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In the Hair

The 10th Annual New York International Fringe Festival provides some family -friendly options. Plus: Jungal Book, Wiseacre Farm, and Rumple Who. logo
A scene from
Harriet Hopperdoodle's Hair-Brained History Test!
The New York International Fringe Festival takes over New York City's theater scene every August. While many of its offerings are not for kids, the festival's "FringeJR" component provides entertainment for the whole family, and includes two notable shows this year. The first of these, Harriet Hopperdoodle's Hair-Brained History Test! (August 17-23), follows a young girl who travels back in time to visit history's greatest inventors. She's not the only one who's traveling! The producing company is visiting New York from Kansas, giving locals an idea about how they do children's theater in the Heartland. You can catch a free preview of the show at Washington Square Park on Sunday, August 20 at 11:30am.

The other family offering at this year's FringeNYC is a musical version of Rapunzel (August 11-25), by a Brooklyn company cleverly called Long Over 'Do Productions. You know the story -- a witch traps a girl in a tower, and her only way out is to send down her hair for her handsome hero to climb, but this production is so special that Clark Gesner -- the creator of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown -- called it "delightful." There will also be a preview for this show at Washington Square Park on Sunday, August 13 at 11:30am.

Outside the festival circuit, Rudyard Kipling's beloved novel gets a modern adaptation in JungalBook (The Producers Club, August 3-5). Instead of happening in an Indian jungle, this play is set in an urban schoolyard, a rough and tumble place where boys need to learn "Jungal Law" to survive. But Mowgli is still raised by wolves, and he seeks the protection of Bagheera, the lonely panther. Eventually, he is forced to face the menacing tiger Sherakhan, and through that conflict begins to question his place in the world.

Two musicals that are still enjoying an open run at the always-reliable 13th Street Rep are Wiseacre Farm, an interactive musical that centers around Cliffie the Pig, who is celebrating her fourth birthday. She's gathered her friends Cecile the Scarecrow, Babette the Cat, and a hound dog named Conrad O'Conner for the festivities. But Foxy the Fox wants to ruin everything by stealing the cake. Your kids can help save the day by going to the show Saturdays and Sundays at noon. After that show, they can stay for Rumple Who?, a musical adaptation of the famous fairytale Rumplestiltskin, which begins at 1pm.

Out in Long Island, Disney's Cinderella visits the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport (August 4-19). The Airport Playhouse retells a classic fairytale in Jack and The Beanstalk of Horrors (August 5-19). Finally, Patchogue Theatre serves up Stuart Little, adapted from E.B. White's popular tale, of the mouse who gets stuck in a window shade, dumped into the garbage, and struggles valiantly to find his place in his family and his way through the real world. The show runs only on August 26 at 10:30am and 1pm.

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