So nice, they're doing it thrice -- the third annual Kids' Night On Broadway, an event to introduce young people to the magic of live theatre, has been set for Jan. 26, 1999 in NYC.
Tickets will go on sale Oct. 19 for the promotion, which allows every adult buying a full-price ticket to selected Broadway and regional shows, to bring a child (6-18) for free.
Other cities, such as Nashville, Pittsburgh, Tulsa and Tallahassee, will hold their own Kids' Nights on dates to be announced in Jan.-Feb. 1999.
Special early curtain times, parking and restaurant discounts, and various backstage activities will also be part of the mix, according to sponsors at the League of American Theatres & Producers and Theatre Development Fund.
NY Shows already signed up include Footloose, Les Miz, The Sound of Music and Noise/Funk. On the road, Victor/Victoria and Annie will also take part. For more information about Kids' Night on Broadway call The Broadway Line toll-free at (888) 411-BWAY.
Previous NY Kids' Night festivals mixed the approach of a college job fair with the glamour and fun of Broadway. For example, at the first Kids' Night in 1997, 22 booths representing the Broadway shows participated. Cast-members of Victor/Victoria taught kids the tango; the Cats booth offered face-painting." The idea is to give children a first-hand experience of Broadway and to provide pre-show entertainment before the 7 PM curtain of that evening's participating Broadway performances.
"Every theatre lover remembers their first Broadway show," said League Executive Director Jed Bernstein. "Kids' Night on Broadway and The Broadway Kids' Club represent an active effort on the part of the industry to create a new generation of theatregoers and to make the magic of Broadway accessible to more families."
Bernstein then went on to briefly explain his "funnel theory" of theatregoing, which has to do with parents who were taken to the theatre when young growing up and bringing THEIR kids to a show. "We need to get more people at the top of the funnel," Bernstein explained, "so more people are coming through the bottom."
Other theatre programs that currently integrate teens into New York theatre include Camp Broadway, Midtown Management Group's "Inside Broadway" series, and TaDa!'s acting program.
Mark Wilder, Public Relations Director for The Midtown Management Group, noted that the Kids Night idea came out of (among other programs) Teacher's Night On Broadway (sponsored by the United Teacher's Federation and Theatre Development Fund) -- an arts and education program designed to get teachers to use theatre as a learning tool.
-- By David Lefkowitz