As a Christmas present a friend bought his wife tickets to go see Wicked at a major theater Downtown. Being friends he invited us to join them and my wife and I did. The seats were very good on the main floor about 15 rows back. They also were, well, I won't quote you a price, dear readers, but let's leave it at "somewhere in the ball park of a new xBox game console, and games" for one seat.
Which you know, was worth it. The show was amazing. The costumes, the music, the story, the effects, everything. The last production of Wicked that we got to see I was rather unimpressed with the illusion of defying gravity. However in this one, they one upped it and had the Munchkins come running out under as she sang (and hit those high notes).
Everything was great. Until... (and you, dear reader, had to know there was an "until..." coming)
Across the isle from me was a 4-year old who by the middle of second act was bored and annoyed at being bored. Most of the first half of Act 2 was spent moving back and forth from her seat to her father's lap. But at the half way mark she was now actively protesting being there. Loudly. To her parents' credit they did try to convince her to lower her voice. And they were moderately successful in short bursts. I imagine that with the music and the singing that her protestations were probably inaudible more than 5 rows away.
I, however, was not 5 rows away.
And there I sat, trying to politely ignore the increasingly in-ignorable. And I was also left with the question: Who thinks that it is worth that kind of money to take a 4-year old to see a professional stage production?
I love X, our 4 year old, dearly. I love taking him to movies, especially the Sunday Family Movie Matinee that our local theater runs. ($1 tickets for kids to see a movie that's about a year old; popcorn is, of course, not discounted). But I'm sorry, at that age I don't think he can really appreciate a professional company production. Or perhaps he can but will he remember it as vividly and as long?
And what of the other patrons who also came to enjoy a quality show? Is the desire for a young child to see a show something that should trump the desire for adults to enjoy that show in peace?
Perhaps the solution is to have designated "kid friendly" shows so that those who want to spend an XBox on tickets for their 4 year olds can do just that, in the company of similarly minded folks....