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Chicago Spotlight: March 2010

How Deep is the Imaginocean?

This month's family fare includes John Tartaglia's puppet musical Imaginocean!, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Barnum's FUNundrum, New Victory's 46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes, Vital's Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell, and Nickelodeon's Storytime Live.

By New York City
John Tartaglia in a publicity photo for Imaginocean
John Tartaglia in a publicity photo for Imaginocean
Actor and puppeteer John Tartaglia, who made a splash in the Tony Award-winning Avenue Q, now brings his talents to a family-friendly puppet musical, Imaginocean! (beginning March 17) at New World Stages. Created by Tartaglia and featuring songs by William Wade, the story is about a fish named Dorsel and the adventures that he and his pals have when they get ahold of a treasure map. Using blacklight, the show creates a dazzling underwater world where the colorful creatures of the deep glow bright.

The circus comes to town as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey present Barnum's FUNundrum at Madison Square Garden (March 25-April 4). The event celebrates the 200th anniversary of the legendary P.T. Barnum. Meanwhile, four acrobats scramble to complete 46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes (March 19-April 4) in this all ages show at the New Victory Theater featuring a quartet of daring Australians (of the Queensland company Circa) jumping, rolling, balancing, flipping, and free-falling like crazy while a live DJ mixes music.

When they've graduated from Baby Mozart, it's time to start taking the kids to The Little Orchestra Society. This month, the Society presents a "Lolli-Pops" concert, for kids aged 3-5, called A Musical Toy Store (March 6-7), playing at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. The visual stimulation of rocking horses, bouncy balls, spinning tops, and other wonderful toys combines with the musical sounds of Bizet, Prokofiev, and Haydn to create a vivid concert experience.

It's not easy being a fairy godmother, especially when you're flighty in more ways than one. Isabelle and the Pretty-Ugly Spell (March 13-April 25), a family musical opening this month at the Vital Theatre Company, is about one such fairy godmother. When Izzy mis-casts a true love spell for a princess, she then has only three days to put things right.

Arriving at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College for a brief stop is The Little Engine That Could (March 14). Presented by the Omaha Theatre Company for Young People, this colorful and musical take on the classic kids' story about a determined choo-choo train is an inspirational tale -- complete with real train engines onstage!

Dora the Explorer, Wonder Pets!, The Backyardigans, and other beloved Nickelodeon characters gather for a musical adventure in Storytime Live (March 31-April 4) at Radio City Music Hall. So grab your tots away from the television and show them the fun of live theater!


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