Recently, the girls and I were invited to attend Broadway Disney’s Aladdin at Segerstrom Theater in Orange County. LittleGray and I saw Aladdin last year at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, but this was our first show at Segerstrom. Aladdin is one of my all time favorite musicals and we listen to the soundtrack frequently in the car (more on that later.) Since it is tied so closely to the animated feature, this is the perfect way to introduce your kids to the theater. The script is super funny and full of one liners. The only slightly scary scene is the introduction to the Cave of Wonders, just because it gets a little loud and dark. Even Jafar doesn’t read as “scary” and is actually quite funny throughout the show!
It’s always a nervous exciting feeling the first time you visit a new theater because you don’t really know what to expect. Especially if this is your child’s first full length Broadway show, you want them going into the experience as prepared as possible. Here are my top 5 ways I prepare before taking my kids to the theater.
1. Buy the Soundtrack ahead of time
I actually bought the Aladdin soundtrack as soon as it came out after it premiered on Broadway in New York. Musicals are our number one car belting picks, and we all fell in love with the music way before Aladdin started touring (I mean, the originally cut song from the cartoon movie version, “Proud of your Boy” is reason enough to buy this CD). If your kids are familiar with the songs, it will peak their interest and hold their attention when they see it in person on stage. Also, since you will already have the CD, it will resist the temptation of purchasing it at the gift shop for $30!
2. Research the history behind the musical
Did you know that Disney legends Alan Menken and Howard Ashman were behind the music for Broadway Disney’s Aladdin? The music for Aladdin pays homage to the jazz style “scat singing” from the 1920s which is around the time that the Aladdin story was discovered (it is said to be adapted from centuries-old folktales including One Thousand and One Nights). These behind the scenes facts will help your kids connect to the show and even give you a learning opportunity to research further.
3. Follow the theater, show, and cast on social media
I’ve discovered so many behind the scenes information by following Segerstrom Arts, Aladdin, and some of the cast on instagram. Social media allows the public a small window into a person’s private life. Often times, the show or cast will post clips of what it’s like to be part of a Broadway touring cast. It really connects you to the people behind the show so they’re not just performers on stage. Also, by following Segerstrom Arts and other people who have posted about Segerstrom Arts, I discovered that they have a special photo opportunity with Aladdin’s lamp on the top floor. I would have completely bypassed that if I hadn’t done my research!
4. Walk around the theater house during intermission
Our favorite thing to do is to walk up to the stage during intermission to look at the orchestra pit. At Segerstrom, you can actually look down into the pit and see the instruments and some of the musicians. What’s also unique to Segerstrom is that you can get an up close view of the sound stage. I use this as an opportunity to expose my girls to the tech side of theater and how much goes into putting on a performance.
5. Buy the program book
My favorite souvenir to buy is the program book which is usually around $20. Photography or videography during the show is strictly prohibited, so the progam is a great way to remember the stunning visuals you’ve just seen. Usually it will also give you some history about the show. My girls like to pour over these programs after they go home and relive the show. It’s a great way to talk about the characters and remember the plot and storyline.
Next Up: “Emily Brown and the Thing”
I grew up loving theater and musicals so I hope to expose my daughters to live performances as much as I can. The next family friendly musical at Segerstrom is “Emily Brown and the Thing” which is based off the critically acclaimed book by the same author who wrote “How to Train your Dragon”. This show will be at the smaller Sameuli Theater on the Segerstrom Arts campus. Tickets start at just $20 and everyone needs a ticket to attend regardless of age. “Emily Brown and the Thing” will only be in town on March 30 and 31, so be sure to get your tickets quickly!
Tickets can be bought directly from Segerstrom at SCFTA.org, in person (600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626), or over the phone (714-556-2787). Group sale discounts are also available by calling (714) 755-0236.
More information about Disney Aladdin the Hit Broadway Musical can be found online, Instagram, facebook, and Twitter. All photos are courtesy of Segerstrom Center of the Arts and used with permission.