6 Live performances for families this spring

Experience the theater at any of these family-friendly productions

I will never forget the expression on my sons’ face when they first sat in the audience of a little local production of Alice in Wonderland. My boys were only two and four years old but sat quietly for over an hour in awe of the music, colors and movement in front of them. 

Since their first show, we have gone on to see a few more school productions and with each one I see a new world opening up to them, one that they are discovering with great excitement. I strongly recommend taking children of all ages to see live theater as often as you can. It’s a good idea to start young children with kids’ theater productions and work your way up to longer more professional shows later. 

A few other tips I have learned from the trenches:

  • Check to make sure that the show is age appropriate then start preparing your child for the trip by talking about the story-line, the characters and even your expectations of them at the show. Before seeing Alice in Wonderland, we read the book and watched the cartoon so the kids were prepared and saved most of their questions for the end.
  • Have little ones use the potty before the show starts and if there is an intermission, make a pit stop to the bathroom then too.
  • Try to get an aisle seat if possible. It’s easier to get in and out if your child is having a meltdown or getting restless with as little interruption as possible.
  • Do not take them to a show during nap or bed time. Make sure they are well rested and aren’t hungry.

Here are 6 picks for live shows to take your kids to this spring.

For preschoolers and up:

May 21 & 22
Your favorite Dr. Seuss characters come to life onstage at this fantastical musical production perfect for kids. Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm. St. Peter's School. 12 Father Cody Dr., Poughkeepsie. 845-471-6600 Ext. 200. 

May 21
"Be our Guest" as Hudson River Youth Ballet and Hudson River Performing Arts Center presents a ballet version of "the tale as old as time," Beauty and the Beast. Perfect for the young and young at heart, don't miss this spectacular show with gorgeous music, costumes, and dancing by a pre-professional all student cast.  6:30pm. Poughkeepsie High School. 70 Forbus St., Poughkeepsie. 845-896-1888. 

June 3-5
The New York Conservatory for the Arts presents the beloved musical THE WIZARD OF OZ with all of the timeless music and characters of the Classic Motion Picture.  Join Dorothy, Glinda, the Wicked Witch, Scarecrow, Lion and the Tin Man (and Toto, too) as they journey to the Emerald City to see the Wizard of Oz. Travel 'Over the Rainbow' as the tale known to all generations flies. Tickets are $18 and $21. 7pm Fri-Sat; 2pm Sun.. The Woodstock Playhouse. 103 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock. 

June 11 
Poughkeepsie City Ballet has re-invented the wheel.  Well, almost.  You can jump down the rabbit hole with Alice into the fantastical world of Wonderland first imagined by Lewis Carroll 150 years ago and now re-invented by Poughkeepsie City Ballet into a futuristic steampunk infused rendition. 2pm and 6pm. Bardavon Opera House. 35 Market Street, Poughkeepsie. 845-473-2072. 

For tweens and teens:

May 5-July 17
If you like Grease, you will love Happy Days. Grab your poodle skirt, saddle shoes, and the kids, and take a rock and roll trip down memory lane! This new Musical is based on the television series and written by its creator, Garry Marshall. A Bright and funny musical celebration of nostalgia with lots of Singing and Dancing! Featuring 21 songs by Oscar and Grammy award-winning songwriter Paul Williams, including the series’ theme song. Check the website for schedule times vary. Westchester Broadway Theater. 1 Broadway Plz., Elmsford. 914-592-2222. 

May 20 & 21
Join Troy, Gabriella and the students of East High must deal with issues of first love, friends and family while balancing their classes and extracurricular activities. Upbeat and exciting songs, dancing and fun for the entire family! Friday, 7pm, Saturday 2pm & 7pm. Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center. 1351 Kings Hwy., Sugar Loaf. 845-610-5900.

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