sweet, multi-talented Elephant, but Gus has little use for the old girl until until she develops a bond with a whale who was acquired by the circus by chance. The show is sweet, sad, happy and hopeful. And there are no shortage of laughs. The actors are all professional, and what sets them apart from some of the other children’s theatres I’ve seen of late is their professionalism. There is never a hint that they are playing down to the children. They are practicing their craft and they all excel. But the stunning part of this show lies in its artistry.

The show combines live acting with puppetry, “toy theatre trunks,” shadow puppetry, and other screen presentations. The overall effect is beyond magical. The puppetry and toy theatre elements are fabulous contraptions, but the characters are never lost and the multiple effects never felt like a gimmick. I felt like the best pop-up book I had ever seen was brought to life around me. My three-year-old was rapt throughout the show, and I would love to see more. If you have the opportunity to see this show do it!

Disclosure: We received two complimentary tickets to the show. All opinions are those of “Toddling Dad” (John). 

Show buttons
Hide buttons