Family Theater 101
The 101 Dalmatians Musical musical arrives in New York City, with family-friendly highlights also including Wide Awake Jake, Time Step, Elephant, Little is Big, Most Valuable Player, Stanley's Adventures, and 70 Million Tons.
Restless kids and their insomniac parents alike can relate to TADA! Theater's new show Wide Awake Jake (April 16 - May 23), the story of a boy who just can't seem to fall asleep. Fortunately for us, Jake has all kinds of interesting adventures (he meets lions, dragons, and giants, oh my!) on his journey to dreamland in this musical with a book by Alice Elliott and a score by Robby Merkin and Faye Greenberg, based on the children's book by Helen Young.
The New Victory has two shows this month. First up is Time Step (April 9-18), which evokes the bygone era of classic movie musicals. Then later in the month, the U.K.'s Dodgy Clutch and Johannesburg's Market Theatre present its production of Elephant (April 23-May 2), featuring enormous elephant puppets that are unbelievably lifelike and tender.
Beautiful shadow puppetry combines with music and dance in the Shadow Box Theatre original Little is Big (through May 9) at the Bleecker Street Theatre. Shadow Box performers create an undersea world where little fish Spinny and his buddies encounter a big bully fish and eventually come to learn a lesson about courage and friendship. The show is followed by a "Sing Out for Peace," where the audience gets to sing along with songs about tolerance, diversity, and living peacefully. Go to the Manhattan Children's Theatre to enjoy Stanley's Adventures (April 24 - May 30), a world premiere show for all ages. The Stanley in question is a very good dog who nonetheless has trouble resisting the temptation to explore beyond his boundaries.
The Dallas Children's Theater production of Most Valuable Player (April 10), plays one performance only at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and tells the inspiring true story of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to break into professional major league baseball. For ages 9 and older, the play does include the use of some derogatory language in order to keep the show historically accurate, and the theater suggests parents use that as a talking point in a discussion with their children about the issue of racism.