Your kid spends an afternoon with no iPad, iPod, Wii, or TV… and actually ENJOYS it!  Every parent’s dream can now be a reality… well, for one day, at least.

That was my pleasant surprise as my 7-year old daughter, Gianna, and I journeyed into Manhattan to New World Stages to see iLuminate: Artist of Light.   Ads for the show promise “An Electrifying Story Told Through Music, Dance and Technology”.  The producers and cast deliver on this promise in a larger-than-life way that leaves you asking yourself, “how’d do they DO that?”

The brainchild of Miral Kotb of America’s Got Talent fame (she and her dance troupe were recent runners-up and audience favorites), iLuminate takes you on an hour-long sensory journey.  You’re in the dark (literally) the entire show as the theater lights and stage are dimmed to complete black (a little unexpected and frankly off-putting, for me, as I wondered to myself if Gianna was going to be too scared.)  We held hands the entire first song then slowly loosened our grip as we adjusted to the darkness and were introduced to our story’s hero, Jacob (“artist of light”), his magic laser-wand-paintbrush, and his friends.

We quickly realized there would be absolutely no words spoken – the story is told completely through pantomime, dance and the actors’ unique lighted costumes. Even the set and props are – you guessed it – lighting effects.

Covered head to toe in black suits with built-in remotely controlled lighting, just as on America’s Got Talent, special effects abound – in fact, the actors ARE the special effects, for the most part!  To complete illusions, cast members are literally picked up and moved to other parts of the scene by “invisible” cast members – it was fun (though nearly impossible) trying to spot them in the background.

Jacob and his friends joyously celebrate, through dance, the magical powers of light and the energy and passion it brings.  A favorite scene is when Jacob and his friends “throw down” in the park, with an old-school style dance-off.  It showcases each character’s unique personality (Gianna’s favorite character, Miss Starlight Jones, evoked memories for me of a Soul Train-style ’70’s dancer, with peace sign earrings, bell-bottoms and sassy, funky attitude… to Gianna she was a really cool diva and awesome dancer!) With break-dancing, hip-hop moves and loud, beat-based music (all original to the show), how could kids NOT enjoy it?

Some parts may be a little scary for young children, as Jacob’s paintbrush is stolen by the villain and his evil, hissing, minions (and I don’t mean the cute yellow “Minions”, like the ones from Despicable Me.)  There’s a long and action-packed battle between good and evil, with amazing and dramatic lighting effects, set to many musical styles, particularly contemporary jazz.  Gianna and I once again clutched hands for this part…until the climactic finale.  After the show, we had an interesting discussion on how important music is in storytelling.

As our eyes slowly adjusted to the house lights, we were invited up to meet and take photos with the cast – a nice surprise for both of us. We spoke to “Miss Starlight Jones” (played by Lisa “L-Boogie” Bauford) which was exciting, and we talked about all aspects of the experience all the way home – well, at least until Gianna nodded off on our bus ride.

iLuminate features music by Justin “Kanobby” Keitt and Christopher Tignor, and stars David “Flaco” Andrini, Lisa “L-Boogie” Bauford, Kenny Bermudez, Marcus Alan Cobb, Trevor “Cleava Trev” Harrison, Adrienne Hicks, Caitlin Mejia, Dario Mejia, Giselle Mejia, John “JRock” Nelson and Robert Vail.

Multi-talented creator Miral Kotb also is co-playwrighter (with Athena Sunga Binevenu), lighting designer and choreographer.  Dean Hopkins is Technical Director, Grace Eddy is Wardrobe Director, with production by Chainey Harpe (Production Manager) and CH Productions, LLC.

 iLuminate will delight fans of a wide range of interests: America’s Got Talent, dance, dance music, technology, and anyone who appreciates fresh and vibrant storytelling.


 Special Offer for followers:  BUY NOW TO SAVE 35%


ONLINE: Click Here or Visit and enter code: ILIGHT513 BY PHONE: Call 212-947-8844 and mention code: ILIGHT513 IN PERSON: Print out this offer & bring to the New World Stages Box Office- 340 West 50th St, Btw 8th & 9th Ave.

 Watch iLuminate Trailer –  

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE: Mon & Wed 7pm, Thurs & Fri 8pm, Sat 2:30pm & 8pm, Sun 12 & 3pm.

*Restrictions: Offer is valid for select performances thru Oct 10, 2013.

Subject to availability. Other restrictions may apply. All ticket prices include a $1.50 facility fee. Normal service charges apply to online and phone orders.  Not valid on prior purchases. Blackout dates and restrictions may apply. Limit of 10 tickets per order. No refunds or exchanges.


NOTE: Gina Schlagel writes periodic reviews for

Tags: , , , , , , ,