San Francisco’s Castro Theatre Offers Sing-A-Long Fun For Families


*I may be the only person alive who never understood the whole Rocky Horror Picture Show thing.

You’ve seen or read about these events. For decades now, rabid fans of the movie have been packing theaters around the world, dressed as their favorite characters from the movie, to enjoy a viewing experience that I’m told is quite interactive. To be frank, I never quite got why anyone would waste their time and money.  I was never even much of a Halloween person, so dressing up as a character to watch a movie seemed crazy.

As it turns out, Rocky Horror was just the wrong movie for me. I recently discovered San Francisco’s Castro Theatre’s sing-a-long lineup, and I took my eldest daughter, Janet, to see Disney’s The Little Mermaid. We had an absolute blast.  The theatre enjoyed five sold-out shows last weekend, quite a feat for a movie that’s over 25 years old and has seen at least three releases on home video formats dating back to the Laserdisc.

By luck, the Castro was showing The Little Mermaid during my daughter’s recent visit to hang with her pops. That Disney classic was the very first movie I took her to see when she was a little girl. After the movie that chilly November day, little Janet was barely out of her carseat and back in the house when she asked me to lie down on the floor in the living room, before giving me the best “Part Of Your World” I would ever hear. Misty-eyed, I jumped back in the car and grabbed a copy of the soundtrack for her. Janet and I have been duetting on those Ashman and Menken showstoppers ever since.

But we’d NEVER belted them out like we did at the historic Castro Theatre last week.   A line began to form outside the theatre a full hour before the doors were to open, and there were many Ariels, a few Ursulas and King Tritons, and even a Sebastian or two in that line.  We didn’t have to wait long before we filed into the stunning, vintage theatre and took our seats.

While we waited for the show to start, an organist from days gone by performed a beautiful medley of songs from a variety of Disney animated classics dating back to 1937’s Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs before the event’s hosts — Ariel and Eric in the flesh! — welcomed us and gave us a few guidelines and instructions for the show. Our bags had been packed with glow sticks, bubbles, a variety of other props to be used during the show.

And use them we did! Yes, I sat with Triton’s crown atop my now salt-and-pepper head, and acted out entire scenes from the movie with my “little one”, and she nailed “Part Of Your World” — as well as Ursula’s “Poor Unfortunate Souls”) just as well as she did when she was a little girl.  I’d almost forgotten just how cherished those moments when she was so young were, and how happy and blessed I was to be a part of Janet’s childhood.  As the two of us belted out “Part Of Your World” over the movie’s closing credits, I found myself thankful to the Castro Theatre for helping me remember.

In addition to The Little Mermaid, The Castro Theatre regularly presents sing-a-long versions of other classic movies like Beauty & The Beast, The Wizard Of Oz, and The Sound Of Music. Later this month, they’ll feature a sing-a-long event that will undoubtedly be popular with today’s little girls (and their dads):  Frozen.

“That was SO much fun,” my Janet, 28, exclaimed as she hugged me and we walked out of the theatre last week. “I was too young to remember the first time we saw The Little Mermaid together, Dad, but I’ll remember THAT time forever!”
And I’m sitting, wiping away tears at my computer as I listen to my newly purchased, expanded edition of The Little Mermaid soundtrack.

This article was written by Michael P. Coleman, who also tweets all the time.

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