Category Archives: Parents

Review: A Raisin in the Sun at Arena Stage

Photo courtesy of Arena Stage

Photo courtesy of Arena Stage



Whenever I write a review of show for the blog, I always feel like prefacing it with a reminder that I am not a professional theatre critic. I love going to the theatre and the whole experience of it — seeing stories brought to life on stage, admiring the talent and courage of actors, appreciating the set design and stage direction, and just losing myself in a (hopefully) good production for a while.

But when it comes to writing about theatre… I’m no expert. That said, I always hope I can at least convey a good sense of what a show is about, make age recommendations, and give readers an idea of whether it’s something they want to experience with (or without) their kids.

I feel compelled to say this because my lack of expertise may not always do a show justice, especially one as outstanding A Raisin in the Sun, currently running at Arena Stage. There are some productions that nail it on many levels, and to me, this is one of them.

Written by Lorraine Hansberry and first performed on Broadway in 1959, the play follows a 1950’s African American family as they yearn for a better life from their Chicago tenement and have the opportunity to realize it when they receive a windfall from a life insurance policy. The Youngers — Ruth and Walter, their son Travis, Walter’s mother Lena, and his sister Beneatha — all live together, but have differing views on what will make for a better life and how they will attain it.

Their diverging dreams are sources of conflict within the family and, at times, within the characters themselves that are played out brilliantly by the cast. Especially stellar is Lizan Mitchell in the role of Lena. Her emotion is palpable, and you can almost physically feel it watching her tremble with a mix of frustration, yearning, and a deep love for her family. It’s this love, plus a steadfast pride in who they are, that maintain a strong family bond despite their differences.

The show is poignant, hopeful, and thought-provoking as it spotlights struggles and issues that our society still grapples with today. And taking place on the Fichandler Stage, the intimate theatre-in-the-round setting is just right for this production, almost making you feel like a guest in the Younger’s living room.

As for age recommendations, I think kids about middle school ages and up could appreciate the story and performances (my friend who joined me for the show agrees). However, it’s a long production — nearly three hours including a 15-minute intermission — something to keep in mind for young theatre-goers who might get antsy. Of course, this would make for a nice KidFree outing, too.

A Raisin in the Sun is running at Arena Stage through May 7. Tickets are $40-111. And if you love theatre, I highly recommend considering a subscription to Arena Stage, which are now available for the 2017-18 season — more details are available here.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to A Raisin in the Sun from Arena Stage, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2017, Date Night, DC, Live Entertainment, Middle Schoolers, Parents, Teens, Tweens, Weekdays, Weekend

Hunt for Harry Potter in the National Gallery of Art with Watson Adventures

A couple of wizards at work on their clues

A couple of wizards at work on their clues



I love discovering new ways to explore old favorites. Like many Washingtonians, we’d been to the National Gallery of Art countless times, but never on a scavenger hunt, nor with Harry Potter as inspiration for a tour.

When I first learned about Watson Adventures’ Wizard School Scavenger Hunt, I was immediately intrigued. Not only does our crew love a good clue-driven search, we’re also big Harry Potter fans. Not to mention it takes place at a magnificent museum, where wandering through the galleries even without a purpose is fantastic.

Does one of these paintings reveal an answer?

Does one of these paintings reveal an answer?

This scavenger hunt is also a competition, adding a whole other fun and challenging element to the adventure. You sign up as a team, which can be a family/youth or all-adult, and compete against other groups. You’re all on a mission to find art that echoes characters, places, and enchanted objects in the famed Harry Potter books and movies in search of answers to 24 questions. There are clever Harry Potter-themed clues to help you locate each one, but many of them are tricky to decipher and take some sleuthing and careful examination of the art to figure out!

Exploring the galleries armed with clues

Exploring the galleries armed with clues

Every team has the same questions, but ordered differently for each group to stay spread out, though we did run into other teams searching for the same art a couple of times. You have 90 minutes to complete the hunt, which takes place throughout most of the West Wing of the NGA. And that hour and a half goes by quickly — we were scrambling for those last few clues to finish before the hunt time was up!

The search covers a lot of museum ground

The search covers a lot of museum ground

So excited to come across the guy they always sing about (Alexander Hamilton)

So excited to come across the guy they always sing about (My name is Alexander Hamilton…)

One point is given for every question answered correctly. The team that comes up with the most creative name also gets points. And you lose points if you’re not back to the starting place before the hunt time is up. The teams (one family/youth, one all-adult) that have the most points win.

Someone is feeling stumped

Someone is feeling stumped

Waiting for the announcement of the winners

Waiting for the announcement of the winners

As the Hogwarts crew might say, this adventure is bloody brilliant! It’s unique, fun, and exciting, and something the whole family can do together. All four of us contributed to the effort, and while we didn’t win, we had such a great time together completing the task. On top of that, we all agreed that it made us take a much closer look at some of the art that we often casually stroll by, something we’ll keep in mind on our next visit.

Want to see the clues?  Go sign up!

Want to see the clues? Go sign up!



So, is your family ready to prove yourselves wizards among muggles? If so, here’s what you need to know about Watson Adventures:

* The Wizard School Scavenger Hunt is hosted monthly at the National Gallery of Art. The next one takes place Saturday, April 8, at 2pm. Sign up here.
* Cost is $17.50/ages 17 and under, and $19.50/adults
* While the website recommends this for ages 10 and up, I’d say about ages 8 and up can enjoy it. Sasha (8) loved it, and a couple of her 2nd grade classmates were there and had a great time, too.
* Watson Adventures also hosts scavenger hunts with other themes at different locations. Most are geared toward adults (think KidFree!), but Secrets of Georgetown is also for teens.
* Scavenger hunts are hosted in other cities, too. Visit the website to see where.


Disclosure: Our family received complimentary admission for the Wizard School Scavenger Hunt from Watson Adventures, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under Art, Competition, DC, Gradeschoolers, Museums, Parents, Preteens, Teens, Tweens, Weekend

Join the Launch Party for the Acton Children’s Business Fair

acbf-dc-2017-launch-party


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Acton Academy of Washington, DC, however, I only promote programs and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under DC, Educational, Free, Parents, Schools, Sponsored Post, Spring

Giveaway! Go KidFree with FUN HOME at The National Theatre

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Who’s up for a parents’ night out? (Me!) This giveaway is for those looking for a KidFree evening — and some FUN entertainment.

Every once in a while a Broadway musical comes along that surprises, moves and excites audiences in ways only a truly landmark musical can. The groundbreaking, life-affirming, and exquisite new musical FUN HOME was the event of the Broadway season, receiving raves from critics and audiences alike, winning five 2015 Tony Awards including Best Musical and making history along the way.

Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, FUN HOME introduces us to Alison at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood. A refreshingly honest musical about seeing your parents through grown-up eyes, FUN HOME is extraordinary, a rare beauty that pumps fresh air into Broadway. (New York Times)

FUN HOME is running at the National Theatre April 18 – May 13. Tickets are $48-98.

* * * * *

Giveaway: For a chance to win tickets to see FUN HOME at the National Theatre on grand opening night, Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30pm, simply leave a comment below naming your all-time favorite musical. To be eligible, you must like KidFriendly DC on Facebook, and you can get an extra entry by entering there, too! This giveaway will run through March 20, 2017, then a winner will be drawn at random and announced shortly thereafter. Good luck!

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Filed under DC, Giveaway, Live Entertainment, Music, Parents, Spring, Theatre

Sample a Class, Sign up for a Session at CityDance POP! @ Tenleytown DC

Photo credit: media4artists

Photo credit: media4artists



Is your tiny dancer ready to move, groove, and have fun? Or maybe you are? CityDance POP! offers classes for all ages in a variety of genres! Conveniently located in Upper Northwest DC, POP! is THE destination for high quality, fast-paced fun.

POP! has more than 20 dance classes for all ages, starting as early as 15 months, including: Mommy & Me, Creative Movement, Pre-Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, African, Break Dancing, Contemporary, Zumba and more. See the schedule below for days, times, and rates. Register by December 31 and use the code EARLY16 for 10% of.

Want to try a FREE class to get a feel for POP! before you commit to a whole session? RSVP to ivy@citydance.net with the subject line KidFriendly DC!

Something else to note: The space available to rent for birthday parties! Email ivy@citydance.net for more details.

CityDance POP! is located at 4435 Wisconsin Avenue NW 20016 in Tenleytown. Metro: Tenley/AU (Red Line). For more information contact tenley@citydance.net or call 202.545.7207.

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CITYDANCE POP! Spring SCHEDULE:

January 30- June 10, 2017 (18 Weeks)

Ongoing Enrollment

MONDAY
Jazz (Age 7-10) | 3:45-4:45pm | $425
Jazz (Age 11-17) | 4:45-5:45pm | $425
Hip Hop (Age 11-17) | 5:45-6:45pm | $425
Adult Contemporary Jazz | 7:00-8:00pm | $270

TUESDAY
Pre-Ballet | (Age 5-6) | 4:00-4:45pm $346
Beginning Ballet | (Age 7-9) | 4:45-5:45pm $425
Adult Zumba | 6:30-7:30pm | $324

WEDNESDAY
Creative Movement (Age 2.5-3) | 10:30-11:15am | $346
Break Dance/B Boy (Age 6-10) | 3:45-4:45pm | $425
Break Dance/Hip Hop (Age 11-17) | 4:45-5:45pm | $425
Adult Fit Hop | 7:00-8:00pm | $324

THURSDAY
Creative Movement (Age 3-4) | 10:30-11:15am | $346
Creative Movement (Age 3-5) | 4:00-4:45pm | $346
Hip Hop (Age 8-10) | 4:45-5:45pm | $425
Jazz (Age 8-10) | 5:45-6:45pm | $425

FRIDAY
*Mommy & Me (Age 15 mos-2.5) | 1:30-2:00pm
Pre-Ballet (Age 5-6) | 4:00-4:45pm | $346
Jazz (Age 11-17) | 4:45-5:45pm | $425
Contemporary African (Age 11-17) | 5:45-6:45pm | $425

*2 Sessions / $140 per session
*Session = 9 classes

SATURDAY
Creative Movement (Age 3-5) | 9:00-9:45am | $346
Hip Hop (Age 4-6) | 9:45-10:30am | $346
Hip Hop (Age 6-8) | 10:30-11:30am $425


This post is sponsored by CityDance, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under All ages, Birthday Parties, Class, DC, Parents, Professional Service, Sponsored Post, Weekdays, Weekend