"Neither snow nor sleet nor dark of night" could prevent the Jan. 25 Kids Night On Broadway. While a Nor'easter blew inches and sometimes feet of snow across the eastern seaboard, the fourth annual event took its adage from show biz: "The show must go on."
Certainly the Kids Night On Broadway 2000 "Fan Fair" didn't look any less crowded, with youngsters and adults packing the dance floor of Roseland. The free Fair, held for the participants in Kids Night's "buy one adult ticket, get a child's free" program, came on in full with booths from many currently-running shows and upcomers like The Music Man.
Some of these unique offerings included:
Karaoke Footloose: Choose to sing one of four of the show's hit songs ("Footloose," "Almost Paradise," "Let's Hear It For The Boy" and "Holding Out For A Hero") for the audience gathered around the neon green booth.
Rap With Bomb-ity Of Errors: Out-rhyme the competition in a contest to see who can find the most words that sound alike -- all with a killer beat.
Take a Photo as the Saturday Night Fever Logo: Slip behind a cardboard cutout of Fever's orange and yellow logo and instantly become Tony Manero in his most classic disco pose.
Macaroni Art With Over The River And Through The Woods: Create colored pasta jewelry with the Off-Broadway Italian comedy.
The now familiar Kids Nights staples returned from face painting by the crew of Cats to science experiments with Jekyll & Hyde to photos in cloak and cape at The Phantom of the Opera. All kinds of theatrical souvenirs abounded, the most popular being the Annie Get Your Gun straw cowboy hats and bright, multi-colored whistles from The Music Man. Rent returned with their logo tattoos and buttons. Several shows like Footloose and Bomb-ity of Errors gave out CD samplers and show posters for participants' efforts at their booths.
Roseland's main stage served as the platform for the various entertainments, including a band performing swing renditions of standards and Broadway tunes. For the children, Miss Saigon sponsored a martial arts exhibition done to their show's opening number, "The Heat Is On." A square dance caller introduced children to an art form that would have been familiar to Annie Oakley of Annie Get Your Gun. Swing!'s champion country western swing dancers Laureen Baldovi and Robert Royston demonstrated the West Coast swing style, then held a contest in which three young couples from the audience demonstrated their dance skills on stage to Swing!'s act one closer.
By 7PM, Kids Night's early curtain time, the fair closed down and the shows did indeed go on. This is the first year special curtain speeches were given by the stars of the participating shows. Speechmakers included Bernadette Peters (Annie Get Your Gun), Bebe Neuwirth (Chicago) and Anne Hampton Callaway (Swing!).
Since its inception in 1996, the Theatre Development Fund's "Kids Night on Broadway" has helped 150,000 young people attend theatre productions in New York and across the country.
For the second Kids Night show, on Feb. 1, tickets still remain available for Les Miserables, Kiss Me, Kate, Miss Saigon, Chicago, Swing, Jekyll & Hyde, Cats and Rent.
Across the country, touring companies will also be holding Kids Nights on dates from January through March. Participating shows include The Civil War (Atlanta and Wilmington, DE), The Sound of Music (Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and Tempe, AZ), Peter Pan (Tulsa, OK), Stomp (Cincinnati), Ragtime (Hartford) and Titanic (Columbus, Louisville and Pittsburgh).
For additional or specific information on "Kids Night on Broadway" call The Broadway Line at (888) BROADWAY or (212) 302-4111 in the New York City area.