“Mommy. The girls are about to come out!” my daughter whispered as the lights dimmed at the Horizon Theatre for Madeline’s Christmas.
Now in its 10th year, Madeline’s Christmas at the Horizon Theatre in Atlanta takes the audience on a journey with a precocious Madeline caring for her friends and beloved headmistress after they catch the flu. The girls live together in a boarding school where love and magic weave its way through the girls’ lives.
It’s a fun and fantastically whimsical show that’s age appropriate for even little ones who can sit still long enough to enjoy the story. Whether you’ve seen the show already, or just want to get an idea of if it’s worth the visit, here are 5 reasons you’ll love Madeline’s Christmas at the Horizon Theatre.
1) The Girls Are Inspiring
The talented cast completely blew me away. In my pre-Mom life, I marketed shows for Broadway tours when living in New York, and I have a soft spot for young, talented casts of children that are engaged and inspired. Their enthusiasm while performing in Madeline’s Christmas was palpable and just watching their energy and dedication was enough to make even a wiggly audience stop and stare in awe.
The production collaborates with the Atlanta Children’s Theatre to find these lovely and talented young ladies. They’re so inspiring, and the young ones can see themselves in their shoes dancing and singing along, that I overheard a girl of about 10 ask the staff how she could audition.
2) The Sets are Magical
An enthusiastic cast needs a magical set to bring the story of Madeline’s Christmas to life. I was content to just sit and soak up the sets while we waited for the show to begin. You feel like you’re a part of the Madeline storybooks with Paris lit up over a backdrop of their boarding school. My daughter also liked to (loudly) whisper through every set change when the lights dimmed to give me a play by play of what was going on. She was quite taken with how everything transformed itself.
3) The Audience Gets to Engage
This is a big one. Shows either take the idea of audience engagement too far and it breaks the fourth wall, or it doesn’t quite go far enough. But Madeline’s Christmas strikes just the right balance. The staff explains when the audience can lift up their magical, sparkling wands during a particular song to help the girls find their way on magic carpets. I also loved that the cast occasionally ran up and down the steps of the theatre and into the audience as part of the show. It felt like we were part of their charming little Parisian boarding school.
Best of all, your kids can go and meet the entire cast afterward and get autographs signed. It’s a moving experience for your kids and shows your appreciation for the talented girls and adults alike. My daughter was blown away by the idea these girls would be at their schools tomorrow and do the show at night again and again.
4) It Reminds You of the Real Meaning of Christmas
In a world of social media, screaming Santa photos and that horrifying Elf on a Shelf (seriously who started that tradition??), it’s hard to tease apart the idea of family and togetherness during Christmas. Madeline’s Christmas captures that message while reminding us we also create a family in our friends and loved ones.
I think we’ve all been there at one point or another. I’m lucky to now live near my parents and brothers, but I spent over a decade carefully curating and developing my own family in New York where we leaned on each other through thick and thin and adopted each other on lonely holidays. Talk to your kids about that message after Madeline’s Christmas and how the girls took care of one another and were like family.
5) The Show is Also Adult Friendly
I’ve seen a lot of kid-friendly shows that take it to such an extreme the show becomes decidedly adult unfriendly. Even adults will enjoy Madeline’s Christmas and its whimsical story and embrace it as a new holiday tradition for their families. I’ll admit, the ability to buy a glass of wine from the concession stand doesn’t hurt either.
Go see Madeline’s Christmas with your kids and see how a family show is done right. You’ll be glad you did.
Disclosure: I received complimentary media tickets for the show. As always, opinions are my own.