Children's theater will disregard the social injustices of post-Napoleonic France no longer. Greasepaint Youtheatre's all-student cast is tackling one of musical theater's most beloved - and most sophisticated - sagas. Adapted for school-age actors, Les Misérables, School Edition retains the original production's plot and songs, including "Castle on a Cloud," "Master of the House" and "Do You Hear the People Sing?" Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, Les Mis recounts the adventures of Jean Valjean as he rebuilds his life after serving a 19-year sentence for bread theft. (Talk about your crusty judges!) Director Stephanie Likes, who played Eponine and Cosette in the national and Broadway companies of Les Misérables, brings her expertise to the production, which opens Friday, April 11, at Scottsdale's Stagebrush Theatre, 7020 East Second Street. Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances continue through April 27. Tickets are $15; call 480-990-7405.- Jill Koch
South Mountain Park invites children young and old to meet and learn about some of Arizona's native animals from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 11. This unique opportunity is presented by the Phoenix Zoo, with experts providing information and fielding questions -- the well-behaved may even get a chance to handle the animals. A craft activity for children will augment the fun; snacks and beverages also will be available. Let your little animal loose to meet Arizona's at South Mountain Park Educational Center, 10409 South Central. Admission is $5.50, children 13 and younger are free. Registration is required; call 602-495-0222. - Eric Schandel
Break It Down: Grammer Time
If children were bulls, Red Grammer would be a dead man. His signature red tee shirt isn't the only draw for kids; his music draws them as well. Grammer is the former front man for Grammy-nominated folk trio The Limeliters. After years playing the club scene, Grammer and his wife released an album for children. He's since become something of a children's idol and has spread his message of peace, love and tolerance around the world -- on Showtime, PBS, NBC, CBS and Nickelodeon, for instance. Share a moment of calm with your children this weekend, and let music bring you news of another world – the world of tolerance.
Red Grammer performs at 7 p.m. Friday, April 11, at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Tickets are $10, $14 and $16; children 12 and younger pay half-price. Call 480-782-2680 or see www.chandlercenter.org. -– Maidi Terry