JAMIE LEVINE’S SHOW REVIEW: The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters, the Musical
When it comes to promoting family values in an easy, accessible way, most moms know that the Berenstain Bears are ideal messengers for their children. This well-loved family of bears, featuring Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Sister Bear, and Brother Bear, began starring in their own line of books in 1974, and have been a universal hit with kids and parents ever since. Last weekend, Jayda and I and were able to watch these wonderful bears live, in action, in a delightful off-Broadway show, and now my daughter—as well as myself—are bigger fans than ever.
Based on three beloved books in Stan and Jan Berenstain’s classic children’s series, The Berenstain Bears Learn about Strangers, The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble at School, and The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food, and approved by the authors themselves, The Berenstain Bears LIVE! is at once entertaining and educational, and kept my four-year-old and her five-year-old friend riveted for the duration of the well-paced 55-minute show. Filled with lively songs and non-stop action, the show seamlessly combines three significant storylines: The Bear family’s unhealthy obsession with junk food, Brother Bear’s lack of focus at school, and Sister Bear’s imprudent desire to talk to strangers. And as each of the Bears grapples with issues that are relevant to our kids, sensible, loving Mama Bear gracefully sets things right in a way that’s appealing—and not too preachy—for children.
Seeing this show less than one month after Jayda’s four-year check-up at the pediatrician, when I was advised that Jayda should slow down her weight gain, I especially enjoyed the show’s promotion of healthy eating. Lately, Jayda and I have been talking about how she needs to eat healthier, and after the show, she told me that the part about getting rid of junk food and exercising more was her favorite. In this segment, Papa Bear’s unhealthy obsession with Sugar Balls, Choco-Chums, and Sweetsie-Cola has caused him to put on too much weight, and Mama Bear sings a song called “Fluff on Your Tummy,” and encourages her family to get into shape. She rids the house of junk food and replaces it with healthy snacks, and even gets her family to compete in a three-mile race. Jayda knows I like to run—and she does, too—and we both found this concept inspiring.
After the show, the cast was available for pictures and autographs, and best of all (according to Jayda and her friend), two of the bears painted bear-noses on all of the kids. Thus, my little Jayda Bear walked out of the show with a beary happy smile on her face—and a perfect recollection of three timely lessons: Work hard in school, use caution around strangers, and eat healthy foods.
Performance Schedule: Every weekend
Tickets are $39.95, $49.95, and 64.95
MMAC is located at 248 West 60 Street, NYC
And can be purchased at http://www.berenstainbearslive.com/ or by phone at (866) 811-4111
Running Time is 55 minutes
For video, photos, and more information please visit http://www.berenstainbearslive.com/