November 01, 2006

Jamarama Live Takes Aim at The Kid in All of Us

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Do you ever have the urge to sing one of those silly kids' songs that captivate your youngsters' attention or do you ever find yourself coloring along with your child on the restaurant placemat? Do your kids consider you a temporary jungle gym? Can you dance the hokey pokey with the best in the county?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you're sure to have lots of fun with your children in what can only be described as a "Woodstock for Kids," better known as Jamarama Live, which makes its nationwide tour stop on Saturday at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center at 11 a.m.

Jamarama Live Kidsfest is an event for ages 2 and up that blends live music with interactive areas that feature activities such as singing, dancing, coloring, face painting and tumbling . . . yes, tumbling (who doesn't love to tumble?).

Dana DuFine created Jamarama Live, drawing inspiration from her two daughters who possessed, "a love for music and a whimsical curiosity for exploring." It has now materialized into one of the most popular and talked-about children's festivals in the country, featuring such past stars as Laurie Berkner and Dan Zanes.

Headlining this year's Jamarama Live Kidsfest are none other than the mega-popular stars of the syndicated television show "LAZYTOWN," Stephanie and Sportacus, children's recording stars Lisa Mathews and Mikel Gehl, better known as Milkshake, as well as Buck Howdy and Farmer Jason. There will even be special appearances by Miffy the bunny and Mymo the monkey.

"There's a need for good kids' music and there's a need for music that they can call their own," said Mathews, a proud mom of a six-year-old girl and one of the founding members of Milkshake whose third coming album Play hits stores this month. Gehl is the proud father of a five-year-old boy. "They should have fun, vibrant music available to them and that's what we try to bring them."

Milkshake's second album, Bottle of Sunshine, was critically-acclaimed, winning several awards and two videos were created that can be seen on "Jack's Big Music Show" which is shown on the cable television station Noggin. Several other videos have been commissioned by PBS Kids for the network's "Share the Earth" special. Those are currently shown daily in between some of the PBS Kids programs "Clifford" and "Dragon Tales."

Being that the Jamarama Live Kidsfest plays primarily to much larger venues than the WHB Performing Arts Center, Mathews said that she was looking forward to playing Milkshake's music in a closer, more interactive atmosphere.

"We love both extremes [large and small crowds]. Mikel [Gehl] and I both perform at children's hospitals. We do a very interactive show and we still pull out surprises."

"LAZYTOWN" can be seen daily on Nickelodeon and Noggin as well as CBS on Saturday mornings and has quickly captivated the nation with its positive message of friendship and fitness. Both the pink-haired Stephanie and the superhero-like Sportacus were two of the more popular selling children's Halloween costumes this year and their appearance on the Jamarama Live Kidsfest marks the first time that the tour has featured two nationally televised children's programming stars.

"It's really wonderful for us to be able to share this kind of experience with kids and their families," said Clare Bisceglia, executive director at WHBPAC. "To be able to attend a live performance with your children . . . that's very much who we are."

Jamarama Live Kidsfest kicks off with special pre-show interactive activities on Saturday at 10 a.m. and it promises to include a My Gym Play Area, a Charlotte's Web Coloring Area, a Storytelling Area and a Karaoke Area. Miffy, the wildly popular children's books and television star as well as Mymo the My Gym monkey mascot will be hopping around to meet and greet visitors.

This is one event that children and their parents should flock to because not only will they experience a vast interactive variety of fun, they will also have the opportunity to get closer to it because of the friendly, cozy confines of the WHB Performing Arts Center. Fun's on the menu this Saturday morning.

So who's hungry?

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 288-1500.

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