Our guide to cultural events in New York City for children and teenagers happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
‘THE DARK CRYSTAL’ (through Aug. 18, noon) and ‘SING: THE MUSIC OF “SESAME STREET”’ (Aug. 18, 2 p.m.) at the Museum of the Moving Image. “Star Wars” isn’t the only saga set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Consider this 1982 fantasy, which unfolds in ancient times on a distant planet that owes its existence not to the Big Bang, but to the genius of Jim Henson. Directed by Henson and Frank Oz, the film follows the adventures of an elfin-looking creature known as a Gelfling, who’s trying to reclaim a lost piece of a mystical crystal that will restore harmony to his world. But don’t expect him to have human help: The movie, which this Queens museum is showing in its series Summer Matinees: Fantastic Worlds, is populated entirely by puppetlike and animatronic creations. (And the screenings couldn’t come at a better time: On Aug. 30, Netflix will start streaming the series “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,” a prequel to the film.) The museum also offers other ways to explore Henson’s creativity: its permanent show “The Jim Henson Exhibition” and “Sing,” an event on Sunday that’s devoted to the tunes that famously help sweep the clouds away on “Sesame Street.” (Who can forget a classic like “Put Down the Duckie”?) Hosted by Craig Shemin, the program will include both television clips and live performance, as well as a panel consisting of the composer Christopher Cerf, the singer Ivy Austin and the vocal music director Paul Rudolph. They’ll look back on the series, which is 50 this year, and discuss the creation of that musical magic.
‘GOLDILOCKS & THE THREE BEARS’ at the 92nd Street Y (Aug. 17-18, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.). The original fairy tale doesn’t specify the location of the forest where Goldilocks gets lost, but the Y has found an ideal setting for this new musical adaptation: its own Camp Yomi in Rockland County, N.Y. There, Goldilocks is just as badly behaved as ever, littering the grounds and drinking all the water reserved for a hike before wandering away in the woods. Created by Megan Doyle, Jeffrey Sanzel and Kevin F. Story, this 35-minute version turns the bear family into a tap-dancing trio who return from a rehearsal to find the little girl making herself at home. Like Goldilocks, the audience — the recommended ages are 2 to 11 — will learn just what it means to be a responsible camper.
HARLEM WEEK NYC CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL at various locations (Aug. 17-18, noon-5 p.m.). Get ready to rumba. This two-day free festival is always one of the joys of Harlem Week, and this year it offers vibrant Cuban dance. During Saturday afternoon’s live entertainment, children who have taken part in the dance program Ritmo y Color will perform at 2:30, followed by a rumba class and a rumba revel for all. A mental workout is part of the day, too: Visitors can watch kids compete in the Harlem Spelling Bee at 3. On Sunday the highlights will include daylong tennis and basketball clinics and a back-to-school fashion show. And on both days, the Howard Bennett Playground, the festival’s hub, will welcome young people to a large roster of attractions: robotics, face painting, a mobile recreation center, health screenings, nutrition exhibits and obstacle courses.
HONEY WEEKEND at Wave Hill (Aug. 17-18, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). Don’t be surprised if some of the bees buzzing around this Bronx garden on Saturday and Sunday appear larger and louder than usual. These creatures provide their own kind of sweetness: They’re actually costumed children, who will have made their antennas, wings and pollen cups (pouches on bees’ hind legs) during the family art project that’s a highlight of the annual Honey Weekend. These little visitors can even join a bee dance and parade, and play in a child-size hive. The garden also invites them to try on apiary gear, talk to beekeepers, learn about the insects’ life cycle, make beeswax candles and watch as honey is extracted from a comb. And, yes, everyone can taste honey varieties. (A full schedule is on the website.)
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
NEW YORK CITY MATH FESTIVAL at Fosun Plaza (Aug. 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.). You won’t get any applause for counting on your fingers, but how about for solving a Rubik’s Cube with your toes? Daniel Rose-Levine, a teenager, holds the world record time — 16.96 seconds — for that feat, which he will perform at this free Lower Manhattan event. Presented by the National Museum of Mathematics and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the festival will invite attendees to compete against Rose-Levine at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (They can use their hands.) The educator John Chase will also demonstrate the physics of juggling, and the married mimes Tim and Tanya Chartier will illustrate concepts like tiling and infinity. To be held rain or shine, this celebration comprises dozens of additional activities, including exploring giant mazes and designing a roller coaster with the program MoMath 2 Go; investigating puzzles and patterns with Math-on-a-Stick, an exhibit from the Minnesota State Fair; and building enormous geometric sculptures with the Korean engineer Ho Gul Park.
‘PUSS IN BOOTS’ at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater (Aug. 16 and 19-22, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.; Aug. 17-18, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; through Oct. 13). “Kinky Boots” may have closed on Broadway, but another musical is still charming its audience with fabulous footwear. Witness the fashion sense of this show’s feline hero, who hopes to put his “best paw forward” in a pair of sumptuous boots. He does exactly that in this City Parks Foundation marionette production, which follows the basic outlines of the classic fairy tale about a wily cat who persuades the local royals that his penniless master is really a wealthy nobleman. Parents will be pleased, however, that in this version Puss kills no fellow animals and has an owner who ultimately proves to be an honest man. Written and directed by Douglas Strich (also the theater’s resident puppet designer), with music and lyrics by Emily Fellner Zeig, this cheerful adaptation even dresses its book-loving princess in some cool boots of her own.
REBEL VERSES YOUTH ARTS FESTIVAL at the Vineyard Theater (Aug. 15-17, 7 p.m.). These adolescent rebels definitely have a cause: to perform their original work onstage, to network with one another and to learn from theater professionals. Those are the goals of this Manhattan festival, which Developing Artists and the Vineyard Theater present each year as a symposium and showcase for creative troupes. In addition to the organizers’ own youth ensembles, this second week features Girl Be Heard, Loco-Motion Dance Theater for Children, the MCC Theater Youth Company and Poetesses. Addressing the complex realities of teenage life, the festival also offers performances by adult actors, including Tina Fabrique (“Ragtime”), Brandon Victor Dixon (“Hamilton”) and Joe Morton (“Scandal”). (Tickets are very limited; the box office will have a waiting list if shows sell out.)
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