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Fringe Festival 2012 offerings for New York City families

From puppets and princesses to superheroes and slimy villains, Fringe Festival 2012 has something for every young theatergoer.

  • Blown Away By Poetry

  • Grimm

  • Photograph: Zach McCoy

    Super Sidekick: The Musical

Blown Away By Poetry

The New York International Fringe Festival is renowned for edgy grown-up theater, but here's a little secret: Fringe Festival 2012 does family fare just as well. This year's FringeJR features four exciting new plays, all aimed at families with children ages five to twelve. Kick off the festivities at Fort FringeJR on Sunday, August 5 or Sunday, August 12, a free event held at FringeCentral (1 E 8th St at Fifth Ave) where kids can meet the shows' casts, play games and see excerpts of the shows. Read on for a preview of this year's kid-friendly productions.

Blown Away By Poetry
From the creative minds at Urban Stages, this whimsical show (which has toured libraries throughout the five boroughs) has been known to convert even the most skeptical youngsters into poetry lovers. After sniffly heroine Wendy Windstorm sneezes the poems out of Poetsville, she must embark on a journey to recover the town's lost verses. Along the way, she learns about rhymes, alliteration and descriptive language from a series of helpful puppet poets with names like Shell Silverstein. For the grand finale, kids in the audience write their own original poems, which they are then invited to perform onstage for the cheering crowds of Poetsville. Fri Aug 10 at 5pm, Sat Aug 11 at 12:30pm, Sun Aug 12 at 12:30pm, Fri Aug 24 at 5:30pm and Sat Aug 25 at noon. Studio at Cherry Lane Theatre. Ages 6 to 12.

The Great Pie Robbery ... Or, We Really Knead the Dough
Kids can party like it's 1899 at this zany show, a spoof of turn-of-the-century melodramas. A huge hit when it premiered at the Rodeph Sholom School, The Great Pie Robbery tells the story of a humble town terrorized by mustache-twirling villain Vincent Von Villenueva. When the greedy bad guy threatens to take over Ma and Pa Baker's pie shop, it's up to handsome hero Chicken Farmer John to save the day. Audience participation, including cheering for the good guys, booing for the bad guys and groaning at the knee-slapping jokes, is encouraged. Mon Aug 13 at 1pm, Wed Aug 15 at 2pm, Mon Aug 20 at 2pm, Tue Aug 21 at 4:15pm and Fri Aug 24 at 5:15pm. Theatre 80. Ages 8 to 12.

Grimm: A New Musical
Like Rumplestiltskin spinning straw into gold, the BIG Theater Company has spun familiar Brothers Grimm stories into a haunting new musical. It begins when a young girl finds a dusty collection of fairy tales in her attic. The book sweeps her into a magical fantasy world, where twin princesses (one good and one evil) are vying for the rule of the Queendom. As the girl goes deeper into the surreal tale, she realizes just how much she is a part of the story, and how its lessons—"be careful, be cautious, be kind, and let your heart lead"—resonate in her own life. Sat Aug 11 at noon, Sun Aug 12 at 2:15pm, Thu Aug 16 at 5:15pm, Fri Aug 17 at 4pm and Wed Aug 22 at 2pm. HERE. Ages 6 to 12.

Super Sidekick: The Musical
Move over, superheroes: it's the sidekicks' turn to shine. In this witty new musical, an unassuming sidekick named Inky must step out of the heroic Blackjack's shadow to defeat the evil villain Slurm. Can Inky single-handedly rescue the Princess from the Cave of Doom? Will he fall prey to Slurm's secret weapon, the Terrible Tickler? And where do the ninja koalas come in? Six actors play a cast of wacky characters in this Theater Unleashed/ArtEffects co-production, which is making its East Coast debut at the Fringe. Fri Aug 10 at 5pm, Sat Aug 18 at 4:15pm, Tue Aug 21 at 7pm, Fri Aug 24 at 5:15pm and Sun Aug 26 at 1pm. SoHo Playhouse. Ages 5 to 10.

FringeJR runs from August 10 to 26. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door and can be purchased at fringenyc.org or by calling 866-468-7619. Discounted tickets for kids ($10 each) can be purchased in person at FringeCentral (24 hours before the performance) or at the box office where the show is playing 15 minutes prior to curtain.


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