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Woodward Wonderland by Mosaic Youth Theatre in Detroit

After a year off, the Motor City show returns Dec. 12-15, 2013, bringing the city's favorite holiday and Christmas traditions to life for kids of all ages

It's officially beginning to look a lot like the holidays in Detroit – with the grand return of Woodward Wonderland, the revue performed by Mosaic Youth Theatre. It's playing Dec. 12-15, 2013, at the Detroit Film Theatre, inside the Detroit Institute of Arts.

A fan favorite since 2006, this dynamic stage show is a like a stocking stuffed with goodies – all with distinct Detroit flavor. About 70 talented kids, ages 12-18, from all over the region deliver a variety of vignettes, songs and dance numbers, making for a nostalgic and high-spirited theater treat for families.

Bonus: This year's run includes a new, earlier, family-friendly 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Dec. 14. Arrive at 1 p.m. to meet Santa in the lobby; he'll be listening to wish lists and handing out candy canes (bring your cameras/smartphones for photo ops!). On this day, military families also get a big discount with current military ID cards: four tickets for $25.

"This is a return to this tradition that we're working to create," says Courtney Burkette, director of Mosaic's theater programs (and of Woodward Wonderland; last year, it took a break for a special production honoring Mosaic's 20th anniversary). "There's a lot of history in this production. We talk a lot about not just the holidays in general – but in Detroit specifically."

Like "the real Santa Claus" many long-time Detroiters remember visiting up on the 12th floor "Toyland" of the old J.L. Hudson's shopping building. Or the Thanksgiving parade incident of 1990, when Chilly Willy, a popular penguin float, escaped and flew 25 miles before plopping in Lake St. Clair.

Think of it as a cool way to introduce your kids to the city's storied holiday past. "It's nice to share those things with my son," says Burkette, who has a 7-year-old, "that he'll never see – to keep those traditions alive."

Other highlights include a medley of Motown Christmas songs and a side-splitting scene featuring a funny character trying to set up a nativity scene at a church – and moving moments, like "Home for the Holidays," where a family celebrating the holidays gets a surprise visit from a serviceman from overseas.

The show runs 90 minutes with no intermission, Burkette notes, so kids must be at least 5 years old to attend (and able to sit to watch the show). Times are as follows:

  • Thursday, Dec. 12: 10 a.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 13: 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 14: 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 15: 4 p.m.

Tickets are $24/general and $16/students. Though some are usually available at the door, Mosaic suggests buying in advance – and getting there early for a good view (it's general seating).

For more information about the 2013 production of Woodward Wonderland by Mosaic Youth Theatre in Detroit, check out the Metro Parent listing.

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