Weekend Highlights

Published February 8, 2011
Going Places

A Parent’s Review: Cinderella at Pacific Northwest Ballet

by Erika Lee Bigelow
seattle child article photo
Photo courtesy of the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Spoiler alert: There are no mice in this production. But you will see dancing bugs, a court jester and two clumsy stepsisters. In fact, there are plenty of characters to keep your kids engaged and entertained. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of Cinderella is beautiful from the first opening notes. The scarlet ball scene in Act II is downright breathtaking, the sets are original and hand-painted and the 120 costumes in this ballet have enough sparkle to satisfy even my sparkle-crazy 6-year-old daughter.

We attended the Friday night performance at McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center and rediscovered what a great venue it is for kids. Just off the main lobby entrance, you will find free booster seats (invaluable in a packed house) and $5 binocular rentals. Food and beverages are available at the Prelude or Lobby Restaurants inside the Hall; you can pre-order snacks for intermission to avoid the lines. The family bathroom is easily accessible, and televisions in the lobby broadcast the performance, in case you have a child that needs to take a break from the show.

Although our Mommy-daughter date was fun, in hindsight we would have done things differently. The show started at 7:30 p.m., and ran about three hours, including two intermissions. A matinee would have been a better fit since my daughter was pretty worn out by the end of Act II. I also didn’t do a very good job of explaining to her that this wasn’t the Disney version. The PNB website has a great description of their story plus short video clips to watch ahead of time. Kids may enjoy the list of fun facts about the production – for instance, Cinderella’s carriage took six months to build and is 23 feet long, and the famous clock that strikes midnight is a real working clock. 

Pacific Northwest Ballet hosts special activities, dress-up and arts & crafts for children and their families beginning one hour before all matinee performances (another reason to take little ones during the daytime). And if you stay after any performance, you can meet Artistic Director Peter Boal and some of the company dancers for a question-and-answer session. PNB has once again done a wonderful job of putting together a performance that will dazzle all ages. With a little preparation for smaller kids, you will definitely find the “Happily Ever After” at Cinderella.

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If You Go...

Where: McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St. (Mercer Street and 3rd Avenue N.), on the North side of the Seattle Center. Metered street parking and pay parking lots are available nearby. 

When: Feb. 4-13. Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.

Cost: $37-$175. Special discounts for students and those under 25, subject to availability.

Contact: 206-441-2424; www.pnb.org/Season/10-11/Cinderella/.