The message of the play is simple - with a bit of imagination and intent every child has the potential to be anything. Throughout the performance this message is repeated again and again as we are introduced to make-believe astronauts, bakers and artists. As each performer leads us through their dream occupation there is singing and dancing audience involvement. The interaction is well timed throughout and keeps the younger members in the audience engaged through most of the performance.
When I Grow Up I Want to Be... is a nice show with a high-energy cast who clearly try very hard to entertain and engage the audience. However, the overall effect is still somewhat superficial. They pander to the younger members of the audience in a way that ignores the older ones and do not engage the audience on a personal level. There are also no visible attempts at any characterization by the main cast. They are all friendly, but each character was indistinguishable from the other meaning that, despite their effort, it fell a bit flat.
The latter part of the show loses its initial dynamic quality and flow. The villain is introduced far too late and so abruptly that not only does she fail to create dramatic tension, she completely kills the mood. Her opposition to the show’s message of anyone can grow up to be anything is rushed and too analytical compared with the whimsical nature of the rest of the show.
However the overall sensation was enjoyable. The moral message was thoroughly demonstrated and every child there had an opportunity to join in. If you want to grow to be someone who participates in a show, here’s your chance.