Arms Wide Open

wells-theatre-210914_640“Unless we tell stories about ourselves, which is all that theater is, we’re in deep trouble.”

– Alan Rickman

And there’s nothing wrong with being mermaids ūüėÄ

– Me


If I could request one thing of the dinner-and-a-movie crowd, it would be to hit the theater next time! Ditch the 3-D glasses and try a live performance. The theater is a truly immersive experience that is compelling, artful, and a great change of pace. Going to the theater is an absolute must at least once a year, and it makes for a very classy date! If you want to experience a live play here in San Diego, no one has more fun doing it that Arms Wide Open!

The Venue


Looking down at the Lyceum Theatres

The Lyceum Theatres at Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego. It’s a neat little venue that is built underground and accessed by a bowl of an entrance way at the north-east corner of the mall. There is plenty of food and shopping around the mall and the Gaslamp Quarter is just outside the parking structure. As you can imagine, many a date night can be crafted around whichever performance you see, no matter what time of day. They house all sorts of plays and there is another version of the Little Mermaid coming in June, in case you missed the Arms Wide Open performance and still need your live Disney fix.

The Organizationplacebo

To steal their own words, “Arms Wide Open is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of children and adults with special needs by fostering caring social environments and creating opportunities for recreation and participation in the arts.”¬†My cousin Kelsey loves performing in their yearly play, and it is always a lot of fun. Check out Arms Wide Open online for program details and show dates for next year as they become available. They are much more than a yearly play!

IMG_2771 (2)The Play

This Year, Arms Wide Open performed The Little Mermaid Jr, a fun take on the Disney classic that was filled with lovable characters and LOTS of songs and dances.

I am always impressed by the people who design the sets and make the costumes, and The Little Mermaid was no exception. Also, their use of projected backgrounds really


Waiting for the show to start!

helped set the mood as we were finding our seats, and it made for an impressive opening scene.

The play itself was very entertaining. The characters were lovable, and there was plenty of humor. The cast was so enthusiastic and really let loose on some of the musical numbers. There were also several WOW moments that were very impressive. One of the more memorable ones was when Ursela appeared. The audience gasped aloud and cheered.

One of my personal favorite scenes was the musical number where Sebastian gets trapped in the kitchen with the crazy cook. In this Little Mermaid, Sebastian gets away by tossing a pie in the cook’s face!

We’re still getting used to shooting photos in low lighting, but here are some pictures I took during the performance:

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Always verify show times, directions, and parking. If possible, purchase tickets online beforehand to ensure you have seats when you get there.

A play, like a movie, can be a great talking point for later in the date, which is why I like starting at the theater and following it up with a walk around the neighborhood or getting something to eat.

Don’t go to the theater too hungry though! Depending on the venue, they may not have any substantial snacks and plays are sometimes much longer than movies. The Lyceum Theater in downtown San Diego, for example had only candy bars and drinks. Not to mention you can say a bit of money if you avoid buying at theaters (unless of course, the snack bar is a fundraiser, than do purchase something and feel good about it!)


IMG_2983 (2)

Ana and me with the star of the show!

There is a reason that movies are more popular than live plays, and I’m not about to get into a discussion of which is better, but there is also a reason why live plays have been around for thousands of years and are arguably more popular than they’ve ever been…even in the modern age of blockbuster movies. Live performances offer some things that movies just don’t. It’s the difference between watching a baseball game in the comfort of your own home, verses a trip to the ballpark with the smell of fresh cut grass in the air and a hot dog in your hand ūüôā

There are countless theaters all over the country that house live performances, so get online and look up a play¬†near you. Even colleges and high schools offer great live performances. I’ve seen a lot of good plays, but no one¬†is more excited to be on stage than Arms Wide Open! So if you’re in town, and it’s that time of year, an Arms Wide Open¬†play is a date night must.




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