Review: American Girl Live at the Broadway Playhouse in Chicago

My daughters, ages 5.5 and almost 4, loved everything about American Girl Live. Most families had children around this age, but slightly older girls seemed to be just as happy. The songs were catchy and the cast was phenomenal. I loved the messages about being a good friend, standing up for yourself, and persevering in tough situations. The positive vibe and uplifting energy was felt long after the show ended. My girls also loved the overarching theme of camping, and seeing each character’s American Girl doll accompany them throughout the performance.

The Broadway Playhouse theater is on the smaller side, so there’s truly not a bad seat in the house. With great costumes and set design, it was the perfect balance of being engaging but not so stimulating that my girls were overwhelmed by it. They can be sensitive to loud sounds in movie theaters, but I never saw either of them cover their ears during this performance. Going to a show like this, especially one in the city, was a very special occasion for our girls. It was a night I know they will be talking about for months to come! Quite a few audience members brought their own dolls to the show, but I was worried about keeping track of them so we kept ours at home.

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Striking Pop-Up Photography Sessions by Jacqueline Barkley

The show is approximately 90 minutes, there’s an intermission time added, and an optional meet-and-greet photo opportunity afterwards for an additional fee. It was around 9:20 pm by the time we left the theater for the 7pm performance, which was okay for my little owls, but is something to keep in mind for bedtime.

Parking and Dining

If you’re coming from the suburbs, driving is the way to go. Since Water Tower Place isn’t close to either train station, you’d be hassling with cabs or buses to get there. There is parking right underneath Water Tower Place. After 5:00 pm, the theater-validated spots are $12 for up to 5 hours, which is perfect for dinner and the show. I didn’t know this at the time, and reserved parking using Spothero, but only paid a few dollars more. We were able to walk around Water Tower Place to do some shopping and dinner before the performance. With the theater on the Mag-Mile, there were plenty of restaurants nearby. If you have a favorite spot, make reservations ahead of time to guarantee you have time before the show. Since one of my girls is a fairly picky eater, we chose to eat at the nicer food court at Water Tower Place. This quicker meal allowed us extra time to shop in the American Girl Place and LEGO stores.

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Family-Friendly Events This Weekend: May 17-19

This show was the perfect girls night out for our family. We enjoyed the car ride into the city, a delicious dinner, and a fun performance. They learned to be kind to others and work hard for what you want. Girl power!

American Girl Live Overview

American Girl Live is a new, original, 90-minute musical that celebrates the power of girls and strength of friendship, audiences join five spunky campers and their fearless counselor at Camp American Girl, an overnight camp in the North Woods. Overcoming fears and obstacles along the way to having the summer of their lives, these brave campers rely on wisdom and advice delivered by Rebecca, Maryellen, Julie, Nanea, Luciana, and Melody – the beloved American Girldolls they’ve brought along to camp – who inspire audiences in surprising and delightful-musical numbers, each reflecting their historical eras. Empowered by the stories and conviction of their American Girls, the campers learn that they can overcome anything and achieve their dreams, so long as they stay true to themselves and support one another.

Schedule and Tickets

American Girl Live is currently playing Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E. Chestnut) for a limited engagement through May 12, 2019. It will then move to Milwaukee for approximately one week.

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Family-Friendly Events This Weekend: May 17-19

Performances run during the evenings at 6:00 or 7:00 pm, with matinee shows at 1:00 or 2:00 pm depending on the day of week.

American Girl Live Discount

Broadway in Chicago is offering a special discount for Kidlist readers! All tickets for regular seat locations can be purchased for $29 using the code “LEARN” on the Broadway In Chicago website.  Outlined below are the days and times this offer is available.

  • Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm
  • Wednesday, May 8, 2019 at 2:00 pm or 7:00 pm
  • Thursday, May 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm
©Amy Boyle Photography

About the Author

Katie Mayle
Katie is a mother of two girls and a baby boy (ages 5 1/2, 4, and 6 months), and has lived in the Chicagoland for her entire life. A Joliet native, she and her husband moved back to his hometown of Naperville after the birth of their second daughter. The girls keep her family very active, and she is grateful for the countless indoor and outdoor opportunities available to families in the western suburbs. She looks forward to sharing family-friendly fun with the parents of young children.

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