Pure imagination

I took my kids to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the musical today. I’ve taken them to see other musicals before but this was the first one where I glimpsed how the smallest things can have the greatest impact.

Opening night had discount tickets so we got great front row seats on the cheap. It was wonderful because a) there was no one in front to be bothered by my son’s standing to get a better view, and b) they were able to see the actors and sets so clearly you felt as if you were there on stage with them. That felt especially true during the general conversations, when the actors spoke in seemingly intimate levels.

The only downside to being that close was the musical numbers were occasionally difficult to understand as you hear the orchestra pit more than the actors voices.  But that was completely offset by the fact my kids could look in on the performers playing during the show.  

I told my daughter, “that could be you someday if you practiced your piano hard enough.” She looked embarrassed, and said, “I could never perform on stage.”

I laughed. “You wouldn’t be preforming on stage, you’d be performing beneath the stage.” 

She watched them for a while and then pointed excitedly. “Daddy, someone is playing piano down there!”

I smiled.  “See what I told you? You could do that too.”

I’m positive she’ll remember that as one of the defining moments in her love of piano.  It reminded me of the way I felt when I saw Beauty and the Beast the musical on Broadway when I was eleven. As soon as I got home, I asked my piano teacher to get me the full Broadway sheet music, and learned many of the songs by heart. I can even still play a few today (though not by memory).

My daughter said several times, “this is the best musical ever!” And both she and my son were full of smiles, especially at the end when Charlie Bucket won.  My face was broken with a grin as well, sharing in their joy and loving every minute of it.

If you have kids or are just young at heart, I highly recommend the show.  You won’t be disappointed.