Got a tot who just has to be center stage? Whether your little one aspires to be a prima ballerina (may we suggest these great dance classes for kids?), a singing sensation or the star of one of the 50 best kids movies of the next decade, NYC offers plenty of opportunities to ham it up. City kids who dream of seeing their names in lights will learn all the tricks of the trade in one of these standing-ovation-worthy acting classes for kids. Our roundup features excellent programs in drama, dance, singing, playwriting, improv, musicals and more, for toddlers to teens. Get your camera phones ready: many classes culminate in a performance for kids to show off what they've learned.
Children of all ages sharpen their acting chops via theater games, improv, singalongs, costume play and storytelling. Little ones (ages 4 to 5) in the Performers class will bring a classic story to life through role playing. Older kids (ages 9 to 11) can join Performance & Playwriting, a more intensive program, in which they will write, direct and star in an original short play. There are also more advanced programs for teenagers. Ages 4 to 18.
Professional teaching artists lead these musical theater workshops for little ones. In Mini Stage Stars, kids aged 5 to 8 will sing, dance and play theater games, then create an original musical incorporating their favorite songs. Kids aged 9 to 13 will form their own theater troupe, Broadway Bound Players, and mount two yearly performances—a play in the fall and a musical in the spring. Ages 5 to 13.
MFA grads and Broadway performers help dramatically inclined tykes bring classic children's tales to life. In Imagine That!, the youngest campers (ages 2 to 3) focus on imaginative play, while kids aged 4 to 6 use song and dance to reinterperet kiddie favorites like The Wizard of Oz in the Mini Musical program. Older kids (ages 6 and up) delve into musical theater, performances of Shakespeare and Roald Dahl, improvisational acting and other theater genres. Ages 2 to 13
Through dance, drama and vocal training, children ready themselves to put on a musical revue at Under St. Marks Theater in the East Village. Experience is less of a requirement than enthusiasm, energy and the ability to cooperate with peers. CurtainUp alums have gone on to star on Broadway (how's that for inspiration?). Ages 6 to 16.
Limited to kids who live in Hell’s Kitchen, the Project's curriculum features six programs that cover playwriting, performance, voice and movement. The Playmaking program, for nine- and 10-year-olds, meets weekly for nine weeks and teaches basic playwriting skills. The course is capped off with a weekend writers’ retreat during which kids write a short play to be staged at the Five Angels Theater. Once the introductory course is completed, programming is available through high school free of charge for all participants. Ages 9 and up.
The renowned program focuses on providing quality art education across four disciplines: music, dance, theater and visual arts. Within those categories, young creative types focus on acting, musical theater, painting, photography, yoga, West African dance, musical instruments or vocal music, among other seemingly endless offerings. After-school and weekend classes are available. Ages 2 and up.
Aspiring Audra McDonalds and Idina Menzels learn how to shine in the spotlight as trained soloists. Group workshops and intensives cover all the musical theatre essentials, including voice, acting and dance. The program is unique in that everyone gets the chance to belt out their own solo in addition to ensemble singing. SSASY also offers in-home private theatre workshops for little ones (ages 3 to 6) and private voice lessons for kids aged 7 and up. Ages 3 and up.
Kids are divided into age-appropriate groups to work on playwriting, acting, dancing, and singing in the Curtain Up! program. At the end of the semester, they put on a show for family members. The theater also offers a mommy-and-me class, Theatre On Their Scale, for two- and three-year-olds. Ages 2 to 14.