In the midst of your family’s hectic fall schedule, don’t forget to block out some time for activities that reconnect all of you. Chief among those are the arts: musicals that bring new songs, stories and laughs into your household; dance performances that surprise and delight; dramas that open your kids’ eyes to new questions and cultures. We’ve culled through our region’s fine offerings this fall and chosen 23 family favorites. Find a full schedule at parentmap.com/fallarts.
Note: We don’t cover holiday arts in this story; check parentmap.com in November for details on super seasonal shows such as the new Balanchine Nutcracker at Pacific Northwest Ballet and The Sound of Music at The 5th Avenue Theatre.
September family arts around Seattle
SecondStory Repertory, Redmond
Lots of jokes and silly antics should make this new adaptation of the classic tale a delight for kids. Amid lively songs and dances, follow how Cinderella sidesteps her wicked stepfamily and makes it to the ball. Ages 5 and older; Sunday shows are all ages. $10; $5 for ages 1–3 for all-ages shows on Sundays.
The Paramount Theatre, Seattle
Based on Harold Gray’s comic strip Little Orphan Annie from the 1920s, the Tony Award–winning musical returns to the Paramount in a production directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin (who’s from Seattle!) and choreographed by Liza Gennaro. Expect a standout cast — Issie Swickle as Annie, Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan, and Gilgamesh Taggett as Daddy Warbucks — and the unforgettable musical numbers your kids will soon know by heart. Ages 5 and older. $34 and up.
Seattle Symphony Piano Competition
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
Who will win? Bring your aspiring musicians to this high-drama inaugural event, where nine up-and-coming pianists from around the world play their hearts out for a $10,000 title and a chance to perform on opening night with the Seattle Symphony. Watch any of the three rounds of competition (recital, semifinal and a finals round) and vote for the audience-favorite winner. Ages 8 and older. First two rounds free, final round $15.
Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions with the Seattle Symphony
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
Tuesday, Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m.
The Seattle Symphony explores the intersection between musical creativity and video games in this one-of-a-kind multimedia concert that presents new arrangements with carefully timed visuals from recent and classic Pokémon video games. And yes, there will be a chance for gamers to catch, battle and trade from their favorite games. Ages 7 and older. $36 and up.
Hot Air premiere by Recess Monkey
Northwest Film Forum, Seattle
Sunday, Sept. 20, 5 p.m.
They’re schoolteachers, nationally acclaimed musicians and now, film stars. Join kindie rock band Recess Monkey for the big-screen premiere of its first film, Hot Air, a 35-minute animated story about an unlikely entry into the Windybrook Air Race with a homespun balloon. Before the screening, the band will play songs from the Hot Air CD for a high-energy dance party. All ages. $6–$11.
Caspar Babypants Baby Beatles CD release parties
Town Hall Seattle
Sept. 26, 27, 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.
Beatles. Caspar Babypants. Free concerts (for kids, $5 for adults). What else do you need to know? Our region's premier kindie rocker is releasing another album of Beatles covers and we couldn't be happier. Expect new renditions of classics like “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “With a Little Help from My Friends,” “Hey Jude,” and other popular hits, “Baby You’re a Rich Man.” All ages. Free–$5.
October family arts around Seattle
Mercy Watson to the Rescue
Olympia Family Theater
Oct. 9–Nov. 1
Hop on for the wild adventures of wonderful Mercy Watson, a pig with a love for buttered toast. Based on the popular book series by Kate DiCamillo, this play follows Mercy’s pursuit of toast and the mischief she makes, all to the loving vexation of her family. All ages. $13–$19.
The Secret Garden
Book-It Repertory Theatre, Seattle
Saturday, Oct. 10, 11 a.m.
Take your kids on a multidimensional journey through the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic at one of Book-It’s affordable Family Fun Days. The classic story about two children breathing life back into an unkempt garden — and uncovering its mysteries — is explored through crafts, workshops and a mini performance. Grades K–8 with families. $10.
Jack and the Beanstalk
Thistle Theatre, multiple locations
Magic multiplies in Thistle Theatre’s bunraku puppet version of the Old English tale about an enchanted beanstalk that grows next to the house of a boy named Jack. Expect a cyclops, a golden hen, a magic singing harp, a green fairy and a fool. Ages 3 and older. $10.
Seattle Children’s Festival
Fisher Pavilion, Seattle Center
Sunday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Grab your passport and explore the world at Northwest Folklife Festival’s second annual Seattle Children’s Festival, which spotlights our region’s top cultural dance and music groups — from capoeira to clogging to tap — in a program that also includes dozens of engaging educational and hands-on programs (writing, Afro-Cuban dance, origami). All ages. Free.
Lá Dentro da Mata
Kirkland Performance Center
Sunday, Oct. 11, 3 p.m.
A boy named Poti, his monkey pal and their new robot friend learn about cooperation and caring as they adventure into the wilds of the Amazon. This show features the rhythms, folklore and traditions of Brazil, and is based on the book by Brazilian author Pablo Maurutto. Although performed in Portuguese, the story should be easily followed by anyone. All ages. $11.
Pantages Theater, Tacoma
Thursday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m.
The Russian Grand Ballet showcases its brightest star dancers in a performance of the famous ballet, with its soaring Tchaikovsky score and choreography by Marius Petipa. The company’s national tour includes stops in Yakima and Spokane as well. Ages 5 and older. $29–$85.
Studio East Training for the Performing Arts, Kirkland
Oct. 16–Nov. 1
This delightful musical reinterpretation of The Ugly Duckling follows one different little dude who feels lonely and sets out to find himself. Relying on his wits, he outsmarts a predator and eventually learns that being unique is quite all right. Ages 4 and older. $16.
The Witch in Which Wood?
Outdoor location TBD, Mercer Island
Youth Theatre Northwest invites younger children to this interactive, decidedly unhaunted outdoor experience, where guides lead attendees through the forest, encountering characters and solving problems together. Costumes encouraged. Ages 3 and older. $13; accompanying adults and babes in arms free.
Edmonds Center for the Arts
Saturday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m. (performance), 12:30 p.m. (dance party)
Master teaching artist Paige Hernandez leads a dance-along, bilingual performance about a young hip-hop fan named Yelia who learns another dance tradition — salsa — when she visits her grandmother in Cuba. Join the community dance party afterward, where Hernandez will teach routines simple enough for all ages. Ages 3 and older. Performance $10; dance party free.
The Pearl Fishers
Seattle Opera, McCaw Hall, Seattle
Oct. 17–31; Oct. 18 is Family Day
Opera not your family’s thing? Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers may change your tune. By the composer who wrote Carmen, the opera boasts an enchanting story (two Sri Lankan fishermen pursue a priestess with a mysterious past), an electric score that is accessible for opera newbies, an extraordinary dance number and a larger-than-life set (think Disney movie) by famous designer Zandra Rhodes. Ages 8 and older. $25 and up; one $15 child ticket for each paying adult on Family Day.
Hallows in the Cathedral: Moonshadow
Saint Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle
Head to this deliciously spooky concert by the Seattle Women’s Chorus, which sings moon-inspired choral music in the perfect setting for Halloween — the grandness of Saint Mark’s Cathedral. All ages. Check website for prices.
Phantom of the Orchestra with Magic Circle Mime Co.
Saturday, October 31, 11 a.m.
Seattle Symphony kicks off a brand-new family concert series (titled King FM Family Concerts, a makeover of its Discover Music series) with this ghostly Halloween concert. Pre- and post-concert activities will be carnival like, with an instrument petting zoo, game booths, crafts booths, costume parade, food, and prizes, perhaps even a costume parade. The concert is just spooky enough: The Maestro and his frightened assistant must use the power of a silver baton to control a ghoulish orchestra inspired by The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Wear your costume! All ages.
November family arts around Seattle
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Seattle Children’s Theatre
Nov. 5–Dec. 27
A flying car, two motherless children, an inventor dad and a mission to rescue kidnapped children from an island named Vulgaria: Who can resist the winning elements of the hit musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which debuted as an MGM film in 1965? Adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams, SCT’s production promises sets that should be as “fantasmagorical” as the winged car itself, as well as musical numbers that will keep your family singing through the dark months. Ages 6 and older. $29 and up.
My Fair Lady
Village Theatre, Issaquah
Nov. 5–Jan. 3 (Jan. 8–31 at Village Theatre, Everett)
A professor tries to teach a cockney flower seller to speak properly in this beloved Broadway musical, featuring popular songs such as “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Find out where the rain in Spain falls, and what happens to the professor and the flower girl, as the Village Theatre stages the show in grand fashion. Ages 8 and older. $38–$70.
Golden Dragon Acrobats
Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Olympia
Saturday, Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m.
Jaw-dropping moments proceed one after the other in this variety show of balance, strength, acrobatics, contortions, dance and more, all combined with ancient and modern music, costumes and theatrics that make for an enthralling experience. All ages. $11–$42.
Disney on Ice: Frozen
ShoWare Center, Kent, Nov. 11–16
Xfinity Arena, Everett, Nov. 18–22
Has there ever been a more perfect tale to tell on ice? Frozen fans of all ages get caught up in the magic, teamwork, betrayal, friendship and true love of the blockbuster movie, presented live. Beloved characters Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf sing your favorites amid dazzling skating and special effects. All ages. $30–$100; younger than 2 free.
Global Dance Party
The Moore Theatre, Seattle
Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.
This annual high-energy showcase of cultural and contemporary dance and music features young, highly talented musicians and dancers from the Northwest who perform wide-ranging selections that reflect Seattle’s cultural diversity, from hip-hop to Mexican, Filipino and African. All ages. $10. stgpresents.org
Bellevue Youth Theatre
This beloved Ukrainian folktale, made famous by children’s author and illustrator Jan Brett, follows what happens to a child’s mitten lost in the snow. Bellevue Youth Theatre brings the magic of the forest and its animal inhabitants to life on stage at its new theater at Crossroads. All ages. $5–$12.
Chris Perondi’s Stunt Dog Experience
Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Olympia, Nov. 22
Pantages Theater, Tacoma, Nov. 28
Kirkland Performance Center, Nov. 29
This action-packed stage show features highly skilled former shelter dogs who perform amazing tricks, athletic feats, stunts and pranks. All ages. $10–$29.
More fall arts fun
Backstage tours: Take your budding thespians on one of our region’s free theater tours, such as Tacoma Musical Playhouse’s free “Behind the Curtain” tours associated with each production (tmp.org); The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Monday tours of its historic theater; or The Paramount Theatre’s first Saturday backstage tours.
Family-friendly improv: Sign up for a night of clean laughs at Split Second Improv, a monthly family show on the first Saturday of every month at Redmond’s SecondStory Hideaway. Two teams compete against each other for your laughs; shows are built from audience suggestions.
Exhibits that make you think: Fall is a great time for museum-hopping. Take an afternoon to explore Martin Creed’s stunning, walk-through balloon installation Work No. 360: Half the air in a given space at the Henry Art Gallery, up until Sept. 27; Nathan Vincent’s Let’s Play War!, a playful/provocative exhibit of life-size soldier figures made of yarn, showing at Bellevue Arts Museum until Oct. 18; or, for younger kids, Titanoboa: Monster Snake, a life-size replica of the world’s largest snake, on display at the Burke Museum until Nov. 15. Most local museums have free days at least once a month; check parentmap.com/museumsfree.