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The New York International Fringe Festival's "Fringe Jr." presents Good Good Trouble on Bad Bad Island, Heron & Crane, and The Order of Blattaria, a Kid's Guide to Survival. Other family-friendly offerings in the city include The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats, Freddie the Leaf, and the A Clearing in the Forest series. logo
The New York International Fringe Festival is upon us again, playing various venues August 13-29. Although much of the fare is far from kid-friendly, the festival does have a special Fringe JR. component that includes shows which are great for the whole family. This year, the selections include Endstation Theatre Company's fantastical adventure Good Good Trouble on Bad Bad Island; eco-educational comedy Heron & Crane, based on a Russian folktale; and the silly, bug-infested, interactive show The Order of Blattaria, a Kid's Guide to Survival.

The Galli Theater, one of New York's most active children's theaters, uses fairy tales and fables from around the world as a way to convey valuable contemporary lessons to its audiences. The company's August production, The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats, broaches the issue of being wary of strangers through the funny, song-filled tale of a group of goat siblings who wonder whether the knock at the door is their mama or a big bad wolf.

The cycles of nature is the subject of the family-friendly Japanese musical Freddie the Leaf, at John Jay College's Gerald W. Lynch Theater, August 13-15. Adapted from Leo Buscaglia's best-selling novel, The Fall of Freddie the Leaf: A Story of Life for all Ages, the show tells of the short life of Freddie, a leaf, and the other leaves on the tree. The production is presented in Japanese with English supertitles, and stars Akira Takarada -- best known for his roles in the Godzilla films series -- as the narrator.

Ecological education and lively performance also come together with the Central Park Conservancy's A Clearing in the Forest series, taking place in the Peter Jay Sharp Children's Glade, inside the park at West 106th Street. On August 1, there is Rock and Roll Garden Songs with the Bari Koral Family Rock Band; on August 22, enjoy an African Woodland Dance with Nafisa Sharriff; and on August 29, Robin Bady presents Critter Tales and Puppet-making. Each free family-friendly event is held at 1pm.

The Summer on the Hudson Children's Performance Series presents two fun (and free) family events at Pier 1 at 70th Street this month. On August 5 at 10:30am, Erin Lee & Marci -- who have been described as "The Indigo Girls of childhood music" -- play a concert of hip, funny bone-tickling tunes that celebrate simple childhood joys like building couch forts and jumping in mud puddles. On August 12 at the same time, puppeteers from the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater perform the enchanting story of Sleeping Beauty.

Meanwhile, Madison Square Park is hosting a children's entertainment series of its own, Mad. Sq. Kids, held on the Oval Lawn on Tuesdays and Thursdays through August 12. The Dirty Sock Funtime Band brings out its extraordinary mix of live comedy, animation, music, and puppetry on August 3; Astrograss invites everyone to hoedown in the park on August 5; and The Jimmies and Mr. Ray perform their popular children's songs on August 10 and 12, respectively.

A few other summer theatricals are finishing up their runs this month. TADA! Theater's The Magic Pot: Three Tales From China concludes August 4; Theatreworks USA's punk rock fantasy about the Founding Fathers, We the People: America Rocks!, ends its run at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on August 13; A Grimm Reality is no more as of August 14; and Three continues mashing up fairy tales at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater in Central Park through the end of the month.

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