The commercials for Peter Pan Live were all over our TV for what felt like YEARS. I love live theatre, especially musicals, so I knew I’d watch (plus I had to see how Christopher Walken could care even less than he clearly did in the commercials). I hadn’t counted on Annabel being enamoured with it, however. Every time the commercial for the performance came on she’d stop in her tracks and give the TV her complete attention. She absolutely insisted that we watch it, and asked me every night if it was time for Peter Pan.

I thought the “Making of Peter Pan Live” special would hold her over until the main event, and it did, in a way. We watched it a dozen times at least. She liked seeing the technical stuff, like the kids auditioning and learning how to fly. She was extremely upset at first that Peter Pan was to be played by a girl. “But whyyy, Mom? Peter is a BOY.” I tried to explain the similarities between an adolescent boy’s voice and that of a grown woman, and when that didn’t appease her I said it was tradition, and when that didn’t appease her, I said, ” BECAUSE. JUST BECAUSE.”

The live show didn’t start until Annabel’s bedtime, so I recorded it for her and we watched it the next day. I…appreciated it for what it was. Allison Williams was an inoffensive Peter Pan, while Christopher Walken didn’t even half-ass it…more like quarter-assed it.  I’ve spent three hours doing worse things, like getting a root canal. Annabel, however, was mesmerized. It held her complete attention for the entire duration – not only that, we’ve watched it two more times (kill me)! She asked me to download songs from the musical for her, and she spent a lot of time recreating scenes, alternating between playing Wendy and Peter Pan (BTW Rigby does a killer Nana).

Her love of musical theatre delighted me and also could not have come at a better time. For several months I’d been planning to take her to see the touring production of Beauty and the Beast, and our tickets were for this past Saturday. I’ve been looking forward to Annabel’s first live musical experience for ages, and having already seen Beauty and the Beast I knew it would be the perfect show for her. My first musical was Cats, which was a bit intimidating for five-year-old Heather.

My mom joined us for the matinee (Mike and James stayed home and, according to Annabel, thought about how jealous they were):

Beauty and the Beast

There were a lot of kids at the early performance, including several wearing princess dresses. This annoyed Annabel because I hadn’t let her wear one. Sorry, kid!

In our seats she said, “I’m so excited!”

at beauty and the beast

Then the lights went down and Annabel covered her ears. I was like…wha? She’s been to a million movies and never reacted that way. After a few minutes she put her hands in her lap, but she still looked a little uncertain. During intermission she told me she’d covered her ears because she didn’t know what to expect. I realized later I should have told her it would be just like a movie theatre. I’d been so busy prepping her for the acting on stage that I’d forgotten to explain what the rest of the experience would be like. After intermission she was much more relaxed, and after the performance was over she said, “That was amazing!”

When we got home, she gave Mike an extremely detailed blow-by-blow of the show, then put together a mashup Peter Pan/Beauty and the Beast show for us where Peter takes Belle from her bedroom and Neverland is actually the Beast’s castle (BTW Rigby does a killer Beast). Last night at bedtime, Annie told me, “When I grow up I want my job to be pretending on the stage…but wait, I also want my job to be the candy seller at the movie theatre, can I do both? I like the jobs that make people happy.”

I like that she’s not limiting herself.