We all know kids can be opinionated and like making their own choices. That’s one of the reasons why the Geffen Playhouse’s new virtual “choosical musical” is so interesting and fun. The Door You Never Saw Before takes kids, who have been stuck in quarantine, on an amazing theatrical journey that puts them in the driver’s seat.
The excitement starts even before the journey begins. Several days prior to the show, kids receive a suitcase filled with items that are going to help them during the show’s performance. But, there’s a catch. There are strict instructions to not open the suitcase until the show begins.
The suspense is a real nail-biter, and I’m not talking about just the kids! When our suitcase arrived, we all wanted to open it. I had to hide it until the day of the show so it could stay under wraps. This is a great way to get kids excited about the show and imagining all of the possibilities that await them.
The Door You Never Saw Before has a lot of moving parts. It’s part musical, part adventure, but all fun. It begins with kids entering a door they’ve never seen before (thus the title). After entering, kids must begin figuring out how to save a faraway city from a villain known as “The Stench.” To do this, there are a series of paths they can choose from that will take them on different adventures.
But first, kids finally get to open the coveted suitcase! I won’t ruin the surprise, but I will tell you the contents are very cool and creative. (And, there’s one we didn’t even see coming until the end!) Kids use some of the contents immediately as they start their adventure.
An Interactive and Engaging Adventure
The play utilizes Zoom and its breakout room feature that allows you to leave the main action and go somewhere else. For example, kids decide whether they want to choose the overpass or the underpass. There’s no right or wrong answer, it’s pure preference. Once they decide, they just click which breakout room they want to go to and they’re magically taken there where another character awaits them with new clues to the puzzle. The transitions are flawless and instantaneous so kids won’t get bored or distracted.
The characters are on the quirky side, but that’s what helps to make this play so interesting and engaging. They help draw the kids in while the interactive storyline keeps them entertained and focused. From time to time, the characters break out in song (after all, it is a musical), but it also helps to move the storyline along and doesn’t get annoying.
Besides being able to make choices throughout the play, the characters also interact with the audience, often asking questions. Kids simply unmute themselves to answer and be a part of the show. They never know when one of the characters may want to ask them a question that can help solve the puzzle, which keeps kids on their toes.
While viewers are trying to figure out where the story will take them, there are some educational elements sprinkled in as well. Some simple math that’s age-appropriate for the audience and an introductory lesson on homophones help to teach kids while they’re having fun. Parents will enjoy this aspect because it’s done in a clever way where kids don’t feel like they’re being instructed like they’re in school. They’re simply having fun and taking part in a show.
As the play winds down, the storyline takes one final turn that leads kids to a surprise in their suitcase that will certainly be music to their ears — delivering a fantastic ending to a wonderful story and adventure. Bottom line: The Door You Never Saw Before is a thrilling experience for kids and parents alike.
About the Show
“The Door You Never Saw Before” includes book, music, and lyrics by Geffen Playhouse Writers’ Room alumnus Matt Schatz. The show runs for 70 minutes and is recommended for kids ages 6-9. You can catch the show right from your home through June 27, 2021. Contact The Geffen Playhouse for ticket information.