I say this all the time, but it bears repeating that we live in an area bursting at the seams with really great theater. To some, this is most apparent during the holidays when it’s difficult to decide between dancing snowflakes and or singing reindeer. but to me, the shows that hit the stage during the peak of summer are the most welcome. Except for maybe a cherry popsicle, there’s nothing better to beat the heat than slipping into a frosty theater when the weather outside is popping the cap on the century mark.
Scorching temperatures aside, you don’t need an excuse to introduce your kiddos to the fabulous theater going on here in the North Texas area. There are loads of shows going on right now with something for every age group and taste. Take a look at just a few productions we’ve hand-picked just for you.
Speaking of introducing the kids to the theater, it’s good to start small. That is, start when the kids are small and with a small theater. You’ll find no better place to do that than at a puppet show. They’re not too long, not too loud, and not too complicated. They’re just right for young theatergoers. Plus, everyone is understanding if you have to get up in the middle to go potty. Geppetto’s Theater & Workshop, located inside the Hilton Anatole, is just the place to experience a first-class puppet show. On stage now is the classic fairy tale, “The Little Mermaid.” The European-styled marionette play is presented in three acts and uses fun underwater scenes and special visual effects to tell the story.
Another theater primer for the wee ones is Artisan Center Theater in Hurst. The intimate, theater-in-the-round setting means you feel like you’re part of the production. Then again, there are only 196 seats so there’s really no bad seats. The tinies are going to love their latest children’s production, ‘Beat Bugs.’ The show is based on the hit Netflix animated series that centers around five tiny pals who explore the world while learning life lessons. Best of all, music from The Beatles is interwoven into the story.
A teenage daughter and her mom learn the hard way what it’s like to walk a mile in the other’s shoes in Backdoor Theatre’s production of ‘Freaky Friday: The Musical.’ The show is a reboot of the hit Disney film of the same name and tells the story of an overworked mother and her teenage daughter who magically swap bodies and then only have just one day to switch back. This is your last weekend to catch the fun.
Stay up late and believe in fairies with ‘Arcadia Darling,’ Hip Pocket Theatre’s new telling of ‘Peter Pan.’ The magical outdoor setting of Hip Pocket will make you feel like you’re right in the middle of the story with its canopy of nighttime lights and rustic seating The children’s classic comes to life on stage with puppetry, music, familiar characters and a look at an earlier, mythic Pan. Don’t worry about it being too hot for outside theater. The Hip Pocket takes advantage of the cool evening hours and doesn’t start the play until 9 p.m.
You might think Shakespeare might be a little deep for your tween but the Junior Players annual productions are the perfect introduction to the Bard. The company loves to mix it up with their shows and their current production, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ is no different. This version is set under the circus big top in a rural railroad town and includes merry fools, strong bonds, and dangerous love. See it July 30-Aug. 4 at Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre — an ideal setting for outdoor theatrics. You can bring a picnic dinner to enjoy before the show and relax in the park-like setting. And if the kids get restless, head up the hill to enjoy the cool breeze and an ice cream.
Looking for some goofy family fun? For a different kind of theater experience check out ‘The Legend of Deadeye Mary: A Western Melodrama’ at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre. Deadeye Mary is looking for the man who shot her pa and Felicity is looking for the subject of her next novel. Their fates become intertwined as they face off against outlaws, bounty hunters, and a crooked lawman in a desperate hunt for stolen gold. It’s a popcorn-flinging, audience participation western with a feminist twist! That means booing for the bad guy, cheering for the good guy, and lots and lots of popcorn throwing. Be warned, if you sit in front you’re going to leave with a sizable amount in your hair and clothes. The show is rated PG for adult innuendo, but overall it’s pretty tame. The show runs weekends through Aug. 17. It’s a popular show and the Pocket is a very small house so be sure to call ahead for reservations.
For even more theatric experiences and kid-friendly events, explore the Kids & Family section of the Art&Seek calendar.