9 Boston-area shows your kids will love this season

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical" will play at the Shubert Theatre Dec. 14-17. –Jesse Ashton Photography

From holiday musicals to improv comedy to a popular fairy tale starring marionette puppets, there’s plenty of opportunities for parents to take kids to live performances this season. Ahead, discover nine kid-friendly shows taking place in the Boston area.

The classic Christmas story follows the adventures of young Clara after she receives a nutcracker from her godfather on Christmas Eve. The gift sparks a magical dancing adventure when the nutcracker turns into a prince, battles the Mouse King, and leads Clara to the Land of Sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy rewards them with dazzling dances set to the music of Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. All children must have seats, and kids under the age of 2 are not allowed into the two-hour performance. (Nov. 24-Dec. 31; Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston; tickets start at $35; tickets available here)

Elf the Musical

This musical, based on the 2003 movie Elf starring Will Ferrell, follows a too-big, bumbling elf named Buddy on a journey to find his birth father in New York City. Buddy, who is unaware that he’s human, became an elf at the North Pole after mistakenly crawling into Santa’s gift bag as a young orphan. Santa Claus, played by George Wendt, grants Buddy permission to journey to the city, where the elf learns his true identity. (Nov. 28-Dec. 10; Boch Center Wang Theatre, 270 Tremont St., Boston; tickets start at $37.50; tickets available here

Boston Children’s Chorus Winter Concert

Members of the Boston Children’s Chorus — about 300 of them ages 7 to 18 — will sing “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” “Walking in the Air,” and “Ha’Neirot Ha’Lalu,” among other tunes, during this festive winter concert called “Fireplace Fables” at Old South Church. “The idea behind it is we’re sort of weaving together stories of different winter and holiday traditions,” said chorus program manager Jana Hieber. (Dec. 9 and Dec. 10, Old South Church, 645 Boylston St.; $12 to $15; tickets available here)

The Boston Children’s Chorus performing during a previous winter concert. —Boston Children's Chorus

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Santa’s most famous reindeer takes the stage during this live adaptation of the 1964 stop-motion classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. When Rudolph’s red nose makes him feel different, he leaves home in search of a place where he belongs. He makes new friends in fellow misfits Hermey, the elf who wants to be a dentist, and Yukon Cornelius, a prospector obsessed with silver and gold, and they visit the Island of Misfit Toys and battle the Abominable Snow Monster. (Dec. 14-17, with an open captioned performance with an ASL interpreter for the hearing impaired on Dec. 17; Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont St., Boston; tickets start at $38; tickets available here)

Charlotte’s Web

The American Repertory Theater at Harvard University is bringing Charlotte’s Web, the beloved children’s book by E.B. White, to life at the Loeb Drama Center in Cambridge. Watch Charlotte the spider save her friend Wilbur the pig from a terrible fate on the Arable family farm. (Dec. 17-Jan. 7, with a sensory-friendly performance on Dec. 29; Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge; $20; tickets available here)

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

This hip-hop version of the classic tale replaces ballet with break dancing and features a dozen dancers, an onstage DJ, and an electric violinist. The story is moved to New Year’s Eve, on which young Maria-Clara is kidnapped by a gang wearing mouse ears and rescued by a nut cart owner, her nutcracker prince. Drosselmeyer is a street musician with the powers of time travel, who sends Maria-Clara and the nutcracker to an ’80s nightclub in Brooklyn where Maria-Clara’s parents first met — The Land of Sweets. At the nightclub, dancers perform street variations of the original show’s dances. Special guest MC Kurtis Blow raps the introduction of the show, which is for the whole family. (Dec. 21-23, Shubert Theatre, 265 Tremont St.; tickets start at $25; tickets available here)

Hansel and Gretel

This classic German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm is brought to life using marionette puppets. The National Marionette Theatre, one of the oldest continually running marionette companies in America, will perform the story about a brother and sister lost in the woods who are kidnapped by an evil witch. The show, geared toward children ages 5 and up, uses scrolling scenery and the music of Engelbert Humperdinck. (Dec. 21-24; Puppet Showplace Theatre, 32 Station St., Brookline; $15 for adults and children, $10 for members; tickets available here)

Family Show at ImprovBoston

Every Saturday at 4 p.m. throughout the year, ImprovBoston in Cambridge puts on a show just for families and children ages 4 to 12 that’s full of live music, audience participation, and plenty of comedy “made up on the spot,” according to the theater’s website. Kids are encouraged to get onstage and join the fun. (Saturdays; ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect St., Cambridge; $14 adults, $8 kids age 12 and under; tickets available here)
This rollicking show full of art, music, technology, and, of course, bald men in blue paint, is also family-friendly — parents can request booster seats and plugs for sensitive little ears, and theater staff is attentive to kids who need a break from the noise. Want to really see your child wide-eyed? Sit in the “poncho section,” where materials splash into the audience. After the show, your child can pose for pictures with a Blue Man in the lobby. The year-round show is recommended for kids age 3 and up. (Various dates; Charles Playhouse, 74 Warrenton St., Boston; tickets start at $55; tickets available here)