If you’re tired of children’s theater and music designed for the kiddos, book some tickets for a special night out with your partner. The Bay Area offers live theater for all grown-up tastes – from musicals to Shakespeare. There’s a lot going on the rest of this summer and into the fall.
A Chorus Line. Through Sept. 9. Seventeen Broadway dancers are auditioning for eight spots on a chorus line, sharing their hopes and fears, in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of this long-running, Tony Award-winning musical. It’s followed by Nollywood Dreams (Sept. 28-Nov. 4) and Guys and Dolls (Nov. 16-Jan. 13, 2024).
San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., San Francisco. sfplayhouse.org
Breakdown: A New Musical. Through Sept. 4. San Francisco Mime Troupe presents a new comedy musical that asks: “In an insane society, how can we help those struggling with actual mental illness?” Free performances take place in parks throughout the Bay Area. Check website for schedule. sfmt.org.
Becky’s New Car. Aug. 4-27. This original comedy, presented in an intimate cabaret-style setting by South Bay Civic Theater’s Limelight, explores what happens when a middle-aged woman in a middling job is given a chance to escape her life. It’s followed later in the year by The Wolves (Sept. 8-17) and A Christmas Carol(Dec. 1-23). Gilroy Arts Alliance, 7431 Monterey Road, Gilroy. svct.org.
Bright Star. Aug. 4-27. Coastal Rep presents a musical written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell that tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. It’s followed this fall by The Girl on the Train (Sept. 29-Oct. 22). Coastal Rep, 1167 Main St., Half Moon Bay. coastalrep.com.
Hippest Trip: The Soul Train Musical. Aug. 25-Oct. 1. A.C.T. (American Conservatory Theater) presents the world premiere of this Broadway-bound musical based on the iconic TV show that brought Black music, dance and style into every living room in America. Next up is its popular holiday tradition A Christmas Carol (Dec. 1-24). The Toni Rembe Theater, 415 Geary St., San Francisco. act-sf.org.
Josephine’s Feast. Aug. 2-20. A Black matriarch makes an audacious step into the future and foists her family into confronting change in a show that weighs issues of legacy, spirituality and growth set against the comedy and chaos of true-to-life family dynamics. Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, 2 Marina Blvd., Landmark Building D, third floor, San Francisco. magictheatre.org.
King Lear. Through Sept. 1. An all-female and non-binary cast performs this epic tragedy in Silicon Valley Shakespeare’s King Lear. The outdoor show runs in repertory with Shakespeare in Love (Aug. 4-Sept. 3). Sanborn Skyline County Park, 16055 Sanborn Road, Saratoga. svshakepeare.org.
Molly Bell’s Hysterical. Aug. 18-27. This one-woman show from the writer of Real Housewives the Musicaltells the true and comically ridiculous tale of a suburban mom’s quest to find the cause of her chronic illness and learn how to live with it. Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City. hillbarntheatre.org.
Santa Cruz Shakespeare. Through Aug. 27. In its 10th anniversary season, Santa Cruz Shakespeare presents three plays in repertory: The Book of Will, a funny and moving story about two actors who worked to preserve Shakespeare’s legacy, Taming of the Shrew and King Lear. Stanley Grove in DeLaveaga Park, 501 Upper Park Road, Santa Cruz. santacruzshakespeare.org.
The Full Monty. Through Aug. 20. Catch “Broadway under the stars” as Transcendence Theatre Company performs the hit film-turned-musical about six down-on-their-luck friends and one outrageous idea. Contains some strong language and brief nudity. Patrons are welcome to arrive at 5pm for a picnic with local food trucks. Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. transcendencetheatre.org.
The Keeper. Aug. 18-27. This one-woman show by We Players tells the absurd and joyful story of a woman who chooses a solitary existence with a singular purpose – to keep the light as a lighthouse keeper. Cal Shakes’ Bruns Memorial Amphitheatre, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda. weplayers.org/the-keeper-2023.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Aug. 4-13. See theater in a beautiful outdoor setting and enjoy this fast-paced, funny and touching musical about six middle schoolers vying to be the spelling bee champ. Woodminster Amphitheater, Joaquin Miller Park. 3540 Sanborn Drive, Oakland. woodminster.com.
The Wolves. Aug. 4-27. Chanticleers Theatre presents The Wolves, which follows nine teenage girls – members of an indoor soccer team – as they warm up, engage in banter and one-upmanship, and fight battles big and small with each other. It’s followed in the fall by The Fantasticks (Oct. 20-Nov. 19), the longest running musical in American history. 3683 Quail Ave., Castro Valley. chanticleers.org.
Tina – The Tina Turner Musical. Aug. 29-Sept. 3. Broadway San Jose presents the national tour of this new musical that tells the story of the Grammy-winning artist who dared to defy the bounds of racism, sexism and ageism to become the global Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll. Recommended for ages 14 and up. Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Blvd., San Jose. broadwaysanjose.com.
Twelfth Night. Through Sept. 3. Marin Shakespeare Company’s Twelfth Night answers the existential questions posed by Hamlet. Through poetry, movement and song, it explores the delicate reconstruction of our most sacred relationships and explores how we start the long, necessary process of healing – while we laugh and love together.
Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, Dominican University of California, 514 Fourth St., San Rafael. marinshakespeare.org
Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. Aug. 11-27. Pacifica Spindrift Players presents this play about two bickering middle-aged siblings whose lives are upended when their movie star sister arrives with her boyfriend in tow. It’s followed this autumn by Juke Joint Jukebox (Oct. 5-8) and The Boys in the Band (Nov. 10-19). 1050 Crespi Drive, Pacifica. spindriftplayers.org.