San Jose’s performing arts scene comes to life for fall and the holidays

Longtime San Jose performing arts groups keep the heat on downtown as the primary performing arts destination in the South Bay Area — even as the summer outdoor festival schedule ends down.

Opera San Jose, San Jose Stage Company and City Lights Theatre Company all ushered in the fall arts season with tragedy, comedy and drama, respectively, in September.

Opera San Jose opened its 40th season in September with “Romeo and Juliet” –Shawna Lucey’s inaugural production since taking over as the local opera company’s general director.  Next up for Opera San Jose’s season is “The Barber of Seville” Nov. 11-26, followed by ”Rigoletto” Feb. 17-March 3; and “Florencia en el Amazonas” April 20-May 5. Performances are in the historic California Theatre.

The Stage presentation of “Bald Sisters” winds down in early to its stage this weekend. Before the end its 41st season, The Stage will present “The Play That Goes Wrong,”  “People Where They Are,” “Hangmen,” and a summer musical to be announced.

City Lights Theatre Company, founded in 1982, presents the world-premiere drama “Toxic” through Oct. 15 and Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot; or Holmes for the Holidays.”  City Lights’  season also includes “Nora: A Doll’s House,” “King Liz,” “Clyde’s” and Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Show.”

Each year as events move indoors, the performing and visual arts scene adds buzz and vibrancy to downtown, and these three groups over the years have significantly impacted downtown’s economy.

More performances:

Symphony San Jose:  The symphony has 11 programs scheduled for 2023-24 at the beautifully restored California Theater.

San Jose Playhouse: Look for productions at 3Below Theatres of: ”Disenchanted,” Oct. 14-Nov. 11; “Monster Bash,” Oct. 31; “Frozen Sing-Along,” Nov. 11-12; “Sondheim on Sondheim,” Nov. 25-Dec. 17

Broadway San Jose:  The fall schedule of national touring companies is busy with “Les Miserables” Oct. 17-22; “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations” Oct. 31-Nov. 5; Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse” Nov. 13; “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Nov. 28-Dec. 3; and “Mamma Mia” Dec. 12-17.  The rest of the calendar for the first half of 2024 includes ”Chicago,” “Mean Girls,” “Peter Pan” and Disney’s “Frozen.”

Mission Chamber Orchestra of San Jose: The orchestra comes together at Hammer Theatre Center on Dec. 2 for “Ardent Echoes,” with pieces from Beethoven, John Ireland, Nick DiBerardino and Robert Schumann; and Feb. 24 with “Symphonies and Memories” with four more selections.

San Jose Jazz:  Seven more shows are scheduled for the Break Room’s fall series: Oct. 6 with Mark de Clive-Lowe Trio; Oct. 6 with Valley Wolf and Invisible Light Agency; Oct. 7 with Pacific; Oct. 27 with Keith Rice; Nov. 10 with Ken Okay Group featuring Yoyoka; Nov. 11 with J Hoard; Nov. 17 with Charlie Bereal; and Dec. 9 with Druvvy.

Lyric Theatre presents “Madame Sherry – A Musical Comedy,” Nov. 2-5 at Hammer Theatre Center.

Children’s Musical Theater San Jose has two marquee productions, starting with Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” Dec. 1-10 and “School of Rock” April 12-21. CMT San Jose’s schedule also includes three “Mainstage” productions and six musicals showcasing Junior Talents and Rising Stars.

New Ballet:  The San Jose Nutcracker, Dec. 16-23.

Also, Tabard Theatre at San Pedro Square has programming most nights of the week, ranging from spoken word and open mic to musical performances by Grammy Award nominees and winners. For comedy, the freshest faces and hottest acts in the country headline each weekend at The Improv San Jose.

In addition, national tours are also scheduled to keep The Civic and SAP Center active through the fall, winter and well into spring, joining the arts groups in recruiting out-of-town families and other guests to enjoy all that Downtown San Jose has to offer. Thirty dates are filled at The Civic between Oct. 1 and the start of May 2024; SAP Center has 18 dates filled before the end of the year and booked in between San Jose Sharks matchups against the best NHL teams. Many are family events.

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