Founded in 1958, The Paper Bag Players has wowed audiences across the country with its unique blend of drama, comedy, dance, mime, live music, and audience participation. The Players stop at Symphony Space in Manhattan on March 11 with a program of short plays and dances, and they will also debut a brand new show there called Pineapple Soup, featuring dinosaurs, runaway laundry, and a bus full of quirky passengers, on March 11 and 12. That show will go on to play Kingsborough Community College Performing Arts Center in Brooklyn on March 18, the Jewish Museum in Manhattan on March 19, and the LaGuardia Community College Performing Arts Center in Long Island City on March 25.
If you're looking for a new take on a classic tale, you can't go wrong with RainArt Productions' The Frog Bride at the New Victory, March 3-12, which gender-reverses the classic tale of "The Frog Prince" and adds jazz and classical music into the mix. In this version of the story, a young prince is compelled to marry a frog when his arrow lands in her pond, but first he must break a witch's spell in order to reveal her secret identity. For the enjoyment of budding culture vultures, the show includes images of Vasily Kandinsky's artwork and Italian landmarks projected on a screen at the back of the stage.
Past editions of P.S. 122's Avant-Garde-Arama for the Whole Family have included performances by downtown dance guru Sarah East Johnson and the legendary Wooster Group. This biannual collection of eclectic acts by, for, and about kids plays for only two performances on March 26.
London comedian James Campbell was a hit at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, one of the biggest launching pads of the international stand-up circuit. Now, he lands in New York to perform a limited engagement at the New Victory Theater in Manhattan (March 31 - April 16), where he asks the many questions pressing impressionable minds, like "What's the use of a middle name?" or "How do you get a cow up five flights of stairs?"
Heading outside Manhattan, Marilyn Heberling's faithful adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland has the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit sending the heroine through her curious adventures. The script includes audience participation, as young and old alike can be wickets in the croquet game, flowers, and jury members. The show is free to the general public and is touring the following libraries north of New York City: Thursday, March 2 at the Yonkers Public Library, Will Branch; Monday, March 13 at the Katonah Village Library; and Saturday, March 18 at the Patterson Library; Sunday, March 26 at the Harrison Public Library; and Thursday, March 30 at the Ossining Public Library.
As always, you can find high-quality productions of traditional children's theater shows in Long Island. BroadHollow Theatre Company retells the story of The Wizard of Oz from February 4 to March 4 and Cinderella from March 11 to April 1 at the BayWay Arts Center in East Islip; and Port Jefferson's Theatre Three offers The Brave Little Turtle, about a young boy named Mortimer Taub who learns to come out of his shell, March 3-19.