Akeelah and Bee, now showing at Children’s Theatre Company, is the stage play adapted from the 2006 movie of the same name. There is also a book, but its a novelization of the movie. My 10-year-old and I were excited to see this play because we had recently watched the documentary, Spellbound together. If you are not familiar with the National Spelling Bee, it is a fun tie in to the play, but not really necessary. Akeelah is ultimately a family drama.
By family drama, I mean mid grade school to adult. I made the mistake of bringing my entire family, but only the 10-year-old and I stayed for the entire show. My husband took out the baby and three-year-old within half an hour; and the five-year-old joined them in the MIA block room at the intermission. If I had done my homework before ordering tickets, that would have been obvious. Drama really aren’t for small kids and neither is any play that requires an intermission.
This is one of those stories that hits you differently depending on your own life experiences. For the 5th Grader, it was inspiring. It was a story about doing your best and overcoming odds to achieve your dreams. I saw a story about grief and hope and how these things manifest themselves differently in different people; but also how these emotions are contagious.
I would recommend this play particularly if you are trying to introduce live theater to a child who has mostly grown up on movies. Since it was derived from a screenplay, it has the elements of a good movie and the young actors are engaging and easy to identify with.
The movie is rated PG. I’m not sure where I would rate the play between G & PG. I would have no moral issues taking any of my kids.
Akeelah and the Bee runs until October 11, 2015 and tickets start at $10.00.
I received no compensation for this article. The tickets for this performance were purchased under Children’s Theatre Company’s ACT Pass Program — a financially-based scholarship program. All opinions are my own.