With schools slashing positions for arts teachers, it's more important than ever for parents to take advantage of the enrichment exposure to theater, dance, music and the visual arts can bring to a child's creative and intellectual development.
This week brings three opportunities for kids to see shows and even interact with theater professionals. At the PlayGround Theatre in Miami Shores, Stephanie Ansin and Fernando Calzadilla's Inanna and the Huluppu Tree is running through May 22. Based on a Sumerian myth, it tells the story of a young goddess who restores harmony to a city besieged by storms and angry deities. On Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the theater is holding a Behind the Curtain workshop. For $70, kids can learn about all the elements of the show and get two tickets to any performance. Regular tickets to Inanna are $15. The PlayGround is at 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores. Call 305-751-9550 or visit the theater's web site for more information.
At Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables, this weekend brings the 14th annual National Children's Theatre Festival. The key productions this year are the musical Miss Nelson Is Missing and the Caribbean-flavored Once on This Island Jr. Kids also get hands-on experiences at "hall pass" stations, hear selections from the musical Mary Poppins and interact with characters from Alice in Wonderland. Miss Nelson runs through May 30 at 2 p.m.each Saturday, but the festival happens Friday-Sunday, May 1-3. Tickets to three different combinations of shows and activities are $15 each. Actors' Playhouse is in the Miracle Theatre at 280 Miracle Mile. Call 305-444-9293 or visit the web site for detailed information.
Another theater experience, this one for older kids, is the Miami Childrens Theater production of the musical Sweet Charity. Kids and teens are the stars of MCT's productions, playing Charity, the dreamer of a dance hall girl, and her Manhattan pals. Shows are at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday through May 10. The company performs at the Alper Jewish Community Center's Russell Theater, 11155 SW 112th Ave., Miami. Call 305-274-3595 or visit the MCT web site for information.