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The Art of Clowning

For a night out with the family, try Cirque du Soleil's Kooza, Dora the Explorer Live!, Thomas & Friends Live!, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Everything About a Family (Almost), John Lithgow: Stories by Heart, The Mikado , The Sorcerer, and Telling Twisted Tales. logo
A scene from Kooza
(© Cirque du Soleil)
Cirque du Soleil will return to its roots this month with KOOZA , April 16-May 24, set to play at the Blue and Yellow Grand Chapiteau on Randall's Island. The show combines two circus traditions -- acrobatics and clowning -- in an exotic visual world. Adventurous tykes who already know Dora the Explorer should definitely join her and her friends -- Diego, Swiper the Fox, Tico, and Benny, to name a few -- as they embark on a journey of puzzles and problem solving in Dora the Explorer Live! Search for the City of Lost Toys (April 8-12), which will be presented at Radio City Music Hall with all the education that's usually packed into Nickelodeon's hit TV show.

Whether you remember watching this series as a child or if your children have introduced you, Thomas the Tank Engine and his pals from the Island of Sodor are featured in Thomas & Friends Live! A Circus Comes to Town (April 17-19), set to play at the Beacon as part of the show's national tour. For a vastly more classic piece of childhood literature, explore a piece of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book stories in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (April 18-May 24), a Manhattan Children's Theatre production of the story of a young mongoose who saves a human family from the deadly cobras that threaten to take over their garden.

Hudson Vagabond Puppets will re-imagine Sergei Prokofiev's classic story of Peter and the Wolf with large-scale puppet players and a host of Victorian toys that come to life in Peter and the Wolf & the Sound Mall (April 11), set to play at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. For another bit of storytelling that is fit, and likely entertaining, for the entire family, Tony Award winner John Lithgow will take up a seat at Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater again for John Lithgow: Stories by Heart (April 12-May 25), a solo performance which will feature two stories in repertory throughout the run, P. G. Wodehouse's Uncle Fred Flits By (performed last year) and Ring Lardner's Haircut. Tada! Youth Theater will present a family musical revue, Everything About a Family (Almost) (April 17-May 17), conceived by their Resident Youth Ensemble, about how quirky, fun, endearing, and irreplaceable family can be.

The Amato Opera Theater continues its quest to digest full length operatic works into youth friendly productions such as the upcoming The Mikado (April 11). The Blue Hill Troupe will also present kid friendly operatic fare with Gilbert and Sillivan's comic romp The Sorcerer (April 17-25).

If you're feeling light on your feet, Glen Rumsey -- aka Shasta Cola -- will host an evening of dance theater in Telling Twisted Tales (April 4), a collection of faintly true fables created by Steve Elm, Deborah Black, Zach Morris, Matthew Brookshire, and Baba Israel. The New Victory Theater will have a solid helping of Spanish dance culture with Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca (April 24-May 3), an evening of flamenco from a troupe of artists led by Bessie Award-winner Barrio and her husband Martin Santangelo, mixing of dance, guitar, and song in a work created specially for The New Victory.


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