A Night at the Drive-In {Overlook Drive-In, Poughkeepsie}

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This Wednesday, July 15th, you can enjoy the second of five weeks of “A Night at the Drive-In.” This FREE summer movie series is hosted by Michael B. Jordan, most recently of Creed and Black Panther fame, and Amazon Studios. Hudson Valley locals can enjoy viewing these movies at the Overlook Drive-In in Poughkeepsie. Every other Wednesday there is a double-feature screening of movies that celebrate, “diverse voices in cinemas.”

Tickets are free but must be reserved and printed here in advance and shown at the gate. Although the movie screening doesn’t begin until 8:50 PM, you can arrive earlier to stake out a good parking spot. Gates open at 7 PM. You can either pack some dinner and snacks or purchase them at the snack bar. Burgers, hot dogs, pizza, chicken tenders, nachos, fries, pretzels, ice cream and more are available.

This is a fun summer evening out where social distancing can be practiced. Movie ratings vary and parental discretion is advised.

Remaining Movie Schedule:

Although the series started July 1st, here is the schedule for the rest of the summer:

July 15th: “Movies to Make You Proud”
Black Panther (PG-13)
Creed (PG-13)

July 29th: “Movies that Inspire Your Inner Child”
Spiderman Into the Spiderverse (PG)
Hook (PG)

August 12th: “Movies to Make You Open Your Eyes”
Do The Right Thing (R)
Get Out (R)

August 26th: “Movies to Make You Laugh”
Coming to America (R)
Girls Trip (R)

The Details:
Overlook Drive In
126 Degarmo Road
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
(845) 452-3445

Cost: Free

Time: First showing screens at approximately 8:50 PM

*Please note that the Overlook Drive-In policy requires all visitors to wear a face mask for entry.


Read Before You Watch {TV Series Edition}

With a long, hot summer approaching, some of us may need some new book and television recommendations. It’s surprising how many television shows are based on books. I’m always a fan of reading the book first and then comparing how different the show or movie is. Many of these television shows have been streaming for awhile now, so you have probably watched some of them. But have you read the book(s) that they are based on? In this first edition of Read Before You Watch, catch up on your summer reading and watching with these books and the television shows that they inspired. While this list isn’t comprehensive, it’s a good start!

Newer Shows:

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Read: The Black Echo (Book #1 in the Harry Bosch series) by Michael Connelly. There are 22 books in the series.
Watch: Bosch on Prime Video if you like police drama and suspense. Season 6 began streaming in April 2020.

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Read: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Watch: on Hulu if you like family drama. This show started streaming in March of 2020.

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Read: Stealing Home (Book #1 in The Sweet Magnolias series) by Sherryl Woods. There are 11 books in the series.
Watch: On Netflix if you like southern small town drama, friendship and romance. The show began streaming in mid-May.

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Read: Normal People by Sally Rooney
Watch: Normal People on Hulu if you like Irish coming of age dramas. The show began streaming at the end of April.

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Read: Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
Watch: on Netflix if you want to learn more about Hasidic Judaism and one woman’s journey escaping her religious roots. The show began streaming in March 2020.

Older Shows:


Read: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Watch: on Netflix if you like teen drama that deals with heavy topics like suicide and rape


Read: Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
Watch: on Netflix if you like action, science fiction and mystery

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Read: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Watch: on HBO if you like family/friendship drama

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Read: Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay (8 books in the series)
Watch: Dexter, originally aired on Showtime. You can now watch it on Netflix if you like crime, psychological

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Read: The Feed by Nick Clark Windo
Watch: on Amazon Video if you like futuristic, dystopian, psychological thrillers


Read: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (7 books in the series)
Watch: on HBO if you like fantasy, action-packed, drama


Read: Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar (13 books in the series)
Watch: on Netflix if you like YA drama involving wealthy teens

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Read: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Watch: on Hulu if you like dystopian fiction

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Read: House of Cards by Michael Dobbs (3 books in the series)
Watch: on Netflix if you like political dramas/thrillers


Read: Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
Watch: on Netflix if you are interested in seeing a woman’s prison comedy/drama, based on a true story

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Read: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (9 books in the series)
Watch: on Starz if you like historical fiction, romance, time travel and fantasy


Read: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (There are 16 books in the series)
Watch: on Netflix if you like YA teen drama and mystery


Read: The Stranger by Harlan Coben
Watch: on Netflix if you like mystery/thrillers


Read: The Awakening by L.J. Smith (There are 7 books in the series)
Watch: on Netflix if you like YA supernatural drama, fantasy


Read: Westworld by Michael Crichton
Watch: on HBO if you like action-packed, dystopian science-fiction thrillers


Read: You by Caroline Kepnes
Watch: on Netflix if you like psychological suspense thrillers featuring a stalker

Five Guys Named Moe {Westchester Broadway Theatre}

We were invited to press night for Five Guys Named Moe. Thank you to the Westchester Broadway Theatre for hosting NY Foodie Family. As always, all opinions are our own.

Westchester Broadway Theatre’s newest production, Five Guys Named Moe, debuted January 30th and it’s a must-see show!

Photo Credit: John Vecchiolla, courtesy of Westchester Broadway Theatre

Five Guys Named Moe is set in an unnamed city and unspecified year. It tells the story of No Max, recently single and drowning his sorrows with alcohol. It’s almost 5 in the morning when he’s taken by surprise as five guys, all named Moe, emerge from his radio. Big Moe, Little Moe, Eat Moe, No Moe and Four-Eyed Moe give No Max lessons in love via song and dance in hopes of helping win his girl back.

Photo Credit: John Vecchiolla, courtesy of Westchester Broadway Theatre

This musical pays tribute to American musician, songwriter and bandleader Louis Jordan, featuring over 20 songs, many of which are written by him. It originally debuted at London’s West End Lyric Theatre in December 1990 and made its way to Broadway in 1992. Local residents can now enjoy this lively production at the Westchester Broadway Theatre through March 1st.

Photo Credit: John Vecchiolla, courtesy of Westchester Broadway Theatre

Dana and I knew nothing about Five Guys Named Moe prior to seeing the show. We were both pleasantly surprised at what a fun production it is. The small cast did such a great job of highlighting the unique personality of each Moe. There was lots of dancing and even some audience participation, including a sing-along. Yes, even we stood right up and joined in!

I recommend Five Guys Named Moe to families with tweens and older. Although the songs are catchy, I don’t think the subject of the show will interest younger kids.

This was our first WBT production where a six-person band played on stage. There were even a few excellent instrumental solos. The music and songs are lively and will have you clapping your hands and tapping your feet along to the beat.

Since the Westchester Broadway Theatre is a dinner theatre, we can’t write about it without mentioning the food. I’ve written in previous reviews that the food here is okay. They are cooking for the masses and I feel the meal is a bonus for the quality of the production you get to see.

This was our first time visiting the WBT since becoming vegan. We weren’t sure if they could accommodate us, since we looked online beforehand and only saw a vegetarian option on the menu. Since we aren’t strict vegans, we were okay with eating the Eggplant Parmesan. However, when we asked if they had a vegan option, our waitress mentioned that they usually have a veggie burger.

I opted for the Eggplant Parm and Dana ordered the veggie burger. When our entrees arrived, he got a GIANT plate of veggies and a baked potato, but no sign of the burger.

We asked our waitress if they had run out of veggie burgers. She was very apologetic for the confusion and brought out TWO veggie burgers. While these are not much to look at, they were larger than expected and actually very moist and tasty! They were a southwest chipotle type burger with a hint of spice. It is probably one of the best things we’ve eaten there. We didn’t call ahead to alert them to our dietary needs, but our server did recommend doing so in the future and to let them know that we’d like to make sure the veggie burger is in stock!

Every production at the WBT has a signature cocktail. “All That Jazz” is the signature drink for Five Guys Named Moe. Dana enjoyed this drink of citrus vodka, grenadine and orange juice. It costs $12 and comes in a souvenir glass that can be taken home.

Five Guys Named Moe is playing for a limited time at the Westchester Broadway Theatre! Be sure to get your tickets before it leaves!

The Details:
Five Guys Named Moe
Westchester Broadway Theatre
1 Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY 10523
(914) 592-2222

Tickets: (price includes dinner and the show) $61-$91 plus tax, beverages and gratuities, discounts available for children, students and senior citizens at select performances

Performances: January 30 – March 1, 2020

Show Times:
(The show runs approximately 2 1/2 hours, with a 30-minute intermission between acts)
Wednesday, Thursday and some Friday Matinees: 11:30 AM lunch, 1 PM show
Thursday, Friday and Saturday Evenings: 6:30 PM dinner, 8 PM show
Sunday Matinee: 12 PM lunch, 1:30 PM show
Sunday Evening: 5:30 PM dinner, 7 PM show

* If you want to take home the souvenir glass, either be sure to hold on to it, or ask the staff for a clean glass to take home.

*They usually have a vegan meal option available. I recommended that you call ahead to make your dietary preference known so you can be sure they can accommodate you on your visit.

*Photos are not allowed during the show

*Check out the website for special offers

*There is a convenience fee for purchasing tickets online. There is no fee for purchasing tickets in-person or via phone.

*Up to 4 tickets can be purchased online.

* AAA members, AARP members, and military discounts are only given for phone or in-person ticket purchases.|

*All seat locations are the same price. The earlier you order, the better the seats.

An American in Paris now at the Westchester Broadway Theatre

The Westchester Broadway Theatre’s newest production, An American in Paris is playing through November 24. The original production had its Broadway debut in April 2015, winning four Tony awards. Although the show ended in October 2016, audiences can now see it performed locally at the Westchester Broadway Theatre.

Photo by John Vecchiolla, courtesy of WBT

I must admit, prior to seeing An American in Paris, I didn’t really know much about it. The only song that was familiar to me was “I’ve Got Rhythm.” This musical is based on the 1951 film starring Gene Kelly, which ultimately was inspired by George Gershwin’s 1928 composition of the same name.

Photo by John Vecchiolla, courtesy of WBT

In a nutshell, An American in Paris tells the story of Jerry Mulligan, a young WWII veteran who decides to stay in Paris after its liberation, to pursue his passion for painting. He befriends Henri Baurel and Adam Hochberg and they unite like the Three Musketeers. It is in this city that he also meets a ballerina, Lise, and falls in love. But, unfortunately, he’s not her only suitor.

Photo by John Vecchiolla, courtesy of WBT

I was surprised at how much dancing (ballet, tap and jazz!) was in the show. The cast was super talented; having to act, sing and dance! And I lost count at the number of costume changes they did! Deanna Doyle, who plays Lise, had the role perfected, as she played Lise on the National Tour. Although Brandon Haagenson has plenty of other performances under his belt, he makes his Westchester Broadway Theatre debut with his role as Jerry.

Photo by John Vecchiolla, courtesy of WBT

My husband and I really enjoyed seeing An American in Paris at the Westchester Broadway Theatre. For this show, we were seated at table 281, the second to last row in the center of the theater. However, every seat in the house has a great view of the stage.

The cost of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are not included in your ticket price. Since the show is set in France, my husband started dinner with a “French 75” martini.

But of course, WBT is a dinner theatre. Guests enjoy a full dinner prior to the show. Dinner begins with a garden salad. For an additional cost, other appetizers are available and include shrimp cocktail, French onion soup, smoked salmon and semolina dusted calamari.

Dinner options for this show include Eggplant Parmigiana, Fillet of Sole “Meuniere” (classic French preparation, where fish is dusted in flour before sauteing), Roast Loin of Pork, Sauteed Breast of Chicken with a Marsala sauce and Roast Prime Rib of Beef. I opted for the Eggplant Parm this time and enjoyed it. But I would have liked a little more pasta on the side.

My husband enjoyed the Prime Rib again. He ordered it medium rare and it came out cooked a perfect medium. If you’re not sure what to order, the Prime Rib is always a good bet.

Dessert is always the classic peach melba, but other desserts (Lemon Tart with raspberry sauce, Cheesecake with raspberry sauce, Chocolate lava cake and Chocolate fudge sundae) are available at an additional cost and served later during the intermission.

Although An American in Paris is a family-friendly show, my husband and I enjoyed a fun date night out. While we enjoyed the performance, we’re not so sure our 11 and 13 year-old would have felt the same way.

(We were hosted by the Westchester Broadway Theatre. However, as always, all opinions are our own.)

The Details:
An American In Paris
Westchester Broadway Theatre
1 Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY 10523
(914) 592-2222

Tickets: (price includes dinner and the show) $61-$91 plus tax, beverages and gratuities, discounts available for children, students and senior citizens at select performances

Performances: October 3 – November 24, 2019

Show Times:
(The show runs approximately 2 1/2 hours, with a 30-minute intermission between acts)
Wednesday, Thursday and some Friday Matinees: 11:30 AM lunch, 1 PM show
Thursday, Friday and Saturday Evenings: 6:30 PM dinner, 8 PM show
Sunday Matinee: 12 PM lunch, 1:30 PM show
Sunday Evening: 5:30 PM dinner, 7 PM show

*Photos are not allowed during the show

*Check out the website for special offers

*An American in Paris is family-friendly show, but after seeing it we do not recommend it for children. The story line, music and dancing will likely not interest most kids.

*There is a convenience fee for purchasing tickets online. There is no fee for purchasing tickets in-person or via phone.

*Up to 4 tickets can be purchased online.

* AAA members, AARP members, and military discounts are only given for phone or in-person ticket purchases.|

*All seat locations are the same price. The earlier you order, the better the seats.

What We Watched {May 2019}

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Although my DVR list is extremely long with shows that I need to catch up on, I don’t actually watch very much television. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t love to sit on the couch all weekend and catch up on old shows or binge watch all the ones that I’ve been meaning to watch. There’s just not enough time! The little time that we do have on weekends to watch television is usually spent as a family watching a show or movie together. Here is a quick recap of what we watched this past month:

Family Movies:

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A Dog’s Way Home – This movie is a bit cheesy and predictable. However, it doesn’t matter. I’m a sucker for a cute dog movie. While this one wasn’t my favorite, as usual, it still had me in tears…..and made my daughter want a dog.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – I will admit that I sat with the family “watching” this one. However, I wasn’t really paying attention to it. I didn’t watch the first one so I didn’t have a clue what was going on. The rest of the family enjoyed this movie though.

Date-Night Movies:

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A Star Is Born – I love the song “Shallow” from this movie, no matter how often it’s played on the radio. I of course had to finally see the movie. And I’m glad that I did, as I enjoyed it.

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The Favourite – I didn’t know much about this movie, except that it had some Golden Globe nominations. I really enjoyed this movie, I think even more so than A Star Is Born. Except, I didn’t like the ending.

A white man at the wheel of an aqua blue car, his elbow resting on the door. An African American sits in the back seat, arms outstretched.

Green Book – I think my husband and I have finally watched almost all of the Oscar Nominated Best Picture movies, minus Vice, which we will hopefully be watching this weekend. I didn’t know much about Green Book prior to sitting down to watch the movie. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I can see why it won for Best Picture.

Television Time – Family Time:

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The Amazing Race – We started watching The Amazing Race as a family during season 29, back in 2017. We became such fans of Becca and Floyd that we did a 5 Questions With…..post with them! They are back in season 31’s Reality Show-Down and we are having so much fun watching them.

Television Time – Mom Time:

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Dead to Me – (Netflix) This show debuted on Netflix this month. The twists have me hooked and even though I’ve only watched a couple of episodes, I hope to finish this soon. There are ten episodes altogether and totally worth giving it a try!

Workin’ Moms (Netflix) – This month I finally caught up and watched the last few episodes of Workin’ Moms on Netflix. This is a Canadian show but I love how it captures all the different aspects of new motherhood.

Television Time – Couple Time:

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Game of Thrones Season 2 – I am so late to the Game of Thrones Game. One of my goals for 2019 is to read the first book in the series. I am a little over half-way through and it’s looking good for me to finish it by December. In the meantime, my husband and I have been watching the series. This month we finally finished watching season 2 and have started season 3. Since we are borrowing the DVDs from the library and some weeks only get a chance to watch one or two episodes, it’s taking us a LONG time to get through a season!

Puffs (The off-Broadway Play}

(Thank you to Puffs: The Play for hosting NY Foodie Family. As always, all opinions are our own.)

Photo Credit: Hunter Canning

Harry Potter fans of all ages will enjoy Puffs or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and MagicPuffs tells the story of Wayne, a boy who grows up in New Mexico and discovers that he is a wizard.  When he gets to Hogwarts he is sorted into the Puffs house.  In this play, the Puffs are the “losers” where “Third or Nothing” is their motto.  In 90 minutes the play covers Wayne’s seven years as a Puff.  He forms an unlikely trio with nerdy math whiz, Oliver, and goth girl Megan, whose mother is a prisoner in Azkaban, and refuses to believe that she’s a Puff.  He and his fellow Puffs have to prove that they are not losers in order to help defeat, “he who shall not be named.”

Photo Credit: Hunter Canning

Written by Matt Cox, Puffs debuted off-Broadway in 2016.  It is one of several shows playing in the New Worlds Theatre on West 50th St.  Although there is no intermission, the ninety minutes fly by. Guests will laugh throughout the show, as humor abounds.  While you don’t need to be a Harry Potter fan, it helps to be familiar with books and story line to fully appreciate this play.  I applaud the actors and actresses, many of who take on the roles of multiple characters, during the show. The Saturday afternoon 2 PM show is supposed to be appropriate for kids ages 8+.  There was some jokes and humor that was mildly sexually suggestive, but my 10 year-old son luckily, didn’t seem to pick up on it.

My son and I read all of the Harry Potter books together and watched the movies.  As huge fans, my son and I both enjoyed Puffs a lot, even as a Slytherin and Ravenclaw.  The theatre is small and no seat is a bad seat.  If you like Harry Potter, you will likely enjoy seeing this show from the perspective of the Puffs!

The Details:
Puffs or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic
New Worlds Theatre
West 50th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenue)

Tickets:  Start at $52 and can be purchased online.

Performances:  Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday at 8 PM,  Saturday 2 & 8 PM, Sunday 3 and 7:30 PM

*Snacks and drinks are available for purchase before and during the show.

*Cast members use the outside aisles.  Some front row seats enjoy a couple of small interactions.

*The theatre is a very short walking distance to the A,C, E subway.

4 Fitness Podcasts for Motivation {Self-Care Saturday}

4 Fitness podcasts to help motivate and educate you on all things fitness and health.

As many of you know, I love to listen to podcasts.  As I focus on exercise this month, I have been listening to different health and fitness podcasts to help educate and motivate myself.  Here are the top four fitness podcasts that I’ve been listening to.  These are all podcasts that are still producing new weekly episodes.  When I try out podcasts, I often listen to the most recent couple of episodes as well as the first couple.

Ascend Lifestyle Performance Podcast

Ascend Lifestyle Performance Podcast – This podcast is hosted by Tanja Shaw. Formerly known as the Fit and Vibrant You Podcast, it features conversations about, “fitness, nutrition, lifestyle, mindset and inspiration so you can think better, eat better and move better.”  There are currently 98 episodes to listen to with a mix of interviews and just Tanja talking on selected topics.  This podcast has recently only been releasing new episodes on the first of the month.


FIT CHICKS CHAT–  This has become my favorite fitness podcast to listen to.  Laura Jackson and Amanda Quinn host this podcast where they, “talk all things fitness, nutrition and wellness for women to help you live your healthiest and fiercest life inside and out.” Some episodes they do interviews, other times it’s just the two of them talking.  It’s like a conversation with friends and not preachy at all.  They have a website where they feature show notes from their podcasts and include resources and links to things that they talk about during the show.

Fitness, Food, and Freedom

Fitness, Food and Freedom – Jordan Stolz hosts this three times a week podcast that focuses on fitness, food and freedom.  The weekly episodes include Motivation Monday, Workout Wednesday and Foodie Friday.  Each episode is only about 20 minutes. There are 146 past episodes that you can catch up on! Check out the podcast’s website for additional resources.

Get-Fit Guy's Quick and Dirty Tips to Slim Down and Shape Up

Get-Fit Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Slim Down and Shape Up – The Get-Fit Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Slim Down and Shape Up are just like the title states – quick, short episodes (about 20 minutes each).  This is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips franchise.  Brock Armstrong hosts more than 370+ exercise-focused episodes.  Although the podcast sounds scripted (which it is since he also has a written post with the same exact info on his website), he packs a lot of useful info into a short amount of time.  This is not a podcast that I can listen to every week.  Instead, I like to pick and choose topics of interest to me.

What are your favorite fitness podcasts to listen to?


Get a Golden Ticket to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway!

The musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Many of you readers, like me, probably grew up reading Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and watching the film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder.  It was a childhood dream to be able to visit that chocolate factory! Although Tim Burton made a somewhat dark film in 2005 titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , starring Johnny Depp, Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka is still my favorite.

The joy of that infamous candy factory continues to resonate with children today, as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has made its way to Broadway.  The show, which opened in April of 2017, continues to attract crowds of all ages.  My eleven-year-old daughter and I recently caught a Saturday matinee showing.

the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, current home of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

(photo courtesy of Polk PR)

The show takes place in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.  Opened in 1910 as the “Globe Theatre,” recent past productions at the Lunt-Fontanne include Finding Neverland, Motown: The Musical,  Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid.

The Candy Bar at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical.

(photo courtesy of Polk PR)

In a partnership with famous NYC candy store Dylan’s Candy Bar,  three concession stands in the theatre sell candy including giant lollipops and cotton candy tubs.  Wine, specialty cocktails and slushy drinks are available as well as the usual bottled water, soda and coffee.

I must warn you that you can’t go into this musical expecting it to be exactly like the movie.  There are too many production technicalities and scene changes for this to happen.  The musical adaptation is an updated, modern version, with social media references and different genres of music. There are even some references that younger children will most likely not understand.  Aside from a couple of classic songs from the movie, the musical features several original songs from Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman.

Act One sets the background of the poverty that Charlie endures and reveals the winners of the golden tickets.  The audience doesn’t get to visit the chocolate factory until Act Two.  I found the set to be surprisingly bare at times.  The whole scene where the children enter the edible candy room was set on a giant, wheeled cube, that lacked the “wow” factor that I had anticipated.  However, there were enough special effects and fun throughout the remaining act to keep us entertained.

(photo courtesy of Polk PR)

Two-time Tony winner Christian Borle does an amazing job playing Willy Wonka.  There are three young actors who rotate playing the role of little Charlie Bucket.  The day of our visit, Ryan Foust starred in the role.  The twelve-year-old actor stole my heart, perfecting the innocence of the character. I was a bit disappointed to see that only Charlie is portrayed by a child actor. The other ticket winners Augustus Gloop, Mike Teavee, Veruca Salt and Violet Beauregarde are all played by adults.  Mrs. Green adds humor throughout the show, selling her wares from her shopping cart.   The portrayal of the Oompa-Loompas was a fun addition to the show as well.

If you are going to shell out the requisite big bucks for a Broadway show, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might be a safe bet for the family as it’s a story that most children are familiar with. It is a fun, family-friendly production that will entertain  and take viewers to a world of “pure imagination”, if only for a couple of hours.

The Details:

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (the musical)
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre
205 West 46th Street
New York, NY 10036

Duration:  2 1/2 hours, with a 15-minute intermission

Showtimes:  Dates and times vary, please check the website for specifics

Price:  Tickets range from $69-$249 +, depending on date and seat choice


*The show is recommend for ages 6+

*Be sure to check out the doors and signs around the theater entrance for some fun, humorous photos before or after the show.

*If you wait by the stage door after the show you can get autographs and photos with the cast!

Ryan Foust is one of the three boys who plays the role of Charlie Bucket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


Amazonia: A Journey into the Amazon


DVD release date:  October 4, 2016, Lionsgate
Rating:  G
Genre:  Family
Run time:  83 minutes
Source:  borrowed from the library

Synopsis from Lionsgate:
Amazonia seamlessly blends thrilling storytelling with breathtaking wildlife photography. As Saï, a tiny capuchin monkey, departs the big city for a new life, his plane is forced to land in the Brazilian rain forest. Abandoned and alone, he forages for food while observing the jungle’s endless varieties of wildlife. As predators approach, Saï’s incredible instincts rescue him from danger at the last minute. One fateful day, he learns he’s not the only capuchin in the Amazon…

Review:  This film follows Sai, a capuchin (a monkey that lives in Central and South America) who is a domesticated monkey, working in a circus.  He’s being transported on a plane when it crashes in the Brazilian rain forest.  The viewer follows Sai as he acclimates to his new environment and learns to survive in the wild.

The film is narrated by Martin Sheen.  Although the film is fictional, lots of factual information about the flora and fauna of the rain forest is presented.  Although this is a fictional movie, it provides lot of useful information about the rain forest.  The scenery is breathtaking with lots of close ups of the various insects and animals that Sai encounters, as well as the Amazon River.

As much as I’d love to visit the Amazon rain forest, it is unlikely that a trip there will happen anytime soon!  So, I was happy that my kids got to see beautiful video images of the rain forest in this movie.  While watching this, my son ask what the difference between a jungle and a rain forest is, or if they are the same thing.  After a little research we discovered that the Amazon rain forest is also referred to as Amazonia  or the Amazon Jungle.  Merriam-Webster defines a jungle as, “an impenetrable thicket or tangled mass of tropical vegetation.”  So, it appears parts of the rain forest can be considered jungle-like.

The DVD has special features including “The Making of Amazonia” and “Minuscule Bonus Episodes.”  They are filmed in French with English subtitles.

I watched this DVD with my 8 and almost 11-year-old children.  The kids thought it was “cute” and they both were engrossed watching it.  As a huge lover of monkeys, I too enjoyed watching this movie. To be honest, I’m not sure that this movie will hold the interest of all children.  I recommend this movie for older elementary kids, age 7+.  This is not a fast-moving, action-packed movie, but dependent on the child’s interest level, younger children may enjoy watching this movie.

Rating:  Recommend for children 7+

Boy & The World: A Review

Length: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Rating: PG
Animated Family Movie

Boy & The World is a Brazilian movie that had a limited USA release in December 2015. It came out on DVD this past July. The movie is told through bursts of colors and sounds, with no dialogue.  It opens with Cuca, a stick figured drawn boy, watching his father go off on a train to the city to find work.  Cuca embarks on an adventure to look for his father and reunite his family.  As his journey progresses, the film gets darker.   Through music and animation the movie shows the detrimental effects of industrialization and urbanization.

I borrowed this movie from the library, not knowing much about it.  When the movie opened with a kaleidoscope of colors and sounds and simple, child-like figures, I wasn’t sure how well it would go over with my eight and ten-year-old children.  Would it be too childish for them?  No, in fact, it wasn’t. It was actually a very abstract film in which I voiced a running commentary to explain what was going on. Despite my reservations, both children were enthralled with the movie.  Even if they don’t understand everything that’s going on, younger children will enjoy the bright colors and beautiful music!

The bonus material on the DVD was enlightening as we got to see how the movie was created.  My son loves to draw and he was impressed to see how the original artwork was created and then made into the movie.  Music and sounds played a pivotal role in the movie and it was fun to see how different materials were used to get the targeted sound effects.

This movie has won over 40 film festival awards and after viewing, it is understandable why.  My children and I highly recommend this movie.

We borrowed this movie from our local library.  The movie is out on DVD and available for purchase. It is also available (at a cost) to stream from Amazon Video.