Every summer, we go to the Target Family Theatre Fest at the Orlando Repertory Theatre, but we’d never been to a show during the Rep’s season. E. really wanted to go see “Pinkalicious: The Musical” last month, but between birthdays, trips to Duke and everything in between, we just couldn’t make it there.
I promised her we’d go to the next show, and today I made good on that promise.
We even brought friends.
So, apparently I’m failing in the Mom department because although I think I’ve vaguely heard of the “Lyle, Lyle Crocodile” series, I can’t recall ever reading any of the books. I mean, they were just published in the 1960s. How am I supposed to stay on top of the latest trends in children’s publishing? The Rep’s production of “Lyle the Crocodile” is based on the first book in the series, “The House on East 88th Street.”
In a way, I was a little glad we hadn’t read the books yet. It made everything about the experience new and exciting.
We got there a little early since we were meeting friends, and E. and her friend made a beeline for the activity tables to color their own Lyle the Crocodiles.
Finally, it was time to go find our seats.
When I ordered the tickets online this week, the best available ones were in the left section, four rows up. At first I was disappointed that we weren’t in the center section, but since we had two 4-year-olds and one 3-year-old and it was the first theater experience for some of them, I think the seats were perfect.
For licensing reasons, they asked us not to take pictures during the production, so you’ll have to take my word for it — it was fabulous! It was about an hour long and it was just adorable. I was impressed with the sets and the actors, including all the children who were in it.
If I could have taken photos, they probably would have been mostly of E. I loved watching her watch it. She was mesmerized by the whole thing and laughed at all the right places and clapped along to the beat. She had a smile on her face for nearly the entire show. This wasn’t E’s first play but she still watched it unfold with the same sense of excitement and awe as she did at her first show. After every mini-act, she’d turn to me and nervously ask, “Is it over?” She never wanted it to end.
She and her friends were also thrilled when castmembers, especially Lyle, came out into the audience to hide during a game of hide-and-seek or to lead the parade down the stairs. All three of the girls were just, for lack of a better word, enchanted by the whole show.
And the fun didn’t stop at the final curtain call. It was time to meet the actors!
In case the green Converse and glittery scales didn’t give away, that’s Lyle. The actor who played him was great. Lyle doesn’t speak during the play, so he uses his body and face to convey all the croc’s emotions. And he’s got some sweet dance moves.
E. also met some of kids who were in the show. They were adorable signing autographs and asking E. and her friends how old they were and if they liked the show. The girls in this picture were both 10 and did a great job! Hmmm, wheels turning …
And there can never be enough pictures with crocodiles, including these “jailed” crocs, aka the crocs from the zoo.
E. did surprise me in one way, though. The child who will run up to ANY Disney character for a picture — including everyone from The Beast to Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and stepsisters — would not go near the “bad guy” from the play. It wasn’t just her, though. None of the kids would go near him, despite his (SPOILER ALERT!) redemption at the end of the show. Silly kids.
In case you’re curious, tickets were $17 for adults and $11 for kids. We had to pay a service charge for ordering them online, but I learned today that there’s no service charge if you call to order them by phone. Lesson learned.
It feels a bit pricey for a one-hour show, but they definitely earned their money. From the sets to the costumes to the performances, we were not disappointed.
Why has it taken me so long to go to a show at the Rep? Now that we’ve discovered just how great it is, we’ll be back!
What was your first show? I’m blanking on my first Broadway show (for some reason “Sound of Music,” fittingly enough, is in my head but I feel like there was something else before that), but the first show that really made a huge impact on me was seeing “Les Miserables” in London my junior year of college. I feel hook, line and sinker for musicals after that.