Our guide to cultural events in New York City for children and teenagers happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
BKLYN ARCTIC ADVENTURE at City Point (Dec. 14-16 and 21-23, noon-9 p.m.). Young New Yorkers will be happy to hear that the North Pole has relocated — if only temporarily — to Downtown Brooklyn. There they can feel as if they were visiting Santa Claus in his own digs. Created by the designers at YokeyPokey Virtual Reality Club, Bklyn Arctic Adventure (near City Point’s Albee Square entrance) invites children to put on headsets and embark on a sleigh ride across the skies. It takes them past Mrs. Claus’s bakery to Santa’s secret workshop, where dancing elves are busily building toys. Available this weekend and next — reserving a timed slot is advised — the 10-minute expedition is free. Winter Smorgasbord, a half-hour virtual-reality journey, is not, but it offers games: Merry Snowballs, in which a child can hurl those missiles at angry gingerbread men (perhaps they’d prefer not to be eaten), and Santa Sling, in which the player uses a magic slingshot to aim presents down chimneys. Apparently, all those reindeer deserve a rest.
‘DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE’ at the SoHo Playhouse (Dec. 13, 7 p.m.; Dec. 14-15, 8:45 p.m.). If you have adolescents in your household who roll their eyes at the dancing of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the struggles of Scrooge, they may be interested in this play. Recommended for children 10 and older, it takes a morbidly comic approach to Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” the novella in which an upright physician undertakes an experiment that unleashes his dark side. Burt Grinstead and Anna Stromberg wrote and perform the 80-minute minimalist show, a Blanket Fort Entertainment production that’s having its New York premiere after a run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
‘DRAGONS LOVE TACOS & OTHER STORIES’ at the Borough of Manhattan Community College Tribeca Performing Arts Center (Dec. 15, 11 a.m.). Dragons are already known for breathing fire, so you can imagine the heated situation that arises when a little human friend offers them an extra-spicy version of one of their favorite foods: tacos. Heartburn then acquires a whole new meaning in this musical revue’s titular sketch, based on the picture book “Dragons Love Tacos,” written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. Presented by TheaterWorksUSA for children ages 4 to 10, the 50-minute show also includes mini-musicals adapted from four other works with wacky scenarios: “Interrupting Chicken,” “The Dot,” “Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride” and “Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: School Days.”
‘JACK AND THE BEANSTALK’ at the Abrons Arts Center (Dec. 14 and 20, 7 p.m.; Dec. 15, 2 and 7 p.m.; Dec. 16, 3 p.m.; through Dec. 30). In conventional tellings of this fairy tale, Jack chops down the beanstalk and saves everyone from the bloodthirsty giant. But there’s nothing conventional about this theatrical version, which draws on the British tradition of panto, an art form far more closely related to vaudeville than to mime. Here, it takes a village to topple that beanstalk, along with help from the audience. Written by the married team of Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz, the show incorporates an M.C. of sorts, called Silly Simon, and a villain known as the Giant Rump. A hit last year, the production has already sold out one performance, so book your tickets in advance.
KIDS ’N COMEDY: ‘CHRISTMAKWANZUKAH’ at Gotham Comedy Club (Dec. 16, 1 p.m.). As you can see from the show’s title, these comics take an equal-opportunity approach to the holidays. All tweens and teenagers, they’ve attended Kids ’N Comedy classes with instructors who include professional stand-ups. Here, six to 10 of the most polished young comedians will do their own routines, which can be just as incisive as those of adults, but lack the usual profanity and crudeness. Expect the gang to take on seasonal subjects like ugly Christmas sweaters, tacky menorahs and family togetherness (or lack thereof).
‘ROBERT & CLARA SCHUMANN! A GIFT OF MUSIC’ at the Kaye Playhouse (Dec. 15, 10 and 11:30 a.m.; Dec. 16, 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.). This story is both romantic and Romantic: Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck met when they were piano students of Clara’s father, Friedrich Wieck, who fiercely opposed the young couple’s love. After enduring legal and other obstacles, the two married and became major figures of the Romantic movement. Although Robert (1810-56) achieved greater fame, Clara (1819-96) was a performer and composer in her own right, and the Little Orchestra Society will explore both their careers in this concert. Part of the LOS Kids series, for ages 3 to 10, the program will comprise an animation by the children’s book illustrator AJ Smith, a script by the television writer Craig Shemin and lots of music, including piano concertos by each composer and Robert Schumann’s “Spring” Symphony.
‘SHOW UP, KIDS!’ at the Kraine Theater (Dec. 15 and 22-23, 2:30 p.m.). You can always count on kids to show up at this comedic production, but someone else invariably doesn’t: the main attraction. That’s the premise of Peter Michael Marino’s play, in which he asks the children in the audience to help him save the day by coming up with a stage-worthy plot and characters. Marino then improvises all the action, props and costumes, drawing, of course, on the talents of a whole crop of fresh young stars. The show must go on and it does — differently every time.
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