Prima’s a big fan of most of Nick Jr.’s lineup, which means that I’m familiar with a lot of Nick Jr.’s lineup. We went to see Storytime Live!, which featured the Wonderpets, Backyardigans, Dora the Explorer, and Kai Lan last year, and when Mrs. Viva told me that the Fresh Beat Band was coming to Las Vegas on February 18, I made it a point to get tickets as soon as I could. Good thing, too, because even though there are still tickets available for the Vegas show, the Fresh Beats have sold out in a lot of the cities.
I’m going to be reviewing the show for Vegas Seven, and in that capacity I did an interview with the members of the Fresh Beat Band today.
They’ve been in rehearsals for the tour for about three weeks, and are unanimous in really looking forward to the chance to connect with their fans in a live show.
If you don’t watch the show, here’s the basic concept: The Monkees for toddlers. It’s a lot better than it sounds, trust me. The premise of the show is that four friends, Kiki, Marina, Twist, and Shout, go to music school and play in a band together. Each of the actors sings (Jonathan Beavers, the guy who plays Twist, mostly raps, but that gives it a cool 311-sound, at least to me) and dances as part of the show, and they’ll be doing a lot of both on tour.
Doing research for the interview, I learned that each of the actors is incredibly talented, with backgrounds as varied as opera, improv, theater, and television. Thomas Hobson (Shout) went to Yale and has been in a ton of stuff, including Deep Space Nine’s pilot episode, “Emissary.” Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer (Kiki) plays three instruments, has done a ton of theater work, and even toured with Engelbert Humperdinck. Jonathan Beavers (Twist) has a deep background in theater, and Tara Perry (the new Marina) has done a lot of acting and comedy. That might be why the show’s so watchable for adults; even though they’re performing for toddlers, these are four very talented performers, and they take advantage of the opportunity to showcase their abilities.
In regard to the adjustment the cast has made to toddler-centric performing, Hobson told me, “The show uses every talent you have. Not just acting, signing, and dancing–if you can pogo stick or do a back-flip, this show will find a way to let you use them.”
“This show’s using skills I didn’t know I had,” Gonzalez-Nacer added.
So I think that if you bring your kids to this show, either in Vegas or wherever you can catch them, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’ll be a lot of fun for you and your little ones.
The Fresh Beats are also releasing a CD. It’s their first album called Music from the Hit TV Series The Fresh Beat Band, and it’ll available on January 31. You can pre-order it from Amazon right now, if you want to be one of the first to hear it. They’ve got samples from the songs, too, so if you haven’t heard them yet, this is your chance, so take a listen.
If you’re in Vegas with kids February 18, you seriously should see this show. You can view ticket information here.
And this Friday, their special one-hour episode, “The Wizard of Song,” is debuting on Nick Jr., so set those DVRs.