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Cos­tumed sto­ry­tellers can be a hit with younger chil­dren. The Broad­waykids & Com­pany School of Per­form­ing Arts in Niantic hosts birth­day par­ties which in­clude an hour of fun learn­ing— singing, danc­ing and/or act­ing that ac­com­pa­nies the party’s theme. And you can ar­range for Cin­derella or Belle (FromDis­ney’s “Beauty and The Beast”) to make an ap­pear­ance. The cost is around $200 for up to 15 chil­dren, and fam­i­lies bring the re­fresh­ments, pa­per goods and dec­o­ra­tions.

Themes from Broad­way in­clude “Wicked,” “Hairspray,” and “The Lion King,” and the com­pany of­fers gen­eral themes as well: princesses and pi­rates, 50’s Sock Hop, Hip Hop, Amer­i­can Girl, Dress Up Tea Par­ties and oth­ers. Visit www.broad­waykid­sand­com­ to learn more.

The Con­necti­cut Sto­ry­telling Cen­ter in New Lon­don pro­vides a directory of lo­cal sto­ry­tellers on­line at www.connsto­rycen­ There you’ll find a di­ver­sity of pub­lished au­thors, mu­si­cians, award-win­ning artists and voice ac­tors. There are folks who spe­cial­ize in hu­mor, po­etry, leg­ends and myths, science, games and pup­petry; as well as African, AfricanAmer­i­can, Cuban, Kur­dish, Jewish and Ir­ish folk­tales.

One note: Not ev­ery sto­ry­teller listed is avail­able for par­ties so check the artist’s full pro­file be­fore you make a call.

Some sites pro­vide pa­per goods, cut­lery and small gifts for your guests. Find out in ad­vance what your party pack­age in­cludes. Also find out how many par­ents/su­per­vi­sors the site ex­pects you to have on hand. Some area fire laws pro­hibit the light­ing of in­door can­dles in th­ese venues, so plan ac­cord­ingly. And tell your guests to wear com­fort­able cloth­ing.

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