Best Fall Theater in NYC for Kids: 21 Showstoppers for Families

Red Riding Hood: The Musical comes to the stage at at Merkin Hall via the 92NY's Theater for Young Audiences performance series. Photos courtesy of 92NY.
Red Riding Hood: The Musical comes to the stage at at Merkin Hall via the 92NY's Theater for Young Audiences performance series. Photos courtesy of 92NY.

Here's something deserving of applause: This is the first jam-packed NYC season of fall theater in NYC for kids since 2019! Even better, you don't need to shell out big bucks on Broadway to give your kids a memorable live entertainment experience. In fact, this fall theater season boasts more high-quality, family-friendly productions for young audiences than ever—so many in fact, we have a whopping 21 picks on this list of the best fall theater in NYC for kids, and that's after whittling down the contenders.

Preschoolers will be thrilled to see Disney doggy Bluey and fuzzy Sesame Street stars live on stage. Older kids can check out page-to-stage adaptations of The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and The Three Musketeers. Plus everyone in your family can enjoy the circus spectacles coming to town, including Big Apple Circus, Bindlestiff Calvacade of Youth, and Circus Vazquez. Best of all, many of our picks are $25 or less per ticket. Read on for our top picks for fall theater in NYC for kids and bookmark our NYC Guide to Children's Theater and Shows for more top picks and reviews.

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Click through to our listings for all the details, including times and locations. In terms of COVID protocols, rules vary. Few require proof of vaccination but some mandate masks. Before purchasing tickets, please check the official site for the show you plan to see for up-to-date health and safety requirements.

RELATED: Best Broadway Shows for Kids and Families

1. Red Riding Hood: The Musical – Lincoln Square

Saturday, October 8
Ages 3 to 11
Masks are required
92NY's Theater for Young Audiences series is the perfect introduction to live entertainment for tots. Shows are typically based on familiar fairy tales, feature lively original songs and dancing, and run just 45 minutes. First up is a musical adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood, with the stylish heroine and her feisty granny outwitting a ravenous wolf. Note: Due to ongoing renovations, all 92NY shows for kids take place at Merkin Concert Hall near Lincoln Center.

Fall theater in NYC for kids The Adventures of Honey and Leon
See New York City Children's Theater's production of The Adventures of Honey and Leon, a page-to-stage adaptation based on Alan Cumming's popular picture book. Photo courtesy of NYCCT

2. The Adventures of Honey and Leon: The Musical – Midtown West

Saturday, October 8-Sunday, October 23
Ages 3 to 11
Masks are required for ages 2 and older
Based on the picture book by stage and screen star Alan Cumming, this tale of canine caring follows Honey and Leon, a pair of rescue dogs who are very devoted to their two daddies. When their parents embark on a work trip to Europe, the pups decide to tag along...in secret, of course. As the pups shadow their pops, they make sure to keep their beloved humans out of trouble. For families with children with sensory sensitivities, there are relaxed performances on Sunday, October 16 at 2pm and Saturday, October 22 at 11am.

3. Cookin' – Midtown West

Friday, October 14-Sunday, October 30
Ages 5 and older
Direct from South Korea comes this culinary comedy featuring four kooky cooks attempting to make a wedding feast in record time. A delicious fusion of martial arts and Korean samul nori percussion, this over-the-top romp is a tasty, slapstick-filled treat for the whole family. It was a big hit at the New Victory Theater in 2003, and it's back for a second helping.

RELATED: Best Children’s Theaters in the US

Fall theater in NYC for kids Dorothy's Adventures in Oz
Dorothy's Adventures in Oz tells the familiar tale in a 45-minute run time perfect for youngsters. Photos courtesy of 92NY

4. Dorothy's Adventures in Oz – Lincoln Square

Saturday, October 15
Ages 3 to 11
Masks are required
92NY's Theater for Young Audiences series is the perfect introduction to live entertainment for tots. Shows are typically based on familiar fairy tales, feature lively original songs and dancing, and run just 45 minutes. Join Dorothy and her Ozian pals the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion as they battle a Wicked Witch, learn self-reliance, and celebrate friendship. Note: Due to ongoing renovations, all 92NY shows for kids take place at Merkin Concert Hall near Lincoln Center.

Fall theater in NYC for kids Bindlestiff Cavalcade of Youth
See talented, young circus performers during the Bindlestiff Cavalcade of Youth on Coney Island. Photo by David Gallo.

5. Bindlestiff Cavalcade of Youth – Coney Island, Brooklyn

Sunday, October 16
Ages 3 and older
Masks are optional
Kids can run away and join the circus (or just watch) at Bindlestiff's biannual youth variety show at Coney Island USA. All of the performers in this one-day-only showcase are younger than 21 and perform a variety of feats, including juggling, hula hooping, aerial silks, tumbling, and even snake charming. Is your child more interested in being in the spotlight than sitting on the sidelines? Find out how your kid can apply to be part of the show.

6. World Famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre – Tribeca

Saturday, October 16
Ages 3 and older
Masks are optional
This show has gone to the dogs... and cats, birds, and a miniature horse! Gregory Popovich is an animal trainer extraordinaire whose furry costars were all rescued from shelters. In addition to astonishing pet tricks, he showcases amazing juggling, acrobatic, and balancing acts in this hour-long extravaganza.

RELATED: Best Off-Broadway Shows for Kids: Affordable Children's Theater in NYC

Fall theater in NYC for kids Indigenuity at Lincoln Center
Tau Dance Theater brings excerpts from Indigenuity, which celebrates Hawaiian culture, to the stage at Lincoln Center. Courtesy of Tau Dance Theater.

7. Indigenuity – Lincoln Square

Friday, October 21-Sunday, October 23
Ages 4 and older
Masks are required
The Honolulu-based Tau Dance Theater presents excerpts from Indigenuity, a new work celebrating Native Hawaiian culture. Ukulele singer-songwriter Pōmaika'i Lyman and storyteller Kealoha Kelekolio share their talents and traditions alongside dancers performing a hybrid of hula and ballet. In order to make this event accessible to all families, Lincoln Center is offering pay-what-you-can tickets starting at $5.

Fall theater in NYC for kids Messy Millie: A New Musical
Messy Millie: A New Musical makes its world premiere with the 92NY's Theater for Young Audiences series this fall. Photos courtesy of 92NY

8. Messy Millie: A New Musical – Lincoln Square

Saturday, October 22
Ages 3 to 11
Masks are required
92NY's Theater for Young Audiences series is the perfect introduction to live entertainment for tots. All the shows feature lively original songs and dancing, and run just 45 minutes. While most are based on famous fairy tales, this world-premiere musical is an original story inspired by director-choreographer Megan Doyle's experiences growing up. Millie is a high-spirited and creative kid, but she just can't get organized. She's always late or misplacing her schoolwork or losing her socks. With help from a kooky guardian fairy, Millie learns ways of coping so her life is less of a mess. Note: Due to ongoing renovations, all 92NY shows for kids take place at Merkin Concert Hall near Lincoln Center.

9. The Alice-in-Wonderland Follies – Midtown East

Saturday, October 22-Sunday, October 23
Ages 4 and older
Masks are optional
New York Theatre Ballet's Once Upon a Ballet series offers an ideal introduction to dance for tots. Go down the rabbit hole in this eye-popping, hour-long vaudeville inspired by Alice in Wonderland, as fantastical fairy-tale characters like the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, and the Caterpillar perform ballet infused with Irish step dancing, African Juba, and other eclectic styles.

10. Heart Strings – Chelsea

Through Sunday, October 23
Ages 7 and older
Masks are required
Atlantic for Kids presents Heart Strings, a tale of culture and kin by Native Hawaiian playwright Lee Cataluna. Set in Hawaii before statehood, the play centers on two island girls who become sisters through the tradition of hānai. But they don't become bonded until they face down a storm together in this powerful lesson in love and chosen family. For families with children with sensory sensitivities, there will be a relaxed performance on Saturday, October 15 at 10:30am.

11. Camille's Rainbow – Midtown West

Monday, October 24-Friday, October 28
Ages 0 to 2
Masks are required for adults
Introduce your little ones to opera at Camille's Rainbow, an immersive musical experience created specifically for babies and toddlers. Performed in Carnegie Hall's intimate Resnick Education Wing, the show invites tots to interact with the performers as they explore colors and the wonder of transformation. This event is FREE but advance registration is required beginning Tuesday, October 11. To learn more about this project, you can watch a series of music videos on Carnegie's website.

RELATED: Top Magicians, Magic Shops, and Magic Shows in NYC

Fall theater in NYC for kids Circus Vazquez
Circus Vazquez wows audiences in Queens during an extended run this fall. Photo by Eduardo Hernandez.

12. Circus Vazquez – Flushing, Queens

Friday, October 28-Monday, December 12
Ages 3 and older
Masks are optional
Enjoy high-flying entertainment from the veterans of Circus Vazquez, who are pitching their signature pink-and-blue big top in the parking lot at Citi Field for an extended run. Founded in 1969 in Mexico City, this family troupe toured south of the border until the '90s, when it first brought its talents stateside. While it's changed over the decades—animals are no longer part of the show and it's presented in English in the US—it's still a family affair with Latino flair as ringmaster Memo Vazquez introduces incredible acts, including Columbia's X Metal Riders inside the Globe of Death, the gravity-defying Duo Vanegas in the Wheel of Wonder, the acrobatic prowess of the Super Tumblers, and the speed of the Medini Xtreme Skaters.

Simon and His Shoes
These shoes decide to go exploring on their own in Simon and His Shoes. Photo by Mari Eimas-Dietrich 

13. Simon and His Shoes – Midtown West

Through Sunday, October 30
Ages 6 and older
Masks and proof of full vaccination are required
Here's a perfect post-pandemic (fingers crossed!) musical. Since Simon never leaves his house, his shoes decide to walk out on him to find their own adventures. With the help of his little sister Izzy, Simon goes after his fleeing footwear and rediscovers the wonders of the world. Featuring performers and puppets, it's a celebration of having fun IRL.

Fall theater in NYC for kids Sunset Circus at Lincoln Center.
Sunset Circus merges talented acts from a variety of popular shows for a one-weekend run at Lincoln Center. Photo by Maike Schulz

14. Sunset Circus – Lincoln Square

Saturday, November 5-Sunday, November 6
Ages 4 and older
Masks are required
Marvel at performers from Cirque du Soleil, the Big Apple Circus, and other awesome troupes in this new show curated by physical theater company Parallel Exit. In order to make this event accessible to all families, Lincoln Center is offering pay-what-you-can tickets starting at $5.

15. Big Apple Circus: Dream Big! – Lincoln Square

Wednesday, November 9-Sunday, January 1, 2023
Ages 3 and older
Masks are optional
NYC's homegrown circus returns to Lincoln Center with a new show titled Dream Big! Like last year, Brazilian aerialist and America's Got Talent finalist Alan Silva serves as ringmaster (though he'll actually fly through the air this time). The lineup of other awesome acts includes high-wire legend Nik Wallenda, comedic daredevil Johnny Rockett, 12-year-old dog trainer Veranica, Ethiopian foot jugglers The Kiriku Brothers, and TanBA, a Japanese magician from Britain's Got Talent.

RELATED: The Best Family Shows of Off-Broadway's New Victory Theater 2022-2023 Season

Fall theater in NYC for kids The Acting Company's Romeo and Juliet
The Acting Company's Romeo and Juliet comes to the New Victory Theater. Photos by Nina Wurtzel

16. Romeo and Juliet – Midtown West

Friday, November 11-Sunday, November 20
Ages 12 and older
Masks are required
A pair of classic plays are re-imagined for 21st-century audiences and performed in repertory courtesy of The Acting Company–a lauded troupe that's launched the careers of Patti LuPone, Kevin Kline, Rainn Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, and many other stars. First up is Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which is reset in a modern-day Southern city struggling with class and racial conflict. In this volatile environment, two star-crossed teens fall in love but their happy ending is not meant to be. Acclaimed director Leah C. Gardiner helms this streamlined adaptation of Shakespeare's heartbreaking tragedy at the New Victory Theater.

Fall theater in NYC for kids The Acting Company's Three Musketeers
The Three Musketeers gets a modern makeover complete with a hip-hop soundtrack and spoken word artistry at the New Victory Theater. Photos by Carol Rosegg

17. The Three Musketeers – Midtown West

Saturday, November 12-Sunday, November 27
Ages 9 and older
Masks are required
This is not your grandmother's Three Musketeers! Performed in repertory with Romeo and Juliet at the New Victory Theater and featuring the same diverse cast, this meta take finds the story's author, Alexandre Dumas, writing the swashbuckling adventure in real-time as the title heroes and their pal D'Artagnan cross swords with nefarious foes. A merry mash-up of spoken word, high drama, and hip-hop.

18. In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson – Corona, Queens

Sunday, November 13
Ages 7 and older
Masks are optional
Honolulu Theatre for Youth is behind this page-to-stage adaptation of Bette Bao Lord's autobiographical picture book. In 1947, fifth grader Shirley Temple Wong and her family move from China to Brooklyn. At first, she feels like she'll never fit in. But after she makes a few friends and discovers baseball and Jackie Robinson, she starts to embrace her new Chinese American identity. This is a powerful immigration tale performed at Queens Theatre in NYC's most diverse borough! The 3pm performance includes American Sign Language interpretation.

Fall theater in NYC for kids Bluey's Big Play
Catch up with the preschool-pleasing Bluey'on the stage at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. Photos by Darren Thomas

19. Bluey's Big Play – Midtown West

Friday, November 18-Sunday, November 20
Ages 18 months to 6 years
Masks are optional
Young fans of the Bluey TV series won't want to miss the canine's first in-person stage adventure! Join Bluey and his little sis Bingo as they play, sing, dance, and play some more in this brand-new musical at Madison Square Garden's Hulu Theater. Featuring colorful, larger-than-life puppets, eye-popping design, and an important message about spending time together as a family, Bluey's Big Play is catnip for the sippy-cup set.

The Moon in a Pot from Spain's La Petita Malumaluga at Lincoln Center.
Little theatergoers will love the interactive show The Moon in a Pot from Spain's La Petita Malumaluga at Lincoln Center. Photos by David Ruano

20. The Moon in a Pot (a misunderstood show) – Lincoln Center

Saturday, November 19-Sunday, November 20
Ages 0 to 3
Spain's La Petita Malumaluga fuses dance, theater, live music, and tech for this interactive experience for very young theatergoers about reaching for the moon—literally. In order to make this event accessible to all families, Lincoln Center is offering pay-what-you-can tickets starting at $5.

Fall theater in NYC for kids Sesame Street: The Musical
Sesame Street: The Musical brings the famed puppets to the stage thanks to the talents of puppet master Jonathan Rockefeller. Photos by Evan Zimmerman

21. Sesame Street: The Musical – Midtown West

Through Sunday, November 27
Ages 3 to 8
Masks are required for ages 2 and older
We can tell you how to get to Sesame Street: The Musical! Join Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Grover, Bert, Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, and the rest of the Muppets gang as they croon classic Sesame Street tunes and brand-new numbers by Broadway's Tom Kitt and Helen Park in this hour-long show, sure to spark delight in youngsters and nostalgia in parents. Puppet master Jonathan Rockefeller, who previously mounted stage adaptations of Winnie the Pooh and The Very Hungry Caterpillar, directs.

Places featured in this article:


Simon and His Shoes at The Tank

92NY's Theater for Young Audiences at Merkin Concert Hall - Kaufman Music Center

The Adventures of Honey and Leon: The Musical and Sesame Street: The Musical at Theatre Row

Cookin', Romeo and Juliet, and The Three Musketeers at New Victory Theater

World Famous Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre at Tribeca Performing Arts Center

Indigenuity, Sunset Circus, and The Moon in a Pot at Clark Studio Theater at Lincoln Center

The Alice-in-Wonderland Follies at Florence Gould Hall

Camille's Rainbow at Carnegie Hall's Resnick Education Wing

Bluey's Big Play at Madison Square Garden's Hulu Theater

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson at Queens Theatre

Bindlestiff Cavalcade of Youth at Coney Island USA
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