The hit Broadway spectacular, Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, which just ended its run at the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House, was the fourth offering of the current Broadway in Miami season, presented by RRA Broadway Across America and the Adrienne Arsht Center. It wowed audiences—especially the hundreds of children in the theater who were kept on the edge of their seats by the stunning athleticism of the performers, the explosion of colors and movement, the soaring aerialist, the acrobats and jugglers. And while Chicago, the final show opening May 26, is decidedly a more adult affair, the 08/09 Broadway lineup has been a hit parade of some of the greatest musicals ever created for family audiences: The Wizard of Oz, Annie, Cats—a dream of a season for families who love to experience and share the excitement of live theater and the magic of the performing arts. Nearly 59,000 people came to the theater to see these four shows, and there were lots and lots of kids at every performance!
These musicals, with their enchanting stories, timeless characters, and memorable scores, have been introducing children to live theater for generations—not just in this country, but around the world. And once again, they have worked their magic—here in Miami—at the Adrienne Arsht Center. For many of the kids who sat in the audience booing the Wicked Witch, trying out some cat moves, hoping against hope that Annie and Sandy would find a home, and dreaming of soaring through the air on a flying trapeze, this was their first-ever Broadway show! We are certain that for many of them it was an unforgettable experience that will turn them into lifelong theatergoers.
We know that for many of you, this is exactly how you got hooked on the performing arts. When you were a kid you were taken to a musical, or to a stage adaptation of your favorite story, or to see The Nutcracker, or to hear a concert. Instantly you thought, “Well this is the best thing ever!” And then you couldn’t get enough! It’s addictive—and it’s easy to see why.
The performing arts enrich our lives. They make us feel. They’re beautiful, exciting, scary, fun, challenging, thought-provoking, moving, and hugely entertaining. They teach us things about ourselves—and about others— that we can’t learn anywhere else—or at least not while having such a good time! They bring communities together. At a theater or concert hall, black box studio or outdoor stage, people who have never had a language in common suddenly do—through melody, through movement, through rhythm, even through stories so universal that it really doesn’t matter what language they’re spoken in. In Miami, perhaps the most diverse city in the country, where people from around the world come to live and play, what could be more precious?
It’s a no-brainer that introducing children to the performing arts has to be one of the primary goals of this or any other great performing arts center. Turning them into life-long performing arts lovers—through live performances of family shows, classes, workshops, and a host of other interactive at-the-theater and in-the-classroom activities—is certainly at the top of the Adrienne Arsht Center agenda.
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