Just Kidding 2016-17: Symphony Space Family Season Announced

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Symphony Space in New York City announces its 2016-17 season of family performances, including music, percussive dance, puppetry, musical theatre and physical comedy, with kid-friendly events most weekends from October 1, 2016 through May 2017. The Thalia Kids' Book Club season launches September 25 with a visit from National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Gene Luen Yang, author of "Secret Coders: Paths & Portals."

“One of the most exciting, value-driven, and easily accessible family entertainment series in New York City.” – Big Apple Parent

Symphony Space announces its 2016-17 season of Just Kidding performances, offering a theatrical cabinet of wonder and curiosity, sure to excite even the most jaded and media-saturated families in New York City.

With weekly happenings, including GRAMMY-winning family concerts, physical comedy, puppetry, musical theatre, and percussive dance performances from internationally acclaimed companies, Just Kidding at Symphony Space presents a high-value, eclectic collection of performing arts options, specially geared toward families with children ages 2 and up. Families will enjoy “Social Space” hands-on activities sponsored by community partners, before all performances in the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre.

Symphony Space is located at 2537 Broadway (at 96th St.) in New York. Adults and kids alike will enjoy simplified, lower ticket prices this season, at $17 for all tickets, $14 for members (babies under 6 months admitted free). Performance details and online tickets are available now via: http://www.symphonyspace.org/justkidding.

This fall, the Just Kidding season kicks off on Saturday, October 1 at 11 am with a concert with Brooklyn based Vered and the Babes. Blending guitar, bass, french horn, trumpet and percussion, Vered and the Babes create harmonies and beats reminiscent of a doo-wop band. Their upbeat original songs are designed to get the kids jumping; Red Tricycle says their music is “one big jazzy love song to childhood.” Next up on October 8 at 11 am is independent nationally touring artist and humorist Steve Weeks, whose “folk-hop” tunes always feature an outlandish or touching tale. NPR lauds his “catchy beats with a lot of clever wordplay and fun stories."

On Saturday, October 15th at 11 am is an all-ages theatrical music extravaganza, “Life’s a Real Dream,” by LARD Dog and the Band of Shy. The show features a cartoon character come-to-life who descends from planet Belopio on a Giant Pretzel to take your family on a rockabilly tinged musical journey of absurdism, frivolity, and unbridled joy that’s been compared to Yo Gabba Gabba and Devo. On October 22, celebrate Halloween early with the Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers, performing the classic Washington Irving tale, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and on October 29th, Lightwire Theater returns with their acclaimed luminescent, glow-in-the-dark performance of favorite fairy tales, “The Ugly Duckling” and “Tortoise and the Hare.” Families may enjoy a Social Space activity area before this show in the Sharp Theatre.

The Just Kidding season continues most weekends through May 2017. Highlights during November to January are:

  • Saturday, November 12 at 11 am and 2 pm – Cardboard Explosion (puppetry with cardboard and tons of good humor and imagination)
  • Saturday, November 19 at 2 pm – National Dance Institute Celebration Team (more than 100 NYC youth dance in a performance of “Words with Wings”). Families may enjoy a Social Space activity area pre-show.
  • Saturday, December 10 at 11 am and 2 pm – Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players (playing hits and acoustic pop songs from new album “Lemonade”). Families may enjoy a Social Space activity area pre-show.
  • Saturday, December 17 at 11 am and 2 pm – Puppetkabob: The Snowflake Men (Czech-style marionettes tell story of pioneering snowflake photographer)
  • Saturday, January 7 at 11 am and 2pm – Les Parfaits Inconnus (physical comedy, acrobatics and juggling with live music)
  • Sunday, January 8 at 11 am and 2pm – Playing by Air (spectacular juggling and musical feats); 3 pm – Stam-Pede (a percussive dance showcase with multiple companies)

The Big Family Quiz Thing launched in May 2016 with a sold-out, rousing and highly interactive all-ages multimedia trivia show, where families won prizes and hilarity abounded. BFQT returns this season on three Sundays: November 13, January 22 and March 19.

Birthdays at Symphony Space:
Just Kidding birthday packages are designed to make party planning easy, engaging, and enriching for everyone involved. Kids interact directly with Just Kidding artists, while enjoying tasty snacks, a cake, free music, and a few pairs of extra hands to help parents wrangle the kids. Families may choose between the arts-themed, Just Kidding Theatre Party or the no fuss, no frills, Just Kidding Easy Party. Rates start at $550* for the Theatre package and $400 for the Easy Package. (*Prices exclude taxes and gratuities.) http://www.symphonyspace.org/group-sales-birthday-parties or by calling (212) 864-1414, ext. 289.

For older kids and tweens: Thalia Kids’ Book Club
This highly interactive series for children and tweens was launched more than 10 years ago and connects well-known children’s authors with their fans. This a one-of-a-kind series in New York unites avid readers with the authors and books that inspire their imaginations. The Thalia Kids’ Book Club season launches on Sunday, September 25th with a visit from National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Gene Luen Yang, author of Secret Coders: Paths & Portals. Tickets are $16 each ($13 for Symphony Space members and groups). Visit http://www.symphonyspace.org/genre/family for details.

To order Just Kidding and Thalia Kids' Book Club tickets, call (212) 864-5400 or email boxoffice(at)symphonyspace(dot)org.

About Symphony Space
New York’s “cultural town square,” Symphony Space traces its beginnings to a free marathon concert, Wall to Wall Bach, held in 1978 and organized by co-founders Isaiah Sheffer and Allan Miller. The music marathon then drew thousands of visitors and has since become one of the organization’s signature events. Today, Symphony Space presents more than 600 events each season, including music, dance, theater, film, and literary readings. Some of its best known programs include Selected Shorts, a reading of short stories by stars of stage and screen, and one of the most popular series on public radio; National Theatre Live, broadcasting the best of British theatre to cinemas around the world; and Just Kidding, one of the most talked about family entertainment series around town. Uptown Showdown has been called “New York’s best comedy series” by New York magazine. The 38th season, running from September 2016 through June 2017, will focus on four thematic projects: Project Americana, The Source Project, Project Broadway, and Fuse Project. For more information and advance tickets, visit symphonyspace.org.

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Beth Blenz-Clucas

Aishah Alassan
Symphony Space
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