The Mad Ones is a sweet night out with your teen, performed by Oregon Children’s Theatre’s talented Young Professionals Company.

Image courtesy Oregon Children’s Theatre

The Mad Ones follows the story of high school student Samantha Brown, who feels lost and uncertain about the future after experiencing a tragedy. The show is recommended for ages 14+, but we brought our tween and had a great time. The show does cover mature topics including sex, mature language, underage alcohol use, and death.

The venue alone is reason enough to go. CoHo Theatre is an intimate 95-seat black box theater space, and as soon as we walked in, I was glad to have brought my daughter. We go to live performances often, but the space at CoHo feels especially trendy and cool.


I’ll be honest; I had to talk my spouse into joining us. He loves musical theatre as much as I do, but student production didn’t exactly sound like something he was ready to give up his Saturday night for. To his surprise and my delight, he found the show funny and sweet. There were many moments in the performance that made us glance at each other and smile over shared memories (we were high school sweethearts). I also strongly identified with the show’s mother, who transitions, belatedly, from intensely involved in her daughter’s decision-making to singing, “It’s not my call.” It was a nice reminder that parenting must evolve with the teen years.

These songs are not easy to sing, and my husband and I were both impressed that actors this young were given the opportunity to perform them. My daughter was baffled by our conversation: “It would be so weird if adults played these roles, Mom!” And once she said it, I realized it was true. There’s no better way to tell this story than with the voices of teens who are experiencing the same angst, ambivalence, and uncertainty as the characters themselves.

All three of us laughed out loud and were moved by the performance. Sofia Gomez made me believe in her Sam. Often when teens perform you can tell they’re thinking about how the audience perceives their performance. Not Gomez. There was nothing self-conscious about her, and at times I forgot myself, I was so immersed in her storytelling.

Tickets start at just $12 for youth, $18 for adults. You could take your teen yourself, or drop off your child with friends. The show runs Thursdays-Sundays, February 10-26, with an alternating cast. Buy tickets here.

Meg Asby
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