Childsplay: Children’s Theatre in Phoenix
Childsplay is a professional children’s theatre in Phoenix, and quite possibly one of the best. There are several youth theaters in the area which we love. Childsplay however is unique in that it has adult actors portraying characters from children’s picture and chapter books. This is an excellent way to introduce children to theatre and literature!
We’ve seen over half a dozen shows with Childsplay over the years. I still remember seeing “The Cat in the Hat” when our son was almost 3. It was his first show and I was nervous he wouldn’t be interested. I was so wrong! He was spellbound by seeing his favorite characters come to life, and stayed in his seat the entire 50 minutes! The actors were so engaging in telling the adventures of Cat in the Hat.
As a mom, I appreciated that the script was taken directly from the book, with very few additions. Classic books are just that: strong enough to be read or performed! Our experiences with Childsplay have been greatly enriched by, if applicable, reading the book before seeing the play adaptation. ￼Knowing the story also helps keep a child’s interest during the show.
We are so excited to join the Childsplay Influencer Team for the 2019-2020 season! You will hear a lot more about their shows in the upcoming months. Their shows for this season include:
- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (September 8 – October 13, 2019)
- Chato’s Kitchen (November 2-24, 2019)
- Ella Enchanted: The Musical (December 7-29, 2019)
- Elephant and Piggie: We Are In a Play! (January 26 – March 8, 2020)
- Suzette Who Set to Sea (April 18 – May 17, 2020)
We saw The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane in mid-September and it is quite possibly the most heartfelt and popular plays that Childsplay has produced. It’s the story of a toy rabbit, Edward Tulane, his multiple owners and his journey. His physical journey, and his emotional journey to learn that to love and be loved, even when it hurts, is what makes us who we are. You’ll laugh (and possibly cry) and fall in love with this beautiful adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s book.
Our Emily also had a chance to be a Kid Reporter, complete with a backstage tour and interviews with the actors! (The backstage tour is available for every show. Learn more on Childsplay’s website.) You can view Emily’s own video summary on our YouTube page:
2019-2020 Show Summaries
Chato’s Kitchen at Childsplay – by Liz Haveman
Hola mis amigos! Come join the tough gatos in the barrio for some mole! Chato’s Kitchen is the newest offering from Childsplay at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix and it will have you rolling with laughter right from the start.
Chato, played by Moises Castro, is a cat who loves to cook, and he’s looking to satisfy the appetite of himself and his friend Novio Boy, played by Ricky Araiza, by cooking up a family of mice that just moved into the neighborhood. Chato invites them over for dinner, but the mice family and their kids, all cleverly played by Jon Gentry and Liz Neitge, are a bit wary of possibly becoming dinner.
The ensuing story is replete with kid pleasing slapstick comedy that will probably have my kids making fart noises and smacking each other’s bottoms with towels for weeks to come. The scene changes were even entertaining, comprising of an entire subplot about a bird family.
This was a very fun loving story that encouraged making good decisions, showing kindness to people or mice who are different than you, making friends, and knowing when to change.
To top off the evening, right outside of the theater was a table set up with paper bags, crayons, tape and pipe cleaners and instructions encouraging kids to make their own cat puppets. For my girls, a play and arts and crafts is just about the perfect night. We loved Chato’s Kitchen and feel honored to have been invited to the world premier!
8 year old: “My favorite part was when they orange cat and the black cat fought each other with the turkey leg and loaf of bread.”
6 year old: “My favorite part was when the mice first saw the cats and everyone went, ‘Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!’”
Ella Enchanted: The Musical – by Jana Tingom
We absolutely loved seeing Ella Enchanted this afternoon! We loved the songs, the energy of the performers, and the messages of bravery and honesty. Also – the ogres were hilarious.
Ella is blessed at birth by her fairy godmother with the gift of obedience. But it is really a gift? Ella goes on a journey that tests her strength and finds some new friends on the way. If you’ve seen the movie version, this musical is much more like the book. Both are enjoyable, but this version from Childsplay is a lovely tribute to the author’s original storyline.
Childsplay averages 5 shows per season, running September-May. Ticket prices start at $12, and all shows are held at the Herberger Theatre in downtown Phoenix. For more information, visit their website: https://www.childsplayaz.org.