Seven Tips for Taking Kids to SHN’s The Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz, Mirvish Productions Toronto

The Wizard of Oz is in San Francisco for two weeks only beginning last Wednesday, so if you want to go, you need to act fast. Here are a few considerations if you’re going with kids.

Should you take kids? The Wizard of Oz is a great family film, but how does that translate for young kids in a theater? First off, SHN asks that children under five not attend, taking the youngest kids out of consideration. My 10 year old loved the performance, but we kept my active seven-year-old son home because I knew the story would not have kept his attention the entire time. He’s been to the theater before and has done great, but I didn’t think this was a story he’d want to sit through for long. That’s not to say that this doesn’t work for all seven year old boys or even six year old boys, but you know your child’s attention span best.

Is it scary? Not really. As a child, I remember being scared in parts of the movie, but the stage performance felt less scary and uncertain. There are a few bright flashes, and of course, a wicked witch with monkeys, but it never felt tense. If you have a very sensitive child, your experience may be different. At one point, the Wicked Witch appears in the audience on the side of the stage, but other than that, no one roams the aisles.

Buy the candy. It may be $4, but it’s like a magic elixir to keep kids going during the second act.

Bring water bottles. SHN allows you to bring water bottles into the theater. Do so to skip the long line for drinks at intermission.

The bathroom with the shortest line is downstairs. When you walk in the entrance, make a right to go down the stairs. That bathroom has a much shorter line than the others, even during intermission.

Grab the seat-boosting cushions for your kids as you walk into the theater. Stuck behind a tall guy, I wished I would have grabbed one for myself.

There’s a dog! Of course there is a dog, silly, but the surprise was that it is alive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a production with a real dog in so much of the show. The dog who played Toto – his name is Nigel – was awesome, and I dare say, he stole the show. Toto/Nigel was a crowd favorite.

Photo courtesy of SHN

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