No Need to Call a Sitter, Playwrights Horizons Has Done It

 Any parent of small children knows that the cost of hiring a baby sitter is often higher than the cost of tickets to a play. So now Playwrights Horizons is offering affordable, professional child care during three of its Sunday matinees. “The combined cost of theater tickets and child care is the factor most often cited by people with young children as the reason they rarely attend the theater,” Leslie Marcus, the managing director, said in a statement. “Our hope is that this program will become a model for other performing arts organizations in New York.” The program, called Playtime!, will be available on Feb. 27, March 20 and April 2 during the afternoon performance of “Kin,” a new play by Bathsheba Doran. While parents are watching the show, their children (4 to 12) will be upstairs in a rehearsal space and watched by Sitters Studio, a baby-sitting company made up of working artists. The service is free for members and $15 for non-members. The Theater Subdistrict Council, a nonprofit corporation, is helping to finance the project.


January 21, 2011


Playtime! @ Playwrights Horizons – Culture Mom

This is really cool!  As soon as I read about a THEATER OFFERING CHILDCARE, I said to myself, my readers need to know about this!  See, I love theater so much that I run to see plays all the time and leave my kids with my husband.  He’s very good about it, he knows theater is my drug.  But sometimes we just want to bring the kids and either can’t get a babysitter or don’t want to pay for it.  So listen to this:

Playwrights Horizons is pleased to announce the launch of PLAYTIME! at Playwrights Horizons, a brand new program offering affordable, professional childcare while you see a show.  Playwrights Horizons has teamed up with Sitters Studio, a bonded and insured company made up of sitters who are working artists, which will provide and operate the program in Playwrights Horizons’ very own building.

PLAYTIME! is the first program of its kind among New York City theaters.

PLAYTIME! will debut during the run of the theater company’s next production, KIN, the world premiere of a new play by Bathsheba Doran (Living Room in Africa, adaptation of Great Expectations at The Lortel).  KIN is directed by Sam Gold (Circle Mirror Transformation at PH, Tigers Be Still, The Aliens, The Coward) and begins performances on Friday, February 25.

With PLAYTIME!, while patrons enjoy a Playwrights Horizons performance, their children will be upstairs in a rehearsal space having his or her own fun, artistic experience – learning a dance or song, making a craft project or participating in a myriad of other artistic activities provided by Sitters Studio.  The program is available for children ages 4-12 (potty-training required).  All Studio Sitters undergo background checks and are CPR certified.

PLAYTIME! is free to Playwrights Horizons subscribers and available to non-subscribers for a flat fee of only $15 per child.  PLAYTIME! care will be offered during the following three performances of KIN:

  • Sunday matinee, February 27 at 2:30 PM
  • Sunday matinee, March 20 at 2:30 PM
  • Saturday matinee, April 2 at 2:30 PM

For more information, visit the PLAYTIME! web page at, or call Casey York at (212) 564-1235, ext. 3152.  For additional information about Sitters Studio, please visit

To book tickets to KIN and reserve your child’s spot in the PLAYTIME! program, visit, or call Ticket Central daily from Noon to 8 PM at (212) 279-4200.  You must reserve childcare at the time you book your performance tickets, and no fewer than 10 days prior to your desired performance.


We are pleased to offer a discount ticket when you order before March 21. Use code KINBLOG and tickets are only:
$40 (reg $70) for perfs Feb. 25-March 10 (including Feb. 27 Playtime! perf)
$55 (reg $70) for perfs March 11-April 3 (including March 20 & April 2 Playtime! perfs)

  • Online at
  • Call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 (Noon-8pm daily).
  • In person: Ticket Central box office, 416 West 42nd Street (Noon-8pm daily)

You must reserve childcare at the time you book your performance tickets, and no fewer than 10 days prior to your desired performance.

Playwrights Horizons has also partnered with West Bank Café (located across the street at 407 West 42nd Street), which will be offering a special, affordable children’s menu on the PLAYTIME! dates.

PLAYTIME! care will also be offered during select performances of Playwrights Horizons remaining two productions of the 2010/2011 Season:

  • GO BACK TO WHERE YOU ARE, the World Premiere of a new play by David Greenspan, directed by Leigh Silverman, beginning performances Thursday, March 24 at Playwrights Horizons Peter Jay Sharp Theater.
  • THE SHAGGS: PHILOSOPHY OF THE WORLD, the New York premiere of a new musical with book by Joy Gregory; music by Gunnar Madsen; lyrics by Ms. Gregory & Mr. Madsen; and story by Ms. Gregory, Mr. Madsen & John Langs; directed by Mr. Langs; beginning performances Thursday, May 12 at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater.

The PLAYTIME! program is made possible with generous funds from the Theater Subdistrict Council (TSC).   The TSC is a not-for-profit corporation established pursuant to a 1998 zoning rule that allows owners of landmarked Broadway theaters to transfer air rights within the Theater Subdistrict provided the theater is preserved, there is a commitment to use the space for legitimate theater use, and a portion of the proceeds are deposited into a Theater Subdistrict Fund designed to support the theater community.  The TSC administers the Theater Subdistrict Fund, to allocate grants with the goal of developing new audiences, promoting the production of new theater work, and showcasing Broadway’s singular role in the history of American theater.  The TSC consists of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, three representatives appointed by the Mayor from the performing arts, theatrical and related industries, the Speaker of the Council and her designee, the Manhattan Borough President, and the Director of the Department of City Planning. The TSC is chaired by Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, on behalf of Mayor Bloomberg.

Currently playing at Playwrights Horizons is the World Premiere of Adam Bock’s A SMALL FIRE, directed by Trip Cullman.  The production is playing at Playwrights Horizons’ Mainstage Theater, where its limited engagement has been extended through Sunday, January 30.

For subscription and ticket information to all Playwrights Horizons productions, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200, Noon to 8PM daily, or purchase online at  For more information, visit the Playwrights Horizons website at

-January 24, 2011 by CultureMom

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review nor did I receive anything in exchange for it.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Karen Bernard, Havana, Cuba

“I used this agency when recently visiting New York for work, with my 7-year-old daughter. The babysitter was wonderful, and at my request took my daughter sight-seeing around the city, but only to child-appropriate places and activities. I appreciated the customized service, and that my daughter was safe and having fun with her sitter while I worked. The agency’s system is also well-organized, I made arrangements by e-mail over long distance with them.”

Sitters Studio: The merging of greatness!

It’s like the first time someone had the idea to dip a strawberry in chocolate or make jeans into leggings (just go with me on that). Last night I was in a pinch for childcare and had to opportunity to experience a high-end babysitting service called Sitter Studio that combines two elements: child care and art instruction. Hiring only professional artists and actresses as caregivers, Sitters Studio brings art class (and CPR certified instructors with extensive background checks) to you.

In a moment of panic, I called the agency an hour before I was scheduled to trot off to pottery class. All of a sudden I was anxious about leaving B in the hands of a stranger. What if this was really a child trafficking operation? PANIC! A soothing voice on the other end of the phone assured me Sitter Studio is top notch. Among their referrals are the concierge desks of the areas finest hotels and their client list includes several celebrities. They have been in business over four years in NYC and nearly three in Chicago.

Moments later, Miss Caren appeared at my door. She was everything you’d want in a babysitter, right away. She was a well dressed professional woman with a budding career in the arts that includes a children’s book under development. B took to her with squeals of delight!  As I showed her the boring nuances of the house, Miss Caren was already digging in her bag of tricks. I barely got a wave from my daughter as I backed out the door. She was smitten.

Four hours later I returned expecting to find a fussy baby nearing her bed time and a frazzled Miss Caren. Nope! The house was filled with amazing moods, craft projects for mommy and even a “Studio Scoop” (a written synopsis of all the good stuff moms like to know. Two poopy diapers, check!)

Now I’m a believer in Sitters Studio. The drawback is it’s 20-40% higher than the usual going rates of babysitters, but like so many things in life, the good stuff costs extra. Think of the extra cash that you’re spending as tuition. Instead of hiring a babysitter and dragging your child to art class, you can kill two birds with one stone, right?

Posted in High Gloss and Sauce for Chicago Now

-By Jenna Myers Karvunidis

U STREET MOM: kid and no car in urban DC

We arrived in Chicago with no problem and spent the afternoon playing in Millennium Park. Hubby was being awarded as an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects at an evening reception so we had prearranged for a sitter through the hotel. We used a New York based service called Sitters Studio, and I can now say I absolutely without a doubt would use them again.

I arranged a phone call with the founder of Sitters Studio, Kristina, earlier in the week to get the scoop to blog about it, and to make myself feel comfortable having never arranged child care this way before. They employ artists who are college grads or are in their last year of school. Kristina tells me that artists work well with children because they have childlike sensibilities.

While on the job, these sitters can practice their art with the children who are a captive, nonjudgmental audience. Whether it is singing, dancing, puppetry, or painting, they are able to entertain and inspire the children while getting feedback on their art. Sitters Studio is doing such a wonderful service to the cities of Chicago and New York (and L.A. starting in February). They support artists with income and perks (like money towards continuing education art classes) while also spreading the arts to a generation that needs it the most.

By the time our sitter arrived to the hotel room, I already felt like I knew her because of the bio that had been emailed to me a couple of days earlier. She was a lovely University of Iowa grad who brought along with her a bag of toys to entertain Milo. Her neon plastic slinky was his favorite, and it was the first time he had ever seen a slinky! A questionnaire emailed to me earlier in the week asked about Milo’s interests. I wrote about his love for dogs, architectural history (just a guess), modern art, and sleeping! When we arrived back at our hotel room that night, our sitter presented us with a book she had made for Milo, full of pictures (to be colored in at a later date) of his interests.

It wasn’t cheap ($20 per hour), with four hour minimum and cab fare, but having peace of mind about your babysitter in an unfamiliar city made it worth every penny.

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