THE DOOR YOU NEVER SAW BEFORE At Geffen Playhouse is Perfect Family Fun — Review
If hiding vegetables in your child’s macaroni and cheese were a musical, it would be The Door You Never Saw Before: A Choosical Musical at the Geffen Playhouse. This interactive musical written by Matt Schatz is the latest offering in the Geffen’s Stayhouse series of performances via Zoom. Not only is the musical full of quirky characters, fun music, and colorful backdrops, but it is interactive and educational on a multitude of levels.
Families are sent a “suitcase full of adventure,” chalk full of activities and props that serve to enhance the experience and promote learning. Without giving too much away, the suitcase contains props as well as interactive puzzles and materials that have an educational purpose behind them. Kids will learn about homophones, matching, word puzzles, and basic math, perfectly created for the target audience of children ages 6-9 years old. But just because the math may seem easy to adults does not mean they won’t have fun watching the show.
In order to combine the musical format with the choose your own adventure style all on Zoom, there were multiple opportunities to select a Breakout Room in order to make the experience unique. This format began before the show even started, when we were able to select between the Blue and Yellow rooms for the pre-show.
I selected the Blue room, where I was greeted by Emir, who taught everyone about the color wheel, with the help of audience members. We also discussed things in the world that are blue, again, another interactive element, which was a joy to participate in. Even I learned something when we shared how to say blue in various languages.
As an adult, one of the most special aspects of The Door You Never Saw Before and its format was watching children get to participate in the show. Whenever they could, Schatz created moments for the audience to use their voice and help move the story forward. Whether that meant giving answers to math or language questions or to answer questions, each time a different child or family was selected to speak, you could see their eyes light up and hear in their voices their sheer excitement.
As an educator, I understand just how hard it is to get kids to engage in learning and applying their knowledge, but this show does it beautifully. By integrating music, math, language arts, social emotional learning, and interactivity, The Door You Never Saw Before is the perfect activity for kids of a wide variety of ages and grade levels. The Geffen’s use of fun backdrops, original music, and puppetry only serve to enhance the performances of the three actors, Michael Faulkner, Shyla Lefner, and Gabrielle Maiden. With the rise of virtual learning and theatre in the last year, the Geffen has taken all the best elements and surpassed them with this production. Not only did everything run smoothly technically, but they clearly took much care in making this not just a show, but an experience on all levels.
All in all, this show is a must-see for any kids 6-9 years old and their families. This 70-minute fun-filled musical experience is the ultimate educational, musical, interactive, and worthwhile experience running currently. Don’t miss your opportunity to explore the land of Harmonicania and meet all its quirky residents.
"The Door You Never Saw Before" is currently running through June 26. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit here.