Kids Night on Broadway, rapidly becoming a tradition in New York and across the country since its inception, held its third annual Kids Fest at NY's Roseland Ballroom, Jan. 26 from 3-6 PM. Admission to the KidsFest was free with the purchase of tickets to either of the two Kids Nights performances, the 26th or Feb. 2.
Participating shows at the event included Chicago , Les Miz , Miss Saigon, Cats, Titanic, Jekyll & Hyde, Footloose, Smokey Joe's Cafe, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change; Over the River and Through the Woods, The Sound of Music, Annie Get Your Gun, The Phantom of the Opera, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Rent and the Broadway Kids, all of them offering KidsFest activities related to their shows.
Jekyll & Hyde let their musical's unique, science-oriented theme include chemistry experiments with star Rob Evan (under the supervision of New York University chemistry student Chris Richardson). Evan demonstrated the properties of dry ice by using it to freeze and then shatter red carnations. He also showed off the color-changing abilities of certain chemicals when mixed. He was also on hand to autograph photos of himself as Jekyll or Hyde, depending on the child's preference.
The other Frank Wildhorn show, The Scarlet Pimpernel, handed out Pimpernel pins and stamped the hands of entrants into their ticket raffle with the sign of the Pimpernel (in red ink, naturally). Star Douglas Sills showed up at 5 PM to sign autographs and take pictures before drawing the ticket raffle winner at 5:30 PM.
Games were the center of The Sound of Music's and Footloose's booths. Sound of Music's penny toss let kids pitch coins at pictures of their "favorite things" (including "raindrops on roses," "whiskers on kittens," "brown paper packages tied up with string" and the Sound of Music logo). Two pennies on the same picture won bags, CDs, sun-catchers and other prizes. Footloose sponsored a Bomont High basketball toss, where, for six baskets in the allotted time, the shooter received a Footloose sampler CD. Four points earned a neon yellow-green balloon. Kids get hungry, so the food booths were popular with Over the River and Through the Woods handing out candy and Titanic offering fruit-flavored sno-cones made from ice shaved "straight off the 'berg."
Photo ops were prevalent at Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera and Cats. Les Miz dressed kids as Young Cosette, Young Eponine or Gavroche, then took a Polaroid with the cast kids. Phantom had participants donning the Phantom's cape, hat and mask for a picture. Cats painted up kids in whiskers and stripes to resemble their feline characters.
At the KidsFest main stage, games of Broadway musical chairs with Camp Broadway punctuated the evening's special events, including a Shimmy Contest with Smokey Joes' Cafe's DeLee Lively, dancing with Chicago cast members and a question and answer time and medley of Sound of Music tunes from the kids of The Sound of Music.
Sara Zelle, 17 who plays Liesl in Music, answered most of the questions, which ranged from "Do you like being in the show?" to "What happens when you're sick?" to "How did you do to get to be in a show?" Zelle described getting an agent and going on auditions with a dose of reality to young thespians. "We work very hard -- we have to work every day -- eight shows a week."
Other show activities included autographs with the Broadway Kids, a chance to meet with Lively at the Smokey Joes booth and Captain Hook at Peter Pan's, Valentine creations with I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, acrobatics with the tumblers of Miss Saigon, tattoos from Rent, and cactus and boot-shaped pens from Annie Get Your Gun.
Shows participating in the Kids Night discounts this year include Chicago , Les Miz , Miss Saigon , Night Must Fall , The Scarlet Pimpernel and Titanic. Tickets to the shows will be also available for Feb. 2.
Dates and shows for other cities are as follow:
Feb. 2, Nashville, TN, Cats
Feb. 3, Chicago, IL, Riverdance
Feb. 9, Hartford, CT, Footloose
Feb. 9, Cincinnati, OH, Noise/Funk
Feb. 16, Boston, MA, Ragtime
Feb. 17, Spokane, WA, Annie
Feb. 23, Baltimore, MD, Footloose
Feb. 23, Columbus, OH, Noise/Funk
Feb. 24, Portland, OR, Annie
Mar. 2, Memphis, TN, Footloose
Mar. 3, Little Rock, AK, Annie
Mar. 3, Green Bay, WI, Tap Dogs
Mar. 3, Amherst, NY, Peter Pan
Mar. 9, Des Moines, IA, Annie
Mar. 16, Cincinnati, OH, Cats
Mar. 16, Rochester, NY, Fame
Mar. 19, Omaha, NB, Tap Dogs
Mar. 23, San Diego, CA, Tap Dogs
Mar. 23, Louisville, KY, Footloose
Mar. 30, Hartford, CT, Tommy
Apr. 27, Providence, RI, The King and I
Nov. 4, 1999, Greenville, SC, Big
Tickets to "Kids' Night on Broadway" are currently on sale. Adults purchasing tickets by phone at 1-888-BROADWAY or in New York at (212) 302-4111 will receive a free ducat for a child aged 6-18 for each full price ticket.
Kids Night was created in 1996 by The League of American Theatres and Producers and Theatre Development Fund as a way to introduce young people to live theatre.