In a thrilling collaboration between Houston arts groups, Stages Repertory Theatre presents its holiday favorite The Toys Take Over Christmas in the Hobby Center's Zilkha Hall, a move that cements the reputation of EarlyStages as Houston's premier theatre experience for children. The Hobby Center's larger, state-of-the-art facility enables EarlyStages to accommodate more family and student audiences, while retaining the up-close, intimate feel of the performances EarlyStages patrons know and love. The shiny new Toys production, which transports the familiar story to a fantasy of the early 1900s, is directed by Rob Bundy, Stages' artistic director, and designed by Stages designers Jodi Bobrovsky (set and props) and Kasey Allee-Foreman (costumes). Toys is the story of Sunny, a cheerful, inquisitive rag doll who comes to life when the Toymaker sprinkles her with magic dust. The toyshop is filled with living toys--soldiers, clowns, and fashion dolls--but the selfish Toymaker refuses to sell them or give them away, preferring to keep his creations as a tribute to himself. Though her intentions are good, Sunny makes an astonishing discovery in the toyshop that divides the loyalties of her newfound friends, and jeopardizes the Toymaker's claim to be the "Greatest Toymaker in the world!" Performances for schools and groups are Mondays-Fridays, December 8-16 at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.; public performances are December 18 at 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.; December 20 and 21 at 2:00 p.m.; and December 22 and 23 at 7:00 p.m.