Every summer in a kids life should be the best summer ever. I’m always looking for ways to get my kids outside. It’s an ongoing process that is always set back by the school year. I call it school year slide. All the work I do over the summer to get my kids outside goes out the window in September, and I have to start over instilling outdoor habits the next summer. I have developed a pretty good arsenal that includes a great backyard, getting my kids to the park for meals most days, and even a careful selection of television shows that inspire outdoor play. This is why Kevin Kling’s two-man show, The Best Summer Ever!, at the Children’s Theatre, is a perfect companion to our summer of outdoor play. The character Maurice never goes inside during this tale. Every story is an outdoor story that reminds us of our favorite parts of summer.
Image credit: Kevin Kling in The Best Summer Ever. Photo by Dan Norman
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The show revolves around the storytelling of Kevin Kling (who you may know from NPR or his children’s books — Big Little Brother and Big Little Mother) and the music of Victor Zupanc (the Music Director of CTC). The pair fill out the stage with the help of a back-screen, a few props, and some inventive musical instruments.
I recently read that the movie A Christmas Story is loosely based on Kling’s book Holiday Inn, which makes sense. The Best Summer Ever! is to summer vacation, what A Christmas Story is to Christmas. It is nostalgic and inspiring and just plain fun. It would be hard to leave this show without at least considering starting a garden, star gazing with your loved ones, watching fireworks with the wonderment of a child, or getting a chicken and naming it Joyce Anderson. I really want a chicken named Joyce Anderson, now!
While I love big scale theater productions, my favorite are the more intimate shows, like this one. Even several rows back, you feel a connection with the storyteller. For me, this is the reason I go to live productions. I can get special effects on Netflix, but the connection of live theater is best found on the small scale. This show is a short one-hour production, which means you can come out on a Friday night and still get some time afterwards to wander the MIA Galleries. My daughter and I paired the evening with a picnic beforehand, making it a beautiful summer one-on-one night.