Parents wanting to add more cultural experience to their children’s lives often turn towards the theatre, but they can sometimes run into trouble finding a kid-friendly show that fits their parental safeguards. However, one of Broadway’s most successful shows, Wicked, has proven not only to be entertaining for adults, but both appropriate and exciting for kids and teens as well.
Wicked is based upon the novel by Gregory Maguire. It tells the story of the two shades of witches that you were first introduced to in The Wizard of Oz. It traces the origins of Elphaba and Glinda in such a unique way that it truly affords the audience the opportunity to get to know them and understand their struggles on a more personal level. The audience follows the budding friendship of the witches and witnesses them step into their destiny as the production progresses.
The show is filled with vibrant costumes, enticing music, and ornate special effects that are sure to entertain people of all ages. Plus, the show is filled with a variety of different teachable tales such as the value of embracing your uniqueness, the beauty of true friendship, or the joys of falling in love.
While the show’s tone differs from the light and airy Judy Garland based Wizard of Oz, it is still considered by virtually all who see it to be a child-friendly production. The language in the production is clean and the minimal amount of violence that transpires during the show happens offstage, out of sight of children in Greek style.
It is important to note that Wicked lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes with an intermission, which means it may be too long for restless smaller children and babies. Additionally, the bright lights, loud noises, and flying monkeys may prove to be frightening for some younger children or children who have a sensitivity to such these matters. For these reasons, it is generally recommended that Wicked be mainly geared for children ages 8.
Mom Susan A. of Texas shared in a review, “My 6 yr old was not at all scared of the show or effects. She was very familiar with all the music and with the story (both girls have been completely obsessed with the show for quite some time). My advice to parents taking a younger child to a show like Wicked, or any musical for that matter, is to get the music ahead of time and listen to it with them. So much of the story in musicals is told through the lyrics, and I’ve found that when my girls know the music ahead of time and at least have a general idea of the story line, they enjoy the show much more.”
A.B. from Reno, Nevada shared, “I just wanted to give my input regarding the question “Is Wicked appropriate for children?”. My son who will turn 5 at the end of October just loved the show. He had listened to the CD with me in the car and while I cleaned the house and just got hooked to listening to the music. I don’t think it should be said that ‘Wicked’ isn’t appropriate for children under the age of 8, it really depends on the child and what they are exposed to. It was the most incredible sight seeing my son dressed to the nines (his idea) and he was the perfect escort for me and my two sisters. I had read that the dragon, flying monkeys and when the wizards head makes an appearance that small children would get scared. This was his first Broadway show and a memorable experience that he’ll keep forever. I am so thrilled that I was able to share this experience with him and to know that he will love the theater as much as his mom.”
For a more detailed breakdown of the show and its individual elements such as language, violence, themes, and tips for parents visit Musical Schwartz.