1 of 8
Utah Children's Theatre
Lexi Thomsen, left, Trayven Call and Bryson Dumas in Utah Children's Theatre's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

SALT LAKE CITY — If we can trust good old Punxsutawney Phil, we’re in for an early — and much needed — spring. But in the meantime, if your kids are a little stir crazy and you’re looking to add a bit of charm and pep into your life, here are seven plays or musicals opening this month that the whole family can attend.

‘Once Upon a Mattress’ at Heritage Theatre

Think you know the story of “The Princess and the Pea"? “Once Upon a Mattress” says think again. This musical takes Hans Christian Andersen’s children’s tale and turns it upside down — including letting audiences know that “it wasn't the pea at all that caused the princess a sleepless night,” according to Rodgers and Hammerstein, the company that licenses the show. Gasp!

Provided by Heritage Theatre
Troy Hone as the Wizard and Amber Kacherian as Queen Aggravain in Heritage Theatre's "Once Upon A Mattress."

Even with the plot twists, the familiar elements of the storyline are ones kids will recognize, making the upcoming production at Heritage Theatre in Perry an option for the whole family. It runs March 1-23, dates and times vary, 2505 S. Highway 89, Perry, $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and children under 12 (435-723-8392 or heritagetheatreutah.com).

‘Mary Poppins Jr.’

If a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, then two spoonfuls — or two chances to see “Mary Poppins Jr.” this month — are sure to help brighten your March.

Based on the 1964 Disney film, which was based on the 1934 P.L. Travers book, “Mary Poppins” the musical brings all the magic you know and love, plus a few additional songs. And the “Jr.” version shortens the whole thing down to an easy-to-digest 60 minutes.

Two youth theater companies in Utah County will mount the production this month, with Hale Center Theater Orem’s youth theater program leading out and starting March 7. As an added bonus, the show runs at a great time of day for kids too. The production runs March 7-8 and 11-15, 4:30 p.m., HCTO, 225 W. 400 North, Orem, $10 for adults, $8 for children (801-226-8600 or haletheater.org).

Dustin Bolt
Matthew Wangemann as Bert, left, Wilson Haddock as Michael Banks, Bailey Morris as Mary Poppins and Alice Alcorn as Jane Banks in Hale Center Theater Orem's youth production of "Mary Poppins Jr."

Arches Academy, a private school in Orem, is also preparing for a production of “Mary Poppins Jr.,” this time to be performed at Covey Center for the Arts. See it March 13-15, 7 p.m., Covey Center for the Arts, 425 W. Center, Provo, $10-$14 (801-852-7007 or coveycenter.org).

‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ at Utah Children’s Theatre

Before there was “Finding Nemo,” there was Captain Nemo in Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

Utah Children’s Theatre’s is setting out to sea to introduce kids to the original Nemo in a format reminiscent of the way Verne’snovel was initially published: serialized.

“Utah Children's Theater's melodramatic adaptation of '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea' is written as an episodic, movie serial adventure format …,” according to the theater company’s website. “At the end of each scene, the characters are in peril, only to be saved heroically at the top of the next chapter.”

Embark on the sci-fi adventure March 9-April 13, dates and times vary, Utah Children’s Theatre, 3605 S. State, $16 (801-532-6000 or uctheatre.org).


Utah Children's Theatre
Sean Sweeney, left, Steve Harmon, Lexi Thomsen, Trayven Call and Bryson Dumas in Utah Children's Theatre's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ at CenterPoint Legacy Theatre

Brothers/composing duo Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, aka the Sherman Brothers, captivated audiences for generations with their movie musical compositions, including the songs for “Mary Poppins,” “The Jungle Book,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” and “The Aristocats.” In addition to being able to hear their “Mary Poppins” tunes two places this month, you can also hear more of their musical magic through CenterPoint Legacy Theatre’s stage adaptation of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

“Caractacus Potts may be a crazy inventor but when he and his children, Jeremy and Jemima, bring a magical car to life, they soon discover that anything is possible — even the car taking flight!” according to the theater’s website.

Hear the Sherman Brothers’ work and see that infamous flying car March 15-April 13, dates and times vary, CenterPoint Legacy Theatre, 525 N. 400 West, Centerville, $19.75-$28.25 for adults, $17.75-$26 for seniors, students and children (801-298-1302 or centerpointtheatre.org).

‘The Little Mermaid’ at SCERA

What says “family-friendly theater” better than another Disney classic onstage?

SCERA Center for the Arts’ youth theater group, Acting Up, brings “The Little Mermaid” to the stage this month. The company, geared toward performers in 10th through 12th grades, will take on well-known tunes such as “Part of Your World,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Under the Sea” as they tell the tale of the mermaid Ariel who abandons her tail (see what we did there?) to seek true love on land. The performances are open to patrons ages 3 and older, making this a show even little ones can enjoy.

Dustin Bolt
Matthew Wangemann as Bert, left, and Bailey Morris as Mary Poppins in Hale Center Theater Orem's youth production of "Mary Poppins Jr."

The show runs March 15-30, dates and times vary, SCERA Center for the Arts, 745 S. State, Orem, $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and children (801-225-2787 or scera.org).

‘Freezin'’ at Desert Star

With the trailer for “Frozen 2” hitting the internet in the last few weeks, the world has been abuzz yet again with talk of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and the loveable snowman Olaf, and Desert Star Playhouse wants to contribute to the hype … albeit in a more satirical way.

Comment on this story

Desert Star, the Murray playhouse that has been delivering comedies since 1989, is set to launch its latest parody “Freezin’” March 28-June 8. It’s based, you guessed it, on “Frozen” and promises to be an “ice-cold comedy.”

“You’ll be frozen in your seats with our zany cast, including Anna, the Mountaineer and the Snow Queen,” the theater company’s website states.

You can catch it during its over two-monthslong run starting March 28-June 8, dates and times vary, 4861 S. State, Murray, $26.95 for adults, $15.95 for children (801-266-2600 or desertstar.biz).