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    family enterainment

    Critic’s picks for family-oriented theater performances

    Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan.
    Isaac James
    Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan.


    CELEBRATION OF FLIGHT A young whooping crane learns to fly in this puppet-driven spectacle by Heather Henson, daughter of “Muppets’’ creator Jim Henson, and her troupe, Ibex Puppetry. April 7, 4 p.m. FirstWorks. At Rhode Island School of Design Auditorium, Providence. 401-421-4278, www.first

    THE BOOK OF MORMON Perhaps you’ve heard of it? The uproarious, Tony Award-winning musical by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone, about fresh-scrubbed Mormon missionaries who set out to convert the residents of a village in Uganda. Emphatically not suitable for children under 12. April 9-28. Broadway in Boston. At Boston Opera House. 800-982-2787,


    PIPPI LONGSTOCKING The stage adaptation of the children’s story by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, directed by Wendy Lement. Kerry Thompson, who is deaf and blind, will play Angel Mama in a production designed to be accessible to patrons with a variety of disabilities. Each performance offers open captioning, and American Sign Language will be incorporated into the story. The 10 a.m. performance on April 27 will be tailored for autistic children, with lighting and sound modifications. The performances on May 10 and 12 will be audio-described. April 12-May 12. Wheelock Family Theatre. 617-879-2300, www.wheelockfamily

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    ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY We’ve been there, Alexander. Ryan Begin directs a musical adaptation of Judith Viorst’s children’s book about a young boy who wakes up with gum in his hair, trips on his own skateboard, is spurned by his best friend, and learns that he has a cavity. Oh, and his family is having lima beans for dinner. Plus, there are people kissing on TV, which Alexander absolutely hates. April 13-20. Boston Children’s Theatre. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.bostonchildrens

    THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE It’s the role that made Sutton Foster a star a decade ago. Ephie Aardema plays Millie, a native of small-town Kansas who moves to New York in the 1920s, intent on marrying for money, only to fall in love with a guy who seems to be flat broke. Directed and choreographed by Ilyse Robbins, and costarring Kathy St. George as the celebrated singer Muzzy van Hossmere. April 18-May 12. Stoneham Theatre. 781-279-2200, www.stoneham

    SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK! “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?’’ There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: That’s a hard lyric to forget. Burgess Clark directs a musical based on the animated shorts designed to teach kids about grammar, math, science, history, and government — and make it fun. April 19-May 5. Boston Children’s Theatre. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.bostonchildrens

    CATHY RIGBY IS PETER PAN Boston is the final stop on what Rigby says is her final tour after decades of portraying the boy who refuses to grow up. Of course, she also said that during 2005’s “farewell tour,’’ so we’ll see. A former Olympic gymnast who is now 60, Rigby estimates she has played Peter Pan more than 3,000 times, including on Broadway and in multiple national tours. Brent Barrett doubles as Mr. Darling and Captain Hook, and Kim Crosby plays Mrs. Darling. April 23-28. Citi Wang Theatre. 866-348-9738,


    ON THE TOWN With 24 hours of shore leave during World War II, three sailors (played by Phil Tayler, Zachary Eisenstat, and John Ambrosino) set out to find love in New York City. Costarring as their partners in romance and adventure are Aimee Doherty, Michele A. DeLuca, and Lauren Gemelli. Music by Leonard Bernstein, book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Spiro Veloudos directs. May 10-June 8. Lyric Stage Company. 617-585-5678,

    IN THE HEIGHTS The brainchild of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the dynamic salsa and hip-hop score, this musical about the aspirations of Latinos living in Manhattan’s Washington Heights picked up four Tony Awards in 2008, including best musical. With a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, who won the Pulitzer Prize for drama last year. Directed by Paul Daigneault, with choreography by Larry Sousa and music direction by Nicholas James Connell. May 10-June 8. SpeakEasy Stage Company. At Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts. 617-933-8600, www.speakeasy


    PIRATES OF PENZANCE The Chicago-based Hypocrites’ 80-minute beach-party sendup of the beloved Gilbert & Sullivan operetta played a handful of shows at Oberon last June, as part of the Emerging America Festival. Now the American Repertory Theater is bringing it to the main stage. The score and the plot stick close to the original, but you can expect beach balls, bathing beauties, a guitar-playing Frederic, a banjo-playing Mabel, and a modern Major General in shorts. And though there are regular audience seats, you can also buy a “Promenade” ticket, in which case you’ll be sharing space with the actors. American Repertory Theater. At Loeb Drama Center, Cambridge. May 10-June 2. $25-$35. 617-547-8300,