The Royal Hanneford Circus: An Annual Tradition that Won't Break the Bank

While circuses like Ringling Brothers, The Big Apple Circus and Cirque du Soleil are household names, the lesser-known Royal Hanneford Circus ranks on the list of must-see circuses. We took it upon ourselves to check things out at a recent visit in Westchester, N.Y., and have what you should know about its upcoming visit to Wilmington, Mass.

Read on for the inside scoop, and be sure to sign up for our newsletters to receive stories like this in your inbox!

SpongeBob the Musical Hammers Home All the Right Messages

SpongeBob SquarePants (the cartoon) might be pretty far down on your list a parent-approved media. But SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical just made it to the top of mine. Talented actors, a solid storyline, and insanely imaginative sets—and a complete lack of hokeyness—made this performance a family Broadway standout. You won't find oversized sponge or starfish costumes, but the talent seamlessly translated the characters (none of whom are human) to the stage and easily transported the audience to a quirky and much-loved Bikini Bottom.

Read our review for a sense of what to expect from this infectious performance, or check out our complete Theater Guide for NYC Kids for many more options.

Theaters with Sensory-Friendly Performances for NJ Kids

Taking littles to the theater opens up opportunities for exposure to the arts, building social skills, and learning about appropriate audience behavior. For children with autism, developmental disabilities, or sensory sensitivities (such as difficulties with bright lights, loud noises and sudden, surprising bursts of volume or activity), the theater can be an intimidating place.

Luckily, NJ is home to several performing arts spaces that offer exclusive performances for kids with special needs, so the entire family can experience the arts together. These sensory-friendly performances often include accommodations such as lowered volume and raised lighting, the ability to move about the theater freely, dedicated quiet areas, and trained staff to lend a helping hand should the need arise.

Read on for a list of theaters and upcoming performances where you can know that your child will feel welcomed and loved, just as they are. We hope you enjoy the show!

This Girl Laughs, Cries – and Grows Up: A Tale of 3 Sisters

Like all worthwhile adventures, This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing at Atlantic for Kids starts down a familiar path, hits a fork in the road, and then goes off in unanticipated and delightful directions. Although at the outset this seriocomic play interweaves a number of fairy tale tropes—a sudden death, an evil stepmother, an ineffectual father, and three disparate triplets—it ends up being as kooky and unpredictable as an overtired toddler.

It's also long and explores some complicated themes such as abandonment, longing, and how our childhood dreams evolve as we grow. So is This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing right for your child? Read our review for a sense of what to expect from this unpredictable fable, or check out our complete Theater Guide for NYC Kids for many more options.

The Snow Day: An Iconic NYC Story for Little Theatergoers

When you have a 4-year-old jumping bean like I do, the idea of taking him or her to a quiet, please-stay-in-your-seat performance is a little intimidating. But it'll never get better unless we practice, so we headed to MidtownTimes Square, to be exact—to try out a performance of the brand-new The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Jack Ezra Keats. With a runtime of 45 minutes, I was hopeful we could make it through this special series of tales from one of NYC's homegrown literary legends. 

Read on to find out all about the creative and inventive play/musical hybrid perfect for toddlers, preschoolers, and even elementary-age kids.

37 Family Shows You'll Want To Plan Ahead To Catch in 2018

We live in the world capital of the entertainment industry, so when it comes to any kind of shows, especially the ones the whole family can enjoy, there's really no shortage of options. From musicals, concerts, and plays to high energy sports shows and performances, there is something exciting to see every month this year. The key is to know when.

Currently playing at Pantages is the hit Broadway musical Disney's Aladdin told through songs from the movie and new music — Genie-us! Other classic fairytales are sure to delight audiences this summer: The Sleeping Beauty comes to life through a ballet; the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Cinderella features beloved songs and new twists, and a much-anticipated musical production is presenting Beauty and The Beast through a new retelling. 

The ultimate live music experience arrives with Disney Junior Dance Party on Tour, and cartoon character favorites Peppa Pig, Daniel Tiger, and Paw Patrol are also touring through with interactive shows. Speaking of superstars, Dancing With the Stars' Light Up the Night Tour brings many of the professional dancers from ABC's eponymous hit show, while fresh off the Winter Olympics, the champions of the US figure skating team give a golden performance in Stars on Ice.

All this, and Cirque du Soleil's Luzia is still in the Southland until March. There are many more incredible shows not to be missed. Make sure to check our calendar, and add them directly to your own! 

The Perfect Monster: All About Friendship and Finding Perfection

An inventive twist on the old Frankenstein tale, The Perfect Monster addresses urgent adolescent issues such as bullying, loneliness, and the perils of perfectionism without getting heavy-handed.

This latest musical from TADA! Youth Theater focuses on shy and friendless Sybil (Kahlea Hsu at the performance attended), a rad scientist who's long been trying to build the perfect pal in her basement. So far, she's only managed to concoct a coterie of oddballs fashioned from odds and ends like mailboxes, kitchen utensils, and shoes. But when she puts prized possessions from the popular classmates she idolizes into her cauldron, out pops Perfection (Ashely Figueroa at the performance attended), a truly flawless friend. Or is she?

Read our review to get a sense of what you're in for—or check out our complete Theater Guide for NYC Kids for loads more options.

Family-Friendly Shows Coming to Boston in 2018

From splashy musicals to TV-inspired celebrations, Boston is a hub of special performances suitable for all ages. Live shows are a fun way to get out of the house, learn something new, and experience the arts. Whether you've got a preschooler or a preteen, there are some great shows happening in the area this year, from Paw Patrol to—yes, it's really happening!—Hamilton. To help you plan ahead, we’ve rounded up this list of shows coming to the area this winter, spring, and fall.


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