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Keeping the Kids Happy

New York City's stages are full of holiday-oriented and family fare this month to please both children and adults.

By New York City
Matthew Gumley and Sebastian Arcelus in Elf
(© Joan Marcus)
Matthew Gumley and Sebastian Arcelus in Elf
(© Joan Marcus)
With the holiday season in full swing, there's plenty of family -oriented entertainment on the New York stage to keep the kids (and their parents and relatives) happy!

The new Broadway musical Elf (through January 2) focuses on Buddy, an orphan who was raised in the North Pole but decides to journey to New York to find his birth family. The show features Sebastian Arcelus as Buddy, George Wendt in the role of Santa Claus, and such Broadway stalwarts as Amy Spanger, Beth Leavel, Mark Jacoby, and Michael Gumley.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (through December 30) kicks up its heels once again at the Radio City Music Hall. The dazzling spectacle features the precision dancing of the Rockettes, as well as a Living Nativity with live animals, a visit from Santa Claus, the parade of wooden soldiers, and a host of music and dance numbers that celebrate the joy of Christmas.

John Tartaglia's delightful underwater puppet adventure, ImaginOcean, is offering a special holiday version at New World Stages (through January 2). It features a brand new character, H20 Radio DJ "Ryan Starfish" (voiced by New Jersey radio DJ Casey Bartholomew) and an additional 15 minutes of holiday fun, including decorations, a sing-a-long, and snow falling on the audience.

There's a holiday haunting at Pace University's Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, where Charles Dickens' classic ghost story A Christmas Carol (December 8-12) is being staged. This brand new adaptation by Grant Kretchik includes music by Scott O'Brien and choreography by Rhonda Miller to enhance the timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's Christmas Eve conversion from a heartless penny-pincher to a joyful do-gooder.

Thanks to the Manhattan Children's Theatre, we get to enjoy the world premiere of Lula Belle in Search of Santa (through December 26). Containing both kid-friendly physical comedy and adult-friendly satire, Lula Belle tells the story of a girl who launches a hunt for St. Nick after he's gone missing.

The Irish Repertory Theatre brings back its production of A Child's Christmas in Wales (December 8-January 2), Dylan Thomas' famed piece that tells of a snowy Christmas Day in Wales. Both traditional and contemporary Christmas music will be interwoven into the story for this must-see show.

Cast members from Wintuk
(© Amanda Schwab/Startraksphoto.com)
Cast members from Wintuk
(© Amanda Schwab/Startraksphoto.com)
This is the final year that Cirque du Soleil is bringing its holiday extravaganza Wintuk (through January 2) to the Theater at Madison Square Garden, so catch it while you can. The show features Cirque's signature acrobatics, theatrical effects, and evocative music, all with a wintry wonderland feel that makes it a great holiday show for the family.

The Axis Company presents its annual winter tale, Seven in One Blow, or the Brave Little Kid (December 3-21) at the Axis Theatre. This update of the Grimm Brothers' tale is about a city kid who prides himself on his feat of killing seven flies with a single swat. As he travels about, he comes across an odd assortment of characters, including an ogre, a pea, the Scarlet Pimpernell, a witch, and December itself.

Over at The Wild Project, you can catch the "Grimms-N-Giggles" production Little Red (December 4-11), a take on the legendary fairy tale that features a dancing heroine and vegetarian wolves.

For more fairy tale fun, check out the Galli Theater's Snow White (December 4-26), a dynamic, funny, and music-filled adaptation of the beloved classic.

The Tel Aviv-based troupe Mayumana brings Momentum (December 3-January 2) to the New Victory Theater. An international cast of 10 performers creates a Stomp-like theatrical experience, full of thrilling rhythms and dances that will get your blood pumping while the show also tickles your brain with its exploration of space and time.

Finally, Dear Edwina, the delightful family musical from Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler, returns to the DR2 Theatre (December 17-February 25). The show focuses on a girl who is an advice-giver extraordinaire and the tuner's catchy songs impart her wisdom on everything from setting the table to making new friends.


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