Family Fun on 42nd Street, An Urban Review

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As a busy, working mother of three, my kids always appreciate getting some one-on-one time with me, especially my 9-year-old daughter who, unlike her teenage brothers, hasn’t yet outgrown being my BFF. So, when I told her we were heading into the city for an epic mom/kid evening out, she reacted as if it was her birthday. And, as it turns out, we had that much fun.

Our adventure began at Dave and Buster’s in Times Square, where we were treated like VIPs. We’d never been there, but they generously treated us to some of their most popular menu selections (my girl recommends the mini-pizzas) as well as a chance to experience the gaming area, which features a mind-boggling array of high-definition, multi-player, high-tech gaming, including life-sized versions of some of my daughter’s favorite smartphone games. Angry Birds, anyone?

Dave and Buster’s also features spacious private banquet rooms, where we were treated to a mini-workshop by one of the teaching performers from the New Victory Theater. This was absolutely the highlight of the evening for my girl, who loves to learn new things, especially if she can be active while she does it. Our workshop leader, W.T. spent the hour teaching us, kids and parents alike, to juggle scarves, circus style, as well as how to find our inner performer. Personally, I can’t wait to take her back to the New Victory for more of their Family Workshops, which emphasize kids and parents learning new art forms together. Hip-hop, improv, comic book creation, character acting, and puppetry are just a few of the many upcoming workshops offered.

Eventually, it was time to head across 42nd street to the gorgeous and historical (it’s the oldest working theater in New York) New Victory Theater, which specializes in all kinds of family-friendly performances. We settled in for the show, not entirely knowing what to expect, but with high hopes for something exciting and engaging. We were not disappointed. Urban is an astonishingly athletic acrobatic performance by Circolumbia, which is made up of young people from the barrios of Cali, Colombia. It features dancing, tightrope, trapeze, and truly unbelievable tumbling, aerial gymnastics, and feats of incredible strength, set to original hip-hop and reggaeton music that had our feet tapping and our heads bopping.

The skill, strength, rhythm and grace of the performers blew us away, even while the underlying themes of growing up in poverty and the reality of street life in a developing country brought emotional depth to the performance. It was edgy and, at times, even sexy (certain moments reminded me of West Side Story, but with a little more grit), which makes it a terrific choice for teens and adults. As for my 9-year-old, she was wide-eyed at the remarkable acrobatics, and the performance provided an opening for a discussion of different cultures and the challenges of living in certain parts of the world (including places within our own country), as well.

I can’t recommend The New Victory enough. I didn’t know about its programming or about the terrific Family Workshops until this experience, and I cannot wait to go back. I see many mom/kid adventures there for us in the coming year.

Want to experience some family-friendly theater with your family? New Victory is offering Girl Gone Travel readers a 20% off discount code to their upcoming production of MOJO, use code MDMojo3412 with purchase. This experience was courtesy of Mama Drama and their partners.


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Laurie Junkins

Laurie is a writer living in New Jersey with her husband, three children, and way too many pets. She's enthusiastic about fitness, naps, inappropriate asides, wine, and laughing out loud in public. You can follow her on Twitter @LaurieJunkins

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4 Responses to Family Fun on 42nd Street, An Urban Review

  1. Holly says:

    Laurie, I was thrilled to meet you and your daughter. I'm so glad she appreciated the work shop and show. The New Victory is the most special theater in NYC for kids. I actually learned about it on Carol's site initially when I won a pair of tickets to one of their shows and now make going there a tradition.

  2. Carol Cain says:

    Reading this made me sad I wasn't there, but seeing that smile on your daughter's face Laurie just reminds me how awesome The New Victory is! What a great day for you both : )

  3. Laurie says:

    Holly, it was an awesome evening. I can't wait to go back to the New Victory. Thank you so much!

  4. Hi everyone, you should all come back and do a Family Workshop together! Holly, thank you for introducing us to Laurie; Carol, thank you for being such a great advocate of the New Vic; and Laurie, it was so fun to watch you and your daughter put on such a great juggling act! Glad you had a blast!

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