I was born in New York City, but my parents quickly migrated south (to Miami) after one too many brutal winters in the Northeast. Even still I grew up making annual trips to see my grandmother, aunt, and cousins. On one of those annual trips, my dad surprised the family with front row tickets to my very first Broadway show: Cats at the Winter Garden Theater.
Although I remember very little about the production itself (besides that one Cat who scared us when he popped out of the stage two feet from our seats), I do remember being completely mesmerized from start to finish…so much so that the next year when my dad took us to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular (which is a lovely show, by the way) instead of something else on the Great White Way, I. Was. Pissed.
Fast forward to now, having met my husband doing summer theater upstate and having spent three years working for Disney Theatrical Productions, theater remains a very special part of my life.
That may explain why I practically cried tears of joy when my husband gifted the family with tickets to see The Lion King for Christmas. Sure, I’ve already seen it, but this would be my son’s very first Broadway experience.
But, you know, kids.
We let Miles pick where we had lunch before our matinee, and he chose McDonald’s (of course). He insisted on a chicken nugget Happy Meal, but began to slow down after nugget #2. Miles is a skinny kid (as in, not even ON the growth chart) and he is easily distracted when it’s time to eat. So, basically I had to nag him continuously to get four nuggets eaten before he claimed he has a stomach ache…but still room for dessert, natch.
There was still some time to kill, so we made our way over to Schmackary’s, an AMAZING bakery right in the theater district. One bite into the cookie he chose, Miles decided he wanted mine instead. Sure. Two bites into that one, he was “full.”
To the theater!
Of course, our child immediately found the gift shop/stand in the theater and began
asking begging for a new “friend” (what he calls his stuffed animals). We convinced him to actually SEE the show before making any hasty purchasing decisions.
I kid you not, I was in tears before the sun finished rising over the Pridelands; that opening number gets me every time. But I had to wipe those tears away quickly because no sooner did the show begin than Miles was leaning over and saying he was hungry.
Luckily, I know my kid because mama had snacks – specifically quiet ones like string cheese that he could munch on without being completely disruptive. And then…
By that point, I think we were all questioning whether or not we were going to survive Act II. Miles kept asking when Kion (thanks The Lion Guard) was going to make an appearance. Even though I know Kiara came first (yeah, I know things, what?), I let him believe the baby at the end was him. Happy endings for everyone.
In the end, Miles did get his new “friend” – baby Simba. It didn’t come cheap, but (a) he hasn’t put the thing down since, and (b) who could resist this face?
It might be a little while before Miles’ next Broadway experience; children’s theater will have to do the trick for now. But it was his first, and I’m so happy to have been able to share it with him.
Once kids are walking and talking, the milestones slow down significantly. What are some other firsts I have to look forward to?