It's never too early to introduce children to the magic of theater. And with so many great performances this fall, there is no better opportunity to do so. From a free children's show at Miller Outdoor Theatre to an underwater extravaganza at the Wortham Center, there is something for everyone in your family.
"Duck for President"
Midtown Arts and Theater District Houston (MATCH)
3400 South Main, Houston
No matter your party or platform, Main Street Theater's musical production based on the book by Doreen Cronin (New York Times bestselling author of "Click Clack Moo") is sure to get a vote from young theatergoers and parents alike. "Duck for President" is the tale of a disgruntled feathered citizen on Farmer Brown's farm. Duck embarks on campaign after campaign only to discover that governing isn't all it's quacked up to be. There are sensory-friendly and ASL performances as well.
Dates: Oct. 2, 9, 15, 22, 29
Show details:The show runs 1 hour and 15 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission. It is recommended for Pre-K and up (Main Street's summer performance of "Shrek" was recommended for the same age group, but my toddler thoroughly enjoyed it). Children under the age of 3, including sleeping babies, are not allowed in the theater. Concessions are available for purchase. Plan to arrive about 30 minutes early due to construction and parking (pay lots and garage around the theater).
Cost: $16-$20 per ticket
Octonauts Live, photo courtesy of Adrian Tritschler via Flickr
Revention Music Center
520 Texas Ave., Houston
Debuting in their first United States tour, the Octonauts are an eclectic group of underwater explorers. Originally a book series, this live performance is based on the animated TV show, which first aired in Britain and was then adapted for American television by the Disney Channel. Guests will be entertained by marine puppets of all sizes, dancing and singing against the backdrop of computer animations.
Show details: Children under 1 can sit in a lap for free, and the doors open at 4 p.m. There are pay lots available for parking around the theater.
Date: Oct. 9
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, photo courtesy of Society for the Performing Arts (SPA)
"Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood Live!"
615 Louisiana Street, Houston
Won't you be Daniel's neighbor? This musical performance is based on the animated award-winning TV show that follows in the footsteps of Mr. Rogers. Join Daniel and his friends as they hop aboard Trolley and explore the Neighborhood of Make-Believe making friends and learning lessons along the way.
Show details: The show runs about an hour and a half, including a 15-minute intermission. All patrons, regardless of age, require a ticket. The Daniel Tiger TV show is aimed at an audience of ages 2-4, and this show is part of the Society for the Performing Arts' newly expanded family programming series Family Fun, Jr. for kids ages 4-10.
Date: Oct. 9
B-Underwater Bubble Show, photo courtesy of Society for the Performing Arts (SPA)
"B-Underwater Bubble Show"
Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
501 Texas Ave., Houston
This modern fairy tale follows busybody Mr. B on his journey to slow down and stop and smell the roses - or rather, the coral - because Mr. B's journey takes him through the strange and colorful underwater world of Bubblelandia. If you are unfamiliar with this show, you're in good company. But a short video clip on SPA's website reeled me in to what looks like a fantastical, interactive adventure for kids and adults of all ages. The show comes from the country of Latvia and features original music and elaborate costumes and make-up from premier Latvian artists. In addition to bubbles galore, there is a bit of magic, puppetry, contortionists, and juggling.
Show details: The show is 1 hour and 45 minutes, including a 20-minute intermission. This performance is part of the Society for the Performing Arts' newly expanded family programming series Family Fun, Jr. aimed at ages 4-10, but older kids (ages 10-14) would likely enjoy as well.
Date: Oct. 28
"My BFF, the Dragon"
Miller Outdoor Theatre
6000 Hermann Park Drive, Houston
There is no better place to take in a daytime performance with kids than Miller Outdoor Theatre. This open-air amphitheater features covered seating, as well as a grassy lawn for wiggle-worms. Picnicking and dancing in your seat are highly encouraged. The show, winner of an international playwright competition for Houston's own Express Children's Theatre, tells the tale of an unlikely friendship between a human prince and a dragon princess (you gotta love the fairy tale role reversal here).
Show details: The show runs 45 minutes; school groups typically take field trips to Miller, so it is advisable to arrive about 30-45 minutes early if you want a seat near the stage.
Date: Oct. 13
Top image, "Duck for President", courtesy of Main Street Theater