Volume 74, Number 10 | July 7 - 13, 2004

Spreading musical mayhem on the kids’ play circuit

By Heather Paster

Children’s performer and musical sensation Bobby DooWah is bringing music, laughter and giggles to birthday parties and playgroups in the Village. Targeting children from 6 months to 6 years old, this happy performer gets kids grooving and shaking with his unique style of interactive hands-on music and movement.

With his trademarked backwards baseball cap and Hawaiian shirt he is immediately recognizable to the children who may have seen him at other birthday parties.

“There’s a simplicity about him; he doesn’t come in with makeup or extraneous stuff, which makes the kids feel at home right away, which is kind of nice,” says Christina Concepción, who hired him for her daughter Isabella’s birthday party at the Children’s Museum of the Arts on Lafayette St. in Soho. In addition to DooWah’s half-hour performance, she filled 20 minutes of the remaining one-and-half hours of the party with an art class at the Downtown museum.

Having previously hosted ongoing playgroup sessions at Jody’s Gym on the Upper East Side, DooWah is making the trek Downtown as more parents in the Village express interest. The playgroups can start out with five or six kids and they generally grow by the end of the series. Over the 10 weeks, he alternates the musical instruments with parachutes, scarves, streamers, bubbles and more. “The birthday parties are great, but with the playgroups, I am able to see kids more, which really gives me an opportunity to know them better,” says the affable DooWah.

He hands out instruments like bells, tambourines and maracas and gets kids dancing, wiggling and making music. The most popular song, “Are You Ready Freddy,” can be found either on his Web site or played off his Internet site, www.bobbydoowah.com. He also performs many songs the kids are familiar with, which gets them going immediately. A song about the Three Little Pigs has kids building homes with imaginary bricks and straws.

His energy is contagious. Many parents find themselves grooving along to the music. “The most important thing is not how a parent reacts, but how the kids react, which is always positive,” says Randy Meyer, who hired DooWah for her son’s first birthday party at DT/UT in the East Village. “He even got the few shy ones moving.”

Kelly Ashton and Pamela Weinberg named Bobby DooWah one of the top five entertainers in their book, “City Baby: A Resource Guide for New York Parents From Pregnancy to Preschool.” The song-and-dance man and New York native DooWah doesn’t sell his services for just a song. As Concepción puts it, “He charges as much as some corporate lawyers, but he is worth every cent.”

No stranger to volunteering, the performer used to donate time as a song leader at a children’s center in San Diego. As a former preschool teacher and father of two, DooWah is familiar with fundraising programs. He sells his CDs — “The Musical Mayhem of Bobby DooWah” — at nearly one-third the retail price for schools to resell. “It’s one way for me to give back. And since they can return the unsold CDs, there is little risk involved,” says DooWah.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing with the energetic musician. “There were definitely zombie-eyed performances,” acknowledges DooWah. “It’s when I got down to the kids’ level that I really started having fun, and the kids started having a blast.”

For the record, DooWah’s real name is Jeffrey Richter and he lives in Westchester.


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