Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Theatre that's not for a 10 year old

Now I know why children end up at musicals that are way long for their attention span and way too mature to hold their interest.

I got an e-mail a few days ago from BosTix, which offers reduced-price tickets to Boston-area arts events, about the national tour of The Color Purple. The show begins its two-week stand at Boston's Citi Performing Arts Center tonight.

I was surprised that BosTix was advertising the musical as "appropriate for ages 10 and up." So I checked out the tour's Web site and found this advisory: "The Color Purple may be inappropriate for children 10 and under."

Maybe I'm out of touch with the maturity level of kids these days but I think 10 or 11 is way too young to see this show. It deals with some pretty somber themes - including child abuse, domestic violence and incest.

I enjoyed The Color Purple when I saw it on Broadway and I think it would be fine for a high school student - but not a 10-year-old. Plus, I just can't see it holding the attention of a child that young for 2 1/2 hours.

There are so many musicals that are much more appropriate for kids in that age range, and they'd enjoy them a whole lot more. I would rather have a child's introduction to the theatre be something that will amaze and enthrall them.

So if you really want to see The Color Purple, my advice is to get a babysitter and leave the 10-year-olds at home. The Lion King is coming to Boston in February. Wait and take them to that instead. I guarantee you they'll have a better time.


Sarah B. Roberts said...

I disagree partially - I think it depends on the 10 year old, especially if the child is a girl. By this age, they've already seen way more sophisticated tv shows and movies than the musical of The Color Purple.

Chris Caggiano said...

I'm seeing TCP for the first time this Friday. (You might recall that I missed my Broadway chance to see the show due to traffic.) So I can't yet fully weigh in on the age-appropriateness of this show.

For me, when it comes to language, it's about the particular 10 year old. Some parents are more permissive than others, and that's fine.

But what really concerns me is having a 10 year old sit through a 2.5 hour serious musical. Even the most mature of 10 yos is likely to get antsy. I say power to the parents for wanting to take them to a musical with something serious on its mind, but they might want to wait a few years on this one.

When I was last in NYC, I went to see Mary Stuart with my friend SarahK. Her boyfriend has a 10 yo daughter, and we all went to brunch beforehand. Lexy really wanted to come with us, but Sarah and I knew full well that Lexy would *NEVER* be able to sit through a serious historical drama, no matter how compelling. Not an f-bomb or an inappropriate topic in sight, just a lot of speechifying, and Lexy (a very...um...energetic child) would have been bored 5 minutes in.

Pam said...

Esther, I couldn't agree with you more. As you know, I saw TCP last month here in Providence. And it ran THREE hours. Way to long for a 10 year old (or a 45 year old for that matter. In addition, I do not think the topic would be interesting to a 10 year in the least. Not even a mature ten year old.

Esther said...

Thanks, Sarah. You're right, kids do see a lot on tv and in movies that's more explicit than anything in The Color Purple. Maybe I just want to maintain that sense of childlike innocence a little longer. ;-)

But I do have to agree with Pam and Chris, some shows are too long and the topics too mature to hold the attention of a 10-year-old. And I think The Color Purple is one of those.

It would be nice if there were a better rating system for shows, not just for Broadway but for when they go on the road.

Dale said...

I'm with you on this one Esther. I saw and loved the touring show when it was here but hardly think it's appropriate from a subject matter standpoint. The length is another reason it'd be tough for most young people to sit through. By the way, I absolutely loved the show and the performances were just top notch.

Esther said...

I loved the show, too. The Color Purple was the very first show Steve on Broadway and I saw together, on the first day we met in person after being e-mail friends for months. I wanted to keep that experience unique, so that's why I bypassed the tour.