Looking for a little more drama in your life?  Share the magic and excitement of theater with your children.  This season boasts a fantastic array of musicals, puppet shows, books brought to life, fables and new original works.  You’ll find shorter length, nap-time friendly performances for the younger theatergoers as well as engaging and fresh productions for older kids.

The 5th Avenue Theater in downtown Seattle lights up at the holidays with the Rogers & Hammerstein musical Cinderella (Nov 25 – Dec 31, 2011) For age 4+.  This family-favorite is full of romance, magic, spectacle and unforgettable songs.

ACT Theater, also in downtown Seattle, presents the holiday classic A Christmas Carol (Nov 25-Dec 24, 2011).  Age 5+.  This Dickens tale take us to past, present and future, reminding us what is important and worth celebrating at the holidays and everyday.

Only a ferry ride away from downtown Seattle, Bainbridge Performing Arts offers Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CATS (Oct 14 – 30, 2011), the longest running show in Broadway history for ages 4+. Feline fun for everyone!

Northwest Puppet Center located in a renovated church in Maple Leaf (NE Seattle) is known for the mastery and preservation of the traditional Sicilian marionette theater known as Opera dei Pupi.  Shows for ages 5+.  Season highlights include Q’we-ti: Tales of the Makah Tribe (Nov 12-20, 2011), awarded “The Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry” from Union International de la Marionette.  Also Thumbelina (Jan 14-29, 2012) and The Odyssey (March 3-18, 2012).

Olympia Family Theater in the South Sound area will be featuring the semi-musical, non-scary Bunnicula (Sept 30 – Oct 16, 2011) just in time for Halloween for ages 5+, then the Orwellian classic Animal Farm (March 23 – April 8, 2012) for ages 10+ and the bedtime story favorite Goodnight Moon (May 18 – June 3, 2012) for ages 3+.

Seattle Children’s Theatre located at the Seattle Center performs new plays, popular pieces and classics.  This season includes selections for toddler audiences like Harold and the Purple Crayon (Sept 22-Oct 30, 2011) and The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favorites (May 3-June 3, 2012) to adolescent/pre-teen targeted fare like a book adaption of A Single Shard (Feb 23-March 18, 2012)  and musical “HELP” based on the Beatles (April 12-May 13, 2012).

The Thistle Theatre features Bunraku puppets, an ancient Japanese style of handcrafted puppetry, to tell multicultural stories.  All shows for ages 3+.  The performances are given in Magnuson Park, Ballard (Sunset Hill Community Club) and Bellevue Youth Theatre.  Season highlights include Jack and the Beanstalk (Oct 1-23, 2011), Auntie Lena’s African Stories (Jan 21-Feb 12, 2012) and Hanako and the Cherry Tree (March 3-18, 2012).

Shakespeare once wrote “all the world’s a stage” and in that spirit, share an experience you and your children will never forget with the wonderment and electricity only live theater can offer.

–Kali Sakai