The annual "Kids' Night on Broadway" program, sponsored by the League of American Theatres and Producers and the Theatre Development Fund, begins Jan. 30. Tickets are available for certain Jan. 30 shows as well as select shows on Feb. 6, the second night of the program.
A "buy one, get one free" campaign, "Kids' Night" brings young people to the theatre—often for the first time—by making one kid's ticket available for every full price adult ticket purchased for shows on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6 at participating Broadway theatres and other major venues around the country.
Country singer, Broadway newcomer and "Kids' Night" spokesperson Reba McEntire—who just assumed the lead in Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun opposite Brent Barrett (Chicago) (Jan. 26)—said, "I know that many of the children who attend the wonderful shows participating in 'Kids' Night on Broadway' all across the country will be the ones who'll be stepping out on Broadway stages five or ten or twenty years from now."
Through her spokesperson, McEntire said that she felt the "Kids' Night" program was important because, "It opens the door for children to see a great possibility for their future. Someday they could be standing on that stage or directing the play or working behind the scenes."
McEntire said her first theatre experience was seeing Dream Girls in the early '80s: "I loved it!" the award-winning country star said. An Oct. 26 kick-off event for tickets featured the "Broadway Karaoke Contest for Kids," which included a televised special hosted by MTV's "Say What? Karaoke" host Dave Holmes. As reported, the "Broadway Karaoke Contest for Kids" winner performs at "the pre-theatre party during the first night of 'Kids' Night on Broadway' on Jan. 30."
Conceived by TDF and the League in 1996, "Kids' Night on Broadway" has helped introduce some 150,000 young people (ages 6-18) to the "magic of live theatre" by making it "accessible to a new generation of theatregoers."
Participating shows for the program include Annie Get Your Gun, Barrio Babies, Chicago, Jane Eyre, Jitney, Kiss Me, Kate, Les Miserables, Rent, Riverdance on Broadway, Saturday Night Fever, Stomp, Seussical, Swing, The Dinner Party, The Music Man, The Phantom of the Opera, The Rocky Horror Show and the Rhythm Club. Numerous New York City restaurants also participate in the program. [Visit www.kidsnightonbroadway.com for a complete listing.]
Various other programs and competitions connected with "Kids' Night" have been successful in attracting younger audiences to Broadway. On Jan. 30, from 3-6 PM, the free "Kids Broadway Blast" at the Hammerstein Ballroom (311 W. 34 St.) will provide an opportunity for kids to experience backstage magic, including such activities as "dance lessons, stage face painting, make up design, and trying on costumes from Broadway shows." The "Kids Broadway Blast" precedes the Jan. 30 'Kids' Night' performances. At the Hammerstein event, singer Donny Osmond will perform two songs from his new CD at 4:15 PM.
McEntire also stressed the family theme of "Kids Night," telling Playbill On-Line, "It's a night of great family entertainment, a night where the whole family can be together and have fun."
The special evening of theatre for young people features 7 PM curtains and restaurant discounts. For further information visit www.kidsnightonbroadway.com. Interested parties may call the Broadway Line (888) BROADWAY or (212) 302-4111 as well.
—By Murdoch McBride