Mom Report by Hilary Hansen:
My 2-year-old daughter loves the Llama, Llama book series by Anna Dewdney, so we were thrilled to take her to see Llama, Llama, Red Pajama at Nashville Children’s Theater (NCT). This would be her very first theater experience. I was nervous that she wouldn’t last a full hour without intermission (she can barely make it through 20 minutes of a program at home). The NCT website mentioned it may be best suited for ages 3 and older due to a potentially scary moment with shadowy figures. My fears were completely unfounded. It turned out to be a fantastic experience all around!
Tips from the Start
We arrived at the theater 30 minutes early and found free parking, which is always a perk in my book. I recommend arriving early to snag a good spot. The theater had Llama, Llama-themed activities in the lobby for the kids to enjoy while waiting (smart move, NCT). The kids could color pajamas, find book images around the theater scavenger-hunt style or write about their bedtime routine. These activities were for kids of all ages. I was also instantly put at ease to see many other parents with toddlers.
In the Theater
We moved into the theater right on time. The space is fairly small, meaning there are no bad seats. I recommend being further back if you think you might have an unruly child. The show began and their ability to bring the books to life was outstanding. The show blends storylines from different Llama, Llama books for a story about Llama going to bed the night after his first day at school.
The actors pulled off the material effortlessly and the choreography was on point. The songs were fabulous and my daughter’s attention was held for most of it. (She did say “bye” to the actors about 45 minutes into the production.) Typical toddler antics aside, we managed to make it until the end. It was so much fun watching my daughter’s delight throughout. The shadowy part we were warned about didn’t seem to scare my child and she clapped at the end of every song. I was surprised that we enjoyed it thoroughly as well. There were many lyrics designed to make parents laugh, like a song about what kids think their parents do when they go to bed, as well as a realistic portrayal of how kids stall so naturally at bedtime.
Taking a Toddler to a Show Made for a Very Easy Outing
Overall, it was a 10 out 10 experience. The musical gets a 5 star review: great songs, witty dialogue and standout performances by the actors. The show takes very simple stories from the books and expands them into an imaginative world where llamas go to school and their toys sing and dance. I cannot wait to visit NCT again for another performance and I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t before. It was a very easy outing for the family from start to finish and we were home by lunch, but it felt like we had done something quite special as a family.