Updated on Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 10:26AM by Tara Burghart
A few weeks ago, my daughter and I traveled into Chicago to see a new show called “Dot & Ziggy” performed by the Chicago Children’s Theatre. We had a great time, and now I have not only two tickets to give away to a lucky Go West reader, but also a discount code good for $2 off tickets for those of you who don’t win the giveaway.
But first let me tell you about “Dot & Ziggy,” a play about a skunk and a ladybug who are neighbors but not yet friends. It was especially created by the acclaimed Seattle Children’s Theatre for babies and toddlers.
This production by the Chicago Children’s Theatre is being performed through June 26 at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park in collaboration with Seattle Children’s Theater.
In case you think theater for tiny ones is a bit – umm, indulgent – theater for the very young has been popular in Europe and Australia for more than two decades. Arts programs for young children have been shown to have all sorts of benefits, including encouraging children’s innate sense of discovery, developing socialization skills, increasing awareness to movement and sound and much more.
Plus, seeing "Dot & Ziggy" with my 2 1/2-year-old daughter made for a really memorable outing for us. Yes, driving into Chicago's Lincolnl Park from Geneva was a committment -- and finding parking a bit of a headache -- but it was definitely a highlight of the last few months.
Before we went to "Dot & Ziggy," I hadn’t taken Johanna to see any plays or musicals for children yet, even though I'm a huge theater lover. I wasn’t sure how she’d do in a traditional theater seat – would she even be able to see the stage? -- and whether she’d stay put and quiet for a 90-minute show.
But “Dot & Ziggy” was just perfect for her. It’s only 35 minutes long, and it’s performed in a big rectangular room with windows on one entire wall. There are four colored blocks of carpet on the floor, and you sit with your child on the floor in any block you choose. The actors playing “Dot” and “Ziggy” perform in areas between the carpet squares; you can rotate as needed to see the action.
There are puppets, props, songs and some interactive elements, too. As I watched my daughter clap and laugh and smile, I thought that she was just the right age for “Dot & Ziggy.” And then I look across the room to another carpet, where an adorable red-haired girl who couldn’t even walk yet was sitting with her mom, eyes as big as saucers and a smile on her face.
The official age recommendation for “Dot & Ziggy” is babies as young as six months up to 4 year olds, and that seems just about right to me. The show is being performed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.; on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and noon through June 26. Tickets are $16 each on weekdays and $18 each on weekends.