Arts & Culture

‘War Horse’ Actors Discuss The Appropriate Age To See The Show

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"War Horse" (credit: CBS)

“War Horse” (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – It is based on a novel for young adults, but is the Tony Award winning play “War Horse” really for children?

CBS4 Critic at Large Greg Moody reported on the idea of when the show might become age appropriate.

“It’s an interesting question, especially with the power of what’s going on onstage,” Moody said. “‘War Horse’ is a marvelous show, a powerful show based on a young adult novel. With that in mind, a number of people have asked me, ‘Is this show appropriate for children?’ I have my own opinions, but I asked two members of the cast for theirs.”

“War Horse” is a story of loyalty and betrayal, compassion and hatred, peace and war.

“It’s hard enough to see the story of war told through a teenager’s eyes, then to also see the story told through an animal’s eyes,” said Mat Hostetler, an actor in “War Horse.”

While it is based on a book for young adult readers, the strength of the imagery, the power of the stage magic makes some parents wonder what age should see it.

“I think it’s a theatrical experience that parents should embrace to take their children to,” said Angela Reed, an actress in the show.

“I think it does depend on the child. I think parents will obviously know best. We generally have recommended it for nine and up, and I think that’s about right,” Hostetler said. “Some of the images could be a little disturbing for children younger than that.”

Both Hostetler and Reed, both of whom have strong Denver connections, know the Denver audience and their answers make perfect sense. But even they admit it all depends on the parents and the children they intend to bring.

“It’s a perfect show to introduce children to live theater,” Hostetler said.

“Anytime someone asks me if their children should see the show, I say, ‘That’s for you to decide,’ ” Reed said. “It depends on how old the child is, what the child has been exposed to, but if it were my child, I would jump at the chance to take them to see a show like this.”

“‘War Horse’ is not children’s theater. It’s not a fantasy adventure simply told. It has power and death and real moments of fear. The audience is drawn into the story and the characters as in few shows I’ve ever seen,” Moody said. “It has an impact. Know that going in for both you and those children or young adults you may bring along.”

“War Horse” opens the new Broadway season at the Denver Center for Performing Arts on Jan. 8 and runs for two weeks. Buy tickets early because the Tony Award winner is going fast.

Think about grabbing a subscription for the great season coming up. They’ve got plenty of packages and plans at all price levels to get in the door. Call (303) 893-4100 for tickets and information or visitDenver Center for Performing Arts website.

- Greg Moody is CBS4′s Critic At Large. His reports on CBS4 News are featured on the CBSDenver.com Entertainment section.

- Also, don’t miss Moody’s entertaining bio, his Top Spots in Denver lists, and his frequently updated Moody’s Picks page.

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