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6 Summer Shows for Kids and Families

Beat the heat and bring the kids to these picks.

It's after the 4th of July, which means that it's time for the kids in your life to start complaining relentlessly that, despite all evidence to the contrary, there is simply nothing to do. Fortunately, the isle of Manhattan has you covered, with plenty of great theater for kids of all ages.

1. Wicked

Age recommendation: 8 and up.

Even after 15 years on Broadway, it would still be a crime to leave this one out. This is the world of Oz from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West, a college student named Elphaba who is ostracized for her green skin and befriended by the roommate who will one day become known as Glinda the Good. Parents dubious of shallow children's media, fear not — there are enough weighty themes and lyrical subtlety here to satisfy even the snootiest critic.

2. Stomp

Age recommendation: 4 and up.

Sometimes it's too hot to move. Or think. When that time comes, head over to the Orpheum Theatre, where twelve multitalented performers can make music with anything. Seriously, anything. Brooms, garbage can lids, matchboxes — it's all fair game. The unconventional jam session has been going strong off-Broadway for almost 25 years, so it's probably time to go watch them make some noise.

3. The Lion King

Age recommendation: 8 and up.

Disney may have the lions' share of kids' entertainment no matter where you look, but just admit it: You're not just going because the kids want to. For those who have managed to dodge the Frozen avalanche, Disney still has plenty of Broadway on offer, including The Lion King, which has been running for 20 years and counting. The songs are classic, and the puppetry will be more than enough to impress.

4. Gazillion Bubble Show

Age recommendation: All ages.

Young kids and theater don't go together, right? Wrong — this show is interactive and only an hour. Exactly what it says on the side of the box, Fan Yang is a master of bubble artistry who's broken his own Guinness records and been on every talk show known to man. Even after two decades onstage, this is still not one to miss.

5. Pip's Island

Age recommendation: 4 to 10.

Here's yet another show proving that "small children" and "theater" are not diametrically opposed — this show doesn't even have designated seating! Instead, kids are encouraged to go on their own adventure across four different rooms, exploring the story and solving puzzles for themselves. In a world where the squirmy are often told to sit still, this might be the theatrical solution.

6. Dog Man: The Musical

Age recommendation: All ages.

If Captain Underpants is the only way to get your kid to read, than this might be the only way to get them to sit still for an entire show. This musical, based on the titular graphic novels by Dav Pilkey, follows the ultimate K-9 with a keen sense of justice. This one is sure to leave the kids in stitches.