Raising Broadway Babies – and A Totally TONYs Partnership (pinch me!)

b_totallytonysI grew up going to the theater, performing in musicals, doing ballet.  Living in Brooklyn meant going to a Broadway theater was an event.  We planned ahead, tickets were bought in advance, reservations made, more often than not a special occasion was involved.  I didn’t really care what I saw – I just loved going.  And the truth is, when you’re a kid, if there’s singing and dancing and a big velvet curtain it’s all magic.  If you also got Tommy Tune, Bernadette Peters, Mandy Patinkin or Patti LuPone – well then that magic elevated to a level of serious wizardry.

When I’m being totally honest with myself I will admit that I miss being a part of the theater.  For most of my childhood and early 20’s it is where I assumed I would be.  And it does not surprise me that when I look at most of my closest friends many, many of them are theater geeks too – with their own drama stories and a bit of wistful regret.  I never doubted that I would raise my daughters as theater goers.  They do not have quite the performing bug I had – they participate, but that love of the stage is not deep in their bones like mine. They are more attracted to singer/songwriters, not all out musical theater.  However, they love to go.  Even when they were little – when they hated movies, were terrified to watch previews or sit in a movie theater, they loved watching live theater.

Nothing can replace that feeling of being in the audience and watch real people, feeling real emotions, working through relationships, love, loss, and joy right in front of you.  Theater is almost a basic human need – going back centuries – the desire to connect, relate, tell a story, entertain, educate.  And you don’t need much to put on a show right in your own basement, backyard, school auditorium, or neighborhood park.  It’s enough to inspire Broadway dreams in kids across the country.

That’s why I’m so excited to announce that KidzVuz is partnering with The Tony Awards this year to promote the June 9th telecast of the Tony Awards hosted by Neil Patrick Harris (woot!).  We are holding a contest for kids all over the country to tell us about their favorite show, or sing a bit of their favorite Broadway show tune.  And the response has already been amazing.  Here’s one of my favorite video entries so far:

If you’ve got a Broadway Baby in your life make sure to let them know about this contest – they can win a giant bag of Broadway Show swag with hats, T-shirts, soundtracks, autographed Playbills and more.  AND they could be featured on the Tony Awards website!

The kids have taken over Broadway this year in Matilda, Newsies, Kinky Boots, Annie, Motown, Annie and more.  There’s never been more family friendly fare on the Great White Way – so if you’re in NYC be sure to see a show.  And make sure to check out the regional theaters near where you live.  Support your local theater since that’s where so many kids’ dreams begin.

And in the meantime, they can enter the Totally Tonys video contest by clicking HERE!

The No Schlepping, No Shipping Gift Guide (With a Giveaway of Course)

We’ll be lighting the menorah on Wednesday night while leftover cranberry sauce still jiggles in the back of the fridge.  Even the procrastinators have an excuse this year (not like Christmas which is always the 25th, I mean come on it’s not like you didn’t see it coming!)  So for all of you who have been caught by surprise here is my no schlep, no ship gift guide when it’s gotta be there ASAP but you don’t want to get off your ASS to get it -or even pay for shipping.  Good for Xmas (and those sneaky birthdays too)

Many of my specific suggestions are NYC-centric but you can take the idea and Google away locally!

1 – Museum or Zoo Membership: I love NYC for the incredibly rich array of cultural institutions that enrich every borough.  But, no matter where you live chances are there’s a museum, zoo or other site that your loved ones would go to on a regular basis.  Membership is a fantastic way to give all year long, plus it’s tax deductible and takes up no room in the house!  Win-win all around.  And sometimes they throw in a T-Shirt too!

My faves: The American Museum of Natural History and Wildlife Conservation Society for 4 NYC zoos & aquarium

2- Theater Tickets – It’s not just a gift, it’s an outing.  Have a drama queen, a gleek or budding musical genuis in your midst? Have theater loving friends?  Take them to a show.  Many children’s theaters have subscription series so you can enjoy shows all year round.  Or make a special day of it and throw in dinner or lunch as well.

My faves: The New Victory Theater Subscription for kids and Roundabout Theater Subscription for adults

3 – Groceries – OK – that sounds weird right?  But who wouldn’t love their groceries covered at least once?  Takes a big bite out of the family budget so not having to worry about it for at least a week is a true gift.

My Fave: Fresh Direct – It’s not just groceries, it’s wine and prepared food too – delivered exactly when you want it to your door.

4- Design Your Own Sneakers – I almost didn’t put this in because it is my go to gift of the moment.  So, if you’re invited to the same parties as I am you are not allowed to give this – but if you don’t even know me you should jump on this!  Send a $75 e-gift certificate to the fashionista of your choice and they can go online to design their very own custom Converse sneaks from tongue to sole and everything in between.

Also Check OutNike for pricier but equally fab custom sneakers, especially for narrower feet.

5- Geek Out Your Tot – Kids love to hear the same books over and over and over again.  But parents, well sometimes reading The Night Before Christmas for the 1000th time can be a chore.  Fortunately you can let Meryl Streep do the reading for you.  Ruckus Media has created gorgeous storybook apps for the ipad and iphone like The Velveteen Rabbit and Tom Thumb that your child will pour over again and again – and you can read Us Weekly The New York Times in peace. (See the GIVEAWAY below!)

Also Check out: iKnowDogs – if your kid is a freaky dog lover like mine & iLive Animal World for animal loving little ones

6- Give for the Sake Of Giving – Find a charity and give in honor of someone.  Or better yet, let them decide and pick with you.  It’s a proactive easy way to embrace the meaning of the holidays.

My Faves: World Wildlife Fund – My girls love adopting an animal every year & Donors Choose – help schools, help kids.

7- Who Says School is Boring? – Have a friend or family member that’s dying to learn how to knit?  Or ice skate?  Or become the next Martha Stewart?  If you have an expertise you can share then offer up your services!  Or offer to pay for the class of their choice at a nearby gym, cooking school or community center.

My Faves: Institute of Culinary Education Recreational Cooking and Baking Classes & Rising Shutterbug private photography lessons for kids and adults to finally learn all the cool tricks your camera can do! (full disclosure – taught by my sister!)

Cranwell Resort

8-Leaving on a Jet Plane or a Car – Travel is something they never outgrow.  Give your miles or points to a family member or treat them to a trip (even to see you).  Or how about a weekend away for your grown kids with babysitting thrown in?  Just a thought.  hint, hint.

My Faves: Cranwell Resort & Spa in the Berkshires – a four season gorgeous escape with or without kids & Luxury Link so they can get away and get a great deal.

9 – Say OOHHMMM – This guide is all about no stress so why not give the least stressful gift around?  A SpaFinder gift certificate – emailed to their inbox of course.  They can pick a spa closest to them from 100s of choices.  And again, if you throw in some babysitting you eliminate half the stress before they walk out the door.

My Fave: Bliss Spa – They warm the massage tables and put paraffin booties on your feet.  Heaven.

10 – When All Else Fails – The Amazon electronic gift card.  It’s not original or sexy but it does the trick.  One click and boom!  it’s in their inbox ready to be spent.  What could be better than a shopping spree on somebody else’s dime?

And now the GIVEAWAY!

You can win 5 Gorgeous Ruckus Media storybook apps for iphone/ipad?  These are truly gorgeous apps that fully capture the beauty of classic stories with talent like Robin Williams and Meryl Street reading the texts.  Your child will love them!  Just leave a comment below telling me what your “Go To” gift of the moment is and be entered to win!

Want an extra entry?  Follow me on Twitter and let me know you did here.

Contest ends December 8th.

Good luck!  And check out my other giveaway for Petz Nursery 2 for DS