I don’t know about everyone else, but I am so excited for the return of live, in-person entertainment! Most local theatres are easing back into it with fewer shows in the line-up for now (more planned come winter and spring🤞), but this round-up includes entertainment for everyone — children’s shows, family concerts, teen-appropriate plays, KidFree suggestions, community programs for all, and more. Note that many venues require proof of vaccination from audience members ages 12 and up, and some ask for negative Covid tests from children, so be sure to check on this. Shows are listed in order of start date (beginning early September, even though it’s technically not yet fall) with most descriptions coming from websites. Happy Viewing!
DC Jazz Festival
Where: Venues around DC
When: Through September 5
Tickets: Vary by performance
The annual DC Jazz Fest is back with in-person performances during the first week of September. Shows are taking place at several venues around DC, including the Wharf, The Hamilton, and Phillips Collections (unfortunately, the fantastic Jazz ‘n Fun Family Days is not happening this year, but you can still enjoy performances at the museum). See the website for the schedule of shows.
A Wind in the Door
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: September 2-11
A cosmic mission is unfolding! Don’t miss the onstage debut of the exciting sequel to Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved A Wrinkle in Time. Recommended for ages 9+, this one-hour show takes place indoors in the Family Theatre. Patrons 12 and older must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 – with a physical or digital copy of their vaccination card and government-issued ID with the same name. Children under 12 must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before performance time. Recommended for ages 9+.
A Raisin in the Sun
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: September 2-4
The members of the Younger family dream bigger than the small house where they live on the south side of Chicago in the 1950s. When their deceased father’s insurance money comes through, those dreams might actually become reality. Walter Lee wants to run his own business and earn financial independence, but his sister Beneatha dreams of attending medical school. Meanwhile, their mother Lena wants to move them all to a bigger home in a white neighborhood. What will finally allow the Youngers to move up in the world, and who will have their dreams deferred? National Players is honored to portray this award-winning drama with a universal story about an African American family dealing with prejudice, history, and a world where everything changes. Common sense media recommends this for ages 12 and up.
NSO in Your Neighborhood
Where: Several communities in DC & MD
When: September 3-22
The National Symphony Orchestra’s annual program is back! Over three weeks in September, NSO musicians will perform free concerts within the uptown DC neighborhoods of Ward 4, Takoma Park, and downtown Silver Spring. This year’s IYN has 17 events, including two full NSO performances. Events will be offered both indoors and outdoors — at parks, coffee shops, taverns, schools, and more local venues. All concerts and events are free to the public with first-come, first-served seating. See the website for the full schedule.
Broadway in the Park
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: September 3
Tickets: $32+ (look for discount0
Signature Theatre and Wolf Trap present this celebration of the return of live musical theater with a joyous evening of Broadway’s greatest hits under the stars. Starring Broadway’s Renée Elise Goldsberry (Hamilton, The Color Purple) and Brian Stokes Mitchell (Ragtime, Man of La Mancha) and a cast of Signature Theatre favorites, enjoy tunes such as “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “I Am What I Am,” “The Schuyler Sisters,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and many more.
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: September 3 – October 3
Tickets: $64+ (look for discount)
History is filled with trailblazers and Toni Stone was one of them. Considered a pioneer, Toni Stone is the first woman to play baseball in the Negro Leagues, also making her the first woman to play professionally in a men’s league in the 1950s. Against all odds, Stone shattered expectations and created her own set of rules in the male-dominated sports world. Based on Martha Ackmann’s book Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, award-winning playwright Lydia R. Diamond (Smart People, The Bluest Eye) tells the dynamic story of Stone’s journey of perseverance and resilience just to do what she loved the most — play baseball. This production is rated PG-13. It contains coarse and mature language that may not be appropriate for younger audiences.
Rosslyn Jazz Fest
Where: Locales around Rosslyn, VA
When: Through September 18
Jazz is back in Rosslyn with a three-week celebration of music, food, and fun! The Rosslyn BID’s annual Jazz Fest has been reimagined with live performances around the neighborhood (mostly pop-ups on Wednesdays), culminating in an all-day event in Gateway Park on September 18, featuring Three Man Soul Machine, Aaron Myers and Sin Miedo. Enjoy the soulful sounds of local musicians, including Crush Funk Brass Band, Akua Allrich, Kingman Island Orchestra, and Cristian Perez, live from some of Rosslyn’s favorite outdoor venues. Attendees can expect themed giveaways, prizes and restaurant deals throughout.
Kids Concert & Family Happy Hour
Where: The Hill Center | Capitol Hill, DC
When: September 10, 5-7pm
Admission: $5/adult, $10/child
Join us for a casual, outdoor happy hour for parents and tots! Favorite local kids band, King Bullfrog, will hit the stage with high-energy original, folk and blues songs carefully tailored to get children dancing and delight grownups. This is a great opportunity to meet new friends and gather with old. Kids under 2 are free. Register in advance. A *quiet space* will be provided for those who need a break.
Come From Away: In Concert at the Lincoln Memorial
Where: Lincoln Memorial | National Mall, DC
When: September 10, 6pm
In honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Ford’s Theatre presents a free one-night-only concert version of the Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical Come From Away on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The show tells the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers on September 11, 2001, and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them — spurring unexpected camaraderie in extraordinary circumstances. Featuring a rousing score of folk and rock, Come From Away honors the better angels of our nature, revealing hope and humanity in a time of darkness. Members of the Come From Away company will star in this 100-minute concert. Recommended for ages 10+.
By the Seashore
Where: Lee District Park | Alexandria, VA
When: September 10-18
Art on the Horizon’s By the Seashore takes you on a magical journey to a place children love to visit – the beach! Young audience members are invited to explore all the amazing things we find on the shore, in the ocean, and in the sky; from birds and fish, to sand and water, and everything in-between! Using an imaginative mix of puppetry, movement, and sound, this sensory-filled production is specifically designed for our youngest audience members ages 0-3. It takes place outdoors at Leonadus K. Plenty Amphitheater in Lee District Park.
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo, MD
When: September 17 – October 31
The discovery of a worn pink wrestling mask prompts Nana Lupita, a Wisconsin grandmother, to share her tale about growing up in 1960s Texas. As her tale unfolds, Lupita’s life as a teen tomboy comes alive—bike riding with her friends Leopold and Liesl, working at her father’s flower stand and lucha libre. When a World Championship match is announced, Lupita anticipates seeing it until she discovers her ailing father is one of the wrestlers. With the help of a magical mask maker, Lupita secretly trains to take her father’s place. She soon finds it difficult keeping her secret from her friends and, most importantly, her father. This production will take place outdoors in the grassy field next to ATMTC and the Irish Inn (BYO blanket!), and strict COVID protocols will still be followed — see website for details.
Dueling Piano Kids’ Day Shows
Where: Bobby McKee’s | National Harbor, MD
When: September 25 & October 30
Tickets: $25/age 3+
An afternoon family activity, where kids are actually encouraged to wiggle in their seats and dance in the aisles! Kids’ Day at Bobby McKey’s is a perfect outing for the whole crew with two hours of all request live music, plus lunch and unlimited fountain drinks.
Celia and Fidel ((KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: October 8 – November 21
It’s 1980s Cuba and the revolution has reached a crazed tipping point. Fueled by a stagnant economy, 10,000 citizens have fled to the Peruvian Embassy in Cuba seeking asylum. As Fidel Castro grapples between his desire to maintain power and do what is best for his country, he turns to his closest confidant and political partner, Celia Sánchez for answers. What kind of a leader is he? Merciful or mighty? Imbued with magical realism, Eduardo Machado’s Celia and Fidel — Arena Stage’s seventh Power Play — imagines a fight between Cuba’s most influential female revolutionary and its most notorious political leader.
The Madness of Poe
Where: Synetic Theatre | Crystal City, VA
When: October 11-31
Join Syentic back in the theater for an evening Edgar Allan Poe’s classic stories envisioned as a kaleidoscopic tapestry of terror. Featuring a re-imagining of the theatre’s 2007 hit adaptation of “The Fall of the House of Usher” plus other tales from the inventor of American horror, “The Madness of Poe” is suspenseful, sinister, sensual – classic Synetic in every way. Recommended for teen ages and up.
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: October 13-28
Tickets: $45-175 (look for a discount)
Welcome to Hadestown, where a song can change your fate. Intertwining two mythic tales—that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife Persephone—Hadestown is a haunting and hopeful theatrical experience that grabs you and never lets go. Winner of eight 2019 Tony Awards® including Best Musical and the 2020 Grammy Award® for Best Musical Theater Album, this acclaimed new show by celebrated singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and innovative director Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) is a love story for today…and always. Recommended for age 8+.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Where: Olney Theater | Olney, MD
When: November 5 – January 2
Tickets: Currently part of membership package
Be their guest this holiday season as the classic animated story comes to life on the Olney Theatre Mainstage. It’s a tale as old as time, but it gets a new look from Tony-nominated director Marcia Milgrom Dodge. Olney’s biggest show of the year brings the whole family together for a magical and memorable musical about the redemptive power of love. Join Belle, Lumiere, Cogsworth, and the rest of the gang in the Beast’s cursed castle for an escape to a world where beauty is more than skin deep and happily ever after is just a rose petal away. Rated G.
Witch Wartsmith’s Halloween Spooktacular
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: September 30 – October 31
Tickets: Coming soon!
Performances return to The Puppet Co. just in time to get ready for Halloween! Witch Wartsmith (the sister of Witch Wartsmith from our Legacy show “Rapunzel”,) hosts the annual Halloween Spooktacular and you get to vote on the winner! Part contemporary competition show, part vintage telethon, and part punpalooza, this spooky variety show will tickle your funny bone. Don’t miss this year’s performances, because some of the contestants will change year to year!
My Lord, What a Night
Where: Ford’s Theater | Downtown DC
When: October 1-24
Ford’s presents this new drama based on the real-life friendship between contralto Marian Anderson and physicist Albert Einstein. After performing in Princeton, NJ, acclaimed contralto Marian Anderson is denied lodging at the Nassau Inn because she is Black. Physicist Albert Einstein invites her to stay at his home, and the two form a profound friendship based on their love for music and their commitment to human rights. This production takes the audience into Einstein’s home and imagines the conversations and circumstances that led to Anderson’s historic concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Recommended for ages 12+.
Where: Signature Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: November 2 – January 2
Tickets: Coming soon!
La Vie Boheme! The iconic rock musical’s pure rush of adrenaline, passion, energy, and joy is boldly and immersively reimagined in Signature style for a triumphant reopening. At the end of the millennium, a group of bohemians in the East Village of New York City struggle with gentrification, love, loss, and legacies amidst the HIV/AIDS crisis. Through songs such as “Seasons of Love,” “One Song Glory,” “I’ll Cover You,” “Out Tonight” and more, they embrace hope, find strength and survive. Recommended for teen ages and up.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live: Time Bubble Tour
Where: Warner Theatre | Downtown DC
When: November 7, 7:30pm
The “Time Bubble Tour” features the beloved returning cast of the 2019 “Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour,” Emily Marsh, Conor McGiffin, Nate Begle, and Yvonne Freese, along with the world’s only movie-riffing robots, Tom Servo, Crow, and GPC. The show features the film Making Contact and will include all the tour signatures: hilarious riffing, wisecracking robots, and silly sketches. Recommended for ages 10 and up.
Where: Several music venues in DC & MD
When: Throughout fall
Tickets: Vary by show
For a bigger line-up of concerts coming to the area, check out the IMP website, which covers shows at 9:30 Club, The Anthem, Merriweather Post Pavilion, and Lincoln Theatre. Whether you want to go sans kids or bring them along (kids welcome at many concerts!), there’s a lot of great live music to enjoy over the next few months.