Weekend Must-Do: Rock & Roll Playhouse Dance Party

This winter weather got everyone chilling out in not quite the right way? The Rock & Roll Playhouse’s winter concert series is underway (in three locations, no less) and it’s a weekend activity for families that will get everyone moving and grooving. The weekly dance party for kids ages three to eight features the music of some of the best bands of all time, played by live bands and veteran DJs, as well as other kid-friendly activities. Read on to pick the week your family will get down (and out of the house).

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photo: Rock and Roll Playhouse

Rocking Out for Five Years

Created by concert promoter and all-around music biz entrepreneur Peter Shapiro and Amy Striem, a certified early childhood and elementary teacher, Rock and Roll Playhouse has staged more than 400 music happenings since its inception in 2013. (Shapiro was moved to launch the venture when, as a dad to two young children, he encountered a lack of family-friendly live music events in New York City.)

Now in its ninth season, Rock and Roll Playhouse hosts events at Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, Industry City in Sunset Park, and at Garcia’s in the legendary Capitol Theater in Portchester, New York, which Shapiro bought in 2011 and restored to its previous glory as a home for intimate rock music shows.

photo: Rock and Roll Playhouse

Music Both You and the Kids Love

For those parents out there who can’t stand even the best of music made for kids (and to be fair, there is a lot of great music made for kids!) you’ll be happy to know these gatherings feature the work of rock and roll’s elite.

Each event is dedicated to a different artist or act, with music either played live by guest musicians or played by a DJ. (Special guests stop by, too including Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, or Questlove, who has commandeered the turntables.)

Acts featured include Michael Jackson, The Beatles, The Grateful Dead, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elton John, and The Ramones, with additional installments celebrating the music of Hamilton! or the films of Disney and Pixar. When the work of the artist in the spotlight can include some less-than-tot-friendly lyrics, the songs are adapted appropriately, hence, “The Music of Billy Joel for Kids” et al.

photo: Rock and Roll Playhouse

Music & More

The events strive to get all members of the audience engaged and moving from the get-go.

At each show, the band begins with a “Hello Song” to get kids (and parents) singing and moving right away; things end with the whole room sharing a countdown to a big rock and roll jump.

Set lists pair activities with each song; examples include running “under the sea” (under a giant parachute) to The Beatles’ “Octupus’ Garden”, using rainbow streamers to fly across the dance floor during Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly,”, and practicing freeze dance moves during a giant freeze dance to Bruce Springsteen’s “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out.”

All of the concerts have interactive activities, with activities varying at different venues depending on the space. Indoor shows at Industry City often have a rock and roll story time before the show starts, and the outdoor shows at Industry City are filled with hula-hoops, streamers and sidewalk chalk, thanks to extra room to move in a giant courtyard.

photo: Filament at the Landing Facebook page

Food & Drink

You and the kids won’t go hungry (or thirsty) at a Rock and Roll Playhouse event. Brooklyn Bowl’s food by Blue Ribbon includes kid- and adult-friendly options ranging from mac and cheese balls to elevated pizza, salads, and much more. Industry City’s Filament offers bites like egg sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, omelettes, and salads. If you want a beer or a brunchy cocktail, you can get that, too.

photo: Rock and Roll Playhouse

Find Your Music Match

Without further ado, presenting Rock and Roll Playhouse’s full winter roster. Rock on!

Saturday, January 27
Industry City
The Music of The Beatles for Kids

Sunday, January 28
Brooklyn Bowl
The Music of Michael Jackson for Kids

Saturday, February 2
Industry City
The Music of Ramones for Kids

Sunday, February 4
Brooklyn Bowl
The Music of The Beatles

Saturday, February 10
Industry City
The Music of David Bowie for Kids

Sunday, February 11
Brooklyn Bowl
Valentine’s Day Celebration

Saturday, February 17
Industry City
World Music Series Celebrating the Sounds of Brazil with DJ Dhundee

Sunday, February 18
Brooklyn Bowl
The Music of Dave Matthews with Rhyme and Reason

Saturday, February 24
Industry City
The Music of Billy Joel for Kids

Sunday, February 25
Brooklyn Bowl
The Music of Hamilton

For Those About to Rock

Rock and Roll Playhouse
Online: therockandrollplayhouse.com

Rock and Roll Playhouse at Industry City
Storytime and activities, 12:30 p.m., concert 1 – 2 p.m., dance and music activities, 2 – 3 p.m.
Tickets: Free
220 36th St.
Filament at the Landing
Industry City
Online: industrycity.com

Rock and Roll Playhouse at Brooklyn Bowl
Doors: 11 a.m.; show, 11:30 a.m.
Tickets: $12; kids under one/free
61 Wythe Ave.
Online: brooklynbowl.com

Rock and Roll Playhouse at Garcia’s
Doors: 2:30 p.m., show, 3 p.m.
Tickets: $12; kids under one/free
145 Westchester Ave.
Online: thecapitoltheatre.com

Have you been to a Rock and Roll Playhouse event? Tell us about it in the comments!

—Mimi O’Connor

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