An afternoon at the theater is the perfect opportunity to transport yourself to another world. See your favorite literary and movie characters brought to life on stage. There are even shows that last only 60 minutes for the youngest audiences and ones where the performers are kids themselves. Get your tickets today!

photo: Joan Marcus

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka is opening his marvelous and mysterious chocolate factory to a lucky few. That includes Charlie Bucket, whose bland life is about to burst with color and confection beyond his wildest dreams. He and four other golden ticket winners will embark on a mesmerizing joyride through a world of pure imagination. Now’s your chance to experience the wonders of Wonka like never before—get ready for Oompa-Loompas, incredible inventions, the great glass elevator, and more, more, more at this everlasting showstopper!

SHN Orpheum Theatre
1192 Market Street
San Francisco, CA
Showing: Apr. 16-May 12
Tickets: shnsf.com

photo: She Persisted

She Persisted, The Musical
This new musical, inspired by Chelsea Clinton’s best-selling book, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, tells the story of a fourth-grade girl whose trip with her class to the museum turns into an adventure in time travel during which she meets inspirational women who are overcoming barriers and making history.

BACT Berkeley Center
2055 Center Street
Berkeley, CA
Showing: Sat.-Sun., Feb. 2-Mar. 3

Children’s Creativity Museum Theater
221 4th Street
San Francisco, CA
Showing: Sat.-Sun., Mar. 9-31

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Sunnyvale Community Center
550 E. Remington Drive
Sunnyvale, CA
Showing: Sat.-Sun., Apr. 6-`14

Ticketsbactheatre.org

photo: Patrice Lamoureux

VOLTA by Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil heads south to San Jose with VOLTA, a captivating voyage of discovery! Inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of street sports, VOLTA explores the themes of celebrating differences and unique qualities in a world where technology often isolates people from one another rather than freeing them.

Under the Big Top
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
San Jose, CA
Showing: Feb. 13-Mar. 24
Ticketscirquedusoleil.com/volta

Shrek the Musical
When a nasty, smelly ogre goes on a quest to clear out his swamp, he might just become a “believer” in true love! The hit Broadway musical was adapted from the Dreamworks animated feature and stars a host of hilarious characters including sassy fairy tale creatures, a persistent donkey, a dragon who’s looking for love in all the wrong places and a princess who is far from prissy. This performance is approximately 2 1/2 hours long with one 15-minute intermission and is appropriate for all ages.

Center for the Performing Arts
500 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA
Showing: March 9-10, 15-17
Ticketstickets.mvcpa.com

photo: Jeremy Daniels

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
This winning adaptation of the best-selling novel by Rick Riordan will bring you into the world of Greek Gods, monsters and an epic quest to find Zeus’s lightning bolt to prevent a war between the gods.

The Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard
San Jose, CA
Showing: May 10-12
Ticketsbroadwaysanjose.com

photo: Deen van Meer

Aladdin
Discover a whole new world at Disney’s Aladdin, the hit Broadway musical. From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.

The Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard
San Jose, CA
Showing: Apr. 10-21
Ticketsbroadwaysanjose.com

The Ugly Duckling
The Lightwire Theater returns to the Oshman Family JCC with its famous rendition of The Ugly Duckling. Of the five eggs in Mother Duck’s nest, one is the largest and last to hatch. Bigger and paler than the others, this last hatchling is treated as an outsider by Mother Duck and her ducklings.

Oshman Family JCC
Schultz Cultural Arts Hall
3921 Fabian Way
Palo Alto, CA
Showing: Feb. 23 at 3 and 5 p.m.
Ticketspaloaltojcc.org

Dragons Love Tacos and Other Stories
This adaptation for the stage is based on the book written by Adam Rubin with illustrations by Daniel Salmieri. Dragons love all sorts of tacos—except spicy ones! When a boy throws his dragon friends a spicy salsa taco party, red-hot trouble ensues. Other stories include: Interrupting ChickenThe DotMercy Watson Goes for a Ride and Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa School Days. Arrive early and you can enjoy Free Fun with Art which starts an hour before the show. There will be pizza and drinks available for purchase before the show.

Ruth Finley Person Theater
50 Mark West Springs Road
Santa Rosa, CA
Showing: March 1 at 6:30 p.m.
Ticketstickets.lutherburbankcenter.org

photo: Jim Mneymneh

Cirque Éloize: Saloon
The Wild Wild West comes alive in Cirque Éloize’s latest adventure, an action-packed musical acrobatic adventure through the desert. Through the saloon doors is a mythical world where theatre and circus collide. A spectacular cast is featured in this fast-paced show filled with feats of strength, agility and original choreography, in which the lover falls under the spell of the saloon’s beautiful Belle and sets off on a chase worthy of the greatest Westerns. The timeless tunes of Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline set the scene for acrobatic prowess and inventive choreography, as the lovebirds on the run race through deserted plains to the depths of a mine.

Hammer Theatre Center
101 Paseo De San Antonio
San Jose, CA
Showing: Mar. 20, 7:30 p.m.
Ticketshammertheatre.com

The Magic Tree House: A Hip-Hop Musical
The #1 best-selling children’s chapter book series is transformed into The Magic Tree House: A Hip-Hop Musical. Jack and Annie learn that the show must go on when the Magic Tree House whisks them back to Elizabethan England. There the darling sibling duo meets William Shakespeare himself­­—one of the greatest writers of all time! Based on the critically-acclaimed book series by Mary Pope Osbourne, this tuneful tale is a hip-hop hit with kids and grown-ups alike.

Arrive early and you can enjoy Free Fun with Art which starts an hour before the show. There will be pizza and drinks available for purchase before the show.

Ruth Finley Person Theater
50 Mark West Springs Road
Santa Rosa, CA
Showing: Mar. 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Ticketstickets.lutherburbankcenter.org

photo: Pierre Borasci

Kid Koala: Nufonia Must Fall
Hammer Theatre Center presents a revolutionary live staging of the graphic novel featuring a team of puppeteers manipulating a cast of 10-inch puppets interacting on more than a dozen miniature sets and projected live on an enormous screen. Nufonia Must Fall tells of the epic love between a female roboticist and a music-loving T4 robot facing obsolescence as a newer, more efficient T5 robot keeps taking away his jobs. This multi-disciplinary performance is accompanied by music performed live by an ensemble of strings, piano, and electronic instruments.

Hammer Theatre Center
101 Paseo De San Antonio
San Jose, CA
Showing: Feb. 13-14, 7:30 p.m.
Ticketshammertheatre.com

photo: Matthew Murphy

SCHOOL OF ROCK
Based on the hit film, SCHOOL OF ROCK is a hilarious new musical that follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star posing as a substitute teacher who turns a class of straight-A students into a guitar-shredding, bass-slapping, mind-blowing rock band.

The Center for the Performing Arts
255 Almaden Boulevard
San Jose, CA
Showing: June 4-9
Ticketsbroadwaysanjose.com

photo: Manuel Harlan

COMING THIS FALL: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, opening October 23 in San Francisco, will go on sale starting March 14. Set yourself a reminder as this show is going to be the hot ticket come fall. Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the most awarded play in theatre history, winning 25 major U.S. awards, including six Tony Awards with one of those for Best Play. Ticket buyers can sign up now for priority access for the opportunity to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public, only via the official website.

The Curran Theater
445 Geary St.
San Francisco, CA
Showing: Oct. 23, 2019-May 17, 2020
Tickets (on sale starting March 14, sign up now for early access): harrypottertheplay.com

—Kate Loweth