Kid Review: The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters, the Musical

UPDATE: The show has been extended for the third time, beginning November 5, 2011 for an open-ended run at the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theatre (5 West 63rdStreet). The show will play Saturdays at 11am and Sundays at 2pm. Each performance features a FREE Berenstain Bears post-show dance party, face painting, and photos with the Berenstain Bears!

This past Saturday, we headed into The City for some Off-Broadway fun. We had tickets to see The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters, The Musical. That famous bear family from Stan and Jan Berenstain’s classic children’s book series comes to life this summer now through September 4 .

The Berenstain Bears LIVE is an entertaining show, featuring the sweet family morals and lessons you know from the books, told in song. Family Matters focuses on three lessons: laying off the junk food, being prepared in school and never talking to strangers. The latter really scared my kids, especially my 7-year-old, but more on that later.

The show is playing at The Manhattan Movement Arts Center, a very nice performance space. Just the right size for this type of production. The stage design is perfect. A few, simple backdrops and pieces with illustrations right out of the books. It has a real Bear Country feel. The actors are very good too, I especially liked Papa Bear. After the show, kids can get little bear noses painted on their faces and meet the bears for photos.

Here is what my girls thought of The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters, the Musical:

Barista Kids: What did you think of The Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters, the Musical?
K (Age 7 1/2):
It was pretty good.
N (Age 4):
It was a little bit great.

BK: What was your favorite part?
K: When Papa Bear busted his pants because he ate too much junk food.
N: When Brother Bear ate his porridge so fast because he wanted to get to soccer practice.

BK: Were there any parts of the musical you didn’t like?
K: I didn’t like the story about Talking to Strangers. The drawings were very scary and the fox was frightening.
N: I didn’t like the steam in the part about Talking to Strangers. I didn’t like the fox, he was so scary.

BK: Who was your favorite character/actor?
K: Brother Bear because I like soccer.
N: Sister Bear.

BK: Did you learn any lessons from the story?
K: Never talk to strangers, don’t eat too much junk food and do your homework.
N: Don’t talk to strangers and don’t eat junk food or you will bust your pants.

BK: Would you recommend the show to other kids?
K: Yes, but I would warn them about the scary part.
N: Yes.

About the Talking to Strangers part. In the play, Sister bear likes to say hello to people she sees in Bear Country. Brother Bear tells her parents and Papa Bear, trying to teach her not to do it, tells her a story about a goose who meets a stranger fox and talks to him and eventually ends up in his stew to be eaten. The music is dark, the fox is sinister and the props, like smoke and strangers carrying things with scary faces (balloons with evil looking eyes and teeth), were a bit too much for my girls. I should say that my oldest daughter is frightened easily and as soon as I saw the balloons with those faces I knew we would have a rough night. And I was right. She couldn’t get to sleep that night and kept calling me because she was really scared. My 4-year-old, while scared while watching, was fine afterward. So, it really depends on the child.

Overall, We really enjoyed ourselves and had a great day in NYC.

Want to take your family to see the show? We have a great deal for you. Purchase your tickets here and use the code BLOGGER for a special discount of 20% off on VIB tickets–that’s Very Important Bear! With your VIB tickets, your kids will get adorable Bear Ears to wear during the show and get to sit right up front on the Grassy Knoll at the foot of the Bear Country stage.

(Our VIB tickets were generously given to me by Springer Associates PR)

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  1. Thanks for the great review! I took my girls (ages 5 and 6) to the show last weekend too and they had a lot of fun. You should look on the Berenstain Bears facebook page if you got your picture taken after the show… ours is hanging on the fridge now! 🙂

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