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For children's theater, it's showtime in NYC

"Freckleface Strawberry" is an Off-Broadway show for children based on the books by actress Julianne Moore. Photo Credit: Handout

It's that time of year again, when the family hops the Long Island Rail Road to Manhattan to see the tree at Rockefeller Center and the store windows along Fifth Avenue. This year, why not combine the trip with a musical? Several Off-Broadway and Broadway children's musicals that launched in 2010 - two of them last month and another just this week - would entertain the kiddies, give the grown-ups a chance to sit down for a while and warm everybody up inside and out.

Imaginocean

The live, black-light, glow-in-the-dark puppet musical stars Tank, Bubbles and Dorsel. Dorsel, a green fish, is scared of germs, worms and jellyfish. Bubbles is Dorsel's older sister; she's a pink fish, and she dreams of ponies, clouds and magic. Tank is the big, orange fish, and he's adventurous and the leader. Using a treasure map, the trio searches for clues, sings and dances. The moral: The greatest treasure of all is friendship.

WHERE:  New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues, Manhattan, imaginoceanthemusical.com

SHOW TIMES: Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Saturdays at 11 a.m., 2 and 4:30 p.m.; and Sundays at noon and 3 p.m. Check website for added holiday performances.

RUNNING TIME: 50 minutes

INFO: $39 Wednesdays; $55 Saturdays and Sundays; $75 for premium ticket, which includes poster, a bucket of goodies and a meet-and-greet; telecharge.com or 212-239-6200.

Angelina Ballerina, The Musical

Based on the books and the PBS Kids series, Angelina Ballerina goes to the Camembert Academy, which is the Juilliard of Mouseland. The famous ballerina Serena Silvertail is coming to the academy to judge a student dance contest. Because she is so excited, Angelina oversleeps and doesn't get a ballet performance slot in the contest. So she explores other avenues of dance. The moral: If you dance with your heart, it doesn't matter what form of dance you do.

WHERE: Vital Theatre, 2162 Broadway at 76th Street, fourth floor, Manhattan, angelinathemusical.com

SHOW TIMES: Fridays at 4:30 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. Check website for added holiday performances. Performances at Vital Theatre end Jan. 2; it will continue playing at an as-yet-undetermined venue.

RUNNING TIME: 60 minutes, no intermissions

INFO: $29.50, and $49.50 for premium seats in the first four rows; vitaltheatre.org or 212-579-0528

Freckleface Strawberry, The Musical

Freckleface Strawberry was Julianne Moore's childhood nickname, and the musical is based on the actress' children's books about the same fictional character. Seven-year-old Freckleface Strawberry has red hair and freckles and is teased by classmates for looking different. She will do anything to get rid of her freckles. This is a kids' show, so there is a moral: Everyone has insecurities.

WHERE: New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St., between Eighth and Ninth avenues, Manhattan, frecklefacethemusical.com

SHOW TIMES: Wednesdays at 2 and 7 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m.; Saturdays at 11 a.m., 2 and 4:30 p.m.; Sundays at noon and 3 p.m. Check website for holiday hours.

RUNNING TIME: 70 minutes, no intermission

INFO: $39, $65, $68.50 and $95, depending on day, time and seat; telecharge.com or 212-239-6200. 

Elf

Here's a full-fledged Broadway production that's in the spirit of the season. "Elf" the musical is based on the 2003 film of the same name that starred Will Ferrell. Recommended for ages 4 and older. The moral: We should all embrace our inner elf.

WHERE: Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 W. 45th St., Manhattan elfmusical.com

SHOW TIMES: Previews began this week; official opening is Nov. 14; runs through Jan. 2. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m.; Wednesdays at 2 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays at 3 and 8 p.m. Check website for additional holiday performances.

RUNNING TIME: Two hours, with a 15-minute intermission

INFO: $39 to $137; telecharge.com or 212-239-6200

Children's plays on Long Island

Celebrate the holidays on Long Island with these seasonal productions:

At least two versions of the "Frosty the Snowman" story take the stage:

"Frosty" is on tap from Nov. 27 through Jan. 16 at the John Engeman Theatre at Northport, 250 Main St., 631-261-2900.

"Frosty, the Snowman" plays Dec. 4, 11 and 18 at the Airport Playhouse, 218 Knickerbocker Ave., Bohemia, 631-589-7588.

"A Christmas Carol: The Musical" plays Dec. 17 to 23 at the Gateway Playhouse, 215 S. Country Rd., Bellport. 631-286-1133.

The BroadHollow Theatre Company performs two holiday tales. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," Dec. 4, 11, 28 and 29 at the BayWay Arts Center, 265 E. Main St., East Islip, 631-581-2700.

"Holiday for Toys" plays Nov. 27, Dec. 11 and 18 at the BroadHollow Theatre, 700 Hempstead Tpke., Elmont, 516-775-4420. The Elmont theater also producing "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" Nov. 27 and 28, Dec. 11, 12, 18 and 19.

"Barnaby Saves Christmas" runs Nov. 27 to Dec. 24 at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson, 631-928-9100. The theater is also running a production of "A Christmas Carol," but it's a two-hour show appropriate for ages 6 and older, running Nov. 12 to Dec. 26.

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