Tag Archives: Boston

Blue Man Group Boston for Kids

event Blue Man Group Boston for KidsWhen the Blue Man Group in Boston invited us to come to a show, I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into. I’d never been to a Blue Man Group show before and I didn’t know how Graham would feel about it, but I figured the worst that could happen was we’d leave early and he’d still be happy we got to take the train to the show. (The Charles Playhouse is very close to the Tufts Medical Center stop on the Orange line and a short walk from the Boylston stop on the Green line.)

It turns out it wasn’t hard to get Graham excited. When walking around town we saw a big sign for the Blue Man Group on the back of a tourist trolley and I told Graham we would go to that show. He was pretty pumped after that and spent a good week talking about going to see the “blue guys.”  

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Photo provided by Blue Man Group

I learned pretty quickly that The Blue Man Group is an experience from the moment you walk in the door. The Charles Playhouse has been totally remodeled all around the BMG experience.

Inside there’s a wall of light and sound called the “Lounge-U-Lum” where kids can interact. No more standing around before the show listening to whining for snacks, instead they’re immediately engaged and curious and interested. 

Special School Vacation Week Bonus for April 21-24: there will be face painting before select shows as well. 

Inside the theater there are snacks and drinks for kids and grown-ups. Yes, you can get a beer. And yes, they have bags of goldfish for the kids. Though I’d recommend finishing your snacks before the show, since it’ll get pretty dark.

Once the show started, I admit, I worried a little bit. I knew BMG involved drumming but I hadn’t given it a lot of thought. The first 5 minutes of the show were loud and I started to worry that maybe the noise would be too much for my noise-averse kid. We did get some earplugs from the ushers (who are SUPER nice, the nicest and most helpful ushers I’ve ever encountered anywhere by a long shot) but after those first 5 minutes the noise wasn’t so loud that Graham had any problems.

 CTP3970 Blue Man Group Boston for Kids

Photo provided by Blue Man Group

After those first minutes, my fears abated. The show is great for kids. No intermission (I’ve found intermission is just an opportunity for kids to say, “Can we go home now?”) and not too long. The show is made up of several small pieces so the action is constantly changing and no one part gets boring. There’s interaction with sight and sound and then there’s plenty of audience interaction, too.

It’s a huge relief for me to go to a show with my kid that’s also fun for ME and not just for him. Yes, I love watching him enjoy things, but being able to enjoy myself is a big plus and a reason why I’d take Blue Man Group over a little-kid-geared-live-show  any day. Jokes abounded, the show is really funny, and even if the humor is often over the kids’ heads, they’re still so excited to be a part of it that they don’t notice much. They’re also pretty excited to watch the adults be silly.

I cannot express to you how excited Graham was. This was not a show where people in the audience were expected to watch silently. The relaxed atmosphere made him very comfortable. Maybe too comfortable. He would yell out with glee to the point where I had to shush him a little. At one point, there was a rousing version of “Tequila” on the drums. So of course, at the end, all the adults in the crowd yelled, “Tequila!” The kids looked around in delighted confusion. Then someone in the back yelled, “Free Bird!” The adults laughed, the kids looked around in delighted confusion. Graham thought he had this figured out. We were taking turns yelling out words, so at this point he hollered, “School bus!” It was perhaps one of my proudest moments as a parent. His enthusiasm, his excitement, his willingness to jump in and be a part of it, it was thrilling for me.

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Photo provided by Blue Man Group

If you ask Graham about the show, even though it’s been two weeks, he will happily tell you all about the very end where the giant balls bounced through the crowd. He had never seen anything like it before. I think he would’ve happily watched those giant balls bounce through the audience for hours. 

So what do parents need to know for a family Blue Man Group Boston visit?

  • Pay attention to where you sit. The front rows of the theater require a poncho because you may get… well, not wet exactly but you’ll want that poncho. We sat in Section C which was perfect, right in the middle with a great view but not too close. The theater is nice and small so most seats are good seats, though if you sit in the balcony, you won’t get the full bouncing-giant-balls experience.
  • Kids 5 and up should be just fine at the performance even though it’s officially recommended for 7 and up. They have booster seats for smaller kids so they can see over big people’s heads. 
  • If you have a noise-sensitive kid, consider bringing some headphones for them in case they need them.
  • There are jokes about butts. So, you know, do with that what you will.
  • After the show the guys in blue came out into the lobby for pictures. Don’t be surprised if your kid is a little scared to have a picture with them, even if they loved the show. Most of the littler kiddos kept their distance.
  • There is a garage where you can get discount parking for the show just a few blocks away.
  • School Vacation Week is a great time to visit, with extra shows and extra events. (Oh, and free meals for kids at MJ O’Connor’s Park Plaza.) 

I honestly never would’ve thought to bring a child to Blue Man Group, but it turned out to be one of Graham’s favorite events of all-time, and as the kid of a blogger he gets his fair share of cool stuff to do. 

Blue Man Group only has 5 locations around the country, so if you’re visiting Boston it’s definitely something to put on your to-do list. If you live here and have friends or family visiting, it’s a nice break from your usual Duck Boats and walking tours. Tickets start at $49, but you can also find them at the BosTix booths for same-day sales or advance sales.


Brunch at Puritan & Company

restaurant Brunch at Puritan & CompanyWhen people ask me about where to go for brunch, I like to have a lot of good answers. So a meetup with the Boston Brunchers to a place I haven’t been to before is always welcome to see if I can add them to my list. This time it was to Puritan & Company in Inman Square in Cambridge. I know Inman Square is a bit of a hotspot food-wise but this was actually my first trip out there as someone who spends more time on the other end of the city.

 Brunch at Puritan & CompanyI was one of the first of the group to arrive and I had to take a few minutes to appreciate the decor. I’m not one of those people who swoons over pretty restaurants, but I was pretty close to it. A country chic decor that still had a nice youthful feel. I fell in love with the brocade on the benches. It was bright and airy, felt kind of like the kitchen you’d see in a magazine.

Though they have a full cocktail menu, they also have their 3 brunch favorites (mimosa, bloody, and a gin cocktail called the Park Avenue) for under $10, a rarity for menus around the Boston area. 

 Brunch at Puritan & CompanyYou would make a big mistake by skipping out on their housemade pastries to start off your meal. While not a big pastry person myself, it’s a big focus of their brunch. There’s a table in the middle of the restaurant where they all sit out for display. We tried a bunch of different ones. Just as you’d expect, I really loved the savory ham & gruyere pinwheels. 

But I also found myself really really in love with their coconut caramel danish. Hugely tasty without being too sweet, I would die for an entire one all for myself. On the other hand, while I loved the Boston Cream Donut, it was too rich for me to eat alone. 

 Brunch at Puritan & CompanyFor the main dish I ordered the Corned Beef Hash, I’m a sucker for a good hash and when I see one on the menu I’m hard pressed not to order it. It came in a skillet with some bright and beautiful sunny side up eggs.

Definitely not your typical hash, this was cooked so nicely, with big pieces of braised beef  and ribbons of potato. It was a much milder hash than I usually have and I could’ve used a bit more seasoning, but it was a great dish.

The Brunchers were big fans of the Wagyu Steak and Eggs and I had a nice bite of someone’s Coppa Ham Sandwich. 

You’ll probably want to make reservations, or come outside the brunch rush, but that’s true for most brunch places. But you could definitely bring a picky eater here and make them very happy.

Thanks to Puritan & Company for feeding the Brunchers free of charge.

Big Apple Circus in Boston Review

event Big Apple Circus in Boston ReviewThis weekend the kids and I rode the train into the city for the Big Apple Circus. Any outing with a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old can be unpredictable. We didn’t even make it through an hour of The Lego Movie so I was prepared for anything that came our way.

 Big Apple Circus in Boston ReviewIn Boston, the circus is in a big tent right in City Hall Plaza. If you’re taking the train, it’s a block or so from the State station with the entrance on Cambridge Street. (Don’t forget–Government Center Station is closed!) What impressed me right away when we came inside was how cozy everything is. With seats most of the way around the center ring, no one was very far from the action.  They also have a live band, the sound levels were just right.

This was the first time I’d taken the littles to a live show and I was pretty impressed at the impact it had on the kids. Compared to a trip to the movies there was way less wiggling, way less whining, and less requests for snacks. (Not that there were none, there were still plenty, but much less.)

So what did they think of the show? They were big fans. The only problem they had was intermission, I thought about leaving then since they got a little restless and weren’t anxious to get back to their seats. Luckily the first act when they started again was horses and they are nuts about animals.

 Big Apple Circus in Boston ReviewGraham loved the tightrope, the acrobats, the clown (who made several appearances), and the horses. But his favorite (and Tessa’s) were the trained dogs. Only one act had them a little bored (they don’t quite get the subtleties necessary to watch a magic act) but it was a short one and didn’t cause us any real trouble. So if you’re looking for a show that’s little-kid friendly but that will also amuse the bigger ones, the circus is a good bet.

And I’m a fan of this selfie we took while waiting for the show. You can see how happy and excited they were.

As a parent I was happy to see that the circus wasn’t too heavy on pricey toys and trappings like I’ve run into elsewhere. (*cough*SesameStreetLive*cough*) The snacks and drinks were more than you’d find outside a show, of course, but they were still better than lots of others. $3 for a hot dog and $1 for a juice box meant I could satisfy those intermission whines without breaking the bank.

On the train ride home I asked Graham if he wanted to join the circus. He said no, it would be too scary. So Graham, he reminds me of myself as a kid, a little more cautious and sensitive. Definitely moreso than Tessa who tends to just keep on going forward no matter what. I agreed that the tightrope might be scary, but made some other suggestions. Juggling? Too hard, he said. Good point. But then I suggested the acrobats, who used a springboard to catapult themselves into the air and he was hooked. Yes, he wanted to do that. That’s my boy.

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The Dosov Troupe with Big Apple Circus. Maybe we’ll see Graham there one day?

Big Apple Circus will be in Boston until May 11th. Don’t forget, you can use promo code BIGAPPLE to save $10 per ticket.

LTYM, You Light Up My Life

ltym old south church announcement pic LTYM, You Light Up My LifeIn the midst of all the madness this month I’ve neglected a lot of things. One of them is to update all of you on the big bright spot in my life that is Listen To Your Mother Boston. We spent much of February in auditions. 4 long days were spent listening to dozens of talented people sharing some of their most personal experiences. After hours of this I felt honored and humbled and inspired and like I’d just been through a really long and cathartic therapy session.

We had overflowing riches when it came to putting a show together. I tried to cull the very best of the best but still found myself with enough pieces for three shows. I finally had to sit down with names on 3×5 cards and start lining them up on the floor to build a show. It worked, thankfully, because otherwise I would’ve been reduced to pulling names out of a hat.

And then my long-awaited day finally came. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to Show Day. (April 26th, 2 pm, Old South Church, Copley Square, Buy Your Tickets Now!!!!) But it still seems far away and not quite real, even if it’s coming fast. The day I’ve been waiting for since we started talking about doing the show months ago was our very first read through. 

I remember the first read through for Providence last year so well. I knew one person, my friend Lexi who’d auditioned with me. I sat down at a table with all these women and was beyond excited to share my piece. And then each of them started to read. There have been a few experiences like that in my life. Like the first week of law school, when I looked around and knew that I was in the right place, where I felt a sense of home that I couldn’t explain. (Yes, law school was an emotional experience for me, shut up.) But this was one of them, coming into a room of people I didn’t know and by the end of it realizing that I was among my own. 

Directing Listen To Your Mother has been about a lot of things, but it has always been a lot about recreating this experience for a new group of people. I hope we did. I know that sitting and listening to each of them tell their stories again, stories I’ve already heard and read and know well, it was still magical.

But enough about me. Listen To Your Mother Boston early bird ticket sales end on Monday. You should definitely get them now. If you’re a mother or a daughter or a writer or a student of the human condition, it will definitely be an experience you’ll treasure. Having these stories in my life has been magnificent and I want everyone to hear them.

And if you’re not in Boston, there is probably a Listen To Your Mother show near you. Or near your Mom. They are all within 2 weeks of Mother’s Day so if you’re thinking about what to get your Mom, well, let’s say this is way better than another vase of flowers. If you and your Mom are in the SAME city, then even better. (Did I just buy tickets for my Mom and Sister to go to the show in Austin? Why yes, yes I did. Mother’s Day done. BOOM.)

So go. Enjoy. You can even bring kids! And men! 

Disclaimer for the Boston show. We may make reference to the truth about Santa Claus. And a little bit of the birds and bees. So perhaps keep that in mind.

Big Apple Circus Ticket Giveaway

event Big Apple Circus Ticket GiveawayI love having kids who are old enough to DO stuff and ENJOY stuff. We’re at kind of a sweet spot that way. And next week I’ll be taking them to the Big Apple Circus, which is coming to Boston from March 25 to May 11. 

Graham doesn’t know what a circus *is* yet, so I’m looking forward to finding some circus books and Youtube videos to watch with him to get him all pumped up. Honestly, I haven’t been to a circus since I was around 12, so it’ll be a great event for me, too.

Luminocity Ad BOS 9 5x11 Big Apple Circus Ticket Giveaway

Big Apple Circus has horses and dogs in their show, but no exotic animals and is a cruelty-free show. It’s handicap accessible and climate controlled, too. (Good thing, since we seem to still be due for a few more cold snaps.) 

Opening weekend starts on Friday the 28th and runs through Sunday the 30th. At these shows there will be performers out in the lobby for an hour before showtime if your kids want to get up close and personal. 

And I’m giving away 2 tickets to the Friday 6:30 pm performance right here. Just enter in the widget below. And if you’d like to get some tickets for your family, you can use the promo code BIGAPPLE to save $10 off EACH ticket. (Limited availability, conditions apply, etc.) Oh, and it’s also a littles-friendly show, you can bring kids under 3 in and hold them on your lap instead of having to buy another seat. LOVE that.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Thanks to Big Apple Circus for inviting me and the kids to their opening weekend and providing tickets for the giveaway.

Equally Divided at the MRT

event Equally Divided at the MRTMost people I know don’t get to the theater often, so I figured the best way for me to talk about Equally Divided at the Merrimack Repertory Theater would be to compare it to what you do more often.

Watching Equally Divided is like watching a great BBC show. There are British accents, there’s a rather bumbling lawyer prone to rambling, there’s a pair of quarreling sisters who couldn’t be more different, there are the types you know put into the kind of uncomfortable situations that make for great drama and comedy. 

So why go to MRT instead of staying at home and watching Downton Abbey on your DVR? Believe me, I know the value of a relaxed evening on the couch. But I also know the value of getting out of your house for a little while, maybe even–dare I say it–putting on some nice clothes and going out for a real dinner, too. The MRT has a small theater, all the seats are fantastic, and it’s all been redone so the chairs are comfy. They have beer, wine, coffee, tea and soda available before the show and during intermission and if you normally buy a drink at your local multiplex you’ll be pleasantly surprised by their reasonable prices. With seats starting at $15, you may actually find you’ll have a cheaper evening out at the MRT than going to a movie. And you won’t have annoying teenagers texting and shouting either.

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Jill Tanner, Felicity Lafortune, Will Lyman and Anthony Newfield. Photo by Meghan Moore

As for the play, Equally Divided is a great mix of drama and laughs. Sisters Edith (Jill Tanner) and Renata (Felicity Lafortune) have just lost their mother. Edith spent years devoting herself to her mother’s care while Renata stayed away and kept busy with a string of failed marriages. It’s time to divvy up the assets and years of resentment are bubbling to the surface. Thrown into the mix is their mother’s stodgy lawyer and the antique dealer who holds the answers to whether their mother’s piles of junk are worth anything or not. Playwright Ronald Harwood has plenty of credits to his name, including movies like The Pianist, Australia and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. His dialogue is smart and snappy. And the cast is really excellent, all filling their roles perfectly. Can I also add that I enjoyed the costumes a lot. They told you exactly what you needed to know about the characters and I really coveted Renata’s kimono.

Shows continue through March 8th and tickets are running low so I’d get moving now. 

Thanks to MRT for inviting me to attend and review Equally Divided.