Autumn is our favorite season. It’s got everything: bonus beach days, leaf peeping, baseball playoffs, the NFL, Friday night high school football and a bounty of arts and entertainment choices. From Broadway hits to classic rockers to rarely seen paintings, fall in Boston and on the South Shore looks colorful. We’ve selected 40 of fall’s most fabulous offerings that are happening between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Mark your calendars, but do keep in mind the spread of the delta variant has prompted many arts organizations to tighten COVID restrictions again. Check with individual venues and groups for cancellations, mask mandates, postponements and other policies.
1. The next production for Priscilla Beach Theatre is “The Marvelous Wonderettes – Caps & Gowns,” a jukebox musical taking audience members on a trip through the music of the ’50s and ’60s. It runs through Sept. 11; pbtheatre.org.
2. The South Shore Music Circus in Cohasset has a busy September planned with concerts from classic rock icons Grand Funk Railroad (Sept. 9), “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery (Sept. 10), Led Zepplin tribute band Get the Led Out (Sept. 11), Fleetwood Mac tribute band Rumours (Sept. 16), singer-songwriter Amos Lee (Sept. 17) and country artist Dustin Lynch closes out the season on Sept. 18; themusiccircus.org.
3. South Shore residents can travel back in time to the Renaissance as King Richard’s Faire kicks off its 40th season. Stage performers and staff roam 80 acres in Carver dressed in period costumes and staying in character. Spectators often arrive in costume, too. The fair runs weekends and Monday holidays through Oct. 24; kingrichardsfaire.net.
4. “The Trouble with Cats” is the fall offering from the Norwell-based North River Theatre troupe. The comedy offers eccentric characters and plenty of laughs. Performances are Sept. 10-12, Sept. 17-19; northrivertheater.org.
5. Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Gregory Porter performs at the Emerson Colonial Theater in support of his 2020 album “All Rise,” on Sept. 17; emersoncolonialtheatre.com.
6. Under the baton of conductor Yoichi Udagawa, the Quincy Symphony Orchestra joins forces with the Quincy Choral Society for a free outdoor Pops Concert at 5 p.m. Sept. 18 at the Hancock Adams Green. The QSO’s second performance of the season will be a fall concert Nov. 14 at the Lloyd Hill Center for the Performing Arts; quincysymphonyorchestra.org.
7. Huntington Theatre Company’s “Hurricane Diane” is a new comedy by Pulitzer Prize finalist Madeleine George about gardening and global warming. The play runs through Sept. 26 at the Boston Center for the Arts; huntingtontheatre.org.
8. SpeakEasy Stage Company returns to the boards with Adam Rapp’s Tony Award-nominated “The Sound Inside,” a drama about the friendship between a college professor and her brilliant student, Sept. 24-Oct. 16; speakeasystage.com.
9. The Company Theatre in Norwell will host sing-along screenings of crowd-pleasing hit movies. The lineup: “The Greatest Showman” (Sept. 11), “Sound of Music” (Sept. 18) and “Little Shop of Horrors” (Oct. 2). To honor the classic line from the teen comedy “Mean Girls” – “On Oct. 3 he asked me what day it was” – the theater is hosting a screening of the movie and brunch. Cheese fries and other bites will be available from a food truck and there will games and prizes to win. So wear pink and let’s try to make “fetch” happen; companytheatre.com.
10. In “Meaningful Gibberish,” artist David Schnuckel explores contemporary craft through glass objects. A professor at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, Schnuckel’s glass work on display at the Fuller Craft Museum will shatter your expectations. The exhibit opens Sept. 11 and runs through Feb. 20; fullercraft.org.
11. Pop music group Maroon 5 and frontman Adam Levine show off their moves like Jagger at Fenway Park on Sept. 12. The show also features performances by Leon Bridges and Nantucket native Meghan Trainor. Three weeks later, the Jonas Brothers take the stage at the ballpark on Oct. 1 for their “Remember This” tour; livenation.com.
12. Tony Award-winning artistic director Diane Paulus has a big season on tap at American Repertory Theatre, starting with the jazz and tap dancing show “Ayodele Casel: Chasing Magic,” Sept. 25-Oct. 9. Following is “Macbeth in Stride,” Created and performed by Whitney White, the show “examines what it means to be an ambitious Black woman through the lens of one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters,” according to press materials. It runs Oct. 23-Nov. 14; americanrepertorytheater.org.
13. Music Director Andris Nelson and former Boston Pops conductor John Williams team up to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 30 in a season-opener that includes Beethoven, Bartok and selections composed by Williams, who provided the scores for “Jaws,” “Indiana Jones” and more; bso.org.
14. The romantic comedy “Be Here Now” kicks off fall at the Lyric Stage Company with a three-week run from Sept. 24 to Oct. 17. The company’s second production is Jason Robert Brown’s beloved musical, “The Last Five Years,” starting Nov. 12; lyricstage.com.
15. Blueswoman Dana Fuchs, who comes from the Janis Joplin school of richly lived-in blues and soul, headlines Plymouth’s Spire Center for the Arts Sept. 24; memorialhall.com.
16. The traveling international exhibition “Titian: Women, Myth & Power” makes its final stop at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum through Jan. 2. The exhibit reunites six works that the Italian Renaissance master created for Philip II of Spain; gardnermuseum.org.
17. Priscilla Beach Theatre closes its season with the macabre comedy, “The Addams Family – A New Musical,” running Oct. 1-9. Song, dance and laughs ensue as a grownup Wednesday Adams brings a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family home to meet the parents; pbtheatre.org.
18. Boston’s biggest and oldest opera company, Boston Lyric Opera, plans to present Pietro Mascagni’s classic one-act, ”Cavalleria Rusticana,” about the romantic double-crosses of four lovers. Performance dates and venue are to be announced.; blo.org.
19. “Anchored: The Pilgrim Story” is an original production choreographed by Ballet Magnificat!, a touring Christian ballet troupe. The production celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims voyage to America as it tells the story of their courage, faith, perseverance and quest for freedom. Shows are Oct. 1-2 at Plymouth Memorial Hall; firstloveworks.yapsody.com
20. Singer-songwriter Krisanthi Pappas, a fan-favorite from Foxboro, will sing the songs of Carole King, Carly Simon, Karen Carpenter and Linda Ronstadt on Oct. 2 at Plymouth’s Spire Center for the Arts; spirecenter.org.
21. Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society kicks off its 207th season, the final for Artistic Director Harry Christophers, with Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” one of classical music’s greatest hits. The performance will be led by Concertmaster Aisslinn Nosky, performing on violin alongside the H+H orchestra, Oct. 8 and Oct. 10 at Symphony Hall; handelandhaydn.org.
22. “Stomp,” the long-running percussion show whose performers create rhythms with brooms, garbage cans, matchboxes and other unconventional items, lands in Boston at Emerson Colonial Theater for four performances Oct. 8-10; emersoncolonialtheatre.com
23. JM Productions presents “Fall-ing in Love,” featuring nationally acclaimed entertainers Brandon Grimes and Adrienne Paquin, who return to their native Boston from New York City to perform musical selections made famous by everyone from Frank Sinatra to the Beatles, Oct. 7-8 at the Boston Marriott Quincy; jmproductionspresents.com.
24. Trace 300 years of American History in the exhibit “Fabric of a Nation: American Quilt Stories,” a presentation of more than 50 works spanning from the 17th century to today, including female and male, known and unidentified, urban and rural makers; immigrants; and Black, Latin, Indigenous, Asian and LGBTQ+ Americans. It is on view from Oct. 10-Jan. 17 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; mfa.org.
25. The 25th anniversary farewell tour of Jonathan Larson’s 1996 rock musical, “Rent,” which recasts Puccini’s La Bohème, follows a year in the lives of seven artists struggling to realize their dreams; October 12-17 at the Boch Center Shubert Theatre; bochcenter.org.
26. The Cohasset Dramatic Club celebrates its 100th season with a two-weekend run of the comedy “Something Rotten,” a five-time Tony Award-winning musical that mocks Shakespeare as a booty-shaking word thief. Performances are Oct. 15-17, 22-24; cohassetdramaticclub.org.
27. A pair of arena concerts for the adult contemporary crowd comes to the TD Garden. Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias will live la vida loca Oct. 5 and Canadian crooner Michael Buble lands on Causeway Street on Oct. 18; tdgarden.com/events .
28. Global Arts Live presents a pair of dance performances this fall at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The Boston Dance Theater performs the work of acclaimed choreographers, including “I had a thought,” by Micaela Taylor, “For The Record,” by Rena Butler, “Peekaboo,” by Marco Goecke, and a world-premiere work choreographed by Rosie Herrera, Oct. 22-23. Hip-hop and break-dance sensation Raphael Xavier gets in the groove with his show, “XAVIER’S: The Musician & The Mover,” Nov. 19-20; globalartslive.org.
29. Versatile showman Alan Cumming, best known for his role as fitful campaign strategist Eli Gold on “The Good Wife” teams up with radio journalist Ari Shapiro of NPR’s “All Things Considered” for “Och & Oy! A Considered Cabaret.” The show will be presented by the Celebrity Series on Oct. 24 at Symphony Hall; celebrityseries.org
30. Singer, songwriter, activist and author Judy Collins is back on the road with a concert tour that will bring her to Plymouth Memorial Hall for a performance on Oct. 28; memorialhall.com.
31. The SpeakEasy Stage Company continues its season with the Aziza Barnes’s acclaimed new play “BLKS,” a frank comedy about sex and being young, Black and female, running Oct.29-Nov. 20; speakeasystage.com.
32. Dane Cook got his start in comedy performing at open-mike nights in Boston. The Arlington native returns home for a two-night gig, Oct. 29-30, to film his next stand-up special at the Boch Center Wang Theatre; bochcenter.org.
33. “Million Dollar Quartet,” about Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins,” shimmies onto the stage at the Boch Center Shubert Theatre, Oct. 29-30; bochcenter.org.
34. Presented by Broadway in Boston, “Hadestown,” Nov. 2-14, at the Citizens Bank Opera House, is a retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice with music, lyrics and book by Anaïs Mitchell; boston.broadway.com.
35. The Bay Players of Duxbury will present the creative-writing comedy “Seminar,” by Theresa Rebeck, a playwright and creator of NBC’s “Smash.” Dates are Nov. 5-7 and Nov. 12-13 at First Parish Church, Duxbury.
36. “Contradictions + Casual Self Loathing,” Luminarium Dance Company’s newest production is described as a work that takes “humorous looks at how we see ourselves and others after more than a year of just not seeing other people.” Performances are Nov. 5-6 at at Motherbrook Arts and Community Center in Dedham; luminariumdance.org.
37. “Friends! The Musical Parody,” a spoof of the iconic sitcom, will “pivot, pivot, pivot” onto the stage at Plymouth Memorial Hall. Catch up with Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Monica and Chandler Nov. 11. We hope they play “Smelly Cat,” memorialhall.com/events
38. “Iphigenia” is a new opera with music by saxophone giant Wayne Shorter and a libretto by Berklee alum and Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding that reimagines the Euripedian myth about the ill-fated daughter of Agamemnon. Nov. 12-13 at Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre; artsemerson.org.
39. Quincy’s JM Productions presents “The American Soldier,” a one-person show starring actor Douglas Taurel, who was commissioned by the Library of Congress to write the play using real stories and letters written by veterans and their families from the American Revolution to the present. Shows are Nov. 18-19 at the Boston Marriott Quincy; jmproductionspresents.com.
40. Master satirist David Sedaris, a Boston favorite, returns for an evening of readings and irreverent humor presented by the Celebrity Series on Nov. 21 at Symphony Hall. Sedaris will read selections from new and unpublished works and hold an audience Q-and-A; celebrityseries.org.
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Reach Dana Barbuto at [email protected]