Tonya Pinkins has made one of the most complicated journeys of any Broadway star — from welfare mother to a Tony-nominated role in Caroline, or Change. The mother of four children, ages 17, 14, 8 and 5, Pinkins plays an African-American maid to a Louisiana Jewish family in the Tony Kushner musical.
Veteran comedian Jill Shely is used to working tough crowds, but today’s audience presents an unusual challenge. As she introduces the ComedySportz team for the premiere performance of “Mom’s Cracking Up!” at the Sol Goldman 14th Street YM-YWHA , she is greeted with a strident buzz of noise and activity. Infants toddle on the padded blue mat stretched in front of the stage.
Of the many marvels of the work of Dr. Seuss, the ability to exist in a kid-oriented imaginary universe is one that surely will always attract scores of readers. Who hasn’t wondered what it would really be like to live in a Seussian world, where anything can happen and earth rules do not apply? Beginning July 2, visitors to the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) can experience a part of that world with an innovative exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Dr. Seuss enterprises.
Anyone who thinks it’s simple getting a children’s book published would be wise to consider A City Is, which took 13 years from concept to final product, surviving even the death of the author. A City Is, illustrated by Brooklyn Heights resident Melanie Hope Greenberg, is a collection of poems by Norman Rosten.
Kids get a new hands-on experience with a newly opened touch tank at the New York Aquarium. The outdoor tank, which features local habitats, is filled with smooth periwinkles, moon snails, blue mussels, dog and channeled whelk, sand shrimp, hermit and horseshoe crabs, northern sea robin, northern pipefish, mummichogs, Atlantic seahorses and sheepshead minnows.
Kermit sang ‘It’s not easy being green,” but visitors to the new exhibit, Frogs: A Chorus of Colors, at the American Museum of Natural History, can see that frogs have an amazing diversity of color. And size, habitat and parenting style. The frogs exhibit appeals to the little kid in all of us, the one who caught frogs in a pond, played leapfrog, or worshipped Kermit. Then there are adults still searching for a frog to turn into a prince.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is no dour echo chamber. Most art museums specialize in tomb-like solemnity, but the Met, with its Great Hall decorated daily with fresh flowers, resonates with upbeat voices that instantly slap down any idea of a menacing cultural encounter. At the Met, even Wednesdays have a Sunday-in-the-park feeling. A similar sense of pleasure marks the museum's programs for kids and families.
The birth of Baby Road Trip, a new edutainment video series that (so far) extols the wonders of beach and jungle destinations, was not easy. But it continues to be a creative challenge with which husband-and-wife co-founders Laura and Shawn Kronen are thrilled.
If you looked through the bookshelves of any child in America, chances are there would be at least several Dr. Seuss books. Amazingly, if you looked through that child’s parents’ childhood book collection, you would probably see many of the same Dr. Seuss titles. Theodor Geisel, born 100 years ago, wrote and illustrated 44 books as Dr. Seuss — books that still charm, educate and tickle the funnybones of children. Dr. Seuss’s books have also influenced a generation of children’s book authors. We asked some locally to expound on Dr. Seuss’s impact on their writing. . .
The weather this past March and early April confused more than just human sinuses. The city's parks either burst with joy and mottled color like Impressionist paintings, or collapsed back into mid-winter spiritual decrepitude. Now that the weather appears to have leveled off, the city's parks and residents can finally feel comfortable doing what they do best: getting together.
Back in 1992, when the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Academy (BYCA) began, it had only 48 students who rehearsed in an empty classroom at Brooklyn Friends School. Today, the group has flourished into four different choruses, with over 250 student singers. Last fall, it moved into its own building in Cobble Hill, with almost 6,000 square feet of rehearsal space and practice rooms. Although the chorus is Brooklyn-based, members come from all over the city. What makes them choose this group over another closer to home?
There’s paradox in a good marionette show: first-rate puppeteers make the strings psychologically invisible, so you can see them . . . and yet you can’t. If it’s a quality performance, you feel like you’re watching little actors, not wood and paint. For ages 3 and up, Jack and the Beanstalk, as presented by the Brooklyn-based Puppetworks, is a case in point.
"From the second I started playing, I couldn't put it down," says Tommy Colletti of the guitar he first held at age 12. Now, at 37, Colletti is not only still playing guitar, he has made it his business to put guitars and other musical instruments into the hands of young and old alike.
In New York City, kids can go to Broadway shows, opera, classical music concerts … but until recently, they couldn’t go to a jazz club. Then Blue Smoke, a kid-friendly restaurant with a basement jazz club, Jazz Standard, started a Sunday jazz brunch.
The multi-generational audience arrives at the magical Friday occasion by way of a swanky elevator at the Art Deco Waldorf-Towers Hotel. It’s one of a bank of elevators used by celebrities, politicians, Secret Service agents and the dignitaries they’re paid to protect. But this is no VIP function. Or a pop star’s entourage. Instead, it’s a happy, motley group of kids and other folks primed to be razzle-dazzled by an old-school magician.
Come in all units…over. Not just boys want to be police officers any longer…over. Women on Patrol, the new exhibit at The New York City Police Museum, is for kids who are just beginning to form their social consciousness.
In 1966, Congress declared the Hudson River Valley a National Heritage Area. Many of the beautiful great estates here, with their magnificent views of the Hudson River, were built and decorated by famous architects and designers as country retreats for families of enormous wealth. All are open to the public and are within 75 miles of mid-Westchester.
In each of her picture books, Nina Crews has incorporated her neighborhood, using Brooklyn locations and residents in her photo collages. Her latest community endeavor, Neighborhood Mother Goose (Greenwillow Books, $15.99), brings classic Mother Goose rhymes to Park Slope (where she lives), as well as to Fort Greene and Coney Island.
If you have an animal lover in your house, a visit to the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem is not to be missed. The Center offers an unparalleled opportunity to observe and interact with these misunderstood and often maligned creatures.
Actor and director Matthew Modine recognizes the importance and power of the arts for young people.
New York families now have a number of unique options when it comes to exploring the city's myriad museums and galleries. Several new art enrichment programs have been successfully launched in recent years, lending families an opportunity to experience art from different perspectives and have fun in the process.
Not every worthwhile midtown theater event takes place on the Great White Way. Sometimes you have to trek a little bit north-eastward to catch one of the most family-friendly, albeit girl-slanted, shows in town.
Although Mardi Gras isn’t on the calendar until February, the spirit of Carnival appears nightly under the big top, in Big Apple Circus’ new production, Carnevale!
Cassius Clay rolls a flaming torch down his chest, and then nonchalantly inserts it in his mouth (Clearly, this would be in the "Don’t try this at home" category). A little later, three masked men on stilts dance to Caribbean music, making moves from eight feet up that I wouldn’t try on the ground. We’ve seen limbo dancers, colorfully-costumed dancers re-enacting 18th-century life in Bridgetown, and barely-costumed dancers shaking and leaping to every form of music known to Barbados in the past 300 years.
Little girls will be awestruck this fall as they explore the unique world of American Girl Place New York, opening on Fifth Avenue, Saturday, November 8. The 43,000-square-foot retail and entertainment site is designed to reflect American girls both past and present.