Curtain Call: 'Broadway Baby' is a visual book for tiny thespians in training

"Broadway Baby" is a children's book about a tiny thespian.

Russell Miller / Contributed photo

When you are looking for that perfect gift for a theater lover, now there is a special one for young ones and young at heart. Producer Russell Miller, known for his work with “Guys & Dolls,” “Blood Brothers,” and “On the Town,” is the author of a bright and cheerful hardcover book called “Broadway Baby.” He and Judith A. Proffer, a publisher and writer, brought this book into a bright and colorful treat. If there are theater babies on your gift list, this book will keep them focused on the kaleidoscopic art illustrated by award-winning Yoko Matsuoka.

Reading this brand new, hot off the press book will be a pleasure for thespians and parents to read to their little ones. It’s done in rhyme and flows fairly smoothly, but oh what a message it sends. Here’s the opening, which is also a refrain:

“I dream about Broadway,

stage left and stage right.

The music, the dancing,

My opening night.”

The adorable little baby character dons an “I love NY” tee shirt, pretends he is on stage in his backyard, imagines holding an award and drives into Broadway on a yellow toy taxi. Confidence is continually adhered to as the baby is certain producers will love him. Wait until you see him in his crib dreaming about the “Great Bright Way” and the heart of Times Square.

As he dreams of opening the stage doors, he enters into Crayola colored star photo galleries, make-up rooms and the costume room. With top hats and wigs a plenty, he looks spectacular in a technicolor dreamcoat. The prop room is filled with delightful toys as well as a piano, a toy horse and cow, and even scrumptious cakes and pies. Everything that delights the eye and looks like a treat meets this very happy baby.

According to a statement made by Miller, he was inspired to write this book after searching for a gift for his Tony Award-winning producing partner’s newborn daughter. Since he couldn’t find what he wanted, he decided to create this theater-centric prize. He said that “Broadway Baby” was born out of necessity.

He continued to explain that “I felt there was a real need to create something authentically theatrical that would resonate with theatre lovers and children of all ages, something unique and sincere that serves as a special VIP invitation to join our magical world of theater-land.”

Little ones will want to see the rainbow of pictures again and again and parents and thespians will enjoy sharing the joy of theater with toddlers and those who are young at heart. It’s always great to get children to theater early in their lives. With COVID-19, that’s not so easy these days. However, this book can start young ones before they get out of the crib. The best thing about this book is that it is an introduction to the dreams and fabulously imaginative world of theater.

Joanne Greco Rochman is a founder of the Connecticut Critics Circle and a current and active member in The American Theatre Critics Association. She is also a long time member of the National Book Critics Circle. She welcomes comments. Contact: jgrochman@gmail.com.