Summer stage shows you can’t miss this season

Isabella Esler stars as Lydia in ‘Beetlejuice: The Musical’ at Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Academy of Music.
Matthew Murphy

The summer season is heating up, and so is the talent on stage in Philly.

25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee

This heartfelt show is making its way to the Arden Theatre Co. later this month, and it will be directed by an Arden regular, Amina Robinson. The ’25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ follows a group of six spelling champions who learn that winning (and losing) isn’t everything as they compete for a treasured spelling bee championship and make some hilarious and heartfelt self-discoveries along the way. And to become part of the story themselves, audiences will also have a chance to take part in the competition  (though who will participate will be a surprise.)

The show will run May 25 to June 25, with Opening Night on Wednesday, May 31 at 7 p.m. All performances will be on the F. Otto Haas Stage at the Arden, and tickets start at $26.

40 N. 2nd St.,


Even if you haven’t seen the beloved Tim Burton classic, chances are you know who Beetlejuice is—and to find out more, Philadelphians can watch his story unfold on stage when the show heads to the Kimmel Cultural Campus on May 30. This colorful and energetic performance matches the personality of the pop culture figure, and the musical score embraces the wackiness of the plot giving audiences a front row seat to it all.

‘Beetlejuice’ will be playing in Philadelphia from May 31 to June 11, tickets are available online or at the box office.

summer stage shows in Philly
Matthew Murphy

300 S. Broad St.,

Black Swan: A Swan Lake Premiere

Chocolate Ballerina Company is launching a world premiere at Philadelphia’s Independence Seaport Museum Theater on June 4 at 1:30 p.m. As a release states, this highly-anticipated staging features Black and Brown dancers from Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. 

‘Black Swan: A Swan Lake Premiere’ will feature all of the traditional elements of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Swan Lake’, with some choreography by CBC’s founder, Chanel Holland. In total, 40 dancers will tell the tale of Prince Siegfried and Princess Odette, who transforms into a swan under the spell cast by sorcerer Baron von Rothbart. And Philadelphians will get to see how Odette’s days are spent on a lake only to return to her human form at night. Tickets ($50-$100) are currently on sale.

summer stage shows in Philly
Leanna Lyles.Ray Valdez Photography

211 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd,

The American Revolution

For this free show, Philadelphians of all ages can head out to Valley Forge on two separate dates (May 27 and June 10) to check out this production, which comes from Theater Unspeakable and Let’s Make History Productions. Seven actors skilled in physical comedy will participate in each performance, and will re-create unknown historical occurrences using their bodies and voices and pantomime theatre on a narrow three by seven-foot stage. This show will cover the American fight for independence from Lexington to Yorktown.

The shows, May 27 at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. and June 10 at 3:30 p.m. are outdoors, free, and open to the public at the Washington Memorial Chapel, a release states. Following the June 10 performance, Theatre Unspeakable will host a free hour-long family-friendly theater workshop led by the company at 4:45 p.m. Rain dates are scheduled for May 28 and June 11.

summer stage shows in Philly
The American Revolution The ShowEn Route

 2000 Valley Forge Park Road, King of Prussia,

Moulin Rogue! The Musical

This fan-favorite jukebox musical is setting its sights on the City of Brotherly Love this summer in July. The stage show is based on the 2001 film ‘Moulin Rouge!’ directed by Baz Luhrmann and written by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, and this tour has remixed both the magic and the music. The glitzy and glossy plot covers truth, beauty, freedom and love while following a poor Bohemian poet in 1890s Paris, who falls for a beautiful courtesan and nightclub star coveted by a jealous duke.

‘Moulin Rogue! The Musical’ will hit the stage at the Kimmel Cultural Campus/The Academy of Music Wednesday, July 5 through Sunday, July 30.

summer stage shows in Philly
Austin Durant and the cast of the North American Tour of ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’. Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade

300 S. Broad St.,

Twelfth Night

From Lantern Theater Company, this classic Shakespeare tale is getting remixed for the Philly stage when it opens next week on May 18. Featuring live original music composed by Barrymore Award-winner Christopher Colucci, the Lantern’s production of ‘Twelfth Night’ will touch on all of the themes from the original romantic comedy with the plot following Viola, the heroine of the story.

When a shipwreck separates her from her twin brother Sebastian and leaves her in the unfamiliar Illyria, fearing him dead, she then poses as a a boy, Cesario, to serve the Duke, Orsino. She soon falls in love with him, but he is in love with the countess Olivia, who falls in love with Viola in her disguise.

Tickets for ‘Twelfth Night’ are $25 – $42 and are available online or by calling the Lantern Box Office at 215-829-0395. Discounts are available for students, seniors 65 and up, U.S. military personnel, and groups of 10 or more. Performances of ‘Twelfth Night’ will take place at St. Stephen’s Theater from May 18 to June 18.

923 Ludlow St.,