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Family-friendly theater in the spotlight

This weekend brings the 16th annual National Children's Theatre Festival at Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables, an Area Stage/Theater Conservatory production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (also in the Gables), and the ontinuation of the lavishly designed original play The Red Thread at the PlayGround Theatre in Miami Shores.

Kidsfest The weekend celebration at Actors' Playhouse, earns the "national" part of its title from the competition for its featured musical.  This year's winner is Emperor's New Clothes, adapted by Lani Brockman, with music and lyrics by Susan Bardsley.  The free show and activities go on at the Miracle Theatre, 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, during the festival both Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.  The Musical Miracles will also perform, and there will be lots of creative activity stations for kids.  Call 305-444-9293 or visit the Actors' Playhouse web site for more info.

Media At Area Stage, Broadway producer Arthur Whitelaw -- the man behind the original production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown -- caught Friday's opening performance of the show, which will run through May 8.  Artistic director John Rodaz directs a cast of conservatory students in the musical about Charlie, Lucy, Snoopy and the gang.  Performances are 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday at Area, 1560 S. Dixie Hwy.  Tickets are $20 ($10 for students).  Call 305-666-2078 or visit Area Stage's web site for more info.

RedThread0413 Wedding DB Continuing through May 27 is the PlayGround Theatre's visually stunning production of The Red Thread, a play-with-music by artistic director Stephanie Ansin and Fernando Calzadilla. Based on Chinese folk tales and myths, the piece focuses on the quest of the brave youngest daughter of a weaver after she sets out to retrieve his masterwork. Public performances are at 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, with many 10 a.m. weekday performances for school groups.  Tickets are $20.

The PlayGround Theatre is located at 9806 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores.  For info, call 305-751-9550 or visit the company's web site.