Welcome to our third annual preview of the arts scene for families, and
our first for South King, Pierce, Kitsap and Thurston counties. There's
a sense of anticipation at this time of year, as our region's theater
and other performance companies launch brand-new seasons of stellar
You'll find a range of options here, from performances that you can
attend at the last minute -- without digging too deeply into your bank
account -- to big-ticket productions that require a bigger outlay of
time and cash. Some are located very close to home; others take place
at regional venues that are considered some of the country's best. And
since families with kids of all ages want to experience quality live
entertainment, you'll find shows for tots listed alongside fare
suitable for tweens and teens.
So page through our guide, make your picks and count the reasons to let summer go with a smile.
Tacoma's Broadway Center
for the Performing Arts presents family performances at the Pantages
Theater beginning in January. Missoula Children's Theatre's "Beauty Lou
and the Country Beast" (Jan. 27, $11-$18) features performances by 50
local children in grades 1-12, followed by the amazing acrobatic and
juggling feats of The Shanghai Acrobats (Jan. 28, $22-$33). Other
offerings include "Little Bear in the Enchanted Wood" (Feb. 3,
$13-$22), based on the books by Else Minarik, "Berenstain Bears on
Stage!" (March 28, $11-$18) and "Out of the Mist... a Dragon" (May 5,
$11-$18), a shadow puppet performance of a Japanese tale. For tickets
and more information, visit www.broadwaycenter.org.
The Tacoma Little Theatre's
productions are more suitable for adult audiences, but its season
includes a holiday performance of "The Lion, The Witch and the
Wardrobe" (Nov. 17-Dec.10), adapted from the C.W. Lewis novel by Joseph
Robinette. Buy tickets by calling 253-272-2281 or by visiting www.tacomalittletheatre.com.
The Tacoma Actors Guild's
new season features two plays that families with older children will
enjoy: "The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge" (Nov. 27-Dec. 17), which catches
up with a possibly backsliding Scrooge a year after his Christmas
transformation, and a hip hop "Romeo and Juliet" (March 29-April 15),
with sets by the outstanding designer Carey Wong. Tickets are $15-$28;
to purchase, call 253-272-2145 or visit www.tacomaactorsguild.org.
2006-07 season begins with Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot mystery
"Black Coffee" (Sept. 8-Oct. 1), followed by Thorton Wilder's Americana
classic "Our Town" (Oct. 20-Nov. 12). Families with smaller kids will
enjoy "Seussical" (Dec. 8-24), the sweet and silly musical packed with
favorite Seuss characters. "The Diary of Anne Frank" (Feb. 9-March 4)
is a new adaptation of the story of the young girl who hid from the
Nazis with her family and friends. Tickets are $12-$20, and can be
purchased by calling 253-588-0042. Visit www.lakewoodplayhouse.com for more information.
The City of Kent's Spotlight Series'
all-ages offerings include Magical Strings' 20th Annual Celtic Yuletide
Concert (Dec. 10, family pack $52), a performance by the astonishing
Peking Acrobats (Jan. 12, family pack $85), "The Pied Piper" with
Missoula Children's Theatre (March 10, $5) and "Animalia" (April 7,
family pack $30) by Hobey Ford's Golden Rod Puppets. Performances are
held at locations in Kent, Covington and Renton. To purchase tickets,
call 253-856-5050 or visit www.ci.kent.wa.us/artsentertainment.
Federal Way's Knutzen Family Theatre
kicks off its season of family friendly performances with "Little Red
Riding Hood" (Sept. 16, $8) by puppet company Thistle Theatre, which
employs a traditional Japanese style of puppetry called Bunraku. Next,
StoryBook Theater presents "The Frog Prince" (Oct. 28, $8), an original
comedy based on the fairy tale. During the holidays, Centerstage
Theatre presents "A Christmas Carol" (Nov. 25-Dec. 23, $8-$25) and
Brothers from Different Mothers (Jan. 27, $8-$12) entertain with their
comedic juggling routine. StoryBook Theater is back in the spring with
"The Little Mermaid" (May 6, $8), followed by Thistle Theatre's
performance of Mexican folktale "Brother Coyote and Sister Fox" (June
9, $8). For tickets and more information, call 253-835-2020 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com.
Bremerton's Admiral Theatre
offers children's performances through its Stages for All Ages! Family
Series, including "Franklin the Turtle" (Dec. 13, $10), a live
adaptation of the popular cartoon; Western music group Riders in the
Sky (Jan. 20, $18-$25); "Little Bear in the Enchanted Wood" (Feb. 5,
$15), an adventure featuring the inquisitive bear and his friends;
magician and juggler The Great Kaplan (Feb. 17, $8-$14) and "Berenstain
Bears Live on Stage!" (March 31, $12), a musical written by the Jan and
Stan Berenstain and performed by the Omaha Theater Company for Young
People. For tickets, call 360-373-6743, or visit http://admiraltheatre.org for more information.
Poulsbo's Jewel Box Theatre
kicks off its 2006-07 children's season with a magic show by Joey Pipia
(Sept. 23), followed by Snapdragon Puppets' rodent-themed takeoff on
the holiday classic, "The Mousecracker" (Nov. 25). "The Wolf's Tale"
(Feb. 10), a play performed by Last Leaf Productions, is the last
offering of the winter. Spring shows includes Snapdragon Puppets with
"Puss in Boots" (April 21), "Cinderella, the Chinese Version" by Last
Leaf Productions (June 23) and Snapdragon Puppets' "Jack and the
Beanstalk" (July 28). Tickets to all shows are $7 and are sold at the
door, but reservations are suggested. Call 360-779-9688 or visit www.jewelboxpoulsbo.org for more information.
Seattle Children's Theatre,
one of the best-regarded children's theaters in the nation, presents
four world premiere productions in 2006-07. The season kicks off with
"Harriet's Halloween Candy," (Sept. 22-Nov. 12, ages 5 and up), a
musical based on the book by Nancy Carlson. "Jason and the Golden
Fleece" (Oct. 13-Nov. 26, ages 10 and up) is an adaptation by John
Olive, the playwright whose previous adaptations for SCT include "The
True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle." The company's holiday play, "The
Sorcerer's Apprentice" (Dec. 1-Jan. 27, ages 6 and up), is a
world-premiere adaptation of the original Greek tale, followed by a
world-premiere adaptation of the Margaret Wise Brown classic,
"Goodnight Moon" (Jan. 12-March 10, ages 4 and up). "Afternoon of the
Elves" (Feb. 9-March 25, ages 8 and up) is a reprise of the play that
opened SCT's inaugural season in the Charlotte Martin Theatre in 1993.
Local playwright Bret Fetzer's "Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks
Like" (March 23-May 12, ages 5 and up), makes use of SCT's signature
puppetry. "Addy: An American Girl Story" (April 13-June 17, ages 8 and
up), by local playwright Cheryl L. West, looks at plantation life for a
mother and daughter who flee slavery in 1864. Single tickets are
$16-$32. To purchase, call 206-441-4488 or visit www.sct.org.
Seattle Theatre Group
offers a number of family performances at The Paramount Theatre and The
Moore Theatre in Seattle. The Tots & Tykes Family Series includes
"Dorothy the Dinosaur's Dance Party" (Dec. 22-23, 2006), featuring
characters from the Wiggles crew; kids' glam rock band The Doodlebops
(Feb. 10) and musical duo Trout Fishing in America (March 10).
Subscriptions are $66. The Youth Family Series kicks off with comedy
classical trio Pluck (March 15-18), followed by contortionists and
aerialists in Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy (April 27-18) and Marc Salem
in "Mind Games" (May 17-19), an exploration of non-verbal
communication. Subscriptions are $95. Patrons can also build their own
series, of three or more shows each, according to their families'
interests. Other performances in the lineup include Boys Choir of
Harlem (Nov. 29, $35.50) and the darling of the kiddie rocker set, Dan
Zanes & Friends (April 14, $19.50). For information about
subscription options and ticket purchases, call 206-292-ARTS or visit www.theparamount.com.
wildly popular Tiny Tots! and Discover Music! series introduce kids
from birth to age 12 to symphonic music in a relaxed setting at
Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. The interactive, playful Tiny Tots!
is geared to kids from birth through age 5. Singer/educator duo
Identical Harmony leads kids through five different concerts, each of
which focuses on a major composer of symphonic music. Discover Music!
is designed for ages 5-12, and families can choose from one of two
Saturday morning series, which include five themed concerts from
October-May. To purchase tickets, call the ticket office at
206-215-4747 or visit www.seattlesymphony.org.
Kris Collingridge is Out & About editor at ParentMap and the mother of a first- and sixth-grader.