Summer performing arts: A sampling of 10 shows to catch onstage this season 

This summer’s theater highlights include an array of musicals and an assortment of LGBTQ+-flavored stories and songs.  

BYE BYE BIRDIE: This lively, all-ages musical from the always-on-its-toes Sierra School of Performing Arts tells the story of Conrad Birdie, a rock star who gets drafted into the Army and, as a publicity stunt, offers one last kiss to a fan on The Ed Sullivan Show. The show runs from Aug. 9-24 at the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch, 6000 Bartley Ranch Road, in Reno. Visit www.sierraschoolofperformingarts.org. 

DONNA, MIA, AND SHANIA’S TOY CHEST ADVENTURE: Three drag queens—Donna, Mia and Shania—embark on a magical journey as they fall into a spectacular world within a toy chest and have to race against the clock to avoid becoming toys forever. This campy comedy, with plenty of music, dance and adventure, is rated PG. It takes place at 10 p.m., Friday, July 12, at TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada, 315 Spokane St., in Reno. Tickets are $5 for kids, $10 for seniors and $15 for adults. Visit artown.org.  

GENDER BLENDER HIT SONG MANIA: A CABARET REVIEW: Some of the male members of the Nevada Gay Men’s Chorus have been longing to belt out The Pointer Sisters’ “I’m So Excited” and Madonna’s “Material Girl,” and female soloists are into the idea of singing something more like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The group has an entire evening of “gender-blender hit songs” planned at 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 14, at Reno Little Theater, 147 E. Pueblo St., in Reno. Tickets are $25-$45. Visit nevadagmc.org. 

LGBTQIA+LATINX: A BILINGUAL PLAY: “Is Victor heterophobic?” “What does LGBTQIA+ mean?” Learn the answers to these questions and more in LGBTQIA+LatinX: a bilingual play, presented by Latino Arte and Culture, written by Mario DelaRosa and directed by Annamaria Cavallone, at 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, June 7 and 8, at Reno Little Theater, 147 E. Pueblo St., in Reno. Tickets are $15-$25. Visit www.renolittletheater.org. 

OUT OF STERNO: This coming-of-age comedy takes place in an Alice in Wonderland world, where it explores triumph, heartbreak and growing up while shouldering the contradictory pressures that society places on women. Out of Sterno is onstage at Restless Artists’ Theatre (now in its seventh year; three cheers for indy theater startups!), at 295 20th St., in Sparks, from July 12-22. Tickets are $10-$25. Visit rattheatre.com. 

SHREK’D: It’s a musical parody of Shrek that comes complete with the mean fairytale lord and the chatty, lovable donkey you know. Shrek’d is onstage July 13-27 at TheatreWorks of Northen Nevada, 315 Spokane St., in Reno. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $13 for kids 12 and under. Visit twnn.org.  

SIDE SHOW: This musical is based on Daisy and Violet Hilton, real-life conjoined twins and popular performers, and their search for acceptance amid the spectacle of fame. (Vintage movie fans may remember them from Tod Browning’s twisted, horror-twinged 1932 Freaks.) Side Show originally opened on Broadway in 1997 and was revived on Broadway in 2014. It’s onstage from June 11-July 20 at Brüka Theatre, 99 N. Virginia St., in Reno. Tickets are $35, with discounts. Visit www.bruka.org. 

SOMETHING ROTTEN!: Shakespeare comes to Midtown Reno this season—well, kind of. In this musical comedy set in 1590s London, brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom eagerly try to write a hit play, but they’re stuck in the shadow of, you know, that darned medieval wunderkind playwright whose stuff we’re still watching in 2024. Are you guessing that scandal and hilarity might ensue? Indeed, they do. Something Rotten! is onstage June 28-July 27 at Good Luck Macbeth Theatre, 124 W. Taylor St., in Reno. Tickets are $28, with discounts. Visit www.goodluckmacbeth.org. 

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL: SpongeBob SquarePants, the animated television megahit that’s still in production after 25 years, now has a stage-show spinoff, The Spongebob Musical. When Spongebob, Patrick and Sandy the squirrel try to save their undersea home, Bikini Bottom, from an impending volcano eruption, laughs are practically guaranteed. The soundtrack features music from Sara Bareilles, David Bowie, Panic! At the Disco, Cyndi Lauper, Steven Tyler and John Legend. The show runs from July 12-Aug. 11 at Reno Little Theater, 147 E. Pueblo St., in Reno. Tickets are $30, with discounts for students and seniors. Visit www.renolittletheater.org. 

VORTEX, THE BALLET THAT ROCKS: Every summer, A.V.A. Ballet Theatre presents a different version of its popular ballet-rock fusion show. This year, you can expect some alternative music and exciting props in the mix along with artistic director Alexander Van Alstyne’s choreography. The show takes place at the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch, 6000 Bartley Ranch Road, in Reno. Admission is free. Gates open at 7 p.m. so you can grab a picnic spot before the shows starts at 8:30 p.m., on Friday and Saturday, July 19 and 20. Visit www.avaballet.com.