A scene from Istwa
A scene from Istwa
Although the New York International Fringe Festival is best known for its edgy and often outrageous grown-up fare, this August the Fringe is the place for families who want to see cool, unique shows for kids too. This year FringeJR features four phenomenal, family-friendly selections, each with a running time of an hour or less.

Istwa! Storytime for a Small World (August 15-27) celebrates folktales from across the globe in an energetic presentation. Goldilocks and the Three Polar Bears (August 14-26) gives a familiar fairy tale a funny rock 'n' roll spin. Acclaimed playwright Arlene Hutton's Happy Worst Day Ever (August 13-21) is a comedy about 6th graders facing cliques and peer pressure. Finally, There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly and Other Heroines That Reach for the Sky! (August 12-18) is a playful musical that honors the heroic women ("she-roes") of the world's great fairy tales.

The Street Theater Company hits the pavement with Bamboozled, or The Real Reality Show (August 6 - September 18), the company's 35th annual touring show, coming to parks and playgrounds all over the city, including Jackie Robinson Park, Central Park Bandshell, Washington Square Park, and even the Coney Island Boardwalk. Oh, and it's totally free! This big, crazy musical features a cast of 32 energetic performers -- not to mention gigantic puppets, trap doors, smoke machines, and a whole lot more. A variety of musical styles are employed to tell this allegorical tale of a postman who goes toe-to-toe with Diablo Hysterico, king of the underworld.

Galli Theater, one of New York City's finest children's theaters, brings four of its modern fairy tale adaptations to the South Street Seaport this month. Every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, Galli presents one of its lively and enlightening productions at its scenic Seaport location, which has beautiful views of the water and the Brooklyn Bridge. Delight in the adventures of Aladdin (August 6-7), the story of Sleeping Beauty (August 13-14), The Princess and the Pea (August 20-21), and the hair-raising (or is that hair-lowering?) tale of Rapunzel (August 27-28).

Take a leap down the rabbit hole and see Alice (August 6 - April 21) at the SoHo Playhouse, where this new production plays each Saturday afternoon at 1pm. Starring Emily Floyd as the title character, this exciting adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic has been written, designed, and directed by Steven Carl McCasland with a Parisian flair inspired by Marc Chagall's painting "Paris Through the Window." Children ages 5 and older will be enchanted by this magical production.

Created and directed by celebrated puppeteers Tom Lee and Matthew Acheson, The Secret History of the Swedish Cottage (Central Park, through November 6) is inspired by the real history of the 136-year-old Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre in Central Park, and chronicles the wonderful and impossible journey -- inclusive of gnomes, sea creatures and others -- that it takes from its creation in the forests of Sweden, and through its tumultuous travels to its current home.