OK, you've got a chance to spend some time with the eight-year-old in your life, and you need to choose some seasonal entertainment. Here's a quick survey of what's out there. (For details, see listings, pages 81 and 83.)
cinderella in muddy york
December 21-January 6, Tarragon Theatre Extra Space (30 Bridgman), 416-531-1827.
What: The Cinderella story gets transplanted to 1800s Upper Canada and performed with rod marionettes.
Rep: The Puppetmongers (siblings Ann and David Powell) have enchanted generations of viewers.
Why adults should care: There's a bit of history, sure, but fact is, the Powells are among the best puppeteers in the world.
SNOW WHITE AND THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Through January 6, Elgin Theatre (189 Yonge), 416-872-5555.What: Panto-style musical embraces and sends up the Snow White story.
Rep: Ross Petty (who usually gets to play the villains) has created a seasonal institution, and kids love being able to talk back to the actors.
Why adults should care: Petty always throws in some cute local references, and the cast -- including Stratford's Graham Abbey and Beauty And The Beast's Melissa Thomson -- is good.
December 16-30, Hummingbird Centre (1 Front East), 416-345-9595.What: Little girl receives toy nutcracker for Christmas, has violent dream involving mice, sees the toy become a prince and then experiences prepubescent ethnic fantasies.
Rep: It's the Christmas Carol of the ballet world. Untouchable, although a couple of films based on it bombed.
Why adults should care: The story's thin, but Tchaikovsky's music isn't. And Kudelka's new version is visually stunning.
DISNEYs JUNGLE ADVENTURES ON ICE
December 25-January 1, Air Canada Centre (40 Bay), 416-870-8000.What: Characters from Disney's jungle films (Tarzan, The Jungle Book and The Lion King) interconnect while wearing skates.
Rep: These things are hugely popular, and no wonder. They're essentially guaranteed Disney product tie-ins. Who cares if it's strange that all the animals are on a surface they'd never see in real life.
Why adults should care: Tarzan and Jane look pretty hot in the promo photos.