Family Ties: Broadway time, yo-yo fun and more

It's like a family trip to Broadway  - without leaving town.

Royal City Musical Theatre is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year by staging the ultimate in family musicals: Annie.

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The beloved tale of the red-haired orphan, starring Julia MacLean in the title role, takes to the stage at the Massey Theatre from April 10 to 26.

The show also stars Steve Maddock as Daddy Warbucks and Caitlin Clugston as Miss Hannigan, with Mike Kovac as Rooster, Laura McNaught as Lily, R.G. Miller as Bert Healy / Roosevelt and New West's own Cassady Ranford as Grace.

There's also a host of talented young folks aboard as the orphans: Avril Brigden, Aubrey Maddock, Lucy Gill, Nathalie Joyal, Jaime MacLean, Taylor Robinson, Maya Schwartz-Dardick and Sydney Waack.

There's even a special Family Fun Day planned for this weekend, at the Sunday, April 13 matinee show - including a barbecue and face painting starting at 1 p.m. For that event, you can buy two adult tickets and get two seniors' or children's tickets for free.

Tickets are available at or by calling the Massey box office at 604-521-5050.

Check out for all the details.



Hands up if you had a yo-yo when you were a kid.

Now keep your hand up if you wouldn't have the foggiest clue how to use the thing today.

If your hand is still up - or, for that matter, even if you're the world's greatest yo-yo expert - then this one's for you.

The Vancouver Yo-Yo Club meets regularly on Saturdays at River Market.

It's a free, all-ages, all-skill-levels gathering from 1 to 4 p.m., and everyone is welcome to drop in.

"People are happy to teach and share, so bring friends!" says an invitation on the group's website.

The group meets either under the escalators or upstairs next to the entrance to the Vancouver Circus School.

Weather permitting, they might also move outside, so anyone who's interested in dropping in is encouraged to check out the Facebook page at or email

Check out to find out all about the club.



And while you're in the neighbourhood, why not run away to join the circus?

Actually, you don't really have to run far, since Vancouver Circus School is upstairs at River Market.

The school offers special drop-in classes for those aged six and up on farmers' market Saturdays - the next one is scheduled for Saturday, April 19.

The $10 drop-in class runs from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m., and each class will introduce participants to something different about the circus, from swinging trapeze to juggling skills to trampoline.

Registration opens at 10 a.m. at the circus school.

Check out and click on the Drop-in Classes tab to find out more about drop-ins.





Thanks to everyone who offered up feedback on my recent column about kid-friendly eats in the city. It's good to know there are so many parents out there checking out the local food scene!

(If you missed the column in the March 28 print edition, you can find it online.)

I've received one more suggestion I thought I should add to the list ... Taverna Greka.

Reader Karin McSorley emailed to let me know that the Columbia Street eatery is her favourite.

"Always ready to adjust their menu to make everyone happy," she wrote. "So friendly that they remember names. Great atmosphere and the best food. Love this place!"

(Not to mention, from personal experience, they do a mean moussaka.)

So there you go. Yet another suggestion for eating out with your family.




And since I had so much fun finding out where you like to eat, here's my next question for all you parents: Where do you like to play?

What are the best places to play for kids in New West? What's best for toddlers? For preschoolers? For young elementary students? For middle schoolers?

Do you have indoor favourites? Outdoor favourites? Parks? Clubs? Organized groups?

Send me all your ideas. I'll feature a roundup of places to play in an upcoming column.

Shoot me an email at, or find me on Twitter, @juliemaclellan.



Do you have an item of interest to local families? Send Family Ties ideas to Julie,

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