With a preschooler in the mix, we don’t feel ready to tackle The Nutcracker or a symphony quite yet so I was excited when we were invited to attend Emerald City Theatre’s Corduroy, based on the classic children’s book about a teddy bear. It was my young son’s first time attending a play and it was a great first theater experience!
I’m always looking for events that are friendly enough for my preschooler and still hold the attention of my second grader. Both kids were engrossed by the scenes that alternated between toys coming to life and the home life of a little girl who wants to buy Corduroy with her allowance. My daughter gasped during one risky scene where Corduroy the bear climbs tall shelves and my son clapped throughout. There was over the top humor and circus style acrobatics that entertained everyone, grownups included.
The show is fun to watch with lots of physical comedy, fun props, and choreographed movement. The story relies on visuals more than dialogue and incorporates some American Sign Language and lots of audience interaction as toys come to life. There are some loud sounds and flashing lights in parts, but no scary moments. The actors give out high fives in the aisles and encourage the audience to respond. My kids loved the interaction and the mood in the room was boisterous and fun!
Overview of Corduroy
Corduroy is exactly one hour long in a single act, performed on an intimate stage at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. The space is nicely appointed with accessible washrooms, concessions available that are allowed in the performance, and comfortable seating. The large restrooms have a couple steps up to reach most of the stalls except the accessible stalls.
Plan to arrive just a bit before the show. The trip from the parking garage is an elevator ride and a quick walk across a driveway. We parked half an hour before showtime and that was more than enough time to get all of us in, through a bathroom visit, and into our seats.
Afterwards, you can line up to meet the cast! There is also a playground directly across Pearson Street, which was a great way to get the wiggles out before driving home. Families whose kids have longer attention spans could take advantage of being right in the middle of shopping, dining, and sightseeing options in Water Tower Place and Michigan Avenue right outside.
Emerald City Theatre states that their productions are intended to reach children ages zero to fifteen. I felt the play was perfect for my kids, aged three and seven. The story is appropriate for children old enough to sit and watch. Kids older than eight might enjoy the amazing acrobatic performances, but we feel children between 3-8 years old would enjoy Corduroy the most.
Location and Parking
Parking near the Magnificent Mile is always pricey but you can learn from my mistake! Broadway in Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place is located at 175 E. Chestnut in Chicago, which is on the ground floor in the mall. The closest parking is the Water Tower Place garage with an entrance on Chestnut. Before I parked there, I checked SpotHero and the Water Tower garage website. They both said $16 so I skipped booking through SpotHero. I also didn’t ask about parking validation. Rookie move! I paid $33 for under three hours of parking. A customer service representative at Broadway in Chicago later confirmed over the phone that they offer validated parking at a rate of $14 for under four hours. So take a few minutes to save almost twenty bucks- don’t be like me and pay full price!
Performance Details and Tickets
Corduroy runs now through January 5, 2020 and most performances are at 10:00 am. Click here for the calendar of performances.
Individual tickets for Corduroy are on sale and range in price from $17.50 – $25. Click here to get discounted tickets on Kidlist!
Tickets are also available by calling the Broadway In Chicago Ticketline at (800) 775-2000 or by visiting www.BroadwayInChicago.com. Tickets are available for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710 or emailing GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com.
Interested in more kid-friendly holiday theater performances? Check out our Guide to Holiday Theater and Nutcracker Performances.