When the Fresh Beat Band rolls into Planet Hollywood, it’s a fair bet that toddlers are going to go wild. The surprising thing is that, if you’re taking yours, you might end up having a good time yourself.
The Fresh Beats have been rocking out on Nick Jr. since the summer of 2009, playing a brand of radio-ready pop that’s kid-friendly (especially if your kids are between 2 and 5 years old) to a fault. Stars Thomas Hobson, 27, (Shout), Jon Beavers, 30, (Twist), Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer, 25, (Kiki), and Tara Perry, 26, (replacing Shayna Rose as Marina) play four (roughly) teenage music school students who solve problems and make music together.
Translated to the live stage, that means a one-hour show featuring songs from all three seasons of the show. You’ll hear favorites “Loco Legs,” “Friend Like You” and “Just Like a Rockstar.”
“It’s high energy,” says Gonzalez-Nacer, “so it’s sure to keep their attention. Their eyes are just glued to us.”
That’s because unlike many programs geared to pre-preschoolers, The Fresh Beat Band is actually quite bearable, mostly because each of the stars is a talented performer: Hobson has a degree in theater studies from Yale; Gonzalez-Nacer has sung opera; Beavers and Perry have several credits in acting and comedy. You don’t have to endure 22 minutes of shrilly voiced cartoons squawking at each other; you get actual actors and singers doing what they do best.
Parents might like the songs because of the positive lyrics, which stress friendship and optimism. But they’ll also appreciate the music—Gonzalez-Nacer and Hobson’s singing are particular standouts—and the choreography by Chuck Maldonado, which the Fresh Beats rehearsed for nine hours a day before hitting the road in January. They’ll be joined by a cast of backup dancers for this, their first full-out live show.
“One of the best things about this is that we get in front of an audience,” Gonzalez-Nacer says. “We’re used to doing this on a closed set, but performing in character in front of thousands of fans just brings a new energy.”
The Fresh Beats have never been bigger. Their first album just hit stores and iTunes, and the band will be on the road until May. New episodes are airing on Nick Jr, as well, so it’s a good time to be a Fresh Beat fan.
Fresh Beat Band at Theater for the Performing Arts at Planet Hollywood, 4 p.m. Feb. 18, $34-44, 800-745-3000.