You’d hoped for a drama-free summer, but you may want to reconsider. This season is chock-full of local musicals, puppet shows, and theater productions that kids will get hooked on. From a blockbuster starring superheroes to a toe-tapping performance in a backyard, there’s something to fit every (play)bill.

marvel-live2Photo courtesy of Marvel Universe Live

Marvel Universe Live!
Just the mention of Spider Man, Iron Man, Loki, and Storm (to name a few of the 25+ characters in this live action show) will perk-up the ears of budding superheroes in your squad. It’s like the summer’s blockbuster hits all-in-one place but with more POW, BOOM, and BAM! The tiniest caped crusaders may not enjoy all of the rattle, but older ones will be cheering for more. Jump in your family-fun-mobile and head to the battle of the century.

When: Sept. 4-7
Cost: $45

Verizon Center
601 F St., NW
202-628-3200
Online: marveluniverselive.com

lion-king-at-kennedy-centerPhoto courtesy of The Kennedy Center

Disney’s The Lion King
Celebrate The Lion King’s 20th birthday by seeing it on stage. Who else is already humming, “Ohhhhhh, I just can’t wait to be king”? The puppetry in this award-winning musical will have your little beasts wondering, how did they do that? With shows both in the afternoon and evening, you’ll be sure to find a time-slot that won’t interfere with lil’ Simba’s slumber.

When: June 17-Aug. 17
Cost: $40

The Kennedy Center (Opera House)
2700 F St., NW
800-444-1324

Online: kennedy-center.org

jazz-n-familiesPhoto courtesy of DC Jazz Festival via Facebook

Jazz ‘n Families Fun Days
Enjoy more than a dozen free performances at The Phillips Collection (in conjunction with the D.C. Jazz Festival held June 26-29), where you can gauge whether or not your tiny musicians are ready for the main stage. Trio Caliente will make you wish you knew the Flamenco, and students of the Sitar Arts Center will make you want to pick up the saxophone. You know, the one you haven’t touched since middle school.

When: June 7-8
Cost: Free

The Phillips Collection
1600 21st St., NW
Online: dcjazzfest.org

jungle-rope-jumpersPhoto courtesy of Cirque Productions

Cirque du Soleil – Dreams Jungle Fantasy
It’s the modern version of the circus except all of the animals are performers in costume and makeup (though it’s hard to remember that when you see them!). High-flying, body-twisting, awe-inducing…and that’s just getting the troop from the parking lot to the entrance. The acrobatic feats are incredible and possibly impossible to copy, nevertheless, don’t try this at home.

When: Sept. 5-6
Cost: Starting at $25

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
1645 Trap Rd. (Vienna, Va)
Online: wolftrap.org

fresh-beat-band

The Fresh Beat Band
It’ll be a Great Day for your little rock stars to kick-it with Kiki, Marina, Twist, and Shout. With only one show, this is sure to be the hottest ticket in the DMV. You and the tots will be encouraged out of your seats, movin’ and a-groovin’ all afternoon. Don’t be surprised if the parental units are having as much fun as the kiddos.

When: August 30, 2 pm
Cost: $25

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
1645 Trap Rd. (Vienna, Va)
Online: wolftrap.org

pixar-in-concertPhoto courtesy of Karen Roe via Creative Commons

Pixar in Concert
For little Mozarts that are into live orchestra performances, this show’s for them! The renditions of popular Pixar scores are performed with scenes from each movie streamed along. Over a dozen movies will be featured, including Monster’s University, Toy Story, Cars, and Finding Nemo. The bag of popcorn is optional.

When: June 20, 8:30 pm
Cost: $30

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
1645 Trap Rd. (Vienna, Va)
Online: wolftrap.org

Smith-Theater-SmilePhoto courtesy of Mister G

Backyard Theater for Children: Mister G – ABC Fiesta
Mister G will have the gang singing and baile – yes, he’s bilingual! They won’t even know they’re learning letters, numbers, and new words in spanish. The best part is the concert is outdoors in the backyard of the mansion at The Strathmore, meaning plenty of wiggle room. You’re even encouraged to pack a lunch and have a picnic during or after the concert!

When: July 10, 9:30 am and 11:30 am
Cost: $8/ages 3+

The Mansion at Strathmore
10701 Rockville Pike (North Bethesda, Md)
Online: strathmore.org

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Theater buffs, are there any kid-friendly summer shows that we’ve missed? Tell us about them in the comments section below. 

—Lisa Ng