News and reviews of local family dance, theater and movies in Los Angeles.

Stage & Screen

disney on ice

Disney on Ice Brings Worlds of Enchantment

The moment Mickey and Minnie Mouse skated onto the ice during Disney on Ice’s “Worlds of Enchantment” at Staples Center, I realized you are never too old for some Disney magic. The tour opened there Dec. 15 and both of my daughters were home from college for opening night, so we headed to Staples for some nostalgia and family fun. We were not disappointed. We started the evening with a...

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Cavalia’s “Odysseo” Offers Magic for All Ages

When talent, beauty, art, choreography and skill come together, it‘s magic. When they come together with horses, music and breathtaking visual arts, it’s “Cavalia Odysseo.” This experience is more than a show. It’s an event – and one for all ages. You don’t have to be a horse owner to appreciate this beautiful program. The immense and creative staging, using an IMAX-size screen depicting various locations and natural images, becomes...

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Cinderella With a Twist

We all know the story of the girl who went to the ball, lost her glass slipper and found her prince. For its holiday Panto at the Playhouse production, the Pasadena Playhouse is putting a holiday spin on the tale and calling it “A Cinderella Christmas.” To play Cinderella, they’ve tapped Lauren Taylor of the Disney Channel’s “Best Friends Whenever.” “I grew up, of course, idolizing Cinderella,” says Taylor, who...

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Nutcracker Alternatives For Tweens

“Another Nutcracker?” your tween might moan after years of going to see sugar plum fairies dancing across stages. Your teenager might even become a Scrooge about seeing “A Christmas Carol” for the 10th time. Happily, a few December performances offer something different enough that they might hold your kids’ interest. Trumpeter Jeff Bordes will be something of a Louisiana Santa at the James Armstrong Theatre (3330 Civic Center Dr., Torrance;...

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A Sensory-Friendly Nutcracker Comes to Theaters

If you have a child on the autism spectrum, you might have shied away from ballet – even that most child-friendly ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Children with sensory issues might be overwhelmed by the sound and the spectacle. And those with attention deficits could have a tough time staying quietly in their seats. This month, the Autism Society of America is helping bring “The Nutcracker” to kids with autism in a...

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Three for Tweens to Explore the Arts or Aerospace

When your kids outgrow story times and kids clubs and hit the double-digits in age, it can be tricky to find activities and events that interest them. Here is a trio of Los Angeles events that target tweens and are probably acceptable for parents, too. The Norton Simon Museum (411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena; will offer a Middle School ArtsLab from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Nov. 16 that will explore Renaissance...

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TORUK Will Take You to the Blue World Of Pandora

What happens when the imaginative folks at Cirque du Soleil team with innovative filmmaker James Cameron? You get “TORUK – The First Flight.” In this magical production, audiences will travel to Pandora, the world featured in Cameron’s blockbuster film “Avatar.” As one would expect from a Cirque show, “TORUK” presents a dazzling mix of state-of-the art technology and amazing human athleticism. It also uses unique puppetry, cutting-edge stagecraft and elaborate...

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Los Angeles Attractions: BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby) to Hollywood

Got a new baby? Tired of watching Netflix from your living room couch? Pack up your kiddo and head to movie town! The TCL Chinese 6 Theatre at Hollywood & Highland (6901 Hollywood Blvd., 3rd floor) this summer launched weekly BYOB screenings at 11 a.m. Wednesdays, just for new parents and their little ones. Movie tickets are a discounted $8, parking is $2 (with validation, stroller parking is free) and...

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“Kubo And The Two Strings” Hits All The Right Notes

Some movies are easy to describe. Like the one where a boy discovers an alien stranded on Earth. Or the film about a dad searching for his lost son (OK, father and son are fish). Then there are the movies that aren’t simple to synopsize – such as “Inside Out” or any of “The Avengers” films. “Kubo and the Two Strings,” the latest cinematic offering from the wonderfully creative folks...

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Little Prince Movie Doesn’t Disappoint

Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s novella “The Little Prince” is undoubtedly one of the most well-known books for children, or adults, around the world. The book has been translated into more than 250 languages and dialects and has sold more than 80 million copies. With such a familiar and beloved book, there are major challenges for a film adaptation. With “The Little Prince,” these challenges are increased because the short book doesn’t...

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Support TreePeople’s Once Upon a Canyon Night Performance Series

Southern California is home to many outdoor summer festivals, but it is hard to find one quite as unique as Once Upon A Canyon Night. This performance series offers interesting shows, a lovely setting and a great cause. The Great Cause: The series serves as a fundraiser for TreePeople. It’s a low-key affair, with no proselytizing and no one going through the crowd asking for extra donations. All of the...

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Making a Comedy Connection

Kent Skov knows a thing or two about comedy and fun ideas for kids. He founded the L.A. Connection Comedy Theatre in 1977, and has trained actors Matthew Perry and Will Ferrell, among others. The hilarious and venerable institution moved this summer from Sherman Oaks to a new location in Burbank, but will offer the same schedule of performances and classes – including Comedy Improv for Kids and Teens classes...

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An Animated Look at the World of Autism

Lots of kids love Disney animated films, watching them again and again until their parents are driven to distraction – and have memorized most of the dialog. Owen Suskind’s parents, though, don’t complain about his Disney obsession. They credit it with helping bring him back to them. The documentary “Life, Animated,” in local theaters beginning July 1, lets us share that journey. Near the beginning of the film we see...

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Teletubbies Returns with Upgrades and New Fun

Eh-Oh! Teletubbies TV series is back on the air! The preschool show that features characters with screens on their bellies and antennas sprouting from their heads has returned on Nick. Jr. The reboot features the same main characters –Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Po and their companion Noo-Noo – as the original, but will add some updates including Touch Screen Tummies, the Tubby Phone, The Dup Dup (which replaces the dome’s...

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Chat Room: Sandra Tsing Loh is Using Comedy to Lower the Bar for Moms

For years, I’ve enjoyed Sandra Tsing Loh’s hilarious commentary on public radio and witty writing about juggling work, life, marriage and parenthood. The Pasadena mom of two teen daughters is known for her books, including “A Year in Van Nuys” and “Mother on Fire,” as well as her weekly 89.3 KPCC radio segments “The Loh Life,” and “The Loh Down on Science.” I was excited to chat with her about...

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Shakespeare Sighted on L.A. Stages This Summer

William Shakespeare died 400 years ago, but the great playwright seems just as popular as ever. Whether you prefer Richard III to Henry V or Beatrice and Benedick to Romeo and Juliet, you’ll be able to spot his work on stages across L.A. this summer. Check each theater company’s website for specific performance information, and remember that these productions are not children’s plays, although children are welcome. Parental discretion is...

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Summer Concerts: Hear Music Here, There and Everywhere Around LA

During summer, music seems to be all around us in Southern California. As we seek out Los Angeles events, we have a wealth of family-friendly outdoor music series to attend, and some of them even are free! Here are some of the more notable places to hear music this summer. Warner Park For more than 40 years, The Valley Cultural Center has been presenting its free “Concerts on the Green.”...

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Have a Hollywood Bowl Summer for Family Fun

With the kids out of school, summer activities are revving up and it is easier for the family to go out and enjoy a concert together. One great destination is the iconic Hollywood Bowl, and this season’s schedule includes a number of shows that will appeal to all ages. One of the Bowl’s first shows this summer is probably its most family-friendly. On June 3, 4 and 6, an all-star...

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A Free Family Festival as Eclectic as Its Namesake

Lummis Day is named after Charles Lummis, a man who arrived in Los Angeles from Ohio – on foot! – in 1884. An author, newspaperman and L.A. city librarian, Lummis was an early activist for Native American rights, but is best known for building his stone house by hand. The Lummis Home, which stands in the Highland Park area, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In...

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summer activities

Frozen Will Heat Up California Adventure This Summer

The Frozen phenomena reaches a new level when “Frozen – Live at the Hyperion” premieres in Disney’s California Adventure May 27. This stage version of the blockbuster film will, naturally, include songs by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the dynamic duo who wrote the movie’s music. The show has been adapted by four-time Tony nominee Chad Beguelin and is directed by Broadway vet Liesl Tommy. The musical will be a...

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Animals Run Wild At The Movies This Summer

The Jungle Book was just the beginning of the menagerie of live-action and animated animals populating films this summer. On May 20, Columbia Pictures will set free The Angry Birds Movie. Adapted from the popular game, this film features the vocal talents of Jason Sudeikis, Blake Shelton, Josh Gad and Maya Rudolph in a story about pigs arriving on an island inhabited by birds – especially one very angry bird. The focus of Alice Through The...

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LA Opera for All Ages

I used to think opera only appealed to an older audience. But my daughter, who is 10, has made me think otherwise. After participating in L.A. Opera’s summer camp two years ago, she expressed interest in seeing an opera performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. We obliged – with hesitation, I admit, unsure whether we could all sit through it – and were delighted to experience the opera through Avery’s...

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A Film About Family and Parenting

I had the pleasure of screening a new documentary by two talented Australian filmmakers about four kids and their families. The film showcased each child’s unique challenges and triumphs. There’s Gus, whose obsession with wrestling and his practice of his rough-and-tough techniques on his younger sister has his parents concerned; Ebony, who feels the pressure of an impending audition for a slot at a performing arts school; Graham, who struggles...

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Young Actors Take On Bullying With ‘The Intimidation Game’

While autism now impacts about one in 68 kids, bullying is pretty much universal. So a unique group of young actors are doing something about it in their own special way. The Miracle Project has been helping kids with autism and all abilities express themselves through theater and music since 2004. Under the direction of the indomitable Elaine Hall, the troupe creates and performs original musicals that forge friendships, educate,...

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Shea Fontana Creates New Heroes For Super Girls

When a girl faces a super problem, who can she look to for inspiration? DC Comics is offering entertaining and fun ideas for kids as well as counting on an entire universe of superhero role models to empower and motivate young girls. DC Super Hero Girls focuses on a band of heroes – including iconic faces such as Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl – during their tumultuous teen years attending...

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Los Angeles events - mom storytelling

Local Spoken-Word Shows Give Moms a Voice

In a yoga class recently, the teacher walked around the room filled mostly with moms, encouraging us to discard our self-consciousness and really belt out those ohms. “Our voices are not valued in this society,” she said. “You still need to value your voice.” But there is a rising wave of new voices storming the country. The voices are those of our mothers, sisters, brothers and fathers gathering to share...

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The Best View of Our Planet – From Our Planet

As we celebrate the Earth this month, the California Science Center offers visitors a unique look at the planet we are trying to protect. Presented in IMAX and IMAX 3D, “A Beautiful Planet,” narrated by Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, gives moviegoers a never-before-seen glimpse of Earth from space and provides an increased understanding of our planet and galaxy. The film will screen five times daily, April 29-June 30. Made...

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Discover Family Fun On The Broad Stage

When you say “The Broad,” most people think of the new Broad Museum that was unveiled last year to much acclaim. But there is another Broad in town that celebrates the arts. The Broad Stage, which opened in 2008 at the Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center (1310 11th St. Santa Monica;, has consistently presented an impressive schedule of performances that appeal to audiences young and old. This month is...

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An Egg-Citing Theater Experience

Since Easter takes place March 27, it is not surprising that the egg figures prominently in this month’s events. Egg hunts, egg tosses and other eggy activities are happening throughout the month. Easter, however, isn’t the only reason the egg will be on your entertainment calendar. A play called Egg will be performed this month at two different Southern California venues: the Broad Stage in Santa Monica and Segerstrom Center...

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Music Center Spotlights SoCal High Schoolers

  The Music Center named 111 Southern California high school students as semifinalists in its 28th annual Spotlight program, a free nationally acclaimed scholarship and arts training program for teens. Spotlight provides opportunities for Southern California high school students to acquire the skills they need to pursue their artistic dreams in the performing arts, along with valuable workforce readiness skills. Semifinalists were named in acting, ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice,...

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Have a National Parks Adventure Here at Home

Soar over red rock canyons, hurtle down steep mountain peaks and explore other-worldly realms in America’s most legendary outdoor places – guided by the pleasantly rugged voice of actor Robert Redford – when the IMAX film National Parks Adventure comes to the California Science Center beginning Feb. 12. The film promises an action-packed celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service and a soulful reflection on what wilderness...

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Favorite Characters Will Be Found At Legoland

One of the big surprise movie hits of 2014 (or the last decade, for that matter) was The Lego Movie. As with any mega-successful film, there is inevitably a sequel. While the full-length The Lego Movie Sequel isn’t scheduled to hit cinemas until the spring of 2018, the Legoland theme park will offer something special to keep Lego Movie aficionados happy until then. On Feb. 6, the Los Angeles attraction...

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Los Angeles events - Valentine's Day

A Dozen Valentine’s Day Ideas

Love is a many-splendored thing, and there are many splendid ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in L.A. Whether you are looking to field Cupid’s arrows as a family, or hoping for a little couple time, your heart’s desires are close at hand. Here are seven Los Angeles events to enjoy with kids, and five to take in without. Hearts and Flowers Family Style 1. Love in the Time of Kewpies If you’re...

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Art Takes Center Stage at Night On Broadway

Night on Broadway will mark the eighth anniversary of Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway initiative – a 10-year plan to revitalize the historic Broadway corridor – with free entertainment and Los Angeles events for all ages along Broadway from 3rd Street to Olympic Boulevard from 5-11 p.m. Jan. 30. Seven of Broadway’s historic theaters will be filled with acts ranging from acrobats to performance art and...

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Families Can Get Moving at The Wallis

Continuing its partnership with L.A.’s Invertigo Dance Theatre, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills is offering a new session of three public dance/movement courses on Fridays beginning Jan. 22. These three intergenerational courses—Invert/ED’s Tiny Tots Move and Groove, Dancing Through Life and Dancing Through Parkinson’s—provide toddlers and guardians, older adults and people living with Parkinson’s disease and other degenerative diseases an inviting environment specially designed...

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Some Enchanting Evenings

  This month, family audiences have the chance to spend evenings with two very different people at two different Los Angeles events. One is a real-life scientist, and the other a stand-in for a famous comedian from long ago. While one evening will be serious and the other silly, both should be entertaining nights out for older children and their parents. First, the silly. Frank Ferrante is an award-winning actor...

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Your Last-Minute Family DVD Holiday Gift Guide

As entertainment continues to move into the nebulous universe of “the cloud,” it is still nice to have a gift that you can hold in your hand. DVDs and Blu-rays remain fun ideas for kids stocking stuffers – particularly of the last-minute variety – and this year offers a varied assortment of titles, including some rather grand collections. Christmas Movies Christmas is the setting for Shelby, a warm-hearted family film about...

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - Oct 27: The Wallis presents "Arturo Sandoval's Master Class" at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on October 27th, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

Growing Arts Enrichment at The Wallis

Arts education programs at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts get a major portion of their funding through the GRoW at the Annenberg Foundation. And when Mark Slavkin stepped into his position as director of education at the Beverly Hills venue in January, there was plenty of growing to do. The Wallis, which launched its third season of programming in the fall, was originally intended as a space...

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Sabrina Carpenter is darling as Wendy in Peter Pan and Tinker Bell – A Pirates Christmas. PHOTO BY F. SCOTT SCHAFER

“Girl Meets World’s” Sabrina Carpenter Visits Neverland

Sabrina Carpenter has a lot to be excited about. The 16-year-old stars in the popular Disney Channel comedy “Girl Meets World,” and earlier this year she put out a major-label CD, Eyes Wide Open. But at the moment she is most excited about playing Wendy in the Lythgoe Family Production of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell – A Pirates Christmas at the Pasadena Playhouse. “I’ve always wanted to do theater....

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Get KURIOS at Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium has seen its share of acrobatic feats, but they are usually performed by baseball players. That will change when Cirque du Soleil sets up its big top in Chavez Ravine this winter to present its latest extravaganza – KURIOS. The show comes packed with the usual Cirque circus tricks and acrobatic feats, but it also has a story that will spark your curiosity. A 19th century inventor known...

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Wilshire the Fire Dog Will Play ‘Nana’ in Peter Pan Panto

Wilshire The L.A.F.D. Fire Dog will play the role of “Nana” in this year’s Panto at The Playhouse production of Peter Pan snd Tinker Bell - A Pirates Christmas for one day only, Dec. 20, at The Pasadena Playhouse. Wilshire, a Dalmatian, has served as the Los Angeles City Fire Department Fire Dog since he was taken in as a rescue puppy by the firefighters at the Wilshire Boulevard fire...

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December Family Theater

December brings an abundance of Los Angeles events for theater lovers – and not all of it includes Sugar Plum Fairies. You can see Tinker Bell and Snoopy, gamblers, Grinches and many other interesting characters on L.A stages this season. Scrooge and Co. A Christmas Carol is a traditional favorite play to see this time of year, and Southern California is lucky to be home to two popular, long-running productions....

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L.A. Winter Break Camps For Kids

The winter holidays bring plenty of cheer and fun ideas for kids, but also a two- or three-week break from school. Whether that has you scrambling for childcare, or just for a way to distract the kids from life’s many small screens, you are in luck. Because Los Angeles offers a flurry of winter camp possibilities that give kids a cool way to spend their vacation. And they’re not just...

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Director Mark Krenzien Talks About ‘Journey To Space’

The new “Journey to Space” exhibit and IMAX film are set to open at the California Science Center on Oct. 29, but L.A. Parent readers were treated to a special visit and screening of the film Oct. 25. And Mark Krenzien, director of the film, was on hand to answer questions after the screening. L.A. Parent editor Christina Elston started things rolling: Could you tell us a little bit about...

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Kids’ Imaginations Keep Story Pirates Afloat

We were a few minutes late for the Story Pirates’ performance Saturday at Pepperdine’s Smothers Theatre. Fortunately, so were the actors. As we took our seats, the one member of the troupe on hand was explaining that the rest of the actors hadn’t yet arrived. And suddenly, they did. The first burst onto the stage to say that a seagull at the beach had stolen his bagel. The second came...

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BURBANK, CA - OCTOBER 06:  The cast of Nickelodeon's Game Shakers greet kids and fans at a special Halloween-themed event at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, Calif., for a sneak peek of a spooky episode of the animated series Harvey Beaks as well as new clips from Bella and the Bulldogs, Game Shakers and the movie Liar, Liar, Vampire, on October 6, 2015 in Burbank, California. Liar, Liar, Vampire will premiere in October.  (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

Nickelodeon’s Spooktacular Lineup

We headed to the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank earlier this week for a Halloween Party. But this wasn't just an ordinary party; guests enjoyed Halloween-themed activities and treats, a meet and greet with Bella and the Bulldogs/Liar Liar Vampire star Brec Bassinger and the Game Shakers cast members Kel Mitchell, Cree Cicchino, Madisyn Shipman, Benjamin “Lil P-Nut” Flores Jr. and Thomas Kuc, plus got a sneak-peek of this month’s...

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Meztli Kali participates in a community puppet and mask making workshop in preparation for “Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven,” presented by Center Theatre Group and El Teatro Campesino, October 10 and 11, 2015, at Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles. PHOTO BY RYAN MILLER/CAPTURE IMAGING

A New Take on ‘Community’ Theater

The Center Theatre Group will stage a production in Grand Park this month that gives “community theater” a new meaning. Popol Vuh: Heart of Heaven is a unique collaboration between CTG, the local Chicano theater company El Teatro Campesino and members of the Boyle Heights community. Popol Vuh is the legendary tale of the Mayan creation myth, and this production adds some distinctly L.A. elements to the storytelling. The show...

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L-r, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, Dylan Minette and Jack Black star in Columbia Pictures' "Goosebumps."

Creepy Features Come to Cinemas In October

Everyone gets into the Halloween spirit this month, and several films will be in theaters to help families looking for fun ideas for kids celebrate. The frightfully fun flicks begin Sept. 25, when you can check back into Hotel Transylvania. The Sony Pictures animated movie was a monstrous success in 2012 and Hotel Transylvania 2 hopes to follow in its Frankenstein-like footsteps. This time, Drac (Adam Sandler) must deal with...

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A Conversation with “Humpback Whales” Director Greg MacGillivray

10-year-old Theodore is a student in the San Gabriel Valley. He was chosen as the winner of this year's Kid Critics Challenge hosted by L.A. Parent, the California Science Center and  MacGillivray Freeman Films. As the winner, Theodore was given the opportunity to interview the director, Greg MacGillivray.  By Theodore - Age 10 Like an ocean-based Ansel Adams, veteran filmmaker Greg MacGillivray uses the latest in visual technology to offer viewers a glimpse...

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Greet Gumby In Glendora

The Gumby Festival returns to Glendora Sept. 19-20 after a triumphant inaugural event last year. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the popular green character, and the festival's Los Angeles events will salute this milestone with a special birthday celebration Sept. 19. Gumby fans attending the festival, which runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. both days at Citrus College (1000 W. Foothill Blvd.) can also have fun exploring a Gumby...

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Dara the Bow Girl: Master Chef Jr. Finalist and Kid Cook

MasterChef Junior premiered in September 2013, and while contestants aren’t asked to wear the traditional chef’s toque, one did sport some distinctive head gear. Dara “the Bow Girl” Yu, who went on to become the runner-up that season, was there with her trademark hair bow, dazzling the judges with dish after dish. Yu, who started cooking when she was 7 or 8 and is now 14 and taking advantage of...

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Baritones Meet Beach Chairs During Free Opera Opener

Grab your opera glasses – and a beach chair – and head to the scenic beach near Santa Monica for L.A. Opera’s “Opera at the Beach.” Here’s your chance to see L.A. Opera’s season opener, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, staged by Woody Allen, and Pagliacci, directed by the legendary Franco Zeffirelli. And it’s free! This double bill will be broadcast live in high-definition video from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to the...

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Highlights from D23 Expo 2015: The largest Disney Fan Event in the World

Fans from around the world came together Aug. 14-16 to celebrate 92 years of The Walt Disney Company. The latest films from Walt Disney Studios, merchandise from Disney Consumer Products, attractions at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts – and all things Disney you can think of – were showcased at D23 Expo 2015, held at the Anaheim Convention Center. A giant Buzz Lightyear balloon soaring outside the convention center to...

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Humpback Whales: Kid Critic Reviews!

In June, we partnered with MacGillivray Freeman Films and the California Science Center to offer an exclusive free screening of the IMAX film Humpback Whales 3D at the California Science Center’s IMAX Theater. The screening included a Q&A with the film’s Director Greg MacGillivray, and was moderated by NPR “Film Week” Critic, Claudia Puig. After the screening, kids between the ages of 5 and 15 were invited to submit a review of the film. Ten Kid Critic finalists were chosen, including one...

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August Offers Unusual Film Adventures

After spending the summer going to see films such as Inside Out and Minions, what should families look for in August before the kids go back to school and time for fun summer activities is over? There are several intriguing movies coming out this month that promise to be entertaining as well as educating. Top Spin takes a look at the world of competitive ping-pong through the lives of teenage...

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William Shatner to Narrate Sprout Remake

Sprout, the 24-hour preschool network, has brought back a revamped version of British stop-animation classic Clangers, a television show that aired on the BBC in the 1960s. The new series is true to the original, which is about a family of adorable pink long-snouted creatures who speak using whistling sounds rather than words. The creatures live on a teeny planet somewhere in outer space, making actor William Shatner (“Star Trek’s”...

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Despicable Me Sidekicks Take Center Stage in ‘Minions’

When I asked my teenage daughters if they wanted to join me for the press screening of Minions over the weekend, I was pleasantly greeted with an enthusiast “YES!” So, the three of us headed to the AMC in Century City, where we enjoyed a meet-and-greet and photos with Kevin, Stuart and Bob, the lead Minions in Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s prequel to Despicable Me, which opens in theaters...

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Say Hello Again To Hello Kitty

The Japanese American National Museum’s Hello Kitty exhibit closes May 31 (after being extended a month), but that doesn’t mean Hello Kitty fans will have to bid farewell to their favorite feline character. They can look forward to Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival, highly anticipated among Los Angeles events this summer,  at noon and 7 p.m. June 12, 2 and 7:30 p.m. June 13 and noon June 14 at The...

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Matilda the Musical: Cultivating a New Generation of Theater Fans

It was Annie that did it for me. I saw the beloved musical in London’s West End and became a musical theater fan for life. Though my dream of playing one of the orphans never came to fruition (I soon figured out you need talent for that), my love for theater never waned. Kids in Los Angeles can fall in love with theater the way I did so many years...

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Summer Activities: Shakespeare Takes Center Stage

What is it with Shakespeare and summer? Productions of the Bard’s plays staged each gear go far beyond A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and this summer is no exception. Some plays are more family-friendly then others, so it is always recommended to look into each production’s appropriateness to find which make the best summer activities for families. The always-adventurous Cornerstone Theater Company ( will bring its latest production, California: The Tempest,...

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"The Broadway cast of “Matilda The Musical,” based on the beloved novel by best-selling author Roald Dahl with a book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. Directed by Matthew Warchus, “Matilda The Musical” will be presented May 29 – July 12, 2015, at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre. For tickets and information, please visit or call (213) 972-4444.
Contact: / (213) 972-7376
Photo by Joan Marcus

Things To Do In L.A.: Magical Times On Stage In May

Several interesting family productions hit local stages this month, offering a nice selection of fun things to do in L.A. The hit musical Matilda is coming to the Ahmanson Theatre, and South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa will have a pair of intriguing productions: Peter and the Starcatcher and OZ 2.5. All three plays are taken from popular fiction. Matilda, which runs May 29 through July 12, is an adaptation...

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Cinderella Squared

Get Thee to the Ball

Sound the trumpets! Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella has come to town as a royal treat among Los Angeles attractions, and is playing at the Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center through April 26. I recently saw this family-friendly Tony award-winning Broadway musical, which puts a modern spin on the classic fairy tale. In this version, Cinderella, played by Broadway superstar Paige Faure, is sugary sweet as ever, but has a...

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Figaro for the Family

I’m not going to pretend that I’m a regular at the opera, or that I’m familiar with even the most popular of arias. I wish I were that civilized but, truth be told, it’s all Greek – or should I say Italian – to me. However, like any good parent, I want to expose my child to as much culture as possible, and with so many great Los Angeles attractions,...

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Potted Potter

A Whole Lotta Hogwarts

Have you ever wondered whether a Thestral could beat an Acromantula? Hungered for a stoat sandwich? Searched for a vanishing cabinet? Shown more interest in the Quidditch World Cup than the Super Bowl? Looking for unique things to do in L.A.? Then Potted Potter is right up your Diagon Alley. The show comes to the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (9390 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; beginning...

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George Lucas and William Shakespeare Create ‘Strange Magic’

As the filmmaker who dreamed up Star Wars, George Lucas knows a thing or two about magical movie worlds and fun ideas for kids. For his latest film, he used Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as inspiration for a story of fairies, goblins and elves who battle over a potent love potion. Strange Magic is an animated movie full of magic, mystery, misadventures and music. Music, in fact, serves as...

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Los Angeles Events: Anne Frank Oratorio

L.A. High School Students Set Anne Frank Story To Music

One hundred twenty five students from Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in downtown Los Angeles have turned the moving story of holocaust victim Anne Frank into an hour-long musical composition that will debut in free performances Jan. 22 and 23 in the high school’s main auditorium. Under the guidance of singer Alice Kirwan Murray, lyricist Doug Cooney and composer Jonathan Beard of the Los Angeles Master...

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Wicked Emerald City TourEmma HuntonNick AdamaGina Beck

Wicked: Elphaba and Glinda Return to the Pantages to Charm Audiences of all Ages

The first time Wicked was in Los Angeles, my daughters were both in elementary school and I organized a mother-daughter day at the Hollywood Pantages with 11 other families. We moms still talk about that day with great fondness. During every mesmerizing set, we would look over at our little girls’ faces and see them spellbound. Our group walked out of the theater knowing we had not only just seen...

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The 12 Stages of Christmas: Six Nutcrackers – and Six That Aren’t

December is as packed with family-friendly theatrical productions as Santa’s sleigh is with presents. The most popular show this time of year is The Nutcracker and Southern California certainly is chock-full of opportunities to see it – some with an extra twist of fun. But there are a number of other festive shows that are also worth a look. Six Unique Nutcrackers Debbie Allen once again will serve up The...

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Hiro and Baymax form an unusual friendship in the new Disney film. ARTWORK COURTESY WALT DISNEY ANIMATION STUDIOS

‘Big Hero 6’ Offers Big Laughs and Big Action

The big Disney film Big Hero 6 is an imaginative action-comedy about a teenage boy, his group of misfit friends and an inflatable robot named Baymax who isn’t the big softie he looks to be. The movie, according to co-director Don Hall, is a mash-up of Disney’s humor and humanity and Marvel Comics’ superhero action adventures. If you aren’t familiar with the comic Big Hero 6, you aren’t alone. It’s...

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The Wallis

Wallis Annenberg Center Kicks Off Season of Family Entertainment

Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, the new Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is the first and only performing arts center in Beverly Hills. The venue, which opened its doors in October 2013, transformed a Beverly Hills city block into a vibrant new cultural destination in the heart of Los Angeles with two distinct, elegant buildings: the historic 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office, now called the Paula...

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A Sneak Peak At Fall Films

October’s films features a pair of protagonists – Alexander and Manolo – who aren’t having very good days. Alexander is the title character in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Inspired by the popular Judith Viorst book (which also was adapted into a 30-minute TV musical ) this live-action version, which Disney will release Oct. 10, involves a “no good, very bad day” experienced by Alexander’s...

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Local Boy Has a Key Role as The Boxtrolls Pop Up In Cinemas

The Boxtrolls is certainly a grown-up feat. The latest work from Laika Studios builds on the company’s previous films (Coraline and ParaNorman). Combining stop-action animation with CG technology, the studio created a visually stunning, darkly comic “hybrid” motion picture that was selected for screening at the prestigious Venice Film Festival. Based on a story in Alan Snow’s massive graphic novel “Here Be Monsters,” this Focus Features release tells a tale...

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Not Your Standard Fairy Tale Musical

Aladdin sings One Direction, Snow White covers Katy Perry’s “Firework” and the Sheriff of Nottingham goes Lady Gaga in the amusing musical mash-up that makes up the Princess And Pirates Sing-A-Long Concert. Running Fridays through Sundays through Aug. 10 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre (9820 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City;, this comical musical production is the latest theatrical creation of Lythgoe Family Productions, the folks behind the popular holiday...

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Shakespeare Square

A Midsummer’s Shakespeare

By Michael Berick For a man who died nearly 500 years ago, William Shakespeare remains a remarkably popular playwright. His work is staged constantly in Southern California and around the world. Summer is a particularly prime time to catch a Shakespeare play, and there are several outdoor productions that appear especially intriguing. The Independent Shakespeare Company ( has been doing interesting productions in Griffith Park’s Old Zoo since 2010, and...

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