If you have wanted to see one of the American Girl shows in the American Girl Place theaters, then you had better hurry. The Los Angeles theater is slated to close April 13, while the New York and Chicago theaters will close September 1.

According to the article the reason for the closure is:

“Management felt that the time was right to find new entertaining experiences for our guests,” Parks said. Those experiences, however, won’t include live performers.

The Chicago American Girl Place is in the process of moving to the Water Tower Place shopping mall, in the space formerly occupied by Lord and Taylor department store. Live theater won’t be a part of the new location.

Over the last ten years, three different shows have been created (and rotated). Along with the original “The American Girls Revue” (currently playing in New York and Chicago), American Girl also produced a second show called “Circle of Friends – An American Girl Musical,” which currently plays in New York. More recently, a show aimed at younger kids called “Bitty Bear’s Matinee: The Family Tree” was added to the mix. Although well-respected by theater professionals and not egregiously commercial, all of the shows revolve around American Girl products and characters. American Girl has long been regarded as a leader in the fusion of theater and retail.

In New York, the production was hit by a strike in 2006, when actors involved in the shows attempted to join the Actors Equity Association, even after management turned down a request by the union to meet with them. That dispute flared up again in late last year, when actors again voted to join the union and American Girl charged that Equity had unfairly influenced the voting.

While I know many fans will be sad to see the live shows go, I really hope that American Girl releases the shows on DVD so that girls can continue to enjoy the performances and messages in the shows.

What do you think? Will the shows be missed? Have you ever seen one live?