Celebrating a First!
There is nothing more exciting than walking into a theatre to experience your first Broadway show: feeling the anticipation of what you are about to see, the hum of the crowd, the majesty of the physical space, and the hush that blankets the audience when the lights start to fade. Do you remember your first time?
Well, the Broadway League makes it their business to provide the opportunity for kids to have that memory.
Every year, Kid’s Night on Broadway, a special theatrical event takes place, and it just happened this past week.
Here’s how it works:
Kids aged 18 and under can attend a participating Broadway show for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. A Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket also includes restaurant discounts. Select shows offer in-theatre activities for kids including talkbacks, activity books, and other events.
I was invited to see a Kid’s Night on Broadway participating production, Some Like it Hot, based on the Billy Wilder film starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. This classic 1959 comedy is about two male musicians who unwittingly witness a mob hit, dress in women’s clothing, and join an all-female band to avoid being found.
This musical adaptation has been changed to reflect our times and does so with great success, as this feel good old fashioned musical hits all the right notes- from the gorgeous production elements (including lush scenery, and stunning costumes), to the fabulous score written by prolific composers Scott Whittman and Mark Shaiman.
Sporting a cast headed by the always hilarious and unbelievably talented Christian Borle as Joe/Josephine and a wonderful J. Harrison Ghee as Jerry/Daphne, the ensemble moves the story with dance, particularly tap dancing, and great voices. Some Like it Hot is directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw
NaTasha Yvette Williams plays Sweet Sue, the leader of the band who is a powerhouse on stage, with great comedic timing, and Adrianna Hicks plays the ingenue, Sugar, with delicacy and strength at the same time.
It was a wonderful night at the theatre, made even more special by the announcement at the end by J. Harrison Ghee, welcoming kids and their parents or guardians to what may have been their first Broadway show.
I truly love the way this program has expanded, including the initiative to expose young people to the many varied careers that exist within the theatre industry. The League has launched a website, Careers.Broadway where one can learn about career opportunities on Broadway and in theatres around the country.
To find out about other Kids Night on Broadway events around the country, go to Kids Night on Broadway
Valerie Smaldone is a 5-time Billboard Magazine Award winner and is well known for her unprecedented success holding the #1 on-air position in the New York radio market on 106.7 Life-FM, an iHeart station. She has hosted, produced, and created several award-winning nationally syndicated programs featuring in-depth interviews with stars like Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Mariah Carey among others. Her radio talk show "Bagels and Broadway" highlighted theatre and food personalities. She is an accomplished interviewer and voice artist heard on commercials, narrations, promos and audiobooks, as well as a sought after live announcer.
Most recently, Valerie produced and directed a film, The Thursday Night Club, featuring pop diva Gloria Gaynor in her movie acting debut. She is one of the creators and producers of a docu-series, Divine Renovation, starring Erik Estrada, on streaming networks soon.