Do We Risk Taking A Young Child To A Broadway Show?

Got a question? E-mail me to submit a question, and to read future Miriam’s Advice Well columns, visit weekly on Thursday.

Dear Miriam,

I have a chance to take my kids to see a traveling Broadway production of “Frozen.” My younger child is still in the “totally obsessed with ‘Frozen’” stage, but she’s probably too young to sit through the whole show. My older child is completely over “Frozen,” but she is in the right age bracket for a full-length musical. We don’t have a lot of opportunities like this, so I don’t want to miss the chance, but also, it’s a lot of money, especially if my kids can’t or won’t actually enjoy the experience. What do you think I should do?


Let it Go?


Dear Go,

That’s it. That’s my advice. Go. When you have the chance to take children to live theater, almost regardless of what it is, take advantage of that opportunity. The musicals and plays I saw when I was young – some specifically geared towards children, but mostly not – had a profoundly positive, life-changing impact on me. If your kids derive even a fraction of that benefit from seeing Frozen the musical, I really think it’s worth it. 

Assuming you’re just going to go ahead and take my advice, I’ll try to set you up for success as much as possible. For the week leading up to the performance, talk to your kids about what it means to be a good audience member: sitting down so the people behind you can see, being quiet so everyone can hear, and clapping to show appreciation to the performers. Describe the process of an usher taking you to your seats, that there might be a little bit of waiting before the show starts, that the lights will go out, that some parts might be loud, that they can whisper if they need to talk to you during the show. Talk about the lobby, about going to the bathroom before the show starts, about getting a program to learn about the people who are on stage.

Consider bringing small (and quiet!) candies or snacks that can be enjoyed during the show, and also consider bringing a stuffed animal or a Frozen-themed toy for your younger one to hold onto. Make sure that everyone gets up and stretches (and uses the bathroom again!) during intermission, and feel free to offer louder snacks at that time to keep everyone’s energy up during the second half. 

Even if your older child isn’t thrilled about “Frozen,” hopefully there will be many parts of being in the theater that will be inherently thrilling separately from the show. And even though she’s totally over Elsa, seeing something familiar presented in a new way may give her insights and perspectives that are new and interesting, in spite of herself. 

If it turns out you need to leave early, don’t consider the money spent on tickets to be a waste. If your younger one cries because something is scary or your older one complains that she’s bored, allow those reactions to be part of the experience. If this turns out to be too much, you’ll have learned something and can look for shorter or more age-appropriate live performances for next time. I have a good feeling, though, that no matter how they react in the moment, seeing this show will be formative – and positive – for all of you.

Be well,