Category Archives: Theatre

The KFDC Top 16 of 2016

The Mothership at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Mothership at the National Museum of African American History and Culture



This year is really getting a bad rap, and I can’t say it isn’t warranted. But while 2016 wasn’t generally stellar, there were some pretty great moments, including on the KFDC front. Here’s a recap of the best of them, our Top 16 of 2016. What were some of your family’s faves of the past year? Let us know in the comments below!

The NMAAHC is a Must Do

The NMAAHC is a Must Do

1. National Museum of African American History & Culture
The newest addition to the National Mall is one of the most remarkable attractions to open in DC in recent years. As I shared in a Facebook post about my visit there, the museum is “phenomenal, an emotional experience that is at once heartbreaking, poignant, uplifting, and hopeful.” I’ll be posting a full write-up after Owen and Sasha visit soon — I was on my own that first time — but for now, take my word that this should top your DC Must Do list. And FYI: While advance passes are unavailable until April, it’s now easier to get them same-day — a limited number are up for grabs online starting at 6:30am daily.


I believe I can fly...

I believe I can fly…

2. Soaring at iFly Loudon
I flew! Like, in the air as if I’d just jumped out of an airplane, except I didn’t have to risk my life and conquer what’s probably my biggest fear. iFly, the simulated skydiving experience is so much fun and such an incredible rush. Flights take place in a vertical wind tunnel, where a smooth cushion of air enables people to float (read my post for more details on how it works). While it’s a pricey venture, it’s worth it in my opinion, but perhaps for a special occasion. Which is just what we’re planning for the kids’ upcoming birthdays (shhhh!).


Hangin' at the Obamas

Hangin’ at the Obamas

3. White House Tour
Considering the many, many years I’ve lived in DC and all the adventures I’ve experienced in this city, you’d think surely I’d been in the White House at some point. Nope. Until our family visited last week for the Christmas tour, I’d only been to the gardens outside. Even the kids had already been! So, although we only got to stroll through the East Wing to view the seasonal decor, it was a mini thrill for me to finally go. And the timing was perfect. 🙂


Over 16,000 diapers bundled that day!

Over 16,000 diapers bundled that day!

4. Volunteering at DC Diaper Bank
This amazing organization started by local mom, Corinne Cannon, provides diapers and other essential items to families in need. Even better, volunteers of all ages are welcome to help make this possible. I had been aware of DC Diaper Bank for years and had promoted their drives and Boogie Babes shows, but we had never volunteered at the warehouse ourseleves. That changed this fall when we spent a morning there helping bundle and stack diapers — over 16,000 of them just that day! — along with a great crew of volunteers from little ones to grandparents. It was great way for the kids to actively give back, and we’re planning to make it a regular thing. If you’re interested in volunteering, sign up here.


Happiest girls on the Hill

Happiest girls on the Hill

5. Snowzilla
Now, this was a perfect storm. The Blizzard of 2016 blew through DC, blanketing the area with two feet of snow. The good kind of snow — soft, dry, and fluffy, not wet and slushy. Then it blew out, and a beautiful, sunny day followed. And what seemed like all of the people of DC got out their sleds and headed to the U.S. Capitol, where the sledding ban was lifted (not that it ever stopped us, anyway), so we could enjoy some quintessential winter fun at one of our city’s country’s most iconic spots. But all around the area, folks were enjoying Snowzilla’s remains, as seen in the Snowzilla Photo Contest. A couple of days later it was 60 degrees and sunny, and while the snow melted swiftly, the memories of a couple fantastic days are permanent.


They escaped -- and had a blast!

They escaped — and had a blast!

6. Escape Lounge Birthday Party
Owen turned the big 1-0 this year, and we wanted to celebrate the milestone with something unique, befitting a newly-minted adventurous tween and his crew of like-minded friends. A party at The Escape Lounge was the key to an excellent birthday bash. The H Street venue offers interactive escape experiences, where guests solve a series of clues to make their way out of a locked room. It was a blast for everyone, and I know several people who have booked parties there on our recommendation and enjoyed it just as much. I know even more folks who have gone just for a fun escape adventure and loved it, too!


New neighbor at the NGA

New neighbor at the NGA

7. Reopening of the East Building
Many of us really missed the National Gallery of Art’s modern and contemporary collections while the east wing was closed for renovations. But the wait for them to return was worth it. The upgrade didn’t just enhance the interior; it also added over 12,000 feet of space. There is now a rooftop with views of the Capitol, Smithsonian Castle, and downtown DC, as well as two tower galleries — one of them dedicated to Alexander Calder’s mobiles, the other showcasing Mark Rothko’s abstract works. Both wonderful additions to an already remarkable place. And, of course, there’s the giant blue Cockrel sculpture, which had to be one of the most Instagrammed DC attractions this past year.


Concert in a living room

Concert in a living room

8. Sofar Sounds
This one is filed under the KidFree section of the blog, where you can find recommendations for things to do when you’re sans children. Sofar Sounds is a unique concert series that offers both a nice, intimate setting to see a show along with a fun element of surprise. See, you don’t know who will be performing until you get to the venue. Which could be anywhere — someone’s living room, a shop, a warehouse, even a museum. And you don’t find out the location until shortly before the show. It’s all about discovering and enjoying new music and mingling with others (including the performers!) who are interested in the same. A cool experience, indeed. Keep it in mind for your next evening out.


What a wonderful spin

What a wonderful spin

9. Carousel at Arena Stage
The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic that ran (or make that spun!) at Arena Stage was my favorite of all the shows we saw this year (and we caught quite a few). Owen and I saw the musical this fall just days after the election, and it was a great boost to the spirits during a really intense time; we were both completely captivated and moved by the show. Brilliant performances by a talented cast, a simple yet beautiful theatre-in-the-round-setting, and a story that is emotional and hopeful made for a great theatre experience. And a neat side bit: The next week when Sasha and I went to The Secret Garden, we saw the leads of Carousel there. I was totally star-struck, but think I managed not to seem like a freak when I gushed to them about how much I loved their show.


A perfect Mother's Day at Quiet Waters

A perfect Mother’s Day at Quiet Waters

10. Quiet Waters Park
We discovered this fantastic locale in Annapolis kind of literally by accident when a wreck on the Bay Bridge thwarted our Mother’s Day plans for an Eastern Shore hike. That serendipitous element is partly what made the outing special. The other part is the park itself and the myriad options for outdoor recreation there — hiking, biking, paddling, picnicking, art explorations, and just hanging out in a really beautiful natural setting. And because it’s in Annapolis, you have to pair it with a crab feast, which is a huge bonus anytime.


Get a peek at this exhibit

Get a peek at this exhibit

11. Ragnar Kjartansson at the Hirshhorn
This exhibit is a must-see for modern art fans. The mix of performance art, video installations, paintings, dioramas, and more inspired works is beautiful and bizarre and moving. My favorite installation called The Visitors, is absolutely mesmerizing and just unlike anything I’ve seen before. I should note that I’ve heard mixed things about young children seeing it — some have been captivated, while others were totally freaked out. (But the beauty of visiting museums on the National Mall is how easy it is find another to visit if one doesn’t work out.) The exhibition is only running through January 8, 2017, so go soon!


They dig Yosemite

They dig Yosemite

12. KFDC Does Cali
So, it’s not in DC, and I didn’t write about it on the blog, but our vacation in California this summer was easily a standout for us this year. We spent time in San Francisco, saw some old DC friends who’ve moved out there, and spent time on the gorgeous coast at Half Moon Bay. But the highlight of the trip was the Yosemite leg, inspired by both Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative that gave every 4th grader a free National Park Pass as well as the National Park Service Centennial. It was the first visit to Yosemite for all of us, and it was even more spectacular than I ever could have imagined.


Only in DC

Only in DC

13. Biking Field Trip to the Capitol
A couple of things make this one special. First, I love that it stemmed from a program launched last year to introduce DCPS 2nd grade students to biking as fitness. Sasha’s PE teacher continued it this year, and combined it with an excellent field trip to the U.S. Capitol, where the class got to take a tour. Yes, we rode bikes to the Capitol for a school field trip! That “Only in DC” element is also why I love this. There aren’t many cities, or neighborhoods for that matter, where you can ride down the street with a class of 7-year-olds to one of the most iconic places in the country for a really fun and educational outing. It’s just one of so many reasons why our kids are so lucky to grow up here.


Just another day at the Yards

Just another day at the Yards

14. Light Yards
Yards Park seems to have become the place that embraces the zany — and I so dig that. In this case it was an event over a couple of weekends that featured creative and inspired light installations. The first evening we went, there were large sculptures constructed of steel and light with a display pulsing to the beat of a live DJ set along with an oversized Lite-Brite — rave-y and family-friendly at the same time. The next weekend there were giant luminescent bunnies to ogle and a whole event with fun kid stuff, to boot. The kids were wowed, and I always appreciate an opportunity to show them what great and wild things can come from imagination.


Huzzah for Ren Fest!

Huzzah for Ren Fest!

15. Maryland Renaissance Festival Because, Ren Fest. 🙂










Take ride down Sing Street

Take ride down Sing Street

16. Sing Street
So, this one is pretty random and I’ve never mentioned it anywhere KFDC related before, but I really wanted to give this movie a shout out, because it was practically our anthem this year. Owen discovered this film back in January, and we all watched it together and loved it. If you haven’t seen Sing Street yet, put it at the top of your movie list. (It’s rated PG-13 — you can read the Common Sense Media review here.) The story set in the 80’s about a boy in Dublin starting a band with his friends to impress a girl is fun, dramatic, innocently romantic, and heartwarming. And the soundtrack, featuring both 80’s hits and original tunes, is absolutely brilliant. The new songs especially. I can almost guarantee you’ll be singing, “The boot’s on the other foot now…” after watching.


And there it is, the Top 16 of 2016. Don’t forget to let us know your tops of the year, too!

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Birthday Parties, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Music, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia

The Weekend: December 23-25

It's Christmukkah Time!

It’s Christmukkah Time!



It’s become an annual tradition to simplify a bit over these holiday weekends, both to give myself a little break and because there’s a limited selection of one-off events during this time. There are still plenty of activities to enjoy — mostly DC mainstays and holiday events — you just won’t see all the details here. This list of links, though, will get your holiday weekend adventures started. Merry Christmukkah to all…and to all, a Happy Weekend!

The KFDC 2016 Guide to the Best of the Holidays in DC
*Holiday Shows
*Model Trains
*Special Events
*Chanukah
*Light Displays

Winter Entertainment

Everyday Play

The Great Indoors

Indoor Playgrounds

The Best Places in the DC Area to Spend A Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids

Skaters Gonna Skate: Where to Hit the Ice this Season

Walks in the Woods

A few specific ideas…

See Waterskiing Santa on Christmas Eve!

The National Memorial Lighting

A tradition for many who don’t celebrate Christmas — go out for Chinese food and a movie.

Season’s Greenings at the Botanic Garden

GLOW with it in Georgetown

Christmas at George W’s Old Digs


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Chanukah, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: December 16-18

A close look at the Capitol tree

A close look at the Capitol tree



nasm_stem_magic

This round-up is heavy on holiday events, but you’ll find a few other activities and events sprinkled in, too. For even more, the Everyday Play page is loaded with all kinds of ideas for getting out and about around the DMV. Happy Weekend!

Season’s Greenings
Where: US Botanic Garden
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

The Botanic Garden’s annual holiday attraction never disappoints. The conservatory exhibit features Washington landmarks constructed from plant materials and one of the city’s largest Christmas trees. But the highlight, hands-down, is the garden railway, which never fails to impress and enchant with intricate, imaginative designs — this year’s National Parks and Historic Sites theme is especially great. A heads-up that it’ll probably be crowded, but the line usually moves quickly, and it really is a beautiful, fun, unique display to see! And if you go in the late afternoon, plan to stop and see the Capitol Christmas Tree after as it’s lit every evening at sundown.

Wreaths Across America
Where: Arlington National Cemetery
When: Saturday, 9:30am – 2pm
Admission: Free

A chance for the whole family to volunteer! Help place Veterans’ Remembrance Wreaths on the graves of American heroes buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There is no sign-up or age requirement — families are encouraged to volunteer together. Be sure to visit the website for details, including schedule and meeting location. Read about more family-friendly volunteer opportunities around the DC area.

Cookies & Cocoa with Santa
Where: Topgolf Alexandria
When: Saturday, 9-11am
Admission: Free

Santa Claus is coming to town and this year he’s bringing Cookies & Cocoa! This free event for families with children 12 and under will feature cookies to snack on, a hot chocolate bar, a holiday-themed gift, and kids’ activities. Santa will be there for complimentary photos, and all pictures taken will be available for download on the Topgolf Alexandria Facebook page after the event.

More Holiday Happenings
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Get into the holiday spirit the area in all kinds of ways at every price point. Take the Magical Holiday Express at the B&O Railroad Museum. Enjoy an atrium full of activities for little ones at Christmas on the Potomac. View holiday planes and trains at the Aviation Museum. Take a street car ride with Santa at the Holly Trolley Fest. Find details on all of these events and more are in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

A Solstice Circus
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: Saturday & Sunday
Tickets: $25/adult, $15/ages 11 and under

In the darkest winter days, one young man discovers that he has the power to bring light and inspire joy in even the most surprising places. This holiday show is an uplifting, delightful spectacle that will amaze the whole family. Featuring acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, and other dazzling performances – the spirit is sure to be contagious! Start a new and unique holiday tradition by coming to the circus! Appropriate for all ages.

Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker
Where: Woodrow Wilson High School
When: Saturday, 5pm & Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $23-30/adults, $20-24 seniors/10+, $14-18/under 10

Check out a unique, high-energy twist to the typical Nutcracker featuring lots of local kids as Capitol Hill’s Momentum Dance Theatre presents its 18th annual Jazz Hip Hop Nutcracker. We caught a show last week and loved watching students as young as 5 years perform along with the professional dancers! The show is set to music from Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite plus hip hop, pop, funk, and more — you’ll be dancing in your seats along with the performers. (And look out for Owen’s best buddy showing off his sweet pop & lock moves!)

More Holiday Entertainment
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Much of the live entertainment on local stages right now is holiday-inspired.
Stomp over to the Atlas for Step Afrika!’s Magical, Musical Holiday Step Show. See the ultimate holiday classic The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet at the Warner Theatre or catch a tot-friendly version at The Puppet Co. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead Scrooge on A Christmas Carol journey at Ford’s Theatre. Enjoy The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at the National Theatre. Get details on these shows and others in the 2016 Holiday Guide.

GLOW With It
Where: Georgetown
When: Through January 1, 6-10pm
Admission: Free

See Georgetown in a whole new light — literally. Georgetown GLOW has the neighborhood sparkling with modern light art installations, some of them interactive, on display throughout the bustling community, which is extra lively and festive this time of year. The works are illuminated all around the neighborhood, and finding them is part of the adventure. Take the family to dinner or skating at Washington Harbour, then go for a stroll to check them all out.

Journey to Narnia
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Throughout the Weekend
Admission” $19.50

Adventure Theatre’s clever and creative production of the classic The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is a family must-see this season! The two-actor show is exciting and fun, getting the audience in on the adventure, too. All ages will enjoy the journey to Narnia with the Pevensie siblings!

Showtime Beyond the Holidays
Where: Local theatres
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by performance

Want to see a show without all the holiday trimmings? Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is on the Imagination Stage. The Sheakespeare Theatre Company presents The Secret Garden at Sidney Harman Hall. Carousel and Moby Dick are running at Arena Stage. The Kennedy Center has Into the Woods and Wicked among its theatre options. Mary Poppins is at Olney Theatre. And Adventures with Mr. Bear starts at the Atlas on Sunday. Descriptions, ticket info, and links to discounts for all of these are in this new round-up of
winter entertainment
.

Making Stem Magic: Innovation
Where: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15

Join the Air & Space Museum for Making STEM Magic, a monthly program that introduces young visitors to engineering in a fun and creative way. In the December challenge, learn about the Wright brothers and test your design skills as you design, create, and test your own paper copter.

Shakespeare Theatre, Family-Style
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Sunday (and through December 18)
Admission: Varies by activity

Shakespeare Theatre Company’s annual Family Week offers free and low-cost programs for all ages celebrating the themes, story, and artists of their current production, The Secret Garden. Workshops, events and conversations run through this weekend. And families can also get a special discount on tickets during this time — see the website for details.

Night Lights
Where: Around the area
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday Evenings
Admission: Varies by locale

Twinkling lights forming enchanting displays are easily a holiday season favorite. Visit one of several parks, the National Zoo, or Mormon Temple in the area that has transformed into a sparkling wonderland. Some you can walk through for an up-close experience, others you tour by car. Either way, get ready to be dazzled.

Children’s Holiday Celebration
Where: MLK Library
When: Saturday, 2-4pm
Admission: Free

Join MLK Library staff in the Children’s Room for a festive holiday program. Celebrate the season with crafts, stories, games, and lots of fun — including a chance to meet Santa! Recommended for ages 12 and under.

Open Studio & Ceramics Sale
Where: Hollow Works Studio
When: Saturday, 11am –
Admission: Free

Shop for one-of-a-kind ceramics in the artist’s studio! Hollow Works Ceramics, a recent addition to the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide, sells beautiful, unique bowls, mugs, and vases that would make perfect presents. See for yourself here, but plan to shop on Saturday. The studio is located in the alley right off of 7th and H Streets NE.

Winter Solstice in MoCo
Where: Montgomery County Parks
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: $6

Montgomery Parks will host three winter solstice celebrations this year featuring crafts, campfires, treats and more. Roast marshmallows, hear winter tales, and make a lantern at Meadowside Nature Center. Enjoy shadow-puppet theatre, sip cider, and make cultural crafts at Brookside. And have treats by the campfire at Locust Grove. Look for details about all of these celebrations here.

Holiday Shop
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Mostly free

If you’re still working through your gift list, there are several special holiday markets around the area, where you can find unique presents by local vendors and then some. Head to Penn Quarter, National Harbor, or Alexandria for great seasonal markets or to Capitol Hill for a weekend institution. More info about all of them is available in the 2016 Holiday Guide. And if you need some gift ideas, be sure check out the KFDC Holiday Gift Guide!

The Great Indoors
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

So, we’ll be going from an arctic blast to temps in the 60’s by Sunday — but the warmer weather will come with rain. The big list of ideas for outings that take place inside will come in handy. (And secretly hoping that I’ll jinx it by writing this, and the weekend will be gorgeous.)

Here Comes Chanukah!
Where: Edlavitch DCJCC
When: Sunday, 10am – 12pm
Admission: $25/family

Grab your socks and yarmulke, it’s time to bounce for Chanukah. Start celebrating early at this rockin’ Chanukah party, featuring a moon bounce, games, crafts, treats, and plenty of fun for the whole family!

Nutcracker Family Yoga
Where: Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church
When: Sunday, 3pm
Admission: $20/parent & child, $10/additional child

Calling all soldiers and sugar plum fairies! Breathing Space Yoga invites you to enjoy a classic tale in a new way! Families will bring the Nutcracker story to life through yoga, dance, music, and lots of heart. Bring your sense of wonder and magic and join in for a special journey that will get you into the holiday spirit!

Go Rogue
Where: Local movie theaters
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by theater

In case you hadn’t heard, the newest Star Wars film opens in theaters today. If you’re planning to take the kids to see Rogue One this weekend, the Air & Space Museum would be a suitable place to catch a screening. And if you want a little insight on it before, the Washington Post has several reviews.


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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, Art, Christmas, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Fall, Free, Holidays, Indoor Play, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Theatre, Virginia, Weekend

Warm Up With Some Winter Entertainment

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe brings winter magic to Adventure Theatre

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe brings winter magic to Adventure Theatre



As the mercury drops, stay warm and entertained at a show! Children’s plays, puppet shows, family symphonies, acrobatic hoops, monster trucks, date night options… there’s live entertainment to indulge every interest. Here are details on what you can see on local stages and arenas, listed in order of start date.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: Through December 31
Tickets: $19.50

This snowy, holiday classic features just a two-person cast! Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are sent to live in the countryside home of professor Digory Kirke. As Lucy explores the house, she discovers a secret portal to a magical world called Narnia. With an evil White Witch ruling the kingdom, can Lucy, her new friend Mr. Tumnus, and her family band together to save Narnia? Recommended for all ages. Read the KFDC review!

The Secret Garden
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: Through January 8
Tickets: $44-102 (look for a discount)

When 10-year-old Mary Lennox loses her parents to a cholera epidemic in the British Raj of India, she travels to England to stay with Archibald Craven, her remote and morose uncle, still grieving the death of his wife ten years ago. Terrified of every nook and cranny of the haunted Craven Manor on the Yorkshire Moors, Mary seeks refuge in her late aunt’s mysterious walled garden, where she discovers amazing secrets. KFDC Insight: This is a beautiful, superbly acted production — Sasha and I both enjoyed it!

Carousel
Where: Arena Stage
When: Through December 24
Tickets: $64-109

When Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan fall in love, little do they realize that his rebellious ways will lead to tragedy. Given a chance to make good, will a lucky star save Billy and those he loves? This Rodgers and Hammerstein classic got a well-deserved standing ovation at the performance Owen and I saw. Brilliant performances by the talented cast, a simple yet beautiful theatre-in-the-round-setting, and a story that is emotional and hopeful make for a superb theatre experience. I recommend it for ages 10 and up, or make it a date night.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through January 15
Tickets: $15-30

Once upon a time, in a French provincial town, Belle is the bookish daughter of a hapless inventor. She narrowly avoids the amorous advances of the bully Gaston only to find herself imprisoned in the castle of a terrible Beast. While the servants Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts and Chip conspire to make Belle fall in love with their bewitched master, she gradually wins over his heart by virtue of her kindness and patience. Excitement builds as Gaston gathers a mob to rid the community of the ugly Beast and to claim Belle for himself alone. Needless to say, after much high drama, silly laughter, exuberant singing and dancing, love wins the day! Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Into the Woods
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Through January 8
Tickets: $49-175 (look for a discount)

Venture into the woods with the acclaimed Fiasco Theater’s production that became NYC’s surprise hit of the season. This witty and wildly theatrical re-invention of Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical classic is staged like you’ve never seen it before! Recommended for ages 8 an up.

Mary Poppins
Where: Olney Theatre
When: Through January 8
Tickets: $43-90 (look for a discount)

One of the most beloved tales of all time! It’s 1910 and Mr. Banks is looking for a stern nanny for his two wayward children… but fortunately for the family, Mary Poppins comes along, and teaches them all – especially Mr. Banks – some valuable lessons in what family really means. From the magical “Chim Chim Cher-ee” to the iconic “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” you’ll delight to the story of a wizardly, wise nanny, two precious children, and the family she teaches how to love each other.

Wicked
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Through January 8
Tickets: $99-359

Wicked, the Broadway sensation, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz… but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin–smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships… until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.” Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Titanic
Where: Signature Theatre
When: Through January 29
Tickets: $40-94

Come aboard the ship of dreams in this Tony Award®-winning Best Musical—a heart-stopping and riveting ride through the final moments of Titanic’s fateful journey. In this stunning, 360-degree production, Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer plunges you into the middle of the glamour, chaos, heroism and, ultimately, in the spirit of the most infamous ship of all time. With a lush, unforgettable score and a cast, orchestra and crew of more than 50 artists, Titanic will be the theatrical event of the season!

Adventures with Mr. Bear
Where: Atlas Performing Arts Center
When: December 18-30
Tickets: $9

The wonder and magic of a child’s imagination are brought to life in this charming world premiere. One cozy winter afternoon, a young girl and her favorite stuffed animal, Mr. Bear, play a game of hide and seek which evolves into a series of exciting adventures. Together, they embark on a journey of endless possibilities – all from the comfort of her playroom! Cuddle up with your favorite stuffed animal friend and join us for a delightful holiday production. Recommended for ages 2-5.

Blue
Where: Imagination Stage
When: January 3 – February 8
Tickets: $14

Imagine a world where the only color is blue. Blue flowers, blue grass, even blue cereal! Inky and Pale live in such a world until they discover something RED!

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $5/weekdays, $10/weekends

Tot Rock is Jammin’ Java’s super-popular kids music concert series, providing wholesome family entertainment at one of the DC Metro area’s finest music clubs. Local acts perform every Thursday and Friday, and touring performers drop by on many weekends. Check the calendar often to see when your favorite act is performing, and for other calendar updates.

Boogie Babes
Where: Angelika Pop-Up, Eastern Market, & The Atlas
When: Wednesdays & Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at the Angelika Pop-Up (behind Union Market) on Wednesdays and in Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday over the summer. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the Markets.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Most Wednesdays, Saturdays, & Sundays at 10am
Tickets: $5

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). They are shorter, the lights stay on, and the doors stay open. They have an arsenal of shows that they switch up every performance, so be sure to check the schedule to see what’s playing when you go.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Tickets: Free

The Kennedy Center presents these free, no-tickets-required performances every day at 6pm, and the public is welcome to enjoy them. The acts span the genres — you can see everything from contemporary dance to folk music to puppetry to comedy shows to opera scenes. Millennium Stage showcases everyone from local youth choirs to internationally known bands (They Might Be Giants performed there a few years ago). This is a great series to keep in mind for whenever you’re looking for some free, easy entertainment.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre
When: Most Saturdays
Tickets: FREE!

The free theatre program runs on select Saturdays with performances at 9:30am and 11:30am. Musicals, plays, storytelling, and comedy shows are all part of the live entertainment line-up. See the complete schedule of performances here. Tickets are distributed day of performances on a first-come, first-served basis. Everyone must be in line to receive a ticket.

The Little Princess
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: January 6-11
Tickets: $15/adults, $10/children

It’s Encore Stage & Studio’s theatre by kids for kids! Sara Crewe, a young heiress to a diamond mine fortune, leaves her home and father in India to go to school at Miss Michin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies in London. When adversity strikes, Sara’s imaginative powers come to the rescue, transforming a drab institution into a place of magic and mystery. Using the grace and virtue of ‘a little princess,’ Sara proves that kindness always wins. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Jazzy Ash & the Leaping Lizards
Where: AMP
When: January 7, 10:30am
Tickets: $12

join the kids pajama jam party! Ashli Christoval, AKA Jazzy Ash, explores her New Orleans heritage with a vibrant, five-piece band of musician-educators! Each song is lovingly crafted to inspire movement and wonder in audiences of all ages. Your family will be charmed by Ash’s sassy style as she leads you on a musical adventure through gypsy jazz, zydeco, swing, blues, Dixieland, and more.

Professor Wingnut Wants to Fly
Where: Discovery Theater
When: January 11-12
Tickets: $3-8

Join wacky citizen-scientist Professor Wingnut and his friend Seymour Seagull as they explore the amazing science of flight! From birds to airplanes, this pair loves all things airborne, and are in pursuit of the secret to just what makes them fly. Songs, science, and a flight-tastic dance party take off right under the planes in the Air and Space Museum. Tour the museum after the show! Recommended for ages 3-7.

ROE (KidFree Recommendation!)
Where: Arena Stage
When: January 12 – February 19
Tickets: $55-90

The lawyer: a young, brilliant, courageous woman arguing Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court. The plaintiff: a complex, single woman seeking to end an unwanted pregnancy. The landmark 1973 case legalized abortion, but also began their separate journeys that would come to mirror the polarization in American culture. With shocking turns and surprising humor, Roe illuminates the difficult choices women make and the passion each side has for its cause.

Bud, Not Buddy
Where: Kennedy Center
When: January 12-15
Tickets: $20-50

It’s 1936 in Flint, Michigan, and 10-year-old Bud is sure about two things: he wants to find his father, and he is not called Buddy. Unfortunately, while his mother made his name crystal clear, the whereabouts of his dad are a little unsure. The only clue she left behind is a flyer advertising Herman E. Calloway and his band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression. With this and his trusty suitcase in tow, Bud sets off on an epic journey of discovery, set to the soulful sounds of jazz. Recommended for ages 9 and up.

The Ugly Duckling
Where: Alden Theatre
When: January 14, 1pm
Tickets: $15, $10/MCC tax district residents

It’s hard being different. When a strange egg shows up in Mama Duck’s nest and hatches, a very ugly duckling is born. After many failed attempts to “fit in,” the ugly duckling sets out on a journey to find his true place in the world. He soon realizes that he must learn to love himself before he can discover who he really is. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

The Giver
Where: Alden Theatre
When: January 14, 4pm
Tickets: $15, $10/MCC tax district residents

Jonas’ world is under control and safe. There is no war or fear or pain. There are also no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. But when Jonas turns 12, he is chosen for special training from The Giver—to receive and keep the memories of the community. Now Jonas will learn the truth about life—and the hypocrisy of his safe world. Through this astonishing and moving adaptation, discover what it means to grow up, to grow wise, and to take control of your own destiny.

Goldilocks
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: January 20 – February 19
Tickets: $12

Goldilocks is on trial, and the audience to decides if it was breaking-and-entering or an innocent mistake. This musical romp illustrates that there are two sides to every story, with the same circumstances seen from very different points of view. Told with rod puppets and giant hand puppets, this production keeps the audience guessing while including all the favorite elements of the classic children’s fairytale. Recommended for ages 3.5-9

4×4: Ephemeral Architectures
Where: Strathmore
When: January 22
Tickets: $28-68

What in the world do ballet and juggling have in common? Both are mathematical, architectural, and athletic endeavors based on people tracing pathways in space. Be there as four jugglers and four ballet dancers share a stage in this cross-art-form experience, leaving unseen patterns everywhere, defying the limitations of gravity and inspiring awe in the audience.

As You Like It
Where: Folger Theatre
When: January 24 – March 5
Tickets: $35-75 (look for a discount)

Rosalind is banished frrom court and flees to the Forest of Arden, where she discovers Orlando and a world of passion and possibility in one of Shakespeare’s most cherished romantic comedies. When she disguises herself as a man, enchantment abounds and blossoms into an exploration of the beauty and complexities of young love. Children under the age of four are not permitted in the theater. Every person entering the theatre must have a ticket.

Night of the Living Dead
Where: West Potomac High School
When: January 26 – February 4
Tickets: $10-12

From the Beyond the Page Theatre Company… Based on George A. Romero’s 1968 original classic masterpiece horror genre film of the same title, Night of the Living Dead pits the dead against the living in a struggle for survival. There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The story follows a group of people who barricade themselves into an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh eating monsters. This gripping terror-filled play brings all the fright of the cult classic film to life. Its blend of thrilling horror laced with touches of black humor envelops the audience in the action and unfolds into a shocking theatrical ending.

Monster Jam
Where: Verizon Center
When: January 28
Tickets: $15-95 (look for a discount)

The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC. Grave Digger, El Toro Loco, Pirate’s Curse, Shark, Alien Invasion, Zombie, Monster Mutt Rottweiler, and Blue Thunder are among the vehicular beasts you’ll see tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

Hamlette
Where: The Keegan Theatre
When: January 28
Tickets: $15 (look for a discount)

Hamlette takes the classic Shakespeare play, throws it in a blender, and shakes it up into a side-splitting comedy told in under an hour with only five actors. Recommended for young people age 11 and older.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Catch the Vibe
Where: Kennedy Center
When: January 28-29
Tickets: $20

NSO tuba player Stephen Dumaine and NSO percussionist Eric Shin team up to show you how lively the tuba can be! Along the way, you’ll meet some relatives of the tuba from around the world, and you might even get to see Stephen play while riding his bicycle! Recommended for ages 3 and up.

Ella Enchanted
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: February 3 – March 19
Tickets: $19.50

Based on the Newberry Honor book by Gail Carson Levine. Baby Ella of Frell is given the “gift” of obedience by Lucinda, a misguided fairy, and thus cannot disobey any direct order. Then when tragedy strikes, Ella is reduced to an obedient servant in her new home with Dame Olga. Can Ella find a way to rid herself of the troublesome curse? Recommended for all ages.

Watch on the Rhine (KidFree Recommendation!)
Where: Arena Stage
When: February 3 – March 5
Tickets: $55-100

With America on the brink of entering World War II, Fanny’s daughter escapes to the D.C. suburbs with her German husband, a man deeply involved in anti-fascist movements. But with an Eastern European guest with ulterior motives also living in their midst, tensions rise as it becomes clear that no one’s safety can be guaranteed — at home or abroad.

The Amazing Max
Where: Alden Theatre
When: February 4
Tickets: $15, $10 MCC tax district residents

Don’t miss this wonderfully delightful magic show. Max Darwin combines magic and comedy, making objects appear and disappear and generally defying the laws of physics inches from theatergoer’s faces. This high-energy, interactive and all-around silly show is appropriate for audiences of all ages.

Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions
Where: Strathmore
When: February 4
Tickets: $49-89 (look for a discount)

Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions is the must-see video game concert of the year. All-new orchestral arrangements and carefully timed visuals draw from recent and classic Pokémon video games. Gamers of all ages will enjoy the rare opportunity to hear live renditions of the tunes that have soundtracked their favorite Pokémon hunting expeditions and battles through every generation of the beloved Nintendo series—starting with “Red” and “Green” from the original GameBoy and building up to “X” and “Y” for the 3DS. Cartoon fans are also in for a treat, as the performance includes an orchestral arrangement of the Pokémon television show theme song. Gotta hear ‘em all!

King Charles III
Where: Sidney Harman Hall
When: February 7 – March 12
Tickets: $44-102

The Queen is dead. After a lifetime of waiting, Prince Charles ascends the throne with Camilla by his side. As William, Kate, and Harry look on, Charles prepares for the future of power that lies before him…but how to rule? Written primarily in Shakespearean blank verse, this modern history play explores the people underneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of Britain’s democracy, and the conscience of its most famous family. Recommended for tweens and up.

Kofi’s Drums: The Beat of Life
Where: Discovery Theater
When: February 8-10
Tickets: $3-8

Drummer Kofi Dennis brings the vibrant rhythms of a West African village to life though music, storytelling, and dance. Using authentic instruments, the Ghanaian native leads lively call-and-response songs, games, and movement that gets audiences on their feet in a high-energy exploration of African cultural traditions. Recommended for ages 4-8.

The Freshest Snow Whyte
Where: Imagination Stage
When: February 11 – March 18
Tickets: $12-30

A radical, hip hop update to a fairytale classic. Set in the year 3000, we meet Snow Whyte—a graffiti-artist locked in competition with her arch rival, Kanye East, over which of them makes the “freshest” images in the universe. Both depend on a Simon Cowell-type celebrity called Mira to decide which of them is the best. After her exile to a distant planet, Snow Whyte is sheltered by two rapping alien twins (reminiscent of the Seven Dwarves), and survives two visits from the vengeful Kanye, dressed in crazy disguises. She then uncovers the true secret to talent: that it is shared equally among all people, and not the exclusive property of anyone. Witty raps, cool moves, and a beat that just won’t quit, this show will have you bouncin’ in your seat and shouting “Oh, yeah!” Recommended for ages 5 and up.

NSO Family Concert: Joshua Bell in The Man with the Violin
Where: Kennedy Center
When: February 12
Tickets: $29-49

When the world-renowned violinist played anonymously in DC’s subway, his experience inspired an acclaimed children’s book. Now this world premiere concert brings together sensational music, an engaging narrator, and colorful imagery from the story! Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Step Afrika! Step Xplosion
Where: Strathmore
When: February 12
Tickets: $35-75

Step Afrika!’s third annual showcase at Strathmore is a celebration of Black History Month, and it’s going to be big! Percussive dance styles historically practiced by African American fraternities and sororities plus African traditional dance and art forms from around the world come together as Step Afrika! integrates songs, storytelling, and humor into a highly entertaining, interactive show. Watch as the top step teams from across the country showcase the kind of technique and agility that inspires audiences everywhere, and see how Step Afrika! promotes stepping as an educational tool for young people, promoting teamwork, academic achievement, and cross-cultural understanding.

Signal Songs of the Underground Railroad
Where: Discovery Theater
When: February 14-15
Tickets: $3-8

With the aid of her powerful voice, Phyllis Wade combines acapella spirituals, slave narratives, and stories passed down through generations to pay tribute to one of the move controversial periods of our nation’s history. The music we have come to know as “signal songs” was used by slaves to communicate with one another and to share directions to the Promised Land via the Underground Railroad. These powerful songs and stories will move you to stand up, clap, sing and rejoice for freedom. Recommended for ages 7-14.

Saturday Family Jazz Sessions
Where: Strathmore
When: Saturdays, February 18/March 4/March 18, 11am
Tickets: $10/advance, $12/at door

Junior jazz aficionados can spend Saturday mornings singing, playing, and preparing for a lifetime of music appreciation. Strathmore’s fun, creative, kid-friendly series features music by a different performer each session.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Follow That Fiddle
Where: Kennedy Center
When: February 18
Tickets: $20

In this home-run performance, NSO musician Glenn Donnellan will introduce you to the Electric Slugger™, an electric violin that he custom made from a baseball bat. You’ll have a ball as he plays a wide range of musical styles on this and a variety of violins from around the world. Recommended for ages 3 and up.

How Old Is a Hero?
Where: Discovery Theater
When: February 21-24
Tickets: $3-8

Everyone can make a difference! In this uplifting play, audiences meet young people who helped change the nation by their heroic actions during the Civil Rights era: Ernest Green of the Little Rock Nine; Claudette Colvin, who stayed seated on a bus before Rosa Parks; and brave 6-year-old Ruby Bridges. Their inspiring stories demonstrate that courage begins with our young.

Jack and the Beanstalk
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: February 23 – March 26
Tickets: $12

Fe-fi-fo-fum. A timely version of the classic children’s tale about the young lad that doesn’t know beans about trading, but still manages to climb his way to the top. Jack finds that happiness lies in helping others rather than mere personal gain. Told with rod puppets and some surprising twists, Jack has long been a favorite of our audiences. Recommended for ages 5-9.

Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood
Where: Atlas Performaing Arts Center
When: March 4
Tickets: $15

Join this interactive journey through Duke Ellington’s DC, from U Street and the Howard Theatre to Anacostia, and groove along with Duke’s jazz piano with a live jazz trio. Join amazing performers, as they discover how a local hero influenced the Harlem Renaissance, helped shape the cultural history of Washington D.C., and became an international star. Featuring DC artists Krislynn Perry, Brian Thorne, and Wes Felton. Presented by the In Series Opera & More, Duke Ellington’s Neighborhood is part of Atlas PAC’s Intersections Festival for 2017.

Nutt & Bolt
Where: The Lab at Convergence
When: March 8-23
Tickets:

Nutt and Bolt are robot rivals. They spend their days using the random junkyard objects around them (and on them!) in games of skill and sound, rallying their wee friends, the audience, for support. As the competition builds to a frenzied pinnacle, Nutt and Bolt realize that by working together, they can make something even more wonderful than they could on their own! Together, sounds become stories, notes become music, and the world becomes full of possibility. Recommended for ages 2-6.

From the Mouths of Monsters
Where: Kennedy Center
When: March 10-12
Tickets: $20

Loosely inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this contemporary, highly theatrical world premiere commission features two actors who riff on the classic monster tale in unexpected ways, with surprising relevance to today’s audiences. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

All Ireland! with Shannon Dunne and Alex Boatright
Where: Discovery Theater
When: March 17
Tickets: $3-8

Erin go bragh! Celebrate Paddy’s Day with dancer-musician Shannon Dunne and musician Alex Boatright in their joyful show includes old-style sean nós dancing, singing, and the sounds of traditional instruments. Experience a little taste of Ireland as you join the floor-stomping fun!

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Verizon Center & Eagle Bank Arena
When: March 17-19
Tickets: $25 and up

The iconic Harlem Globetrotters are coming to the Verizon Center in Washington, DC with their unrivaled family show, featuring some of the greatest athletes on the planet. With incredible ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks and trick shots, side-splitting comedy and unequaled on-court fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Grug and the Rainbow
Where: Kennedy Center
When: March 18-19
Tickets: $20

Based on the much-loved picture book character created by Ted Prior, this brand-new show from Australia’s Windmill Theatre features exquisite puppetry and more. Recommended for ages 2 and up.


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Review: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Adventure Theatre

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The holiday season always brings an extra big selection of family shows to local stages, and it can be difficult to decide which to see. Well, I’m about to make it a little easier for you with this: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at Adventure Theatre should definitely make the cut.

This unique take on the C.S. Lewis classic literally tells the tale of the four Pevensie siblings’ well-chronicled adventures in Narnia. The play begins with Lucy and Peter actually relaying the story to the audience years later, then recreating it for us as we’re drawn into the wardrobe — and back to that time — with them and the several other characters in the show.

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Yet, there are only two actors in this production. If you’re wondering how they can possibly pull this off, the quick answer is a fantastic balance of great acting, clever stage direction, creative costumes and props, a well-designed (and beautiful!) set…and a little magic.

Dazzling tricks and neat surprises keep the audience delighted during the adventure as the brothers and sisters enter the land of Narnia, eventually encountering and battling the White Witch along with Aslan the lion. And while the hour-long play doesn’t capture all of the details, it still gets to the pulp of the story — and with fun, imaginative flair.

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One of my favorite aspects of the show was interaction with the audience. From the very beginning, Lucy and Peter turn around with surprise to see us there. Our presence is what actually launches them into their story, and they continue to engage throughout. They reach their hands out to people, ask us to weigh in on decisions, even listen to a little girl in the front row as she unexpectedly reveals Lucy’s location during a game of hide and seek.

When I asked Owen and Sasha about their favorite parts, she named that very game, and he described a snow ball fight. Mine was the moment Narnia was revealed, and we saw the ingenuity of the set. We all agreed, though, there were loads of great moments we could have chosen.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is running at Adventure Theatre through December 31, with both weekday and weekend performances. Tickets are $19.50 and can be purchased in advance online or by calling 301.634.2270.


This post is sponsored by Adventure Theatre, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own, and I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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