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20-Plus Shows That'll Make Your Family Fall in Love With the Arts

Plan your autumn around this selection of Seattle-area shows, exhibits and more

Published on: August 29, 2017

aladdin
Photo:
Disney's Aladdin | Credit: Deen Van Meer

Keep culture in mind

When is art cultural appropriation? How can we tell the difference. Three ways to have this conversation with your kid.

Kids are back in school, and schedules are hectic with sports and homework. But odds are, there’s no art in that stack of school assignments. Even when schools offer art classes, experiencing the arts as a family adds a whole new dimension to an important, if often overlooked, element of education.

Expand your family’s horizons this season with our list of fall arts events near and far. (Of course, this just scratches the surface of the many fabulous offerings this fall, but we hope it’s somewhere to start!)

Note: Shows are organized by start date. Some have lengthy runs while others take place on one day only.

September

The Who & the What

ArtsWest, Seattle

Sept. 7–Oct. 1

In this play by Pulitzer Prize winner Ayad Akhtar, a brilliant Pakistani-American writer’s conservative family discovers her controversial manuscript about women in Islam, forcing everyone to confront the conflicts and contradictions that define their identities. $17–$38. Ages 14 and older.

Living Voices

Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Sept. 16 and 23, 2 and 3 p.m.

Living Voices uses a unique combination of video and live performance to allow audiences to discover history’s relevance to their lives. On Sept. 16, performers present “Island of Hope,” a story about a young immigrant held back on Ellis Island; on Sept. 23, “The New American” follows a young girl on her journey from the family farm in Ireland to citizenship in the U.S. Included with museum admission of $13.95–$19.95; ages 14 and younger free. 

Footloose the Musical

Tacoma Musical Playhouse, Tacoma

Sept. 22–Oct. 15

If your kids are fans of Guardians of the Galaxy, as mine are, they probably share Gamora’s curiosity about the ancient Earth legend called . . . Footloose, in which “a great hero, named Kevin Bacon, teaches an entire city full of people with sticks up their butts that dancing is the greatest thing there is.” Satisfy their curiosity with this Oscar- and Tony-nominated musical at TMP. $22–$31. Ages 6 and older. 

go dog go
Credit: Chris Bennion

Go, Dog. Go!

Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle

Sept. 28–Nov. 26

Despite its simplicity, even parents can look forward to seeing P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog. Go! on stage. This high-energy production introduces children ages 3 and older to the world of theater through color, sounds and heightened physicality. $22–$39. Ages 3 and older. 

Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat

Olympia Family Theater, Olympia

Sept. 29–Oct. 22

Children of all ages will delight in this faithful adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ classic picture book filled with mischievous humor and madcap style. Just hope that your living room isn’t the scene of rainy-day reenactments. $13–$19. All ages. 

bandaloop
Credit: Matt Haber

October

Bandaloop

Meany Center for the Performing Arts, Seattle

Oct. 5–7

Gravity-defying aerial dance group Bandaloop weaves dynamic physicality, intricate choreography and the art of climbing to turn the dance floor on its side. Meany Hall does not seat children younger than age 5, and the show time is 8 p.m., but older kids will love this performance, which some call death-defying but others call life-affirming. $35–$52. Ages 8 and older. 

Disney’s Aladdin

Paramount Theatre, Seattle

Oct. 12–29

This Broadway musical features all your favorite songs from the Disney film as well as new music for the stage by Alan Menken (Newsies) and Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast). Keep an eye out for actor Don Darryl Rivera, a hometown performer and Cornish grad who originated the role of Iago at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre. $29 and up. $37–$82. Ages 7 and older. 

I Never Saw Another Butterfly

Studio East Training for the Performing Arts, Kirkland

Oct. 13–29

Teaching theater Studio East challenges its cast of 8- to 19-year-old actors with this World War II story about children in the Terezin concentration camp. Centered around Raja, one of only about 100 children who survived Terezin (out of 15,000), and her family and friends, the play presents poems written by the children of Terezin set to music. $17–$19. Ages 9 and older. 

Red Kite, Brown Box

Edmonds Center for the Arts, Edmonds

Oct. 14, multiple show times

This unique multisensory experience welcomes youth on the autism spectrum into a world of wonder and innovation. Participants explore the world of Papa Nick in a space filled with cardboard boxes and simple props. This event is for children on the spectrum of all ages. Maximum 12 children (plus family) per performance; call box office to book. $10. All ages.

haunted
Credit: The Haunted Theatre

The Haunted Theatre

Tacoma City Ballet at Merlino Art Center, Tacoma

Oct. 20–29

Costumes are encouraged at this classically spooky, glow-in-the-dark Halloween tradition. Ballet is anything but precious as dancing skeletons entertain the whole family in a kid-friendly, hourlong show. $10. All ages. 

star wars
Credit: Deal Kalyan

One-Man Star Wars Trilogy

Northshore Performing Arts Center, Bothell

Oct. 21, 2 and 7:30 p.m.

Charles Ross single-handedly plays every Star Wars character and condenses the plots of the three original films into one hilarious 90-minute production, officially endorsed by Lucasfilm. Kids may never roll their eyes at their parents’ quoting along with the movie again. $20–$30. Ages 6 and older.

The Fluffy Tale of Adventure

SecondStory Repertory Theater for Young Audiences, Redmond

Oct. 21–Nov. 12

SecondStory premieres an original production by Kate Swenson titled The Fluffy Tale of Adventure, with music by John Allman. In Fluffy, a curious kid, a sheep and a squirrel-wolf hybrid find confidence in their new friendship. Using their unusual talents, they save the day, learning lessons about prejudice and tradition along the way. $6–$12. Ages 5 and older (Sunday shows are all ages). 

Anne of Green Gables

SecondStory Repertory, Redmond

Oct. 27–Nov. 19

Anne of Green Gables is a childhood favorite passed down through generations. SecondStory presents the musical adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s timeless classic, in which Anne Shirley’s endearing penchant for getting into scrapes will melt the hearts of audience members young and old. $24–$29. Ages 6 and older. 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: Theater for Young Audiences

Tacoma Musical Playhouse Family Theater, Tacoma

Oct. 28–Nov. 5

Based on Mark Twain’s famous novel set on the banks of the Mississippi River in 1840, this exuberant musical includes many of the novel’s most famous scenes. A reduced cast and running time, compared to the original Broadway play, earn it a G rating. $12–$15. Ages 4 and older. 

The Tortoise and the Hare

StoryBook Theater, multiple venues

Oct. 29–Nov. 26

Only the youngest viewers will be surprised by the ending to this familiar story, but everyone could use an occasional reminder that being yourself and trying your hardest is good enough. Enjoy this show at venues in Renton, Kirkland, Everett, Shoreline and Seattle. $15. Ages 3 and older. 

November

Alice in Wonderland

Lakewood Playhouse, Lakewood

Nov. 2–12

Join Alice in her curious adventures down the rabbit hole in Lakewood Playhouse’s annual Spotlight production, a show intended for all ages and performed by actors of all ages. Don’t be late — this adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic nonsense story has only nine performances. $15. All ages. 

newsies
Credit: Mark Kitaoka

Disney’s Newsies

Village Theatre, Issaquah 

Nov. 9–Dec. 31

Based on the cult Disney musical about the real-life newsboy strike of 1899, newspaper sellers make the headlines in this Tony Award–winning and Grammy-nominated musical. Expect a high-energy explosion of song, dance and theatricality from child performers. North Sound audiences will have their chance to see Newsies Jan. 5–28 at Village Theatre in Everett. $37–$82. 

Cirque-tacular’s Snowkus Pocus

Pantages Theater, Tacoma

Nov. 25, 3 p.m.

In a show combining circus, ballet and acrobatics, Snowkus Pocus tells the Alice in Wonderland–like story of young Brianna, stuck inside because of an approaching blizzard. Her imagination takes her on an enchanted journey to meet the North Wind, Jack Frost and the Snow Queen. $19–$49. All ages. 

Howl’s Moving Castle, A New Musical

Book-It Repertory Theatre, Seattle

Nov. 29–Dec. 30

The Witch of the Waste has transformed Sophie into an old woman. To break the enchantment, Sophie needs the help of a fire demon and the heartless wizard Howl. Whether you’ve read the book by Diana Wynne Jones or seen the Studio Ghibli animated movie, Sophie’s story about finding your own power is a delight. $25–$55. Ages 6 and older. (Book-It recommends ages 10+.)

abby williams hill
Credit: Tacoma Art Museum | Artist: Abby Williams Hill

6 Exhibits to Note

Casino: A Palimpsest

Frye Art Museum, Seattle • Through Oct. 29

The first solo museum exhibition of Seattle-based artist Storme Webber explores the confluence of First Nations and LGBTQ cultures, valorizing the submerged stories of marginalized peoples through a history of one of the oldest gay bars on the West Coast, the Casino in Pioneer Square. Free admission. 

In Search of the Lost History of Chinese Migrants and the Transcontinental Railroads

Tacoma Art Museum • Through Feb. 18, 2018

Local artist Zhi Lin uses his paintings, mixed-media constructions, and installations combining painting, video projection and sound to shine a light on the vital history of Chinese laborers in 19th-century America. 

Searching for Home

Bellevue Arts Museum • Sept. 22–March 25, 2018

Pakistani artist Humaira Abid’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States features personal narratives, stories and portraits of refugees in the Pacific Northwest with bold, symbolic wood sculptures and miniature paintings that explore themes of immigration, women and families. 

Cut Up/Cut Out and Itinerant Edens

Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue • Through Oct. 22 and Oct. 20–Feb. 11

This exhibit explores decorative piercing and cutting, an art form originated by Chinese women in the sixth century. Kids are sure to want to try this at home. Overlapping slightly with this exhibit is Walter McConnell: Itinerant Edens, which places life-size clay humans inside terrariums. 

No. Not Ever. and Changing Forms

Henry Art Gallery, Seattle • Through Oct. 1

Two current exhibits at the Henry Art Gallery use video for completely different purposes. No. Not Ever. is an audiovisual archive of interviews with Pacific Northwest activists who worked to stop white nationalism in their rural communities during the 1980s and 1990s. Changing Forms presents a comprehensive retrospective of the career of local artist Doris Totten Chase. Chase’s abstract and anti-narrative videos explore artistic agency, collaboration and feminist issues; kids will also enjoy the geometric shapes and bright colors. 

Promoting the West 

Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma • Through Oct. 15

Tacoma artist Abby Williams Hill was one of only a few female artists hired by the railroads. She traveled with her four children in tow, and was paid in train tickets rather than cash. (To spark family discussions, visit the concurrent Zhi Lin exhibit for a very different perspective on the railroads.) 

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