Category Archives: Date Night

Rent is at an All Time High at National Theatre


I first saw Rent at National Theatre about 22 years ago, just over a year after it debuted on Broadway and was an instant hit. It was one of those powerful theatre experiences that sticks with you, something greater than the beautiful story told on stage through sensational performances and stirring music.

Rent pushed boundaries in a way that no other Broadway show had before as it explored themes of life and love and friendship. The story follows the lives of seven artists over a year in the 1990’s struggling to achieve their dreams and navigate their relationships — in the shadow of the AIDS crisis. It was raw and edgy and unapologetic as the storyline included addiction, homosexuality (and homophobia), and a disease associated with panic and fear. It was also hopeful, inspiring, and joyous as it celebrated life and love and friendship, and prompted audiences to ponder what matters, how they measure a year in the life.

Fast forward 20+ years later, and Rent is back in DC at the National Theatre on the 20th Anniversary Tour. When I was invited to see the show to review for KFDC, I jumped at the opportunity. But I would have gone to see it, anyway, having loved it so much the first time. I wondered, though, would it hold up after all these years? Was it just the timing that made it strike the chord it did back in the 90’s, when AIDS angst was intense and incorporating it into a musical a novel idea?

Well, as the title of this post indicates, Rent holds up — and then some. The show was just as phenomenal, if not more, than it was all those years ago. Perhaps it has to do with my perspective and seeing the characters from a maternal point of view more than as a peer (amazing what changes in 20+ years). Or maybe this time I was processing less and just enjoying more. Regardless, I loved it. All of the performances were brilliant, delivered with passion and grit, but I have to note that Joshua Taveres as Angel, Kelsee Sweigard as Maureen, and Shafiq Hicks as Tom Collins were especially wonderful.

The score is still soul stirring, and this time I had to hold myself back from bursting into song along with the cast. The story, while viewed a bit differently as the AIDS situation has changed, captures that period of time in a powerful, evocative, and creative way. And the heart of the show, its themes of life and love and friendship, remain steadfastly universal.

I highly recommend seeing Rent during its run at National Theatre. And when you do and hear the question “How do you measure, measure a year?”… I think the answer will be easy.

RENT – 20th Anniverary Tour
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: November 12-17, 2019
Tickets: $54 – $117 (look for discounts)
Run time: 2 hours, 35 minutes, including one intermission
Recommended for ages 13 and up.


Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to see and review Rent, however, all opinions expressed here are entirely my own.


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Review: Mike Birbiglia’s The New One at National Theatre


Last night, Levi and I went to Mike Birbiglia’s The New One at National Theatre. I was invited to see the show in exchange for doing a review, so here we are.

I wasn’t very familiar with Mike Birbiglia before this, but when I learned more about him and his comedy, it seemed like it would make for a fun date night. The show was mostly a story about his parenting journey, from his pre-kids perspective to becoming a dad. From the get-go, it was evident that Mike is a talented storyteller. In fact, much of the audience was laughing for the entire show.

However, Levi and I were not among them. I’m not sure exactly what it was (though reading this over, it seems that maybe I do), but I just wasn’t super into it. Perhaps it’s that I’m a more seasoned parent and my head is in a totally different phase of parenthood. Hearing the pre-kids view of how children take away all the joy bothered me, even if he was being facetious; I was especially annoyed at younger people in the audience who clapped vigorously at that part. And the jokes about how the house becomes such a mess, and there’s so much baby stuff everywhere are kind of tired and cliché. As was the stereotype that dads don’t help at all…a bit about his wife wanting to have sex with him because he did the dishes once was like a meme that keeps popping up, but wasn’t even funny the first time.

As Levi said afterward, “Louis CK did all that years ago, but it was funnier and raunchier.” [And here I must be clear that by mentioning LCK, I in no way condone his “Me Too” actions, I’m just relaying what Levi said.] Hey, maybe Levi and I are just old and boring. (I don’t think we are, but I could be too old and boring to be a good judge of that.)

But as I mentioned, Mike Birbiglia is a good storyteller, and I appreciated the structure of his show. Loads of audience members seemed to love it. This is just my review.

Mike Birbiglia’s The New One is running at National Theatre through September 29. Tickets are $39-114, and run time is approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes with no intermission. The official description says it’s recommended for ages 13 and up, but I’d recommend this for adults.


Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to see the show, but all views expressed here are quite obviously my own.


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Filed under 2019, Date Night, DC, Fall, Live Entertainment, Parents, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend

Giveaway: Mike Birbiglia’s The New One is Coming to National Theatre


Here’s one for the grown-ups! Mike Birbiglia, the stand-up comedian/actor/writer/director is coming to National Theatre next Tuesday, September 24 through Sunday, September 29. And I’ve got a pair of tickets for it to giveaway to one lucky KFDC reader!

Here’s more about Mike Birbiglia’s The New One:

He’s made you laugh in Sleepwalk With Me (it was a play presented by Nathan Lane, then a movie, THEN a book), My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend and “Thank God for Jokes.” (He was also really funny in that one season of “Orange is the New Black.” And in “Billions.” And “Broad City.”) Now he’s direct from Broadway, telling a new story in a new way with the same heart and humor we’ve come to expect. Lin-Manuel Miranda called THE NEW ONE “as perfect a night as you’re gonna get.” Do not miss THE NEW ONE. Some people say it’s his best one. (It was John Mulaney. Also Vogue.)

Run time is approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes with no intermission. It’s recommended for ages 13 and up, but I recommend making this a date night or evening out with friends. 🙂

Mike Birbiglia’s The New One
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: September 24-29
Tickets: $39 – $114

* * * * *

Giveaway: For a chance to win a pair of tickets to Mike Birbiglia’s The New One at National Theatre on Tuesday, September 24 at 7:30pm, simply leave a comment below naming the funniest movie you’ve watched in the last six months. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run through 8pm on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, then a winner will be picked at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


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T(w)een Scene (or KidFree!): Wield Some Fun at Bad Axe Throwing



Upon first consideration, giving a group of 12-year-old boys a bunch of axes to throw for fun might sound like a pretty crazy idea. But at a recent birthday party at Bad Axe Throwing, a newish venue that offers opportunities to — you guessed it! — throw axes at targets, it was actually really great.

I first heard about Bad Axe Throwing last spring when a friend told me she’d attended an adult birthday celebration at the venue in northeast DC. Until then, I’d only seen the sport in action at Ren Fest, so of course I was immediately intrigued (because, Ren Fest). However, I didn’t try it myself until a few weeks ago when Owen attended a friend’s birthday party there. His mom (my friend, Torey) invited a few parents to join them for some target practice, too.

The facility where it takes place is fairly bare bones. It looks like an old warehouse or garage with two cavernous rooms with a few axe throwing “cages” on one side and, on the other, some tables and stools where guests can hang out, eat, and drink (all BYO) while they wait their turns to throw. Chain link fencing separates each cage, and plywood goes halfway up the target wall. Two targets hang side by side in each cage, and cork board and rubber matting line the floor in front of them. Concrete blocks or wooden stands about 10 feet back from the wall hold the axes right about where throwers stand.

The session begins with a short overview of the rules and a quick lesson on how to throw. The kids started things off, and after a few thunks against the boards and axes landing on the ground, they started to get in a groove, and the axes began to stick. We adults joined in soon after, and while it took me a couple of turns to really get it, once I did it was quite satisfying to hear that sharp “whomp” and see the hatchet buried in the wood as it hit the target.

After we’d all had some practice rounds, we played a few team games — mostly kids versus adults — similar to cricket, the popular darts game. (Happy to report we old folks beat the youngins! 🙂 ). There were also some one-on-one games, too, as players tried to reach a total score first by hitting rungs on the target with designated point values.

All in all, this was a really good time for all — a great tween birthday party, plus a fun and unique activity for the adults. And you don’t necessarily have to be with a big group to go. While we did see mostly larger parties there, walk-ins are welcome, too. As for ages, I did see some younger kids there with a family group, but I would probably recommend the activity for middle school ages and up.

Rates for groups vary: The Corporate rate is $35/person (minimum of 35) and includes two coaches and four targets for 2.5 hours. The Bad Axe Package is $44.25/person* (minimum of 6) and includes one coach and two targets. Walk-ins are $20/hour. *There is a HEROES rate for Firefighters, Nurses, EMT, Paramedics, Police Officers & Military — they can get the lowest rate of $35/person.

Bad Axe Throwing is located at 2419 Evarts St NE. Hours are 8am- 11pm, by appointment. Walk-in hours vary by week, so check the schedule before you go.

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