Children's Theater at the Jersey Shore: Four Local Favorites
What comes to mind when you think of the Jersey Shore? Beaches, boardwalks, ice cream, maybe a certain MTV show? How about children's theater? That's right, there’s no need to head to NYC when there are so many wonderful options close to home. From plays to musicals to puppet shows, there is something to entertain kids of all ages at the Shore. Read on for our top picks and book your tickets now!
Algonquin Arts Theatre (Manasquan)
Algonquin Arts Theatre has a robust calendar of events, which includes many children's productions throughout the year. Next on their calendar is the family-friendly musical Oliver! running August 3-12. Based on Dickens' beloved novel Oliver Twist, this classic show follows the adventures of outspoken orphan Oliver and includes spectacular songs such as "Food, Glorious Food" and "Consider Yourself." All performances will feature the Algonquin Players, along with the Algonquin Youth Ensemble, and are best suited for children ages 5 & up. The Algonquin Theatre also offers Summer Stage, a performing arts camp for children and teens—upcoming sessions include "Rock Academy" and "Acting for TV & Commercials."
Paper Moon Puppet Theatre (Atlantic Highlands)
Puppet theater is a wonderful activity for children of all ages. Take the kids to Paper Moon and witness the delight on their faces as they watch the puppets come to life! Summer shows are presented to the public every Saturday afternoon at 12pm. Each performance lasts about an hour, which includes pre-show activities, the main presentation, and a marionette demonstration afterward. Past productions include popular fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is now playing through September 1st. Paper Moon is also a great option for children’s birthday parties. You can even arrange for the kids to create their own puppets as party favors!
Strand Center for the Arts (Lakewood)
The Strand has been entertaining Jersey shore residents and visitors since its inception in 1922. Artists as varied as George Burns and Loudon Wainwright have graced the stage over the years. You’ll find plenty for your family to enjoy—live music, dance performances, theater productions, and popular holiday shows. Upcoming events include Legally Blonde on July 28th and My Fair Lady on September 29th. The Strand also offers children’s educational programs throughout the year, in addition to theater workshops during the summer. Call today to sign your budding thespian up for a fall class!
Surflight Theatre (Beach Haven)
New Jersey families flock to Long Beach Island for its beautiful beaches and family-friendly atmosphere, but did you know it’s a great source for excellent theater as well? Surflight Theatre has been a favorite of both locals and vacationers for over 60 years. In addition to their acclaimed mainstage productions, they offer a full season of children’s theater. This summer’s line-up includes Peter Pan, The Little Mermaid, The Wizard of Oz and Snow White. And while you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss Showplace Ice Cream Parlour, just around the corner from Surflight. The Showplace features singing waitstaff and if you’re called out, you’ll get to sing along too. It’s the perfect spot for a post-show treat—the kids love it!
Photo courtesy of Paper Moon Puppet Theatre.