The following is a sampling of summer arts events suggested by critics and program directors for families. All performances are evenings unless otherwise stated. Please check specific performances and exhibits to be sure they're appropriate for your family.
(213) 659-6415, (213) 480-3232
"Bother!"--The readings of A. A. Milne's children's works.
July, August and September--Preview concerts for families are "lighter and lower-priced."
July 1--"From Russia With Pops" (Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov).
July 2--"The Great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Concert."
July 3--"American Holiday Marathon." (The Los Angeles Philharmonic and L.A. Philharmonic Institute join for five hours of classic American music.)
July 4th--Family Fireworks concert.
Also for families--Sunday Sunset concerts (earlier performances and lower-priced tickets): Gershwin, "An Evening of Lerner and Loewe," "Disneyland Spectacular" and "Great American" concert with fireworks.
Japan America Theater
Aug. 14-16--The Great Leap dance troupe. Modern dance rooted in Japanese-American tradition.
The Joffrey Ballet
(In addition to specific story ballets, a mixed bill--because of its variety--is a good way to introduce children to ballet. The repertory pieces that are particularly appropriate for youngsters are described.)
Oct. 2, 4, 7, 15 and 18 (2 p.m.)--Mixed bill: "The Dream" (takeoff of Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream," colorful costuming), "Monotones I and II" (very modern, simple), "Les Patineurs" (a Victorian skating party), "La Fille Mal Gardee" (a light, humorous, classic ballet with farm-yard scene, animals and a Maypole-type dance).
Oct. 10, 11 (2 p.m. and evening)--"La Fille Mal Gardee."
Long Beach Civic Light Opera
July 25-Aug. 9--"Anything Goes," with Helen Reddy. (Typical 1930s musical comedy with "laughs and good tunes.")
Los Angeles Civic Light Opera
August--Bolshoi Ballet. World-renowned ballet troupe performs.
Mark Taper Forum
Through June 21--"Roza" (musical about a retired Parisian madam who saves abandoned children; preteens and older).
Aug. 30, previews begin--"Babbitt: A Marriage" (based on Sinclair Lewis' 1930s American classic; preteens and older).
Orange County Performing Arts Center
June 5--The Irvine Symphony presents Gilbert and Sullivan's "H.M.S. Pinafore."
Aug. 21 and 22--Moon Festival Gala Cultural Celebration (Chinese songs, dances and musicians).
South Bay Center for the Arts
(at El Camino College in Torrance)
May 30--Victor Borge's "Carmen" (Borge's humorous approach to the traditional opera, "Carmen").
Sunday Concerts in the Park (Agoura)
June 7, 2 p.m.--INCA (Peruvian musicians and dance troop).
July 5, 2 p.m.--Aman Folk Ensemble.
Aug. 2, 2 p.m.--Loretta Livingstone & Dancers.
UCLA Center for the Performing Arts
May 31--American Youth Symphony performs Brahms, Rachmaninoff and Bartok.
June 13--Aman Folk Ensemble.
July 8 through Aug. 16--Musical Comedy L.A. (Annual program.) Plays recommended for families--"Boys From Syracuse" (based on Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors") and "Leave It to Jane" (a bit of "The Music Man"). Both recommended for preteens and older.
California Afro-American Museum
(213) 744-7432. Call for special family programs.
Now through September--"Allensworth: An Enduring Dream" (docent pretends to be resident of Allensworth as he takes tours through this recreated all-black California township).
Now through Aug. 14--"Portrayal of the Black Musician in American Art" (caricatures, cartoons and music From the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.)
Craft and Folk Art Museum (mid-Wilshire)
(213) 937-5544. Call for special family programs.
June 9-Aug.16--"Liberties With Liberty" (how women came to represent liberty in American folk art).
J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu)
(213) 459-7611. Call for special family programs.
The setting of the museum (a recreated Italian villa) adds to the presentation of pieces from antiquity. Gallery teachers think most exhibits are good for families. These include the Decorative Arts Collection, Paintings from the 12th Century to the early 20th Century, and the Antiquities Collection (artifacts from ancient life).
Junior Arts Center Gallery, (Barnsdall Park)
(213) 485-4474. Call for special family programs.
Through July 14--"International Children's Art Collection" (3,500 works from 13-18-year-olds from 45 nations).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (mid-Wilshire)
(213) 857-6134. Call for special family programs.
Now through July 19--"Contemporary Ceramics: From the Smits Collection" (many animals in collection).
Now through July 5--"Treasures of the Holy Land: Ancient Art From the Israel Museum" (Dead Sea Scrolls and 150 other world-famous antiquities).
Now through July 12--"Degas to Picasso: Modern Masters From the Smooke Collection" (colorful and dramatic).
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (Barnsdall Park)