Remember we told you about the movable pods of seats at the Wyly Theatre for Dallas Theater Center's The Wiz? Sit in one of those high-priced sections -- top ticket price in the pods is about $80 -- and you get rolled around the stage about 15 times during the show. It's fun, if not exactly the thrill ride you might be expecting.
But heed this warning: If you get one of the pod seats, you're stuck there for the entire 90-minute show. There's no intermission.
Ushers are careful to announce this several times in the pre-show prep, even giving instructions about how to escape if there's a reason you absolutely have to get up and go before the show is over. If you do have to leave your seat, you're out. Your 15-seat pod will have moved on without you and you'll never be able to get back to it again.
One reason that might warrant signaling the ushers for an emergency exit might be that your child has had an oopsy.
There are some scary elements in the show and if you're a little kid they might be considered pants-peeing scary. The "Kalidas," monsters in Oz that look like giant dust mops with glowing red eyes, come jumping out of the wings to frighten Dorothy and her pals (they made me jump, though I managed not to wet myself). Evillene, the wicked witch played by the magnificent Liz Mikel, is pretty terrifying sitting atop her throne made of monkey skulls. And the flying monkeys are always kinda creepy, although the ones in this production are played by the gorgeous dancers of Dallas Black Dance Theatre so they're sort of glamorously creepy.
Whatever is scaring them, some kids in the audience at The Wiz have been peeing and pooping up a storm during the show.
Firsthand reports from a couple of patrons and some ushers are that parents are doing one of two things when this happens: 1) They're ignoring it and letting the kids (some as old as 6, which is WAY too old for this sort of behavior) sit in their own filth till the show is over, with the other 13 pod dwellers gagging from the odor; 2) Signaling the ushers and handing off the pee-soaked children and reclaiming the tots after the show.
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Yes, Mom and Dad want to see if Dorothy gets back home to Kansas, so here, Mr. or Ms. Usher-Stranger, take Junior to the lobby for the next 45 minutes or so. This actually has happened.
To steal a bit from Bill Maher, here are some New Rules for taking your young 'uns to see The Wiz: • If your kids are in diapers or haven't quite got the potty training down, they're too young to go to this musical with you. • Ushers are not nannies or babysitters. Don't hand them your wet or poop-stained tot and expect them to hose them down and return them. This is your job. • If your non-diaper-wearing child still can't control his or her bladder and bowels in public, don't bring them to the theater. • Be a better parent. Or stay home.
The Wiz (not The Whiz, mind you) continues through August 7 at the Wyly Theatre. Call 214-880-0202.