Please Stop Asking if Shows Are Appropriate for Children


Unless your show is called “Seven BJs for Seven Brothers,” (someone get on that), or unless you’re specifically doing TYA, people will contact your theatre and ask questions like this on the regular:

“I’d like to bring my nine-year-old to see your show. Is it appropriate for kids?”

No one likes this question. This question can strike deep anxiety into the heart of the most stalwart producer. Why?

We have no way of knowing what that means to you. All you’re really asking is, “Will I, a person you’ve never met, be uncomfortable seeing this play with my kid, who already knows much more about the topic than I am ready to confront, plunging me into a parental and emotional crisis, all of which I will blame on you for failing to psychically pinpoint my particular issue?”

I have kids, and my personal boundaries around what was or was not appropriate for them at any given age were just as arbitrary as anyone else’s, so believe me, I’m not faulting you. I just need you to recognize that your boundaries are unknowable to me unless you tell me what they are. People almost never do, and then they get angry if we don’t guess correctly.

Don’t make the hungover 23-year-old intern who answers emails going to guess what your boundaries are.

He doesn't know. Source:

He doesn’t know.

Instead, ask us specific questions, like:

“I’m hoping to bring my 10-year-old, but I’m not comfortable with taking her to see a play with:

graphic sex

graphic violence

any violence

onstage drug use

any drug use

adult language

adult language apart from “damn” or “hell”

full nudity

partial nudity and/or underwear

discussions of [something]

depictions of [something]

or any combination of the above,

Do you have anything like that in your play? If so, how graphically/realistically depicted is it?”

Now THAT’S a question I can answer, and it will result in information you can use.


Tagged , , , ,

4 thoughts on “Please Stop Asking if Shows Are Appropriate for Children

  1. Cary Vaughn says:

    Honey, I think you nailed it. And now I’m eagerly awaiting 7 BJs for 7 Brothers.

  2. And also – do your own damn research. Most theatres put on shows that are non-new work – which means you can, you know, get a copy of the play to read yourself. If it’s new, there will no doubt be endless text about what it’s about on the theatre’s website.

  3. -K. says:

    I love this! Getting specific would be so helpful!

    Also… I did a run of Avenue Q as Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut three years ago. At one point I would go out with Lucy and ad-lib trying to pick someone (or multiple someones) in the front row. One night, HAND TO GOD, this was what came out of my mouth to a group of six women who clearly were out for girls’ night:

    “Okay, one two three four five six… so listen, I’ve got seven really hot guys back at my place, and I think you ladies should come along to complete the set. It’ll be like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, except with less marriage and more blowjobs.”

  4. Scott M says:

    Gotta get info somehow. Sometimes the info isn’t really out there yet. Getting opinions of various ppl is generally helpful I’ve found. Askers can use the info however they need. Rarely do people answer only with “yes” or “no”. They give reasons that are good for consideration. These days ratings aren’t particularly helpful in my experience.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: