Moey's Music Party
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Moey's Music Party

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"Moey's WoMOM feature article"

From Mommy To Mommy Rocker
By Melissa Levis

Four years ago I delivered twins. One was a beautiful, bouncing boy who painlessly entered the world thanks to induced labor and an early epidural; the other was a million dollar Off-Broadway musical that sprung to life after 4 years of labor. Though my son’s debut preceded my musical by five months, I cherished my show like my first-born. My husband and I lovingly nurtured it through readings, auditions, rewrites, Off-Off Broadway productions, agents, producers, investors, until its birth at the 500 seat Variety Arts Theatre in the Spring of 2004. Ever the protective mother, I fought for my child, but the show closed after two months. If the producer had allowed it time to crawl, I swear it would have run forever, but as the saying goes - that’s showbiz.

I took time off to be a full-time mom while I figured out my professional Plan B. I was so disappointed by the theatre, I decided forget art; I would sell out and at least make money. I interviewed at an investment bank and in advertising, but I knew it wasn’t for me. So, I told my understanding husband that I needed time away, and my son and I went to spend the summer at The Wilburton Inn, my parents’ country inn in Manchester, Vermont.

I thought helping my family’s inn would be fulfilling work; the only problem was that the terrific local daycare was full. My mom suggested that I volunteer to be their music teacher and perhaps they would find a space my tot. Though that space never opened, I found my professional calling. I discovered that I loved sharing music with children. Hearing kids respond to music was even more satisfying than hearing an audience laugh during previews. If children liked my song, I knew I had a hit. If they were bored, it was back to the drawing board.

The time I spent being a mommy was my market research. Every time my son frustrated or delighted me, I turned it into a song. Car trips to New York were the best writing time. I’d angle the rearview mirror where I could see him and bring along a tape recorder. He would clap his hands and pat his head in his car seat, and through singing together, our five-hour drive flew by. By August, I starred in a “Moey’s Music Party” TV show on Vermont cable access. I was a mini-celebrity at the local Friendly’s. I adored small town life, but my husband was in New York.

Breaking into any career in New York is hard and it was frustrating to be a beginner at age 35. I began by working two hours a week as the music teacher at the Congregation Habonim Nursery School. I volunteered as a music teacher at Shaaray Tefila’s Nursery School. Thanks to Craig’s List, I found a terrific job at a popular Upper East Side Mommy & Me center and preschool. I taught music to over 300 children a week for three years.

My son’s 3rd birthday party gave me the idea for my original “Moey’s Music Party” mommy & me music class. The day after his Thomas the Train themed party, he was heartbroken when he heard that he’d have to wait a whole other year for his next birthday party. It gave me the idea to create a music class where every day is a party. Kids can dress up and enjoy instruments, songs, dances, hats, props, and even take home presents that relate to kids party themes like pirates, trains, princesses, fiestas, cowboys, firemen, and holidays. I’ve come full circle and Oriental Trading Company (where I bought my son’s Thomas the Train birthday supplies) is now my sponsor and supplies the wonderful pompoms and maracas that I use at my classes.

An important part of each class is my original musical puppet show based on classic fairy tales and Aesop Fables. I disliked the violence and out dated gender roles in the bedtime stories I read my son at night. Why did girls need to be rescued? In my songs, Little Red Riding Hood gives the wolf a judo kick. Sleeping Beauty and Snow White wake themselves up by giving themselves a kiss. The Little Red Hen and The Ant and The Grasshopper teach their friends how to share and be good role models. Having grown up on “Free To Be You and Me” I want pass on the tradition of fairy tales but do it in a way that is relevant and inspiring.

Three years after becoming the toast of Friendly’s, I’m delighted to say that Moey Mania is sweeping Manhattan. Central Park Conservancy hired my band of banjo, drums, and guitar to give 12 free concerts in Central Park Playgrounds. The New York Public Library hires us to bring free concerts to children in branches from The Bronx to The Lower East Side this Winter. I have become “The Pied Piper in Pink” spreading free music to the children of New York. It seems that every weekend we perform at birthday parties in Dylan’s Candy Bar, Chelsea Piers, or living rooms across NYC. This year we gave 65 concerts from Bank Street Bookstore, to Barnes & Noble, The Tribeca Film Festival, The JCC, Union Square Park, Carl Shurz Park, and The Children’s Museum in the Hamptons.

This Fall, I returned Off-Broadway, not only as a writer and producer, but also as a performer. Daryl Roth, the esteemed Broadway producer, is a Grandma who is dedicated to creating theatre for children. She heard my “Moey’s Music Party” CD and invited me to create a show for the DR2 Theatre in Union Square. “Moey Live – P is for Party!” was a mommy power production with moms designing the postcards, set, costumes, and props. What a pleasure to introduce children to the delights of musical theatre!

My son brought my heart and career back to center stage and I’m thrilled to say we are both thriving.

Melissa Levis, AKA, Moey is an award-winning Off Broadway songwriter and children’s entertainer. She leads weekly “Moey’s Music Party” classes at Café Notte on the 2nd Ave & 85th St. and on the W. 96th St. at Symphony Space. She teaches music at PS 158 and frequently entertains with her band at concerts and birthday parties. To buy the Dr. Toy award-winning “Moey’s Music Party CD”, register for classes, or watch Moey videos, see www.moeysmusicparty.com, 917-680-6739.
- New York Parent Guide


"Moey Reviews"

"From the indomitable spirit of "I Can Do It" to the vibrant multilingual bonanza of "Fiesta," your CD captures so much of what's great in New York City. Even a card carrying AARP member like me can appreciate that."
- Mayor Michael Bloomberg

“Melissa Levis takes her place in front of her adoring fans... and the rest is mommy-rock history.” - Time Out New York Kids

"Levis' peppy classic sounding tunes will turn any under 5 shindig into a mini-American Bandstand." - Cookie Magazine

“Think Sesame Street meets the Go-Gos!” – Kids Music That Rocks

“Levis rollicks her way through songs. Her lively lyrics and clear voice inspire movement, dance, and singing along.”
– School Library Journal

“Teachers of pre-school children will find here a welcome grab bag of simple, funny songs with strong kid appeal. Making the album an inspiration is Moey's expressiveness - itself a lesson on how to communicate with children.” – Sing Out

“Each track sounds like The Bangles playing a block party on Sesame Street, inspiring jubilant sing-alongs.” - Grandparents.com

“The album gets tykes bopping along to the rocking tunes while teaching kids to sit during mealtimes, share with others, wash their hair and listen to their parents.” - Parent's Guide

"Off Broadway lyricist tuned mommy-rocker Melissa Levis has a new album that's full of funky songs kids will love."
- New York Family Magazine

"Children and adults alike enjoy this lively recording. It gets everyone on their feet and guarantees a rocking-good time." - Bank Street Bookstore

“The only kids CD I've found that I can enjoy after the 100th listen."
- The Northshire Bookstore

“A clean indie pop backbeat peppered with acoustic guitars, alternating between the quirkier side of Leslie Feist and the amiable down-home cookies-in-the-oven swagger of Loretta Lynn.” – All Music.com

“A catchy tune like “I Gotta Go Potty” may not be destined for the Top 40, but when the audience is made up of preschoolers, it’s bound to be a hit.”
-The New York Times

“Upbeat and snappy enough to get any grumpy toddler out of a fresh morning funk.!” – Kidazy.com

“Expressive rock tunes with great appeal to children. – AtoZ kidstuff.com

“A fun, boisterous, energetic show that feels like a musical version of “Sesame Street.” – MamaBirdDiaries.com

“The catchiest repertoire of new and classic songs seen North, East, West and South of Central Park.’ – OrganizeMyHouse.com

“One of New York’s Rising Stars.” - MommyPoppins.com

“Some of the best kiddie rock I've heard so far.” – MyMomShops.blogspot.com

“My kids absolutely love listening to this CD in the car. To the point that they request it daily as we are pulling out of the garage and heading for daycare. The songs are funky, funny, upbeat and have great rhythms and contagious beats.”
-Ourreviewblogspot.com

“Seventeen bouncy story-songs that will have the toddler set dancing and grooving and singing along.” - Kidzmusic.com.





- From Mayor Bloomberg, Magazines, & Moms


Discography

Moey's Music Party

Photos

Bio

"Moey takes the stage…and the rest is Mommy Rock History.”
TIME OUT NY KIDS
Moey is Melissa Levis, an award-winning Off Broadway songwriter who became a “Mommy Rocker” thanks to the birth of her son Monty, now 6. With her ebullient energy, natural warmth, and glittery style, Melissa--Moey--leads Moey’s Music Party classes and concerts at schools, parks, and parties around New York City.

Last Fall Moey’s Music Party rocked Off-Broadway with a two-month run of Moey Live - P is
for Party! at the DR2 Theatre. The New York Times gave it a glowing endorsement noting that kids “dress up and go crazy as they follow Moey in a musical adventure to plan a fabulous party with things like puppets, princesses, pom-poms, and pirates."

Two years ago, Melissa created the Sandbox-Sing-Along concert series in Central Park and
lead 12 concerts for 2,000 children. This summer she returned to Central Park. Her 18 outdoor summer concerts drew over 4,000 fans. The New York Public Library invited Moey’s Music
Party to entertain in libraries from The Bronx to Chinatown. Moey’s Music Party has performed at The Tribeca Film Festival, The JCC, Barnes & Noble, The 92nd St Y, Dylan's Candy Bar, The Bank Street Bookstore, The Children’s Museum of the East End. GoCityKids.com nominated Moey’s Music Party as New York City’s Best Birthday Party Entertainers of 2009.

Melissa leads Moey’s Music Party classes at Gymboree Play & Music on the Upper East Side
of New York City. Moms on GoCityKids.com voted Moey’s Music Party the best music class
in NYC. Melissa also created Preschool Pop, an early learning music curriculum that she has taught to Pre-K students at P.S. 158 for the past three years.

For two and a half years Melissa was the head of the music department at the prestigious
York Avenue Preschool and Gym Time, Rhythm, and Glues where she taught Rocking Renoirs, (a music and art class) Musical Chefs, (an international cooking class) Tiny Tots, (an infant sign language/gym class) and preschool music to over 300 children each week.

The Moey’s Music Party CD won the Dr. Toy Award in 2008 and received accolades from magazines, moms, and even Mayor Bloomberg, who sent Melissa a personal fan letter saying, "From the indomitable spirit of "I Can Do It" to the vibrant multilingual bonanza of "Fiesta," your CD captures so much of what's great in New York City."

But Moey is not just for kids. She has a wide following as a songwriter, writing and performing custom songs for such luminaries as New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson, Past Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Vogue Magazine’s former publisher, Ron Galotti, Jonathan Tisch, Marriot Hotels, Deutsche Bank, and others. Melissa wrote the “Ooh La La Hamptons” CD and led Melissa & The Moguls, a musical group comprised of a gold magnate, real estate baron, newspaper publisher, Broadway producer, songwriter Denise Rich and ‘80s rocker Billy Squier.

Melissa graduated from Brown University and earned an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from New York University. For more information see www.MoeysMusicParty.com.