By Michael Gioia
24 Feb 2014
"When I first went to Broadway, it was a life-changing experience," said Menzel in an earlier statement. "There's something magical about walking through the theatre district and seeing the marquees and the lights. Nothing compares to a live Broadway performance! As an adult, I still have that nostalgic feeling I had as a child. It's important that kids come to theatre because they get to see life through different characters. The arts are so important in general, and I'm so grateful that my career awards me with so many special opportunities to connect with young people. I'm honored to be the Kids' Night on Broadway National Ambassador and extra thrilled that this year's cause-related component is our arts-centered foundation, A Broader Way, which enables expression, empowerment, and enlightenment. As does Broadway."
Participating shows include Broadway's Beautiful - The Carole King Musical, The Bridges of Madison County, Bronx Bombers, Chicago, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Jersey Boys, Kinky Boots, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Matilda The Musical, Motown the Musical, Newsies, Once, The Phantom of the Opera, Pippin, Rock of Ages, Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella and Wicked as well as Off-Broadway's Avenue Q, iLuminate, Murder for Two and Stomp.
Tickets are available for these shows on seven nights: Feb. 24-28 and March 1-2.
Kids' Night, according to the League, "is when kids ages 6 to 18 can see participating Broadway shows for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult." A Kids' Night on Broadway ticket includes pre-theatre activities, restaurant discounts, parking discounts, educational programs and more.
Many Times Square area eateries offer specials for Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket holders, including Blue Fin, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Café Un Deux Trois, Casa Nonna, Ceci Italian Restaurant, Churrascaria Plataforma, Connolly’s Pub and Restaurant, Glass House Tavern, Guy’s American Kitchen and Grill, Hurley’s, Le Rivage, Matt’s Grill, Nanking Asian Fusion, Pergola Des Artistes, Playwright’s Tavern, Playwright’s Celtic Pub and Restaurant, Ruby Foos Times Square, Ruby Tuesdays, Schnipper’s, Southern Hospitality BBQ, Tasti-D-Lite, Ted’s Montana Grill,The Lambs Club, Toloache, Tony’s Di Napoli, Trattoria Tre Colori and Virgil’s Real BBQ.
Additionally, Kids' Night offers the inaugural Google + Hangouts On Air, which gives kids the opportunity to go behind the scenes of their favorite Broadway shows via live, interactive video chats with Broadway cast members.
Hangouts are hosted by Julie James and are scheduled to take place Feb. 25 and Feb. 27 from 5–5:30 PM live. Theatregoers can tune in and submit questions in advance or during the hangout by visiting KidsNightonBroadway.com/hangouts and clicking the link to their selected hangout (then click the "Q & A" button on the upper right-hand corner of the video screen). Children must be 13 years or older to own a Google account in order to participate and ask questions.
Participants include (Feb. 25) cast members from Bronx Bombers, Chicago, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, The Phantom of the Opera and Pippin and (Feb. 27) Carly Rae Jepsen and Fran Drescher from Cinderella.
The 18th annual Kids' Night kicks off in New York City. Kids' Night on Broadway will also take place in various cities around the country, with different shows and venues putting their own spin on the event. Check kidsnightonbroadway.com for specific dates and locations.