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Art&Seek Jr: 6 Plays You Won’t Want To Miss This Summer
by Therese Powell 23 Jun 2015

Escape the heat (and the noisy cineplex) and head inside for some cool plays.

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Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself. Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

Like most children, my daughter awaits big, splashy, summer movies with a level of eagerness she reserves only for Christmas, birthdays, and new kittens. Each action-packed trailer she sees makes the anticipation grow that much more. And if that weren’t enough, promoters have now started fusing movie clips with commercials so you’ve got a near constant buzz (i.e. frenzy) leading up to the movie’s opening. The little munchkins get so whipped up they’re likely to self-implode like little glitter bombs waiting for the premiere of the summer kiddie blockbusters.

Of course, maximum hoopla can sometimes backfire. Such was the case when we went to see a very “talked up”animated film last Saturday. Although the movie was cute, and we were somewhat entertained, it didn’t even come close to meeting our expectations. It was a shoulder shrugger, which was disappointing given how much we really wanted to LOVE it.

If the cinema is leaving you feeling flat and dissatisfied, give the theater a whirl. And by theater, I mean the kind with actors, scenery, show tunes, and seats without cup holders. Summer is the perfect time to introduce the little kiddles to the magic of the theater. Besides being the original 3-D experience, very often you can find a play for the same price as a movie ticket.

No, you won’t get a Seven Brides for Seven Brothers action figure with your Happy Meal, but instead of hype, plays will leave you with song in your heart and a feeling of utter satisfaction.

Here are a few you for you and the tinies to check out in the coming  weeks:

A jumbo-sized puppet brings 'Jack and the Beanstalk' to life. Photo: Geppetto's Theater & Workshop

A jumbo-sized puppet brings ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ to life. Photo: Geppetto’s Theater & Workshop

Puppet shows can be a great introduction to the theater for little kids. They’re not too long, not too loud, and not too complicated. They’re just right for young theatergoers. Plus, everyone is understanding if you have get up in the middle for a potty break. Lucky you, it just so happens Geppetto’s Theater & Workshop has just the ticket with their production of Jack & the Beanstalk. The classic fairy tale features over 15 handcrafted marionettes and a giant puppet. And when I say “giant” I mean he’s larger than the average person and weighs over 80 pounds. It takes two puppeteers to operate him. The show also features a before-show marionette demonstration and a post-show backstage tour. The show runs through the 4th of July weekend.

Studio B Performing Art’s production of Return of the Glass Slipper is another good choice for tiny theatergoers. The show is performed by young actors who are part of the “Once Upon a Summer” camp series. It’s only about an hour long which is perfect for young attention spans. The venue is small – just 100 seats – which means just about every seat is a good seat. And at just $5 to $10 dollars a piece, they’re also a real bargain. But don’t be like Cinderella and let time get away from you. There are just three performances this weekend and tickets are are selling fast.

A great pair of shoes is all a girl needs. Photo: Bass Performance Hall

A great pair of shoes is all a girl needs. Photo: Bass Performance Hall

Sure you could go see the new Cinderella film at your local cineplex , but wouldn’t it be better to see everyone’s favorite princess in the flesh? Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is a contemporary take on the classic fairy tale. The story is brought  to life with glittering costumes, sweet songs, and an incredible orchestra. The lush production also features transformations that can only be appreciated on the stage—the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more. The show opens today (June 23) at the ultra plush Bass Performance Hall with performances through Sunday.

It's a musical trip around the world with Flat Stanley. Photo: Dallas Children's Theater

It’s a musical trip around the world with Flat Stanley. Photo: Dallas Children’s Theater

The Repertory Company Theatre advertises their production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers as a “proper ‘rootin-tootin’ old school musical.” True, most kids will giggle at the phrase, ‘rootin’ tootin’ (at least mine would) but this new, restaged version of the classic American frontier dance musical is guaranteed to be a foot taping, rompin’, stompin’ good time for the whole family. Catch it at the University of Texas at Dallas Theatre for three performances this weekend.

For kids with unique needs, Dallas Children’s Theater is hosting a special sensory-friendly performances of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley Saturday at 1:30 p.m. In this special performance, the house lights will be up a little higher and the sound level will be reduced. There will also be a “Quiet Room” available for kids who need a break from the action. Plan on arriving an hour early because the nice people at DCT have all sorts of fun and engaging activities planned before the play. The show runs through July 12.

Leapin’ Lizards! The little girl with the red-hair and the sunny outlook on life is back! That’s right,  Annie, one of the world’s best-loved musicals is back in town as part of the ATTPAC’s Broadway series. This new production holds true to the original and features some incredibly cute orphans, a real barking Sandy, and, of course, all the famous songs including the anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.” See at the Winspear Opera House  today (June 23) through July 5.

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