Palo Alto , with Stanford’s  help, enjoys a vibrant entertainment scene. Stanford Lively Arts (650/725-2787, http://livelyarts.stanford.edu , prices and locations vary by show) puts on an array of concerts and live staged entertainments each season. Expect to see several jazz ensembles each year, some world music, definitely a world premiere or two, and perhaps an unusual dance piece.
In town, the small Dragon Theatre (535 Alma St., 650/493-2006, www.dragonproductions.net ) puts up both well-known plays and premieres by local playwrights. You might see Rough Crossing by Tom Stoppard or The Underpants by Steve Martin go up at the Dragon. The acting pool is deep, since nearby Foothill College has an award-winning theater conservatory program that turns out excellent actors, directors, and stagehands.
Many students and long-time residents of Palo Alto  enjoy seeing classic black-and-white movies back up on the big screen where they belong. Old-school movie house The Stanford Theatre (221 University Ave., 650/324-3700, www.stanfordtheatre.org ) has red plush velvet seats, beautifully painted walls and ceiling, and a year-round schedule of fabulous old films. You might see a beloved Audrey Hepburn film or a run of Bogey’s classics, since the Stanford Theatre often hosts festivals to highlight a specific star or genre.