Winter Theater Preview: 15 Family-Friendly Stage Shows in NYC This Season
In-person performances are back and you don't need to dig into your 401(k) to give your kids a memorable live theater experience in NYC. This winter, there are lots of family-friendly productions that cost a sliver of what you'd pay to see one of our favorite Broadway productions.
There are wonderful winter theater options for kids of all ages from toddlers to teens, including shows aimed specifically at the preschool set (Sesame Street Live, Blippi: The Musical); stage adaptations of popular picture books (Rosie Revere, Engineer & Friends); and eye-popping spectacles for the whole family (the aerial arts-filled The Little Prince, Flip Circus). Bonus: Some of our winter theater picks are also being streamed to at-home audiences.
Best of all, most of these 15 family-friendly winter theater shows have tickets starting at $25 or less, so you can take the whole family for less than the price of one Broadway seat!
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In terms of COVID-19 precautions, all theaters require proof of full vaccination for audience members ages 5 and older. Many shows do not allow children younger than 5. Those that do require a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of show time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within six hours of the performance. Masks are required for everyone. Before purchasing tickets, be sure to verify the production's COVID-19 rules to avoid disappointment. Read more about local public safety protocols here.
Click through to our listings for all the details, including prices, schedules, and locations.
Snow White gets a modern interpretation thanks to the 92nd Street Y. Photos courtesy of 92Y.
Snow White and the S-E-V-E-N Dwarfs – Upper East Side
Sunday, February 6-Sunday, February 13
Ages 3 to 11
Snow White gets a brainy makeover in this contemporary musicalization of the classic fairy tale set at an elementary school. After new kid Snow White is bullied by the queen of the spelling bee, she flees to the Magic Library where seven small students teach her some new words. Short, sweet, and smart, this show is an excellent option for first-time theatergoers. Part of the 92nd Street Y's Theater for Young Audiences series.
Air Play takes flight at the New Victory Theater. Photo by Florence Montmare
Air Play – Midtown West
Friday, February 11-Sunday, March 6
Ages 5 and older
Married clowns the Acrobuffos bring their delightful pranks and pratfalls to the New Victory Theater in a show that's full of hot air—literally. The duo uses air pressure to launch fabric, glitter, umbrellas, and balloons up to the roof and then lets gravity do its thing. As they conjure striking visuals and elicit belly laughs without saying a word, they also demonstrate the rules of physics. This show was a hoot at the New Vic in 2018, and we're thrilled the Acrobuffos are back to Air Play again. Note: There will be a special sensory-friendly performance Saturday, February 19. Can't make it in person? A recording of Air Play will be available to stream on-demand throughout the in-person run. Details will be posted on the New Vic's site on Friday, February 11.
Jay Gilligan's juggling tricks are sure to wow in Reflex at MITU580. Photos by Hans Vera
Reflex – Gowanus, Brooklyn
Running through Saturday, February 19
Ages 6 and older
Celebrated juggler Jay Gilligan shows off his gravity-defying skills in this spectacular solo piece. The tricks go way beyond balls as Gilligan uses his custom-made inventions, props, and robots to elevate juggling to a higher (and higher and higher!) plane. Can't make it in person? Reflex will be live-streamed from the theater for its last week of performances, Monday, February 14-Saturday, February 19.
See popular preschool characters on stage at Sesame Street Live: Let's Party, which comes to Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. Photos courtesy of Feld Entertainment.
Sesame Street Live: Let's Party – Midtown West
Saturday, February 19-Sunday, February 27
Ages 2 to 7
The gang from Sesame Street is throwing a party at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, and you and your preschoolers are VIP guests! Families can sing along with Oscar and Cookie Monster, help Elmo build a snowman, pretend to fly with Big Bird and Super Grover, marvel at Abby Cadabby's magic, and enjoy other interactive bits. An ideal show for first-time theatergoers.
Wake Up, Daisy! – Upper West Side
Friday, February 18-Sunday, December 18
Ages 3 to 8
After almost a two-year closure, Central Park's historic Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre triumphantly reopens with Wake Up, Daisy!, a contemporary take on Sleeping Beauty set on the Upper West Side. Daisy is an energetic girl who's feted at a birthday party by special visitors from as far away as Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. But when an unwelcome villain shows up and casts a spell, Daisy's destiny is altered. She may fall asleep but little ones are sure to stare wide-eyed at this reimagined fairy tale. And the quaint cottage alone is worth the price of admission!
Blippi: The Musical brings edutainment to the Kings Theatre for one day only. Photos courtesy of the production.
Blippi: The Musical – Flatbush, Brooklyn
Saturday, March 5
Ages 2 to 7
It's time to break out your best blue-and-orange outfits—Blippi is coming to Brooklyn's Kings Theatre. Stevin John's eccentric edutainment alter ego is a favorite of the sippy-cup set, with his videos on YouTube racking up more than a billion views and spawning a series on Amazon Kids+. John handpicked the actor portraying his signature character in this touring musical adaptation, in which Blippi and his pals put the fun in fundamental learning.
BAMKids: Song of the North – Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Saturday, March 5-Saturday, March 12
Ages 3 and older
BAMkids presents an eye-popping, multimedia performance inspired by Iran's 11th-century cultural epic the Book of Kings. More than 300 handmade puppets are used to conjure the sheroic tale of Manijeh, who rescues her beloved and prevents a war in the process. Fusing shadow puppetry, projected animation, music, movement, and storytelling, this singular spectacle celebrates thinking outside the box and beyond the Eurocentric worldview.
TADA! Youth Theater: Wide-Awake Jake – Chelsea
Sunday, March 6-Saturday, March 19
Ages 5 and older
I think we've all had trouble staying asleep these past few years! But in this musical inspired by Helen Young's picture book of the same name, Jake can't seem to slumber at all. Join Jake and his insomniac pals as they meet fantastical creatures on their quest to get some shut-eye. As with all TADA! productions, Wide-Awake Jake stars talented NYC-area tykes ages 8 to 18, and features relatable themes, catchy tunes, and a positive, non-preachy storyline. Bonus: For the first time, TADA! is offering a pay-what-you-can ticket option, so don't be deterred by the prices! Email TADA! for more info.
Saturday, March 19-Sunday, March 20
Ages 5 to 10
Celebrate STEM at this new TheaterWorks USA musical based on Andrea Beaty's popular picture books. A trio of little kids with big thoughts, Rosie, Iggy, and Ada, get their classmates—and the audience—excited about engineering, architecture, and science in this hour-long show.
Hannah Mount stars in the Dory Fantasmagory production from the New York City Children’s Theater. Photos courtesy of the theater.
Dory Fantasmagory – Midtown West
Sunday, March 20-Sunday, April 10
Ages 4 to 8
The invaluable New York City Children's Theater presents a new musical adaptation of Abby Hanlon's picture book Dory Fantasmagory, about a mischievous 6-year-old who's in no hurry to grow up. Although she's constantly annoying her older siblings, they come to understand Dory's wild imagination and plucky spirit are attributes to treasure. This 50-minute tuner was written by Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth, the co-creators of Broadway's In Transit.
Tuck Everlasting – Upper East Side
Sunday, March 20-Sunday, April 24
Ages 3 to 11
Based on Natalie Babbitt's beloved novel of the same name, this musical centers on Winnie, an adventurous 11-year-old girl who becomes involved with the magical Tuck Family, who never seem to age. Part of the 92nd Street Y's Theater for Young Audiences series, this is a truncated version of the show that ran on Broadway back in 2016.
Flip Circus brings its big top to the Staten Island Mall. Photos courtesy of Flip Circus.
Flip Circus – Staten Island Mall
Friday, March 25-Monday, April 11
Ages 3 and older
Run away and see the circus! The family behind the legendary Circus Vazquez launches this brand-new traveling troupe featuring amazing aerialists, acrobats, and clowns from around the globe. Under its signature red-and-white-striped big top, you can marvel at Italy's side-splitting Bello Brothers, motorcycle daredevils, jugglers, and other awesome acts.
In Jabari Dreams of Freedom, the title character crosses paths with Civil Rights icons like Ruby Bridges. Photos by Abboye Lawrence.
Jabari Dreams of Freedom – Midtown West
Friday, March 25-Sunday, April 3
Ages 5 to older
This new play by Nambi E. Kelley centers on Jabari, a young Black teen grappling with racism who connects with Civil Rights greats such as Ruby Bridges and Claudette Colvin in his dreams. Will what he learns from the past help ensure a better future? Rap, freedom songs, hip-hop dance, and humor are interwoven into this powerful piece at the New Victory Theater. Note: There will be a special sensory-friendly performance on Sunday, April 3. Can't make it to the theater? A recording of Jabari Dreams of Freedom will be available to stream on-demand throughout the in-person run. Details will be posted on the New Vic's site on Friday, March 25.
The Little Prince on Broadway is a high-flying, acro-filled production. Photo by Prudence Upton
The Little Prince – Midtown West
Tuesday, March 29-Sunday, May 8
Ages 5 and older
This eye-popping theatricalization of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic novella about a young planet-hopping explorer enjoyed runs in Paris, Sydney, and Dubai. Now it's arriving on Broadway for a limited five-month run during a season that has very few family-friendly shows. A blend of aerial acrobatics, movement, and high-tech projections bring this interstellar adventure to life.
Beauty & the Beast – Park Slope, Brooklyn
Running through Sunday, April 3
Ages 4 to 10
Nicolas Coppola opened the Puppetworks theater back in 1980, where he presents short adaptations of classic fairy tales starring beautiful handmade wooden marionettes. This rendition of Beauty & the Beast features a "live" beast, aka a human wearing a costume. A great introduction to theater for wee ones.