‘David Bowie for Kids!’: Concert brings the tunes of the Thin White Duke to Ardmore Music Hall

photo Courtesy Rock & Roll Playhouse
photo Courtesy Rock & Roll Playhouse

IF YOU GO

What: David Bowie for Kids!

Where: Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore PA

When: Concert is at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 18.

Tickets: $15

Info.: Check www.ardmoremusic.com and www.therockandrollplayhouse.com

Are you a parent who’s tired of listening to “Baby Beluga” in the car with your kids? Do you long for the days of rocking out to “Rebel Rebel” and “Suffragette City” with the windows down and the volume up? You’re in luck. This month, the spirit of David Bowie is coming to town to persuade your kids to love classic-rock as much as they love Raffi and The Wiggles.

“David Bowie for Kids!” comes to the Ardmore Music Hall on March 18, and while it’s clearly a draw for all the Ziggy Stardust-loving adults in the area, the show specifically caters to the very youngest among us.

Presented by the Rock & Roll Playhouse, a popular, NYC-based musical program, “Bowie for Kids” cherry-picks classic songs from the Thin White Duke’s extensive catalog and presents them in fun, energetic and decidedly kid-friendly fashion.

Amy Striem, executive director for Rock & Roll Playhouse, said “Bowie for Kids,” along with the program’s other concerts — including Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Grateful Dead-focused performances — presents a way for parents to share their musical interests with their kids without being overbearing about it.

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“For parents that really enjoy or grew up listening to certain music, they want to be able to pass down that music to their kids and have that experience with their families,” Striem said. “If we can turn music into a family experience, where your kids have their favorite Beatles song and you have your favorite Tom Petty song and everybody’s singing along, that’s what we want to create,” she added. “We want to create an experience where the music is being experienced by the entire family.”

A Rock & Roll Playhouse concert is an interactive experience, Striem said, with dancing, jumping, rainbow streamers galore, and a giant parachute “that kids run under. We do all sorts of activities throughout the show that keeps kids moving and engaged as we go through the songs.”

It’s also an educational event that serves as something of an introduction to live concerts.

“Throughout the show, you’ll find we tend to hit on a lot of really great developmental skills for kids,” Striem said. “We teach them a little about how to experience live shows. We talk to them about warming up and getting used to shows.” At the end of the hour-long concert, “we teach them what an encore is and then we do one more song.”

“We’re run by a beautiful combination of educators and musicians and concert promoters and people who produce live shows for adults,” she added. In a sense, Rock & Roll Playhouse concerts are a reaction to your typical children’s music. Instead of featuring simplistic, nursery rhyme-like tunes — like “Puff the Magic Dragon” — these concerts present complex, time-tested classics, each arranged in a way that children can enjoy and connect with.

“Each child will interact differently with the music and the event,” Striem said. “You have kids who want to be right up on the rails with a hand on the monitors; you have the kids who like to hang back; you have the kids who’ll be upfront playing with the streamers; the kids just soaking it in; and the kids just standing up at the front and staring up at the person singing, completely in awe of this live music experience.”

“For us it’s really quite beautiful to watch,” she added, noting her own kids love the Ramones concerts Rock & Roll Playhouse puts on.

Past “Bowie for Kids” performances have included hits like “Heroes,” “Fame,” “Changes,” and “Starman”—but it seems that pretty much any song, from any of the Bowie’s many distinct musical periods and personas, could make the setlist.