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Fun on stage for kids

Tap Kids is performed at 4 p.m. Sunday,

Tap Kids is performed at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 10, 2013, at Stony Brook University's Staller Center for the Arts Main Stage, Nicolls Rd. Coming-of-age story performed by eight young tap dancers who tap through memorable milestones such as a first love, the school dance and graduation. A New York Stage original production for ages 10 and older. Credit: TimBarden

When Clifford the Big Red Dog hits the stage at the Paramount in Huntington on Tuesday, March 12, he'll have a pit crew just like NASCAR drivers do. "It's physically exhausting to play Clifford," says David Melissaratos, the puppeteer inside who controls the dog's head, mouth and front legs.

So he appreciates that, between numbers, a crew offstage uses a hose to blow cold air into Clifford to cool off Melissaratos and the second puppeteer, who controls Clifford's back legs and tail.

Melissaratos isn't the only performer who will be breaking a sweat this week on Long Island. A plethora of children's shows -- from the whimsical to the serious -- takes place in the coming week. Here are some highlights:

'Peter and the Wolf'

WHAT This classic tale is performed by New York Theatre Ballet: Ballet for Young Audiences. It includes a performance of a new ballet called "Bark! in the Park," in which two children search Central Park for their lost dog.

WHEN|WHERE 2 p.m. March 9 at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville

INFO $14 and $22; 516-299-3100;

Strawberry Shortcake: Follow Your Berry Own Beat!

WHAT This show takes the audience to Berry Bitty City, where the town is buzzing with excitement over the Glitzy Glaze Talent Show. Strawberry Shortcake's friends Orange Blossom, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Muffin, Raspberry Torte, Plum Pudding and Cherry Jam are also featured. They sing hits from the TV show "Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures." The Doodlebops are guest stars.

WHEN|WHERE 1 p.m. March 10 at NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd.

INFO $19.50, $39.50 and $49.50; 800-745-3000;

'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day'

WHAT Alexander has to remove gum from his hair, trips on a skateboard and accidentally drops his sweater in the sink before even getting to eat breakfast. How much worse can things get? Sing along with him through his misadventures. Lyrics are by Judith Viorst, author of the book of the same name.

WHEN|WHERE 2 p.m. March 10 at Landmark on Main Street, 232 Main St., Port Washington

INFO $18; 516-767-6444;

'Tap Kids'

WHAT This coming-of-age story performed by eight young tap dancers who move through memorable milestones such as a first love, the school dance and graduation. It is a New York Stage original production for ages 10 and older.

WHEN|WHERE 4 p.m. March 10, Staller Center, Stony Brook University

INFO $15; 631-632-2787;

'Clifford the Big Red Dog: Live! A Big Family Musical'

WHAT This new musical hits the stage in conjunction with Clifford's 50th anniversary. Clifford and Emily Elizabeth perform with friends Cleo, T-Bone, Charley, Jetta and Mac.

WHEN|WHERE 3 and 6 p.m. March 12 at the Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington

INFO $19.50, $29.50, $39.50, $49.50; 631-673-7300;

'Hitler's Daughter'

WHAT Four friends waiting for a school bus in contemporary Australia are discussing whether Hitler actually had a daughter named Heidi. The play, which flashes back to Nazi Germany in the 1940s, discusses morality, personal responsibility and prejudice. It is based on a novel by Jackie French, and is appropriate for grades 5 through 12. It also features a Holocaust exhibition from Sydney Jewish Museum.

WHEN|WHERE 10 a.m. and 12:30p.m. March 13, Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main St., also 7 p.m. March 14, Tilles Center, LIU Post, Brookville

INFO $10, 631-288-2350 ext. 102,; $15-$25, 516-299-3100,

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