On the day that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream reached a new level of realization – with the first Black President of the United States being inaugurated for the second time – I had my own serendipitous experience by taking my kids to a wonderful new play, which gives a broad strokes history of African American struggles in America. It’s one that young kids can understand.
Show Way, at the Vital Theatre on the Upper West Side, is based on the Newbery Honor-winning book by Jacqueline Woodson. It tells the story of Toshi Georgiana, a spunky 11-year-old who misplaces a special family heirloom. Show Ways were quilts made from patches with secret meanings – some with maps for slaves to follow to freedom. It is one such patch from a family quilt that is lost by Toshi.
With the help of her charismatic multicultural friends, she searches for it, and is led by generations of women who came before her. The women from her family’s past span history from the time of slavery, through the civil rights movement to present day. While giving the young audience important historical perspective, the play also highlights the importance of family, friends and tradition in shaping each of our lives.
The hour-long production is filled with catchy tunes, energetic dance routines and heartfelt dialogue. My daughters (five and seven) were engaged and interested from start to finish. The show is perfect for the five+ age group. Afterwards, the audience is invited to meet the friendly cast and get their autographs.
Even though we’re lucky to live in a wonderfully diverse city, where I can truly say that my kids put everyone on an even playing field, this play is a must-see for all children – especially during such a monumental time in history.
Performances run January 19 – March 3 on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 am and 1 pm, with special school holiday performances on Feb 6, and Feb 18 – 19 at 11 am and 1 pm. Tickets begin at $25. Premium seats are available for $30. For reservations, visit www.vitaltheatre.org, (212) 579-0528, or visit the McGinn/Cazale box office. Vital Theatre Company is located at 2162 Broadway on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Mina was an HR Recruiter for years. Now her time is spent happily juggling the demands of two young daughters while trying to expose them to the endless adventures the city has to offer.
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