Tag Archives: DC Theatre

Get Thee to the Folger Shakespeare Library

“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” 😉



You don’t have to be a huge Shakespeare enthusiast to enjoy the Folger Shakespeare Library, but if you are a fan of The Bard, you will love it. The attraction on Capitol Hill contains the world’s largest collection of materials relating to the poet and playwright. It also houses the Folger Theatre, which presents a variety of performances and events, from plays (Shakespeare and others) to concerts to talks to fun for families.

It’s not too far from where we live, and it’s free and open to the public, so we occasionally pop in to wander around the beautiful Great Hall, which is filled with exhibits all about, you guessed it, William Shakespeare. While most of the art, books, and other displays are probably most appealing to adult visitors more familiar with Shakespeare, every now and then there has been something for younger guests to enjoy, like a fun hands-on activity to accompany an exhibit.

When we were there a few weeks ago, however, Owen and Sasha were excited to see even more features for kids. There’s a book rack with reads for all ages. A replica of a Shakespeare bust welcomes photos ops, and there’s even a frame to snap fun portraits.

A Prop Drop is filled with clothes and accessories and encourages kids to “Make a scene!” There are cloaks and crowns, swords and shields, and other pieces that they can use to “create your own version of what you read and see.” (Sasha loved it, but tweenage Owen was too cool for school to dress up.)

“And though she be but little, she is fierce.”

Booklets with art prompts are scattered about on benches, and we all spent time creating pictures with inspiration from something in the Hall. Afterwards, we hung them up with other drawings on display.

Free docent-led, walk-in tours are offered Monday through Saturday at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm, and on Sundays at 12pm and 3pm (no reservation required). There are also reading rooms to tour, but advanced reservations are required. They are free and available on Saturdays 12-1pm and Sundays 1–2pm.



Family Activities
* On the first Saturday of every month, the Folger offers Shake Up Your Saturdays, workshops especially for kids and families to experience Shakespeare’s language together. They can learn about the plays, how to be a Shakespearean actor, on-stage combat techniques, and more. The 10am class is for ages 5-7, and an 11am class for ages 8-14. (The next one, Printers School, where students learn the art of book printing, is this Saturday, March 3 – register here.)

* Every April, the Folger celebrates Shakespeare’s birthday with a day full of festivities that is free and open to the public. It’s a beloved annual tradition that includes performances, sword fighting demos, sonnet readings, an appearance by Queen Elizabeth I, and birthday cake! This year it will take place on Sunday, April 22, 2018.

* Some of the Folger Theatre productions can be enjoyed by older children, so consider a show for a family outing. (Next up is The Winter’s Tale running March 13 – April 22, 2018). Of course, keep it in mind for KidFree time, too.

Be sure to explore outside on your visit. There is a small Elizabethan garden on the side of the building along 3rd Street SE with sculptures, hedges, an herb garden. It’s a lovely place to sit and let the kids toddle around on a nice day (I used to that often when mine were smaller).


The Folger Shakespeare Library is located at 201 East Capitol Street SE. It’s open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, and Sunday 12-5pm. Admission is free. (KFDC Tip: Just one block away from the Library of Congress and U.S. Capitol, you can plan to visit a couple of places in one outing.)

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Filed under All ages, Art, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Museums, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend

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

Enter to Win Tickets to “Chicago” at the National Theatre!

Chicago-ecard

This one is for grown ups, so plan for a date night or mom’s night out!

“‘Chicago’ still GLITTERS HYPNOTICALLY.”
Ben Brantley, The New York Times

A true New York City institution, Chicago has everything that makes Broadway great: a universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz; one show-stopping song after another; and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. No wonder it has been honored with six Tony Awards®, two Olivier Awards®, a Grammy®, and thousands of standing ovations. It’s also no surprise that Chicago has wowed audiences all around the world, from Mexico City to Moscow, Sao Paulo to South Africa.

Whether you’re looking for your first Broadway musical, whether you’ve seen the Academy Award®-winning film and want to experience the show live on stage or you’ve seen it before and want to recapture the magic, Chicago always delivers.

Chicago will be on stage at the National Theatre February 10-15. Tickets are $48-93.

Giveaway: For a chance to win two tickets to see Chicago at the National Theatre on February 10, simply leave a comment below naming your favorite Broadway musical. To be eligible, you must follow KidFriendly DC on Facebook. The giveaway will run through Sunday, February 1. A winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


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Filed under Date Night, DC, Giveaway, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

{Giveaway} Fly Away to Neverland as The Washington Ballet Presents “Peter Pan” at the Kennedy Center

TWB_PeterPan300x250

From April 16 – 27, The Washington Ballet is bringing the magic of Peter Pan to the Kennedy Center stage, and you can win a pair of tickets to see it!

Here’s the official description of the show:

Take a high-flying adventure to Neverland with the The Washington Ballet’s NEW Production of Septime Webre’s dazzling Peter Pan. A swashbuckling coming of age tale that pits Peter and the Lost Boys against Captain Hook and his outrageous band of pirates, this whimsical adventure is told through vibrant dance. Peter Pan is a story about growing up that never seems to grow old.

There will be both matinee and evening performances, and tickets prices range from $25 – $125.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Peter Pan, simply leave a comment below. To be eligible, you must “like” KidFriendly DC on Facebook. This giveaway will run through noon tomorrow, and a winner will be picked from a random drawing. Good luck!

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Filed under DC, Giveaway, Live Entertainment, Spring, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend