Hamilton holds the headlines this fall on Philly’s stages, but there’s lots more to see, serious and silly, from Tina Fey’s musical Mean Girls to the emotional roller coaster of Adam Bock’s A Small Fire, with TV star Bebe Neuwirth as the lead.

Interestingly, an idea from Hamilton – the story of an outsider who becomes key to America’s success – seems to be resonating around the city in plays from all eras, asking through theater what it means to be American. The Arden’s Ragtime starts the exploration in turn-of-the-century New York.

And then there's Philly Fringe – one more week left in this citywide theatrical extravaganza, which started earlier this month.

Onstage Now

Hamilton (through Nov. 17, Forrest Theatre). Broadway’s smash hit — the story of Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man. Relevant today? Very. (800-447-7400, kimmelcenter.org)

Young Frankenstein (through Oct. 20, Walnut Street Theatre). Book, music and lyrics by Mel Brooks. Fun. The Walnut’s lineup of benign non-human creatures then continues with Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr. (Sept. 21-Oct. 6), abridged for kids, and the full-length Shrek The Musical (Nov. 5-Jan. 5, 2020). (215-574-3550, walnutstreettheatre.org)

The Sea Voyage (through Sept. 20, Independence Seaport Museum). Pirates! A shipwreck! A maritime romp from the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective in collaboration with the museum. Part of the Philly Fringe. (267-521-2210, philartistscollective.org)

Operation: Wawa Road Trip (through Sept. 21, Proscenium Theatre at the Drake), Sibling rivalry and a disgusting hoagie legacy – all in the Tribe of Fools’ Philly Fringe production about road trip to deposit Dad’s ashes in a meaningful place, a Wawa. (215-413-1318, fringearts.com)

There (through Sept. 22, Wilma Theater). A wild journey through memory, history, and identity in this world premiere adaptation of Lebanese poet Etel Adnan’s There. Part of the Philly Fringe. (215-546-7824, wilmatheater.org)

The Wilma Theater's Hothouse Company rehearses on the set for "There," running through Sept. 22 as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.
Blanka Zizka
The Wilma Theater's Hothouse Company rehearses on the set for "There," running through Sept. 22 as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival.

Philadelphia Fringe Festival (through Sept. 22, various locations). There’s still time to see dozens of shows including: Superterranean (through Sept. 15, 2300 Arena), Pig Iron’s latest, staged in a South Philly boxing arena; Un Poyo Rojo, (Sept. 19-Sept. 21, Christ Church Neighborhood House) dance, athletics, cockfighting, clowning; Pursuit of Happiness (Sept. 20-Sept. 21, Mandell Theater, Drexel University) the American Dream, western expansion, part barn dance, part comedy of manners; Ink (through Sept. 21, Adrienne) improv about (your) tattoos; Come Back, Little Sheba (through Sept. 22, Brandywine Mission Gallery) the perils of precarious sobriety in this 1950s classic from the Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium; Lysistrata, Cross Your Legs (through Sept. 22, Church of the Advocate) from Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Collective, women withhold sex to persuade men to end war; Let Me Die (Sept. 21-Sept. 28, FringeArts) with Opera Philadelphia as part of its Festival O19, a compendium of opera death scenes. (215-413-1318, fringearts.com)

The Breath of Life (through Sept. 22, South Camden Theatre Co.). A man’s wife and lover meet. Viciously funny. (866-811-4111, southcamdentheatre.org)

Greater Tuna (through Sept. 22, Act II Playhouse, Ambler). Stage math: Two actors plus 20 characters equals life in one small town. (215-654-0200, act2.org)

"Greater Tuna" at Act II Playhouse, with (from left) Joe Mallon and Chris Dougherty.
Bill D'Agostino
"Greater Tuna" at Act II Playhouse, with (from left) Joe Mallon and Chris Dougherty.

The Hound of the Baskervilles (through Sept. 29, Delaware Theatre Co., Wilmington). A slapstick version of a beloved Sherlock Holmes story. (302-594-1100, delawaretheatre.org)

Gloria: A Life (through Oct. 6, McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton). Two-time Academy Award nominee Mary McDonnell plays Gloria Steinem – first Gloria’s story, then the audience’s. (609-258-2787, mccarter.org)

The Outgoing Tide (through Oct. 6, Montgomery Theater, Souderton). Bruce Graham’s family drama, set on Chesapeake Bay – dark humor, powerful emotion. (215-723-9984, montgomerytheater.org)

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (through Oct. 13, Lantern Theater Co.). From Bertol Brecht: A shady businessman turns to politics, rapidly learning how to sway a crowd using fear and false promises. (215-829-0395, lanterntheater.org)

Meteor Shower (through Oct. 27, Walnut Street Theatre, Independence Studio on 3). Sparks fly in Steve Martin’s comic take on marital angst. (215-574-3550, walnutstreettheatre.org)

Coming attractions

An Act of God (Sept. 17-Oct. 13, Bristol Riverside Theatre). God is back and she — as played by Kim Wayans of In Living Color — has a lot to say. (215-785-0100, brtstage.org)

Dot (Sept. 18-Oct. 20, People’s Light, Malvern). Dotty’s memory is slipping. Her children — an overwhelmed attorney, a gay playwright, and an aspiring actress — gather in West Philly to sort it out. (610-644-3500, peopleslight.org)

The Synge Festival (Sept. 18-Oct. 27, Quintessence Theatre). Staging the complete works of one of Ireland’s finest writers, Quintessence will alternate performances of J.M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World with The Synge Triptych, three short plays. Also on tap: poetry, readings from other plays, and Irish stout. (215-987-4450, quintessencetheatre.org)

Ragtime (Sept. 19-Oct. 20, Arden Theatre). Tony Award-winning musical at the intersection of culture, class, nationality – and the American Dream. (215-925-1122, ardentheatre.org)

"Ragtime" at Arden Theatre Co., with Nkrumah Gatling
Wide Eyed Studio
"Ragtime" at Arden Theatre Co., with Nkrumah Gatling

Gary (Sept. 20-Oct. 13, Eagle Theatre, Hammonton, N.J.). A Bruce Graham world premiere about Gary, the new, cheeky Siri/Alexa. (609-704-5012, eagletheatre.org)

MinorityLand (Sept. 25-Oct. 5 at West Kensington Ministry; Oct. 11-13 at Theatre Horizon, Norristown). When a university starts to buy housing in el barrio, everything changes. A collaboration between Power Street Theatre Co. and Theatre Horizon. (powerstreettheatre.com or 610-283-2230, theatrehorizon.org)

The Roommate (Sept. 26-Oct. 20, Plays & Players Theatre). 1812 Productions co-founder Jennifer Childs and Philadelphia favorite Grace Gonglewski in a comedy — part Odd Couple and part Breaking Bad. (215-592-9560, 1812productions.org)

Into the Woods (Sept. 27-29, Theatre Horizon, Norristown). A reprise of Theatre Horizon’s 2015 production. (610-283-2230, theatrehorizon.org)

"Into the Woods" at Theatre Horizon, with Leigha Kato
Alex Medvick
"Into the Woods" at Theatre Horizon, with Leigha Kato

The Office! A Musical Parody (Sept. 28-Sept. 29, Merriam Theater). Singing! Dancing! Paper! Fun in Scranton when a documentary crew shows up at Dunder Mifflin. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

Roald Dahl’s Matilda, The Musical (Oct. 2-Oct. 27, Media Theatre). A celebration of the anarchy of childhood, starring the feisty Matilda. (610-891-0100, mediatheatre.org)

Cabaret (Oct. 4-Oct. 20, Resident Theatre Co., West Chester). The danger and decadence of pre-World War II Berlin. (610-356-2787, rtcwc.org)

The Night Alive (Oct. 9-27, Inis Nua Theatre Co.). Philadelphia premiere of Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s delicate work about the friendship between down-and-out Tommy and a young woman he rescues from her abusive boyfriend. (215-454-9776, inisnuatheatre.org)

Moliere’s Tartuffe (Oct. 9-Nov. 3, Hedgerow Theatre Co., Rose Valley). That Tartuffe! So pious, yet so good at seducing both mother and daughter. (610-565-4211, hedgerowtheatre.org)

Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show (Oct. 11-Oct. 27, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope). An annual tradition. (215-862-2121, bcptheater.org)

Lookingglass Theatre Company's production of "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein," at McCarter Theatre with Walter Briggs (left) and Keith D. Gallagher
Liz Lauren
Lookingglass Theatre Company's production of "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein," at McCarter Theatre with Walter Briggs (left) and Keith D. Gallagher

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Oct. 15-Nov. 3, McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton). Love, horror, power, and unholy experimentation from Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Co. (609-258-2787, mccarter.org)

Rent (Oct. 18-Oct. 20, Merriam Theater). Beloved rock musical re-imagines Puccini’s La Boheme. The 20th anniversary tour returns for a quick autumn stop. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

Imaginary (Oct. 18-Oct. 27, Montgomery Theater, Souderton). Kids may forget their imaginary creatures, but their imaginary creatures never forget them. World premiere. (215-723-9984, montgomerytheater.org)

A Small Fire (Oct. 18-Nov. 10, Philadelphia Theatre Co.). Remember Bebe Neuwirth from Cheers and Frasier? The two-time Tony Award winner plays a woman in control, until … (215-985-0420, philadelphiatheatrecompany.org)

Come From Away (Oct. 22-Nov. 3, Academy of Music). Based on the true story a small Newfoundland town that welcomed 7,000 air passengers stranded there after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

"Come From Away," Oct. 22-Nov. 3 at the Academy of Music
Matthew Murphy
"Come From Away," Oct. 22-Nov. 3 at the Academy of Music

Dance Nation (Oct. 22-Nov. 10, Wilma Theater). In this Pulitzer Prize finalist, women of all ages in a competitive teenage dance troupe jete toward self-discovery. (215-546-7824, wilmatheater.org)

Looking Over the President’s Shoulder (Oct. 22-Nov. 17, Act II Playhouse, Ambler). The story of a butler who served four presidents. (215-654-0200, act2.org)

Buried Child (Oct. 23-Nov. 10, EgoPo Classic Theater). EgoPo offers an entire season of Sam Shepard plays, starting with this Pulitzer Prize winner. (267-273-1414, egopo.org)

One November Yankee (Oct. 23-Nov. 10, Delaware Theatre Co., Wilmington) L.A. Law’s Harry Hamlin and Hart to Hart’s Stefanie Powers star in this haunting story about a plane crash’s aftermath. (302-594-1100, delawaretheatre.org)

Tiny Beautiful Things (Oct. 24-Dec. 8, Arden Theatre). Based on author Cheryl Strayed’s experiences as advice columnist Dear Sugar. Her advice? See it. (215-925-1122, ardentheatre.org)

"Tiny Beautiful Things" at Arden Theatre Company, with Emilie Krause
Wide Eyed Studio
"Tiny Beautiful Things" at Arden Theatre Company, with Emilie Krause

Eureka Day (Oct. 25-Nov. 17, Interact Theatre Co.). How do you reach consensus when you can’t agree on the facts? Mumps, misery, and social justice, with laughs. (215-568-8079, interacttheatre.org)

Next to Normal (Oct. 29-Nov. 24, Bristol Riverfront Theatre). Humorous and heartbreaking, a Pulitzer Prize-winning look at a family struggling with the effects of bipolar disorder. (215-785-0100, brtstage.org)

Stones in His Pocket (Oct. 30-Nov. 23, South Camden Theatre Co.). What happens when a person runs out of options? (866-811-4111, southcamdentheatre.org)

The Mystery of Irma Vep, A Penny Dreadful (Oct. 30-Nov. 23, Curio Theatre Co.). The audience goes backstage in this biting satire. (215-921-8243, curiotheatre.org)

Just Call Me God: A Dictator’s Final Speech (Nov. 3, Kimmel Center). Starring John Malkovich who passionately explores the intertwining of delusion and despotism. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

Shrek The Musical (Nov. 5-Jan. 5, Walnut Street Theatre). Big, green, fun – no, not the Philly Phanatic. (215-574-3550, walnutstreettheatre.org)

Sunset Baby (Nov. 6-Nov. 24, Azuka Theatre). Dominique Morriseau’s work about a former revolutionary and his estranged daughter. (215-563-1100, azukatheatre.org)

The Conversationalists (Nov. 7-Nov. 9, Kimmel Center). An international friendship, with complications, in a play about a movie never made, but imagined. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

The Last Match (Nov. 7-Dec. 15, Lantern Theater Co.). It’s Russia versus U.S. on the tennis court. What does it take to stay a champion? (215-829-0395, lanterntheater.org)

Once: The Musical (Nov. 8-Nov. 30, Bucks County Playhouse, New Hope). Love and music – an audience favorite. (215-862-2121, bcptheater.org)

"The Hound of the Baskervilles" at Theatre Horizon with Damon Bonetti
Alex Medvick
"The Hound of the Baskervilles" at Theatre Horizon with Damon Bonetti

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Nov. 10-Dec. 8, Theatre Horizon, Norristown). Beloved Sherlock Holmes tale back for romp. (610-283-2230, theatrehorizon.org)

The Gifts of the Magi (Nov. 12-Dec. 22, Walnut Street Theatre). Sacrifice and love in a musical based on O. Henry’s classic tale. And on the WST for Kids holiday lineup, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol returns Nov. 30-Dec. 22. (215-574-3550, walnutstreettheatre.org)

An Iliad (Nov. 13-Dec. 8, Arden Theatre). A provocative retelling of Homer’s classic with important lessons about war, staged at the Arden’s intimate Bob & Selma Horan black box theater. (215-925-1122, ardentheatre.org)

Little Red Robin Hood: A Musical Panto (Nov. 13-Jan. 5, People’s Light, Malvern). Robin Hood is dead; Nottinghamshire is held by a villainess. Can someone with a little red hood save the day? (610-644-3500, peopleslight.org)

Dogfight (Nov. 15-Dec. 8, Eagle Theatre, Hammonton). An idealistic waitress turns the table on three partying young men. A musical from Benj Pasek and Justin Paul based on the 1991 Warner Brothers movie about love and compassion. (609-704-5012, eagletheatre.org)

Mean Girls (Nov. 19-Dec. 1, Academy of Music). Tina Fey’s satiric comedy about high school. Remember, she graduated from Upper Darby. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

The Rainbow Fish (Nov. 23., Merriam Theater). A special sensory-friendly performance about the fish who learned to share.

The Wizard of Oz, (Nov. 27-Dec. 29, Quintessence Theatre). Quintessence explores this classic as political allegory. (215-987-4450, quintessencetheatre.org)

The Snow Queen (Nov. 27-Jan. 26, Arden Theatre). The power of friendship in the Hans Christian Andersen children’s classic. (215-925-1122, ardentheatre.org)

On the Exhale (Nov. 29-Dec. 22, Theatre Exile). Maybe, when it comes to gun violence, we’re all part of the problem. A mother confronts unbearable loss. (215-218-4022, theatreexile.org)

The national touring production of "The Spongebob Musical" comes to the Forrest Theatre in December.
Jeremy Daniel (www.jeremydanielphoto.com)
The national touring production of "The Spongebob Musical" comes to the Forrest Theatre in December.

This Is The Week That Is (Nov. 29-Jan. 5, Plays & Players Theatre). Hilarious, raucous, and timely political satire. (215-592-9560, 1812productions.org)

The Spongebob Musical (Dec. 3-Dec. 15, Forrest Theatre). You have kids, you know what this is. Big kids like it too. (215-893-1999, kimmelcenter.org)

Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins (Dec. 10-Jan.5, Act II Playhouse, Ambler). Good play about a famously bad singer. (215-654-0200, act2.org)