pick of the week:

We’ve got some pretty talented young people in the Twin Cities, and have had for years. A case in point is the SteppingStone Theatre for Youth Development, which is marking its 30th anniversary season with a staging of “Beauty and the Beast Jr.,” an abridged version (just 65 minutes for peewee attention spans) of the popular stage rendition of the Academy Award-winning animated movie. The show runs through Dec. 22, with morning, afternoon and evening performances. Tickets are $12 (children and seniors) and $16. The theater is at 55 N. Victoria St., St. Paul. The theater’s website also includes a study guide for educators and parents who want to discuss the show with their kids afterward. (steppingstonetheatre.org)


The write stuff: Can you spare five minutes to help a youngster with cancer feel better? Minnesota publisher I See Me is teaming up with the Children’s Cancer Research Fund to sponsor a letter-writing campaign to lift the spirits of sick kids. All you need to do is go to iseeme.com/letters, where you’ll find a form to fill out along with some sample letters in case you need some inspiration. We’re not talking “War and Peace” here; something short, sweet and uplifting is perfect.

recommended reading: The winners of the annual “Oh, You Turkey!” art contest will be revealed in Saturday’s Variety. Check out the handiwork of the Picassos of tomorrow.