Summer's officially under way, and with it the annual quest to keep children occupied, away from the video game console and out of the habit of sleeping until noon each day. Thankfully, the East Valley is rife with children's theater productions this time of year. They're the perfect way to entertain and engage youngsters - and parents, thanks to story lines most of us know an love - for a morning, afternoon or evening. Here's our list of shows to catch.
What: E.B. White's classic story about a spider and her friend, Wilbur, the pig, is accompanied by a kid-friendly buffet that includes sliders, corn dogs, macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers, pizza and more.
When: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and June 22 and 25 and July 2; Noon Saturday and June 27
Where: Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, 5427 E. Brown Road, Mesa
Information: (480) 325-6700 or www.broadwaypalmwest.com
"The Enchantment of Beauty & The Beast"
What: When a powerful witch is rejected by a selfish prince, she curses him to live as a beastly creature until he learns to love. Years later, the Beast falls for a poor widow's daughter, and true love triumphs. Produced by East Valley Children's Theatre.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and June 25-27; 4 p.m. Saturday and June 26; and 2 p.m. Sunday and June 27.
Where: Nesbitt/Elliott Playhouse at Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St.
Information: (480) 644-6500 or www.evct.org
"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
What: The Chandler-Gilbert Community College Performing Arts Department presents a musical about everybody's favorite loser, Charlie Brown - a lovable kid who's prone to bad luck.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and June 21-22; and 2 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Chandler-Gilbert Community College Performing Arts Center, 2626 E. Pecos Road, Chandler
Cost: $10 general admission, $9 seniors, $7 students, $5 for matinee
Information: (480) 732-7343 or www.cgc.maricopa.edu
"The Princess & The Pea"
What: Hale Centre Theatre's Children's Theatre presents Hans Christian Anderson's story of a prince who's unlucky in love but finds his match when his grandmother places a pea under the mattress of an unexpected house guest.
When: 11 a.m. Saturdays through June 26; "The Little Mermaid," Hale's next kids' show, opens July 10 and runs through early November.
Where: Hale Centre Theatre, 50 W. Page Ave., Gilbert
Cost: $10 for children, $12 for adults
Information: (480) 497-1181 or www.haletheatrearizona.com
What: Copperstar Repertory Company's stage adaptation of the hit Disney movie includes the same favorite characters and familiar songs, including "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me."
When: 7 p.m. June 25 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 26
Where: Williams Field High School, 2076 S. Higley Road, Gilbert
Cost: $8 adults, $6 students and seniors
"The Wizard of Oz"
What: Follow Dorothy and her dog Toto over the rainbow and on an adventure with new friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion to make it back to Kansas. Produced by Queen Creek Community Theatre.
When: 7 p.m. June 25, 26 and 28; 2 p.m. June 26.
Where: Queen Creek Performing Arts Center, 22149 E. Ocotillo Road.
Information: (480) 987-7469 or www.qcpac.com