Parents of wiggle worms rejoice! The Seattle Children’s Theatre’s production of Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are was made for your little busy body. It’s a preschool playtime free-for-all, where the audience and actors work together to bring this delightful story to life. Expect to help a forest grow, participate in a royal coronation and make serious waves. Let the wild rumpus begin!

Whild Things vine growing SCT

photo: Chris van der Schyf

The Land of the Wild Things
From the moment you walk into the Eve Alvord Theatre, it’s clear this production is going to be a little bit different from your typical Seattle Children’s Theater experience. The colorful islands for the littlest theatergoers to sit on, are the first clue. The instructional welcome, from the Narrator, explaining how to participate, is the second. From there the action continues, as mini audience members excitedly share their ideas and thoughts about Wild Things: what they are, what they look like and even where to find them. While all of this is going on, Max makes his appearance, emerging a little confused, a little late and obviously getting into mischief of one kind… and another. Until he’s finally sent to his room.

Wild Things SCT no dinner

photo: Chris van der Stiff 

Act Out!
Max’s room is the focus of the simple staging that allows the audience (and their grand imaginations) to take center stage. It all starts with the forest that grows and grows. Weaving through the audience, the vines get passed around until Max nods his final approval and the forest is complete. Fair warning parents, some of you may be enlisted to hold up vines as trees, depending on where you sit. Everyone participates in the production!

Wild Things SCT shhh

photo: Chris van der Schyf

There are a few opportunities for little showstoppers to be in the spotlight on stage, interacting with props and with Max and his Mom. Some lucky Littles will even get to make waves and some will be chosen to bring Max the royal accouterments he needs to be crowned King of Where the Wild Things Are. If you know your Little wants in on the extremely active roles, be sure to have him or her sit on the floor. That’s where most of the picking happens. But even if your mini theatergoer isn’t selected for these standout roles, there are still plenty of opportunities to get the wiggles out and share your excitement for the story throughout the production.

Wild Things Max into Boat SCT

photo: Chris van der Schyf

The Wild Things are Here!
The obvious question, and the one that’s most likely looming in your Little’s big imagination is “how scary will those Wild Things actually be?” It just makes sense that the terrible roars and gnashing teeth of the monsters in the book would be cause for concern. Luckily, this production contains no large costumed creatures of any kind (phew!). Instead, the mini audience members transform into fierce creatures who scare their toes and tummies, before finally scaring Max, after he’s disembarked in the land of the Wild Things. It’s a surprisingly smart way to include the story’s namesake creatures while still appealing to a preschool audience.

Whild Things Eat U up SCTphoto: Chris van der Schyf 

A Hot Ticket
The word is out on this creative “guided play,” and as of this writing, many January dates are already sold out. We suggest buying tickets for dates in late February to get a seat. And if you can make it on a Thursday or Friday night, even better!

After the Show
If your sidekick loved this production and wants to keep the good times rolling, print out the Off Stage Active Audience Guide for a little post show debrief. Word searches, mask decorating and vocabulary building are just a few of the goodies you’ll find in this experience-enhancing packet.

Max in boat Wild Things sct

photo: Chris van der Schyf

Good to Know
1. The island seating’s just for kids. But for those who want mom or dad close by, you can take a seat in folding chairs along the wall or towards the back of the island. Be sure to wear comfy pants, if that’s your plan!

2. Although the show’s recommended for ages 4-7, younger sibs are welcome too. We recommend bleacher seats for this age group. They can still see all the action, but won’t be overwhelmed by it all.

3. The cast and crew from the Presentation House Theater in Vancouver, B.C. (where the play originated) are on stage now. The Seattle cast starts their run on Jan. 21, 2016.

Seattle Children’s Theatre
201 Thomas St.
Seattle, Wa 98109
206-441-3322
Online: sct.org

Dates: Through Feb. 28, 2016 (see website for dates and times)
Cost: $20-$40
Ages: 4 & up

Do you plan to see Where the Wild Things Are? Have you been? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below. 

— Allison Sutcliffe