The teenage jugglers of The Three of Clubs
The teenage jugglers of The Three of Clubs
The largest multi-arts festival in North America, The New York International Fringe Festival, hits Manhattan from August 12 to 28. Although most of the shows are geared for adults, its "Fringe Jr." component features a number of interesting shows for the family. The Three of Clubs showcases the talents of three young jugglers who've traveled quite a bit with their act, from Red Hook, Brooklyn to Edinburgh, Scotland. Word has it that the trio has been known to juggle torches and fireballs, but they're putting the pyrotechnics aside for this indoor show. In any event, their program is still expected to be as scorching as a metropolitan heat wave.

Also look out for the heartwarming new musical, Extraordinary, at the festival. In that show, a boy named Lester enlists the help of his imaginary friend Fred to communicate with his deaf cousin, Hope. At first, Fred acts as an interpreter of American Sign Language; then, he takes the cousins on an expedition to find the girl's hearing. The plot takes surprising turns through song and choreography, and the adventure concludes at the "Land of Quiet" for an inspiring finale. For more information about the show and the festival, visit www.fringenyc.org.

Elsewhere in New York, a group of promising young actors are converging for two weeks at the Lamb's Theatre to take part in The Broadway Kids from August 4 to 14. In the upcoming show, a cast of six performs numbers from Annie, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, The Wiz, and Bye, Bye, Birdie, as well as the currently-running Broadway megahits Hairspray and The Lion King. Many of these impressive teenagers have performed recently on Broadway in The Women, Nine, Assassins, and Gypsy.

Hold on to your hats! The science fiction musical Billy Sleepyhead tells the goose-flesh-inducing story of a nefarious doctor who steals the main character's brain while he's sleeping. Now, her brother, sister, and cousin must venture into a dangerous and sinister world to retrieve it. Luckily, they've brought along a trusty robot to help brave the unfamiliar terrain, but they soon learn that they must employ a more sophisticated tool to complete their mission -- their minds. The tuner plays from August 3 to 21 at Center Stage

This month's family-friendly play with the most intriguing title may be Michael Lluberes' The Geranium on the Window Sill Just Died. Adapted from Albert Cullum's book of poems, it's a movement theater piece about a group of children who transform an ordinary classroom into a surreal circus. Six creative actors promise to make the walls dance, turn crayons into face paint, and bring a wilted houseplant back to life. It plays at Urban Stages from August 10 to 14.

In Long Island, Sesame Street's Bob McGrath stops by at the John Drew Theater in East Hampton to perform both old and new songs. His appearance is part of Guild Hall's KidFest, which includes such other events this month as The Ant and the Grasshopper & More and The Magic of Doug Young. About an hour away from that theater, the dinosaurs roam across the stage of the Patchogue Theatre in The Mammoth Follies. This vaudevillian musical revue, hosted by "Willie Mammoth," includes guest appearances by a 22-foot herbivore, the Apatosaurus, and a shorter but fiercer 11-foot T-Rex.