music in the park san jose

.Summer Forecast: What’s Ahead in South Bay Entertainment

Music festivals, concerts, theater, dance, comedy, street fairs and more heat up the cultural calendar

music in the park san jose

The energy burst that begins once the days grow longer leaves more time for pleasure and play. Friends visit more often. Spirits lift.

The welcome sounds of summer—outdoor theater, community gatherings, live music—provide many reasons to leave the house and enjoy the world beyond walls and screens.

This week’s issue offers some don’t-miss dates on the cultural calendar: music festivals, concerts, plays, museum exhibits, classical and opera dates, musical theater, comedy shows and street fairs.

Compiled by Metro staff, with highlights supplied by Bill Kopp, Addie Mahmassani, Lia Prusha and Mat Weir.

FACE THE MUSIC J. Boog returns to Music in the Park, part of a five-concert schedule that starts June 22 with a concert by El Tri. Photo by Raymond Ibale


Plan ahead for these complex events, which stretch over several days or involve multiple acts and logistical planning. And the crowds they draw will be part of the entertainment.

May 24-27 | San Jose Convention Center |
Northern California’s largest anime event turns 30 this year, and the guest of honor is celebrating another important anime-versary–beloved film Kiki’s Delivery Service is turning 35. To commemorate both monumental events, the guest of honor, Hirokatsu Kihara, who worked with Hayao Miyazaki himsel—the human model for the catbus character!—will talk about his work on Kiki’s. Tokyo’s international rock band, Survive Said the Prophet, will perform their charming brand of metal-inspired progressive rock. Voice actor Casey Mongillo rounds out the bill for an event that is not just composed of guests, but is an event organized “by fans, for fans” that serves up a smorgasbord of creative cosplayers in character, merch, comics, panels, networking and more. (LP)

Levitt San Jose Spring Concert Series
May 26–June 16 | St. James Park, San Jose |
Part of the national Levitt Pavilion concerts, this four-date series takes over St. James Park on consecutive Sundays. Amayo brings Afrobeats on May 26, followed by Noah and the Arkiteks on June 2, and Lyrics Born and Dox & the Aquanauts on June 9.

Redwood Mountain Faire
June 1–2, 11am–8pm | Roaring Camp, Felton |
Summertime’s here and that means it’s time for sunshine, music festivals and recharging one’s batteries in Mother Nature. Why not get all three at once? The Redwood Mountain Faire is a time-honored tradition in the Santa Cruz Mountains, originally serving concert-goers for 17 years between 1980 and 1996 and raising over $300,000 for local charities and nonprofits. In 2010 it was revived and relocated to Roaring Camp and this year features 25 acts on three separate stages across two days. National headliners like Melvin Seals (with Santa Cruz’s own longtime Grateful Dead tribute band, the China Cats), blues master Coco Montoya and hip hop virtuoso Lyrics Born will be joined by local favorites such as songstress Taylor Rae, country-folk rockers Diggin’ Trails, reggae act Ancestree, soul revivalists Harry & The Hitmen and many more. (MW)

Taraka San Jose w/Gordo
June 15, 2pm | Discovery Meadow Park, San Jose |
Although he’s only gone by his new moniker for the past three years, DJ and producer Gordo has been making music for the past two decades. Under the name Carnage, the Guatemalan producer collaborated with some of the biggest names in EDM and hip hop like Boregore, Migos, Lil Uzi Vert, Ty Dolla Sign, and more. This weekend Gordo brings his Taraka brand to Discovery Meadow Park as he transforms the space into an all-day, open-air festival in the heart of downtown San Jose. Make sure to check online for a list of prohibited and allowed items along with bag/backpack specifications. (MW)

WEST COAST BLUES The Delgado Brothers perform on June 15. Photo courtesy of Fountain Blues Festival

June 15, 11am–8pm | Plaza de Cesar Chavez, San Jose |
Local nonprofit Fountain Blues Foundation sums up its mission statement thusly: preservation, education and celebration. The Fountain Blues & Brews Festival is clearly an expression of the latter. Taking over Plaza de Cesar Chavez, the event features a craft beer garden and food to accompany sets by Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, John Nemeth and the Blues Dreamers, Bay Area vocalist Terrie Odabi and more, with event closers the Delgado Brothers, up from L.A., taking the stage with local guitar legend Chris Cain.

June 22, 5–10pm | Plaza de Cesar Chavez |
The kickoff event for Music in the Park, which will take over the iconic Plaza de Cesar Chavez five times this season, is a truly landmark event. El Tri, with roots in Mexico City, has a storied role in the history of Mexican rock. El Tri became the first Mexican rock band to earn a gold-certified record (the 1985 album Simplemente). They’ve been described as Mexico’s answer to the Rolling Stones, so it’s fitting that both bands will visit the South Bay this summer.

Wednesdays, July 10–Aug. 28, 6pm | Murphy Avenue, Sunnyvale |
The Houserockers blend rock and soul for the first concert of the season, and there’s more to come through August.

July 26, 6:30pm | Town Plaza Park, Los Gatos |
Le Jazz Hot Quartet will kick off this series in the town of the cats, playing Django Reinhardt’s sizzling timeless compositions. Concerts take place every Wednesday evening through Aug. 21.

Los Van Van at Music in the Park
July 26, 5–10pm | Plaza de Cesar Chavez |
Since 1969, Los Van Van has encapsulated Cuban music’s trajectory through the decades. Originally, they fused the sounds of son montuno and rumba with influences from American rock and pop. Eventually, funk, disco and hip hop rhythms made their way in, giving rise to songo. The outdoor concert in downtown San Jose with Cuba’s leading dance band is Los Van Van’s first San Jose show here since 2001.

CALIFORNIA BOYS The Beach Boys selected local icon John Wedemeyer as their lead guitarist last year. They play Music in the Park on July 28. Photo by Dave Lepori

July 28, 5–10pm | Plaza de Cesar Chavez |
Born in the unprepossessing SoCal town of Hawthorne in 1961, the Beach Boys can claim a lot of credit in creating the California mystique and its surf culture. Even now, the myth lives on. The current incarnation of the Beach Boys is led by founding member Mike Love and features lead guitarist John Wedemeyer, a South Bay fixture for many years during this area’s blues heyday in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Aug. 2–4 | Roaring Camp, Felton |
Central Coast music lovers have become accustomed to starting the summer off knowing they can look forward to a great time at Mountain Sol. Now they can double their pleasure, because the Sol Bros are debuting a new three-day festival at Roaring Camp. The String Cheese Incident will play all three days, joined over the course of the fest by Railroad Earth, ALO, Dirtwire, Brokedown In Bakersfield, Midnight North, Hot Buttered Rum, and Ashleigh Flynn & The Riveters.

GENRE BUSTER Herbie Hancock will be a major draw at the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. Photo by Danny Clinch 

Aug. 9–11 | Various locations, San Jose |
A Bay Area tradition since 1990, the San Jose Jazz Festival celebrates its 25th year with another star-filled extravaganza. With nine stages, three days of music and nearly 60 acts on the bill, this year’s Summer Fest showcases music in most every style, from jazz and its many substyles to blues, funk, soul, cabaret, country, hip-hop, Latin, electronic, salsa and world musics. From local and regional favorites to world-renowned legends like Herbie Hancock, Angélique Kidjo, Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Maze with Frankie Beverly, this year’s event presents an unparalleled opportunity to travel the music world without leaving San Jose. (BK)

Aug 16, 5–10pm | Plaza de Cesar Chavez |
From one island nation, this band from Birmingham, England, began to win over fans with the rhythms from another, spreading the gospel of reggae since 1975. Early on, they aligned themselves with Rock Against Racism, performing in the organization’s first music festival in 1978. More recent highlights include their 2018 album Mass Manipulation, released on nontraditional label Rootfire Cooperative, and a 2023 collaboration with the Easy Star All-Stars on a cover of David Bowie’s “Five Years.”

BRIT BEAT Steel Pulse plays Aug. 16 at Music in the Park. Photo by Alan Hess

Aug. 24–25, noon–9pm | Roaring Camp, Felton |
Roaring Camp again opens its gates to music fans for the Santa Cruz Mountain Sol festival, celebrating 10 years with a lineup that includes Michael Franti and Spearhead, Tower of Power, the California Honeydrops, Ozomatli, Zap Mama, Jackie Venson, Ghost Note, Con Brio, Floratura and more. 

CROWD PLEASER Plaza de Cesar Chavez will be the site for many of the summer’s big events. Photo by Greg Ramar


Club nights, jazz gigs, arena rock, Latin music, reggae extravaganzas, and concerts under stars will keep music lovers busy this summer.

May 18, 8pm | SJZ Break Room, San Jose |
Herbie Hancock redefined the boundaries of musical genres with his landmark 1973 LP Head Hunters. Seamlessly combining jazz, funk and a rock aesthetic that reinvented tracks like his own “Watermelon Man” and the jazz standard “Chameleon,” Hancock’s 12th studio release broke down barriers. Head Hunters set the stage for a ’70s fusion revolution and opened up jazz to audiences who had previously steered clear of the style. The Bay Area’s own modern-day funk-jazz trio Nature of the Beast (Jelani Newsome-Noble, keys; Gerald Williams, bass; Brandon Farmer, drums) pays tribute to the groundbreaking and universally acclaimed album. (BK)

May 24, 9pm | The Ritz, San Jose |
Hey now, are you a rock star? For those who are—and those who lack in capacity—there’s the Shrek Rave, a dance party experience as layered as an ogre. This hit night has packed clubs and sold out shows across the country with heavy beats and a fairytale time in the land of Duloc. Let’s not put on airs; the promoters know exactly what they’re doing and even printed, “It’s Dumb Just Come Have Fun” on the flier. And fun is exactly what attendees are going for when they dress up in Shrek-themed costumes (the Three Blind Mice, Lord Farquad and Robin Hood are all favorites across the States) to get down like Donkey. After this night even the most curmudgeonly of ogres won’t be asking “What are you doing in my swamp?”  the next morning. (For a true experience, find a friend who’s down for making waffles.) (MW)

May 27, 7pm | Guild Theatre, Menlo Park |
Through the official aftershows known as Bottlerock AfterDark, the greater Bay Area gets a little taste of the lineup from Napa’s big music fest. Playing at the Guild is reggae star Stephen Marley, a multiple Grammy winner in his own right, and also for projects with brothers Ziggy and Damian. The legacy of Bob Marley is alive and thriving.

May 28 | Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View |
In 2002, the coolest girl in the world asked the only question that mattered: “Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?” In the maelstrom of pop culture since, it’s been weirdly easy to forget that Avril Lavigne already told the sk8er kids all they needed to know. The good news is the Canadian pop-punk princess is bringing her eternal message on the road this summer for a 20th anniversary tour. She’ll be playing songs off her early albums, 2003’s Let Go and 2004’s Under My Skin, as well as more recent work from albums like 2022’s Love Sux. This won’t be reliving an angsty past; it’ll be realizing it never ended. Also on the bill: All Time Low and Royal and the Serpent. (AM)

May 31, 8pm | Art Boutiki, San Jose |
Since 2015 Santa Cruz’s Alex Lucero Band has brought the catchy sounds of their Americana funk songs to the Bay Area and beyond. Lucero blends a mix of honky tonk, rootsy-soul and jam-influenced riffs to keep the party going all night, whether in California or Europe. Their five albums, multiple singles and addictive live shows earned them the award for Best Local Musician and Best Local Band in 2023. This year Lucero and co. are working on a new release, Anthology, projected to be released later this year on the cusp of the band’s 10-year anniversary together. (MW)

June 7-9, 7pm | Guild Theatre, Menlo Park |
With seven Grammy nominations, Ryan Adams has long since established himself as a superb and compelling songwriter. From his days fronting Whiskeytown to his years leading the Cardinals and then as a solo artist (with 29 studio albums to his credit), Adams has carved out a unique place in the rock and country (and country-rock) worlds. His recognition and success have spread far beyond American borders; Adams’ releases have often charted in European countries and beyond. His prolific nature continues unabated: in 2024 so far he has released no fewer than four albums of new material. This tour presents Adams in a solo setting. (BK)

June 10, 6:30pm | Mountain Winery, Saratoga |
Daryl Hall came to fame in the 1970s as half of Hall & Oates, the Philly soul duo that achieved mega-stardom. They placed a staggering 29 of 33 singles on the Billboard charts. Hall launched a solo career in 1980, and for years now has hosted the popular streaming series Live from Daryl’s House. Elvis Costello came to fame labeled a punk rocker, but quickly established himself as one of the foremost songwriters of his generation. Together they represent some of the most-loved music that the late 20th century and beyond has to offer. Charlie Sexton opens. (BK)

SHOUT OUT Revelers at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Photo by Greg Ramar

June 12, 7:30pm, | Mountain Winery, Saratoga |
Before the late 1960s, it didn’t seem to have occurred to anyone to combine deep-groove funk with Zappa-esque irreverence. But George Clinton—who had already established himself as a songwriter—did just that, combining two groups he led, the Parliaments and Funkadelic, into something the likes of which no one had seen nor heard. P-Funk quickly established the template for a whole new kind of music. And whether one calls it psychedelic funk, progressive soul or something else entirely, Clinton blazed a path that many have since followed. Dumpstaphunk opens. (BK)

June 13, 5pm | SJZ Break Room, San Jose |
As part of its ongoing series of drummer master classes, SJ Jazz presents a free session celebrating the work of drummer, songwriter, producer and vocalist Ron E. Beck. Born in Omaha, Beck moved to the Bay Area to pursue a life in music. Falling in with members of the Electric Flag, he’d quickly go on to become an in-demand drummer, playing with Tower of Power during their peak years. Beck has also worked with a wide array of artists including Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr., Bobby Womack, John Lee Hooker, Bill Withers, Lydia Pense, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Fred Wesley, Chester Thompson, Merl Saunders, Steve Cropper and countless others. (BK)

June 14, 8pm | Art Boutiki, San Jose |
Trumpeter, composer and jazz family royalty, Wynton Marsalis said, “Jazz music is America’s past and its potential.” It’s a sentiment that’s easy to see at the heart of New Orleans Jazz group Bon Bon Vivant. Taking their name from the meaning “someone who enjoys a sociable and luxurious lifestyle appreciating food, drink and music,” Bon Bon Vivant embodies their home city’s lively history and good-time attitude. Their shows explode with an energy built for modern audiences but firmly connected to the ghosts of the Bayou with dark melodies strung throughout the burnin’ licks. But be prepared, daddy-o, ’cause their music is hot with a Cajun spice that crawls under the skin and won’t let go even days after the show. (MW)

June 14, 7pm | Sunnyvale Theatre |
Fiddle player Tom Rigney and his band light a fire at the Sunnyvale Theatre with red-hot Cajun two-steps, boogie-woogie, blues and other New Orleans sounds.

June 15, 6:30pm | Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View |
San Francisco band Third Eye Blind hits Shoreline on the fifth date of their Summer Gods tour, with Florida’s Yellowcard and New Jersey’s A R I Z O N A adding to the pop rock. Third Eye frontman Stephan Jenkins sums up what many folks are feeling:  “We need a summer tour so badly, like more than ever. We need the lights, the noise, the heat and everybody up close to each other, singing as one.”

June 22, 8pm | Guild Theatre, Menlo Park |
Question for the culture: Did Led Zeppelin have to be male to be Led Zeppelin? The tribute band Zepparella’s answer is a definite NO. These four powerhouse women channel the legendary ’70s hard rock band in uncanny fashion. It’s all born out of their love for the music and their fierce dedication to their instruments. Clementine—the founding member (and officially certified Applied Shamanic Practitioner)—holds down the drums with intensity and grace. Meanwhile, singer Anna Kristina brings Robert Plant’s bluesy mystical energy; Holly West attacks on bass; and guitarist Gretchen Menn does the impossible, filling Jimmy Page’s shoes. These women build that stairway to heaven. (AM)

July 14, 7pm | Bing Concert Hall, Stanford |
Thirty years after his death, County Basie’s orchestra—which still has members personally chosen by the famed bandleader, pianist and composer—is still drawing crowds around the world. Stanford Live and SFJAZZ present this night, which also features Swedish jazz musician and multi-instrumentalist Gunhild Carling.

Rolling Stones
July 16, 7:30pm | Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara |
This is the last stop on the Stones’ North America tour in support of their 2023 studio album, Hackney Diamonds. The show is sponsored by AARP, but don’t expect Jagger to show his age. According to Rolling Stone reviewer Andy Green, “his voice and body seem like they stopped aging sometime around Steel Wheels. It’s almost impossible to fully believe until you see it in person.”

July 19, 7:30pm | Frost Amphitheater |
The only thing more satisfying than the blues is Taj Mahal’s time-tested formula of the blues + reggae + funk + jazz. For over four decades, the multi-instrumentalist has found a way to make a genre known for its hard edges surprisingly airy and lovely. Born in Harlem in 1942 to musical parents, Mahal ingested a spread of world music that would become key to his style. He went on to become one of America’s most prolific and decorated blues musicians, with three Grammys and over 30 studio albums to his name as of 2024. The latest is Swingin’ Live at the Church in Tulsa. It’s perfect for a summer night. Also on this rootsy bill are Elvin Bishop and the Charlie Musselwhite Duo. (AM)

July 25, 8pm | Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View |
Tony Award-winning Macy Schmidt leads the Barbie Land Sinfonietta, an all-female symphony orchestra that will be performing the score and the hit songs to accompany the film, which will be playing on the giant screens that Shoreline is well-known for. It sounds like a wonderful way to scoop up all the Barbie-loving, pink-wearing, plucky heroines in your life and take them to a night of sparkle-tinged, bubble-gum scented gaiety before the summer ends. (Did you know a lot of schools around here start in early August?) July 25 is likely to be a balmy night to grab a pink blanket and get lost in the empowered sugary icing that is the Barbie universe and see the film in an entirely new way as the live musicians bring the score and tunes to life. (LP)

GAME BOYS Flow plays the San Jose Civic Auditorium on July 25.

July 25, 8pm | Civic Auditorium, San Jose |
All right, this one is for the nerds at heart. Five-piece Japanese rock band Flow has announced their largest ever, first five-continent tour and they’re coming to the Civic. Die-hard anime fans will probably already know the name, considering Flow is behind songs featured in some of the genre’s most popular titles like Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, Code Geass and more. That’s not all. This tour, aptly named “Anime Shibari,” or “anime only,” is just that: the band doing what they do best and playing an entire set of their anime soundtracks. It’s enough to separate the wanna-be nerds from the hardcore fans that are most likely already going super saiyan reading this. (MW)

Aug. 3, 5:30pm | Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View |
Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp—three leviathans of American music—anchor this year’s Outlaw Music Festival, launched in 2016 by Nelson, one of the leading forces who brought outlaw country to the mainstream. There will be no shortage of wild energy. At 91 years old, Nelson is going strong, flanked by his musical family. Meanwhile, Bob is elusive as ever; in a recent (for him) interview with the Wall Street Journal, he was asked how he finds new music. He answered, “Performers and songwriters recommend things to me. Others I just wake up and they’re there.” (AM)

Aug. 17, 6pm | Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View |
If there’s one thing that will keep summers in California irie, it’s a reggae tour. Especially when it’s with California’s own Rebelution, the four-piece reggae rock band from Isla Vista. This time they’ll be joined by Hawaiian-inflected reggae act Kolohe Kai, and 2005 “King Without A Crown” hitmaker Matisyahu. Coming from the most unlikely of cities, Boston, Cydeways will open the show with the Rebelution tour emcee, DJ Mackle, dropping fire between sets. Roots, rock and rasta vibes are guaranteed to spread one love through the seats and up the infamous Shoreline lawn—or maybe that’s just all the puffs of smoke. (MW)

Aug. 28, 8pm | SAP Center, San Jose |
Corridos tumbados are the new corridos, and it’s in large part thanks to Peso Pluma. The superstar has taken the traditional Mexican form and revamped it with the infusion of rap and reggaeton. In July 2023, his third studio album, Genesis, hit No. 3 on the Billboard all-genre chart, a triumph for an album of regional Mexican music. His song with Eslabon Armado, “Ella Baila Sola,” also became the first Mexican song to hit the Top 5 on the Hot 100. Merging the modern and nostalgic, there is no question that Peso Pluma—which translates to “featherweight”—is absolutely soaring. (AM)

SHORT ORDER Nick Mandracchia plays a moody chef in City Lights’ production of ‘Clyde’s.’ Photo by Christian Pizzirani


Airy musicals, broad comedies and adaptations of popular movies are what’s on tap for summer, though there are a couple of productions that ponder the mysteries of life.

May 16–June 9 | City Lights Theater Company, San Jose |
The best plays are paced like a rollercoaster; they also tend to be written by Lynn Nottage, the most produced living playwright in America. City Lights has whipped up a delicious Nottage special for the start of summer in the form of Clyde’s, the playwright’s most recent full-length play. The plot follows a group of formerly incarcerated employees through their work at a truck stop diner, illuminating unlikely glamor in one cook’s pursuit of the perfect sandwich. Much like the hit TV show The Bear, Clyde’s strikes a balance of sweet and spicy as the cast finds redemption over hot flames and sizzling dishes. (AM)

May 17–19 | Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View |
Upstage Theater presents this Terrence McNally musical based on Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film about con man Frank Abagnale.

SUPERCALIFRAGALISTIC Clara Hirsch Walker and Lex Rosenberg play the nanny and the chimney sweep in South Bay Musical Theatre’s production of ‘Mary Poppins.’ Photo by Dave Lepori

May 18–June 8 | Civic Theater, Saratoga |
South Bay Musical Theatre is serving up a spoonful of sugar with this musical about a nanny with supercalifragalistic talents. The musical was co-created by Cameron Mackintosh and based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney film.

May 24–June 2 | Louis B. Mayer Theatre |
Santa Clara University presents the quintessential backstage musical about an understudy who becomes a star. Even without the Busby Berkeley choreography that graced the original 1933 film, the production will still be replete with classic tunes, including the title number, “Lullaby of Broadway,” “I Only Have Eyes for You” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo.”

May 31–June 23 | Bus Barn Theater, Los Altos |
Mel Brooks turned his monster hit film into a stage production, which the Los Altos Stage Company will mount this month. Opens with a pay-what-you-can preview on May 30.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN Dave Leon plays Igor and Bryan Moriarty is The Monster in Los Altos Stage Company’s take on the Mel Brooks play. Photo by Christian Pizzirani.

June 1, 7:30pm | Montgomery Theater, San Jose |
Few American musicians have captivated crowds the way Elvis Presley did. His hips gyrating, his voice perfectly low, his getups bejeweled, he simply had magic. He is also the musician who launched a million tribute acts. One in particular is getting people all shook up this summer: Donny Edwards. Normally found in Las Vegas, luxuriating in his well-earned status as an Elvis Presley Enterprises–sanctioned act, Edwards is taking his one-man show out of Sin City for a long-awaited tour. The show is a family-friendly mixture of biographical storytelling and good ol’ fashioned impersonation of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll. (AM)

June 5–30 | The Stage, San Jose |
This is a stage play musical version of the popular movie by the same name. The “seductively jazzy” score is by David Yazbek, who scored The Full Monty. This Tony-Award winning show is said to be just as hilarious as its movie predecessor. The story follows two con men in the French Riviera who at first decide to work together, then realize that a small tourist town is slim pickings for two con artists. The “hilarious battle of cons” that ensues is a crowd-pleaser that keeps audiences guessing until the end. (LP) 

June 5–30 | Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View |
These are dire and tricky times, and who better to chronicle them than Stephen Sondheim, he of the mighty theatrical songbook talent, who brought us diverse delights, from Assassins to Sunday in the Park with George to Into the Woods. TheatreWorks Silicon Valley calls the show a “revelatory world-premiere revue,” but it’s okay to call it a theatrical romp through the work of Sondheim, focused on the works that speak to and of the heart. Directed by longtime TheatreWorks talent Robert Kelley, who conceived this tribute with music director William Liberatore, Being Alive is an homage to a beautiful lyricist, composer and arranger. (LP)

WORDS AND MUSIC TheatreWorks celebrates Stephen Sondheim in a new production. Photo by Jerry Jackson

June 29–July 27 | Civic Theater, Saratoga |
West Valley Light Opera debuts its production of the Tony-winning musical comedy by  Matthew Sklar, Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy, based on Adam Sandler’s 1998 romantic comedy.

June 25-30 | Center for Performing Arts, San José |
Larissa FastHorse is a Native American playwright and choreographer who has, among many other things, formed her own creative consulting agency to help productions create more accurate depictions of Native people. She is the one who has been tasked to create a refreshed version of Peter Pan, and this is the production that will be traveling to San Jose via Broadway San Jose. It’s exciting to see this story re-imagined with the “Indians” from the original text becoming Indigenous characters instead of stereotypes. Wendy and Tiger Lily are less cringey, too. This is a much less problematic version to present to your children in 2024. (That is, of course, if you want to see white actors in redface singing a cheugy song with the Lost Boys. If so, by all means, rent the Cathy Rigby version.) Plus, actors flying on pulleys never gets old. (LP)

June 28–July 21 | Pear Theatre, Mountain View |
Playwright Greg Lam peers into the past and allows the audience to imagine what it was like on set when two masters of silent comedy in their later years worked together on Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight, the last film he made before a smear campaign conducted by J. Edgar Hoover drove the director from the United States.

July 11–Aug. 4 | 3Below Theaters, San Jose |
In contrast to the light fare that dominates the summer, San Jose Playhouse takes on Stephen Sondheim’s revue-style musical about nine individuals who tried to assassinate the president of the United States.

July 19–Aug 25 | City Lights Theater, San Jose |
A chance to see the ultimate midnight movie, performed live. Finally, fans can throw rice, fling toast slices and ring bells with the assurance that live performers will appreciate their efforts.

Aug. 10–25 | Red Morton Park, Redwood City |
The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival heads down the Peninsula for Redwood City’s seasonal Shakespeare in the Park performances. Performances take place at 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

ELVIS TRIBUTE Smuin Ballet unleashes ‘Tupelo Tornado’ in Mountain View. Photo by Chris Hardy


If ballet had a season, it seems like it would be winter, right? (Maybe that’s because The Nutcracker is just so good.) Luckily, ballerinas spin and leap year-round.

May 16–19 | Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View |
The rather nondescript title of this program presented by Smuin Ballet conceals a world premiere inspired by the life of Elvis Presley. First-time company choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa created “Tupelo Tornado” for Smuin’s 30th anniversary. She told Bay City News, “The score is more a soundscape with partly Elvis’ music, either performed by other artists or deconstructed. I wanted to create a journey in which soundbites of interviews of him and with him are interspersed with his music.” Also on the program is Amy Seiwert’s “Broken Open,” “Untwine” by Smuin artist Brennan Wall, and “Starshadows,” an elegant Michael Smuin piece from his early days with the company.

May 18-19 | Hammer Theatre Center, San Jose |
New Ballet presents Prokofiev’s ballet, accompanied by a live orchestra, conducted by Thomas Shoebotham. Read more here.

May 25–26 | Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View |
The Bayer Ballet Company, a Peninsula ballet academy, offers two programs on Saturday and Sunday. The curtain rises at a kid-friendly 11am for Springtime Fairy Tale, and the Coppélia Suite starts at 6pm.

May 24-26 | Hammer Theatre Center, San Jose |
Designed to please youngsters in the audience, San Jose Dance Theatre promises a dazzling spectacle about that underwater fish-tailed girl who leaves bossy single Dad-God and watery junkyard behind when she trades her voice to a disgruntled sea witch for a pair of legs. She gets sent above ground, voiceless, to win over a prince with only red hair and gestures. This version is a ballet, and therefore beautiful and visual, where not only our knock-kneed and mute heroine is rendered voiceless, but also the entire rest of the cast, allowing the audience to slip into the depths that this story provides. (LP)

July 26-27, 7:30pm | Frost Amphitheater, Stanford |
San Francisco Ballet presents a fun program at the Frost Amphitheater with lots of variation to keep everyone engaged. The show begins with renowned choreographer Helgi Tomasson’s interpretation of Act II (the high-drama act) of Swan Lake. The swans swim along to make way for the company premiere of Ben Stevenson’s Three Preludes, a dance set to a Sergei Rachmaninoff score. So much more follows, including a Hans Van Manen tribute…and some sultry summer tango. (AM)

FEMALE EMPOWERMENT Cantabile Youth Singers perform May 18. Photo by Kristy Andrews and Nick Briggs

Classical & Opera

Summer sounds include work by contemporary composers along with music of the ages, performed indoors and outdoors from the Peninsula to San Jose.

May 18, 1pm | First Palo Alto United Methodist Church |
Cantabíle’s advanced choirs will bid farewell to graduating seniors and present a program that honors women as artists, leaders, trailblazers and adventurers, titled “What Happens When a Woman Takes Power?”

May 18, 7:30pm | First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto |
Peninsula Cantare’s season finale is the Bay Area premiere of Jake Runestad’s Earth Symphony for chorus and orchestra. The Emmy-winning five-part work gives voice to our planet as she contemplates her hopes for humanity, her diminishment at our hands, her grief at the consequences, and finally her recovery.

May 19, 7pm | St Francis Episcopal Church, San Jose |
Conductor Anthony Quartuccio leads the San Jose Chamber Orchestra through three works: Hildegard, a composition for string orchestra by Bay Area-based composer Anica Galindo; Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 3 for strings by Ottorino Respighi; and Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 for violin, strings, and paired oboes and horns, featuring guest soloist Audrey Goodner.

STRINGING ALONG Guest soloist Audrey Goodner performs Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra. Photo by Martyn Selman

May 19, 3pm | Cubberley Theatre, Palo Alto |
The Palo Alto Philharmonic’s avian-themed program features Rossini’s Overture from La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie), Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, and “flightworthy” works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Saint-Saëns, Vivaldi and others.

June 8, 6:30pm | Grant Park, Los Altos |
Plan a picnic to go along with a crowd-pleasing program with music by John Williams, Astor Piazzolla and tunes from Beauty and the Beast, Frozen and other popular movie scores.

June 1, 8pm | Cañada College, Redwood City |
The Redwood Symphony serenades the audience with an all-American program of well-loved works by Aaron Copland (Suite from Our Town), Leonard Bernstein (Symphonic Dances from West Side Story) and John Williams (Liberty Fanfare and Escapades from Catch Me if You Can).

PIANO MAN Jon Nakamatsu plays June 1-2 with the San Jose Symphony. Photo courtesy of the artist and Symphony San Jose

June 1, 7:30pm & June 2, 2:30pm | California Theatre, San Jose |
A true local treasure, pianist Jon Nakamatsu plays around the globe but still lives in his hometown of San Jose. He joins Symphony San Jose, playing under the baton of Tatsuya Shimono, for a piano-forward program of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (Titan), Márquez’s Danzon No. 2 and Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21.

June 22, 7pm | Redwood City Courthouse Square |
The all-volunteer Redwood Symphony gives a free concert featuring a mixed assortment of aural treats, ranging from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture to Richard Hayman’s Pops Hoe-Down. (And they’re back at Courtyard Square on July 27 for a program of works by Ravel, Handel and Bizet.)

June 23 and July 14 | Center for Performing Arts, Mountain View |
San Francisco’s four-decade-old Pocket Opera, which produces intimate versions of full operatic works in English translations, heads down the Peninsula twice this summer. Soprano Rena Harms and bass Ken Kellogg make their Pocket Opera debut in Merry Wives of Windsor on June 23. And on July 14, the company presents Puccini’s La Bohème.

July 13, 7:30pm | Frost Amphitheater, Stanford |
The San Francisco Symphony takes a tour of Spain, courtesy of Isaac Albéniz’s Suite Española, Joaquín Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Manuel de Falla’s The Three-Cornered Hat.

Coming to San Jose Museum of Art: Christina Fernandez, Untitled Multiple Exposure #4 (Bravo), 1999. Gelatin silver print, 20 x 16 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Luisotti, Los Angeles


Want to get away from it all, but can’t take time for a vacation? Step into an alternate reality at these museum and gallery exhibits.

Through June 30| NUMU, Los Gatos |
ArtNow is an absolute force for the local youth art scene. Through this yearly juried exhibition, New Museum (NUMU) in Los Gatos showcases work from high school students across Santa Clara County. ArtNow is the first formal exhibition for over 70% of these students. An impressive amount of those who are featured go onto degrees and careers in the arts, citing the real-world experience, mentorship and encouragement ArtNow gave them. This year’s theme, “In Transition,” takes inspiration from the poet and activist Nikki Giovani’s words: “A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are.” (AM)

May 28–June 30 | Gallery 9, Los Altos |
Gallery 9 welcomes some special artists for the show Children in the Los Altos Art Docent Program. Selected work from a series of spring art shows will be displayed at the gallery for the month of June, with additional art by youngsters on view through June 2. Along with the children’s work, Gallery 9 regulars will also have work on display, including painting, photography, ceramics and jewelry.

May 25–Sept. 8 | Triton Museum, Santa Clara |
The Triton’s annual 2D Art Competition and Exhibition will showcase works in five mediums—painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, and mixed media—produced by California artists. This year’s salon is juried by Aly Gould, executive director of Pacific Art League in Palo Alto.

June 7–Sept. 22 | San Jose Museum of Art |
This wide-ranging survey explores three decades of work by photographer and installation artist Christina Fernandez, a native Angeleno and teacher at Cerritos College. This collection of her most important work explores Fernandez’s meditations on migration, labor, gender and her Mexican American identity.

Friday, June 21, 7pm | San Jose Museum of Art |
Live musical performances will activate the artworks in San Jose Museum of Art’s exhibition Seeing through Stone. Composer James Gordon Williams, assistant professor of music at UC Santa Cruz, will improvise using a sculpture by Maria Gaspar, and composer and visual artist Guillermo Galindo will perform a piece on his own artwork, Llantambores, made of materials found at the US-Mexico border.

June 19–Dec. 1 | Cantor Arts Center, Stanford |
Bay Area-based artist TT Takemoto presents two video works and two complementary series of small handmade objects and works on paper.

July 13-14, 10am–5pm | Palo Alto Art Center |
Hosted by the Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California and the Palo Alto Art Center, this two-day event celebrates clay and glass artistry by more than 100 creators. It’s free to enter and ooh and ahh over a wide range of styles, from intricate sculptures to functional pottery and glassware.

Aug. 2–Jan. 26 | NUMU, Los Gatos |
New Museum (NUMU) in Los Gatos is about to blow the Bay’s mind with this exhibit of work by Merced-based Holly Lane. Everyone from art scholars to casual visitors will be wonderstruck realizing that for Lane, the frame is as important as the painting. Reveling in the question of the relationship between frame and subject, Lane creates frames that are as ornate as mini Taj Mahals and Notre Dames. There is so much to ponder here that NUMU has created an accompanying exhibition (In the Artist’s Studio, opening Aug. 23) to take visitors behind the scenes of Lane’s woodworking process. (AM)

TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN Jim Gaffigan does two nights up at the Mountain Winery. Photo by Mark Seliger


There have been many golden ages of comedy—radio in the ’40s, television in the ’50s, recorded vinyl in the ’70s. Now it’s the golden age of streaming specials—but first, comedians have to tour so they can fine-tune their act. And comedy fans benefit. Here are some of the highlights coming this summer.

May 18, 7pm | San Jose Civic |
A comedian who built his career on social media (“You got to get your content to where the people are instead of trying to get people to go to where the content is,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Nate Jackson is taking time off from running a comedy club in Tacoma, Washington, to travel the U.S. and Canada for his Super Funny World Tour.

May 23-24 | Improv San Jose |
Comedian, writer, producer, director, podcaster, memoirist—Whitney Cummings does it all. And if this were a just society, she’d be a queen of late-night TV as well.

June 6-7 | Improv, San Jose |
San Jose native Anjelah Johnson-Reyes will do eight sets at the Improv, doing her act for fans who know her from her various specials on Comedy Central, Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon and YouTube. Her second stand-up comedy special, 2013’s Homecoming Show, was shot in San Jose.

June 21-22, 8pm | Mountain Winery, Saratoga |
Given this talented comedian/actor’s penchant for self-deprecation, there’s no need to be concerned about the title of his current cruise around the States. The Barely Alive Tour makes two stops in Saratoga—just one of the top-notch comedy acts lined up to play the hillside venue. George Lopez, Demetri Martin and Chelsea Handler also play there this summer.

May 23–26 | Rooster T Feathers, Sunnyvale |
The East LA comic returns to Silicon Valley, this time doing four nights at Sunnyvale’s comedy hot spot.

July 12–13 | Civic Auditorium, San Jose |
The star of Patriot Act and Homecoming King is back, mixing political satire with observational humor on the last leg of his “Off with His Head” tour, which ends with two nights in San Jose, both billed as “special taping.”

Portrait of comedian Ali Wong
HARD KNOCK WIFE Ali Wong appears Aug. 9-10 in San Jose.

Aug. 9–10, 7:30pm | Center for the Performing Arts, San Jose |
Ali Wong’s three previous Netflix specials took the audience through dating, marriage, and two pregnancies. Will her new material cover her experiences on the absolutely bonkers Beef, which also streamed on Netflix? No matter what the subject matter, hilarity will ensue.

ALL DRESSED UP The Ào Dài Festival takes place May 18. Photo by PVE Productions. Courtesy of San José Museum of Art

More Outdoor Fun

Shop and sip, listen and learn, dance and dine—it’s all happening at South Bay street fairs.

May 18 | City Hall Plaza, San Jose |
A celebration of Vietnamese art and culture, the Áo Dái Festival will feature dancers and stilt walkers dressed in long flowing Áo Dài garments, with musicians and drummers kicking off the festivities with a pre-show outdoor ceremony set against a tapestry of colored flags and silk banners.

May 25, 10am–7pm & May 26, 10am–6pm | Community and Cultural Center, Morgan Hill |
Mushrooms are the main dish—presented in soups, on sandwiches, deep-fried, marinated, over rice, grilled—with plenty more entertainment including handmade arts and crafts, live bands, strolling musicians and street performers, beer and wine gardens, and plenty of food beyond fungi.

July 13–14, 10am–6pm | Downtown Los Altos |
This sprawling festival, celebrating its 45th year, showcases handcrafted works by more than 250 artists and craftspeople along with vintages from local wineries and a variety of foods. The younger set will find rides, activities and entertainment in the Kidzone, and free concerts are also part of the mix.

Aug. 3, 11am–7pm & Aug. 4, 11am–5pm | History Park San Jose |
Hosted by the Italian American Heritage Foundation, this annual event offers a space for friends and family to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine, live entertainment and a cultural village with arts and crafts for sale.

Aug. 22–23, 10am–6pm | University Avenue, Downtown Palo Alto |
For two days, University Avenue hosts 300 fine art and contemporary craft displays, Italian street painting, an art studio for children, a sculpture plaza, and roving performers.

Aug. 25, 10:30am–noon | Downtown San Jose |
The culmination of Pride Week, which runs Aug 19–23, the Pride Parade starts at Julian and Market streets and ends at Plaza de César Chávez. There will also be a festival, taking place 6–11pm on Aug. 24 and noon–6pm on Aug. 25.

STREET SCENE The Mountain View Art & Wine Festival will feature more than 350 makers.

Sept. 7, 11am–7pm; Sept. 8, 10am–6pm | Downtown Mountain View |
On Castro Street between El Camino Real and Evelyn Avenue, more than 350 artists and craft-makers will show their wares. Admission is free, and includes live music, many activities, and abundant food and beverage options.


June 12, July 10 & Aug. 14, 4:30pm | Almaden Public Library |
Three words: Books. Dogs. Free. For those who need more convincing, that’s the magical combination Almaden Public Library is offering periodically this summer. Children are invited to practice their reading skills by cracking books open in the company of the cutest, most gentle trained assistance dogs in the South Bay. Will the poodle be into speculative fiction? Will the fluffiest chow be dying to hear some sonnets? For book worms (or those struggling to get over that next hurdle in their reading life), this might just be the perfect formula. And let’s be real, parents need this too. (AM)

June 15–Sept. 19 (third Thursdays), 6–9pm | Circle of Palms |
Enjoy the cool of the evening with other San Joseans at CityDance, taking place on the third Thursday of the month at the Circle of Palms, next to the San Jose Museum of Art. Dance to live bands and learn the steps of the evening’s dance style from a professional instructor. Free.

June 21 | Multiple locations |
Make Music San José is a free community-curated day of music-making held on the summer solstice. Sign up as a venue or musician before May 21.

June 22 | Children’s Discovery Museum, San Jose |
Leave the kids at home for this “Evening for Grownups at the Purple Museum.” Date night becomes a chance for parents to discover their own forms of fun at San Jose’s Children’s Discovery Museum in downtown San Jose.

May 17–May 19 & May 24–27 | Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose |
Dinosaurs roam in Silicon Valley at this kid-oriented event taking place over two weeks—including Memorial Day weekend.

June 1–9 | Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose |
Founded by “a group of passionate parents with a creative vision from the theatre/film industry,” DODOCACA Festival is a “fusion of art, entertainment, and stimulating activities.” Imagine the biggest bounce house you’ve ever seen.

July 6 & 20; Aug. 3 & 17 at dusk | St. James Park, San Jose |
An evening at the park, a night at the movies—enjoy both at this cinema series in downtown San Jose. Barbie kicks things off (naturally).

July 28, 10am-4pm | Saratoga Village and Big Basin Way |
The 13th annual event offers free entertainment, including live music, award-winning vintage cars, a photo booth, and a wide array of food and beverages for sale, plus other vendors.

June 29, 9am–4pm |
After an inaugural show in 2023, the Historic Downtown Campbell Car Show is back for its second year, with lots more to see.

July 3-4 | Downtown Morgan Hill |
Morgan Hill goes all out for Fourth of July, with a singalong, a family street dance, a freedom run and parade, a car show, and (of course) fireworks and entertainment.

July 4 | Main Street, Half Moon Bay |
Half Moon Bay’s Ol’ Fashioned 4th of July Parade includes a pancake breakfast, block party and festival along Main Street. The parade starts at noon and lasts approximately 90 minutes.

July 12-14 & August 16-18 | Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, San Jose |
A multicultural food and entertainment event with more than 175 vendors, plus family-friendly games and entertainment.


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