Song & Stage

Introduce the Arts to Your Kids on the East End

The East End is bursting with arts events throughout the spring and summer. Different theaters and organizations have a wide variety of programming, with lots of shows and events that are appropriate for families and children. Here are just a few of the upcoming arts offerings.

The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) presents Disney’s Aladdin Kids from April 17–April 18. A cast of local students will perform the hit Disney musical, with songs by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice. WHBPAC will host the 3rd Annual Family Film Festival on May 9, featuring several high-energy, imaginative and visually stunning shorts. The films include the adventures of an alien potato, the creation of the alphabet, a little girl made of frosting and more. If your kids want to get on stage, registration is currently open for WHBPAC’s summer programs, including Camp Broadway, a playwriting intensive workshop and other classes for kids of all ages and experience levels. For information and pricing for their summer education programs, go to whbpac.org.

The Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County, which comprises both the Gateway Playhouse in Bellport and the Patchogue Theatre in Patchogue, has a lively summer main stage season of great musical theater featuring family-friendly, iconic music and stories. Kicking off the main stage season is Rock of Ages at the Gateway Playhouse. This popular jukebox musical tells the story of two people who fall in love on the Sunset Strip and is set to the music of the 1980s. With hits like “Don’t Stop Believin,” “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “We Built This City” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” Rock of Ages is a nostalgic, funny show with a wide appeal. Rock of Ages runs from May 20–June 6.

Gateway shifts gears for its second show, trading in hair bands for the Great American Songbook with Nice Work If You Can Get It. Featuring songs like “Someone to Watch Over Me,” this love letter to the golden age of American musicals is a romantic comedy set in the 1920s about a wealthy playboy and a tough-talking lady bootlegger. Nice Work If You Can Get It runs at the Gateway Playhouse from June 10–June 27.

The fun continues with Sister Act, the hit musical adaptation of the Whoopi Goldberg classic. Sister Act tells the story of Deloris Van Cartier, a down-on-her-luck lounge singer who goes into witness protection after seeing a crime. The catch? She’s sent to a convent! Deloris quickly infuses the traditional, quiet convent with energy when she takes over the choir and brings out the big voices in the nuns. Sister Act runs from July 1–July 18. Next on tap at the Patchogue Theatre is Billy Elliot. Based on the beloved film about a boy from a blue-collar town who discovers a gift for ballet, Billy Elliot features music by Elton John. This intense, dance-centric show has a powerful story and riveting showstoppers, telling a story about transcending your perceived limits and following your dreams. Billy Elliot runs from July 22–August 8. Most of these shows are family friendly, but there’s also an entire season of children’s theater on offer. On June 21, bring the kids to see Curious George at the Gateway Playhouse. This fun adventure starring the beloved children’s book hero is sure to please the little ones. And on August 14, The Amazing Max, a magician, performs at Patchogue Theatre. Famous illusionist Max Darwin will delight his signature magic, comedy and audience participation. For more information on the Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County, go to pacsc.org.

Guild Hall in East Hampton has a summer filled with enriching and fun events for kids. On July 8, their KidFEST kicks off with Doktor Kaboom’s LIVE WIRE! The Electricity Tour; Soul Street Dance: The Art of Hip Hop on July 15; The National Marionette Theatre’s Aladdin on July 22; and the Kamikaze Fireflies on July 29. KidFEST performances are preceded by arts and crafts workshops. For more information on KidFEST at Guild Hall, go to guildhall.org.

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