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Branson , Springfield , Independence , Kansas City , Columbia
Stage a Great Family Outing in Missouri
Author: Missouri Tourism
Seeking a memorable afternoon for the whole family? Skip the crowded cineplex and $8 tubs of popcorn and head to one of Missouri's excellent live theaters, where kids who typically watch stories unfold on-screen will be delighted by the costumes, sets and acting skills of the performers.

A classic tale comes to brilliant life Feb. 11-13 at Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts in Springfield. Disney's Beauty and the Beast, the award-winning Broadway musical version of the beloved 1991 film, wows all generations of theatergoers. Kids' jaws will drop as teapots talk, furniture whirls to life, and talented performers sing cherished Disney tunes.

 A Wild Goose Chase, performed Feb. 26 at the Puppetry Arts Institute in Independence, brings magic and mystery to the stage. Matt Sandbank, a master puppeteer, creates an enchanting and often hilarious universe with the help of a small group of shadow puppets, who take the form of everything from spaceships to dancing pants. (Yes, dancing pants.) Only 45 minutes long, A Wild Goose Chase is the perfect show for younger viewers – although the whole family will marvel at Sandbank's performance. Interactive verses and stories introduce kids to the power of poetry and narrative.

Mention How I Became a Pirate to any young (or young-at-heart) reader in your family, and expect to see plenty of grins. Melinda Long's fanciful, wonderful book, about a little boy who inadvertently becomes a pirate after building an impressive sandcastle, comes to the stage in Columbia. Theater Reaching Young People and Schools (or TRYPS, for short) performs a theatrical version of this imaginative picture book. Gather up all your favorite little pirates and attend one of two performances on March 19.

Older kids likely know Bridge to Terabithia as one of the best, most moving portraits of a friendship ever depicted in a book. The Coterie Theater in Kansas City brings the characters Leslie and Jesse to life in this unforgettable play, running through Feb. 27.

Want to sample from a vast buffet of theater? Look no further than the Hot Winter Fun Big Show Feb. 7 in Branson. The friendly folks in the Live Music Show Capital of the World know it's tough to choose from the town's many offerings. So, this annual event at Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater offers a variety of performances in one show: Smoke on the Mountain; Legends in Concert; Comedy Jamboree; Absolutely Patsy Cline; well, the list goes on and on.

 Juanita K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts
Juanita K. Hammons Hall, located on the campus of Missouri State University, is a state-of-the-art performing ...

 Puppetry Arts Institute
The Puppetry Art Institute is a full-service museum, theater and puppetry center which includes daily ...