December 11, 2017

This Place Puts You In The Middle Of The Show

There’s a performance space in the historic Vinton Street area that’s regularly has interactive shows. It’s called Apollon Art Space. We went to a performance at Apollon Art Space recently–it was my second time taking the kids–and again, the kids and I loved the experience. This interactive element isn’t found in too many other theaters in Omaha.

Apollon Art Space is in the charming Vinton Street Neighborhood, not too far from the zoo in Omaha.

What is the Apollon

I go into detail about the theatre venue & experience here, but briefly, it’s collaborative theater where there’s the performer, there’s you, and then there’s what goes on between the two of you.

And there’s food.

“Holiday at Hogwarts” involved dinner served family-style at banquet tables. Houses were allowed to mingle, so my Hufflepuff kin could sit with me.

We attended the super popular “Holiday at Hogwarts” opening night this past weekend. I bought tickets, but then Apollon upgraded them from regular to Deluxe so that I could review the experience for you.

Frankly, my review’s not needed. Nearly every performance is sold out. BUT, if you want a ticket, you can go solo to one of the remaining shows with a seat. Check dates here. Next year, buy tickets to “Holiday at Hogwarts” early.

Taking Kids To Apollon

You may have noticed at the end of a show’s listing the following: “This event is intended primarily for adults, but is suitable for all ages.” I’m guessing the experience is a lot of fun with a group of adult friends. I don’t know. I keep bringing my kids. But everyone around us was a group of adult friends and they were having a blast. Maybe Mr. Wonderful and I should go without the kids sometime?

The toast before the first sip of butter beer. Deluxe tickets to “Holiday at Hogwarts” includes a complimentary non-alcoholic butter beer. The show runs through Dec. 30, 2017 at Apollon Art Space in Omaha.

But bringing a kid can be pretty special (and if you ask me, it really tests the actors’ improv chops and reflexes).

For “Holiday at Hogwarts,” our excitement started with the acceptance letter arriving by mail. Shock. That’s the look on their faces. I got several “!!!” on a text from my niece after she got hers, so there you go. To get a ‘tween excited about anything, you know it’s special.

Tip: The Deluxe ticket to “Holiday at Hogwarts” includes a Hogwarts acceptance letter, souvenir ticket, VIP wand service and wand at Ollivanders,10% discount at all Hogsmeade shoppes, complimentary stationary and owl service to send a letter from the Hogsmeade Post Office, one free glass of butterbeer, and everything you get with the standard ticket (Hogwarts classes, Christmas feast).

Once we were in the theatre space on Vinton Street, my kids were all in, especially my 6-year-old. She and my son were definitely the youngest ones there, but also enthusiastic participants. My daughter went to every professor multiple times to learn more magic (she was totally sold on her wand and its abilities).

Melanie Prentice as Trelawny looking into her crystal ball between classes at “Holiday at Hogwarts,” the annual Christmas show at Apollon Art Space in Omaha.

Trelawny read my daughter’s fortune and gave her some little trinkets and now she has a plastic baggie in her room with her scribble on it stating “Pretty things.” It’s adorbs.

But there are some down sides. The show doesn’t start until 7:30 p.m., and goes on past 10, which makes for a late night with kids. Plus, for this show, the food is served family-style and if you child is the slightest bit picky, he or she will find something wrong with what’s served. We had roasted chicken (acceptable for both kids), bangers (sausage, not acceptable), potatoes and carrots (not acceptable), bun (acceptable), and three kinds of desserts (only the chocolate frog was acceptable).

 

We also had drink tickets for butter beer with the Deluxe tickets. There’s alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. My niece liked the butter beer, but my two off-spring did not. I tried both versions and say to you adults, drink up the alcoholic stuff. It’s costs a little more, but tastes so much better.

Adult butter beer at Apollon Art Space had vanilla ale and butterscotch schnapps added to the classic version.

And lastly, part of the show’s activities were held at Hogsmeade, located in a muggles’ art supply store across the street. This freed up space in the Apollon, but also required us to cross a street at night. If you’ve been to the Vinton Street area, you know muggles don’t take that curve slowly. You should definitely not skip Hogsmeade, especially if you got the Deluxe ticket. You pick out wands, send Owl Mail, and if you’re my kids, beg and beg for a magical pet (hand-knit animals for sale there).

Want to go to Apollon Art Space?

There are different types of performances that occur at Apollon Art Space. Like I said before, “Holiday at Hogwarts” is nearly sold out. Check for tickets here.

The next show is a murder mystery dinner experience called “Murder in a Jerkwater Town.” My 6-year-old thinks it sounds like a delight. I’ll step in and say this sounds like a fun date night or friends-night-out more than a family date night. Tickets are $25 each and include dinner. Cash bar. Purchase tickets here.

If you go

The Apollon

Where: 1801 Vinton St.

Parking: Park on the street, and if you can’t find a spot, there’s overflow parking at the Supermercado Nuestra Familia, 1826 Vinton St.

Website 

Stay In The Know!

Subscribe to the FREE twice a month(ish) e-newsletter sharing what’s new in Omaha, giveaways, family travel ideas, and more! Subscribe here.

June 21, 2016

The Apollon Art Space In Omaha

Omaha’s vibrant performing arts scene has just about every kind of theater I could hope for: We’ve got the classics, the traditional musicals, contemporary theater, improv, and interactive dinner theater.

It’s the last one I’m going to write about. Well. Not really. Come to think of it, it’s a bit improv, and definitely contemporary, and there was some song and dance…

Apollon Art Space logo

The Apollon Art Space is a little bit of everything, but most of all, it’s collaborative.

I was invited to attend a performance of the theater’s latest show, “A Very Important Date: The Untold Story of the White Rabbit.” I was encouraged to bring the kids along. I’m so glad I did.

 

Dweedle Dee and Dweedle Dum were Mooch's clear favorites from the performance we attended at The Apollon in Omaha.

Dweedle Dee and Dweedle Dum were Mooch’s clear favorites from the performance we attended at The Apollon in Omaha.

They’ve become No. 1 fans of the place!

What to expect

The Apollon Art Space is more than theater, and it’s not quite like anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s space for arts (I hope you deduced that from the name).

It’s based on three elements: “The performer, the witness, and the shared experience between them.”

Here’s where it gets fun for kids.

Their shows are interactive. You may influence the outcome of the show. You may be in the show.

Farley chatting with the hare before the show began. Or had it already begun when we arrived?

Farley chatting with the hare before the show began. Or had it already begun when we arrived?

This shared experience is everything for kids. And adults. For those of us not brave enough to step foot on a stage, it’s exciting to interact with the actors at The Apollon.

Our show was general admission, and rather than rows of seats, we sat at tables. You’ll meet some new people when you attend a show. Your experience becomes theirs.

My children’s enthusiastic reaction to a character or recoil from an oddly colored food was shared with the whole table. I’m fairly sure they found my kids entertaining.

The look says it all: This is not cake but a chicken salad sandwich?! The Apollon likes to play with food during a show.

The look says it all: “This is not cake but a chicken salad sandwich?? Why, Mommy, why?” The Apollon likes to play with food during a show.

I hope.

Not all shows are suitable for all ages, so before buying a ticket for your whole crew, double check. This Alice show, though, is great for kids. My kids are 4 and 6 and enjoyed every minute of it (except for the sandwiches that looked like cakes and were not at all like cake).

My daughter has been pretending to be Dweedle Dee for four days now. So I guess you could say she liked it.

The food

Meals are themed off the performance. They’re included with your ticket.

Since the show we attended was a riff off Alice and Wonderland, our food was wonderfully bizarre.

Vertical salad with bright blue ranch dressing kicked off our "Alice in Wonderland" fanciful themed dinner.

Vertical salad with bright blue ranch dressing kicked off our “Alice in Wonderland” fanciful themed dinner.

We had four courses for our meal, ending with a birthday cake. It was a birthday party, after all.

Drinks were extra. I had to order one of the specialty cocktails, just because.

You try going to a dinner show alone with your kids. You'd order a Mad Hatter, too.

You try going to a dinner show alone with your kids. You’d order a Mad Hatter, too.

The prices were pretty reasonable – $3 for a glass of wine? Bottoms up!

The space

The Apollon is along a charming stretch of Vinton Street in downtown Omaha.  The space itself is small and not set up like a typical theater. It’s a space for many uses.

A lot of the art on the walls not only served as a set for the show – it doubled as a gallery space. We, the audience, were asked to create some art for the wall during the show. However, working artists also have some work on the walls that could be purchased.

Besides interactive theater, the space hosts improv shows, Drink and Draw nights, and there’s a little art supply store. We bought some coloring books after the show from the store, and the kids were happy to use them to collect autographs from the cast. They also host free art classes occasionally, which you can keep tabs on here.

What’s coming up

Very Important Date Apollon

“A Very Important Date: The Untold Story of the White Rabbit” – Runs through July 2.

Big Canvas Improv at The Apollon – July 15, 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.

 

If you go

The Apollon

Where: 1801 Vinton St.

Parking: Park on the street, and if you can’t find a spot, there’s overflow parking at the Supermercado Nuestra Familia, 1826 Vinton St.

Website