Tag Archives: Synetic Family Theater

A Fall Full of Family Entertainment

A new season doesn’t just mean a change in weather; it also brings a whole new line-up of family entertainment. And this fall is no exception. From puppet shows and plays to opera at Nationals Park to kids rock concerts to shows about science, there is something to indulge all ages and interests. Here’s the scoop on performances coming to our local stages and, in at least one case, the ball park.

Tales of Beatrix Potter
Where: The Puppet Co. Playhouse
When: September 16 – October 9
Tickets: $10 (Get a $5 discount on tickets to shows on 9/16-18 by using the code BK2S online)
Applause Unlimited’s puppeteer/storyteller Christopher Hudert explores the fantasy world of one of Victorian England’s best-known authors and illustrators. Set in an old-fashioned nursery, this performance includes three favorite Beatrix Potter stories as seen through the eyes of a young English girl growing up at the beginning of the twentieth century. As she pursues the everyday activities of playing and learning, the tales of “Two Bad Mice”, “Jeremy Fisher”, and “Jemima Puddleduck” seem to grow from her imagination. This 45-minute show incorporates hand, rod, and shadow puppets in a style that is sure to please young and old alike.

Opera in the Outfield
Where: Nationals Park
When: September 22, 7:30pm
Tickets: FREE! Reservations are encouraged, but not required.
Join Washington National Opera for the 4th annual Opera in the Outfield, a free, live opera broadcast of Puccini’s Tosca at Nationals Park. Arrive early to the ballpark — gates open at 5:30pm — to enjoy entertainment and activities including: Performances by community youth groups including the Greenbelt S.I.T.Y. Stars double-dutch team of Greenbelt, MD, the award-winning Yorktown High School Marching Band from Arlington, VA, and the DC-based Taratibu Pan-African Step Team; a screening of the Warner Bros.cartoon “What’s Opera, Doc?,” starring Bugs Bunny and his nemesis Elmer Fudd; chances to win prizes, including a VIP suite for a Nationals Game and tickets to Kennedy Center performances.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: Ongoing – 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.

Boogie Babes
Where: North Hall of Eastern Market & The Atlas
When: Thursdays & Fridays at 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for siblings 6 months and under
The Boogie Babes have doubled the fun! Little ones can now boogie along with their favorite local musicians in Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday morning AND at The Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the Market and stay to play, or hit one of the many eateries on the H Street Corridor. Check out the schedule to find out who’s playing when.

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 groups perform every Monday through 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.

Various Performances for Children
Where: Discovery Theater
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $3 – $6
Songs and stories in English and Spanish, a puppet show about Amelia Earhart, talking drums, and kitchen science are all on the entertainment line-up at Discovery Theatre this fall. Most performances take place at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center. See the complete schedule of shows on the theater’s website for more info and to purchase tickets online.

Big Apple Circus
Where: Dulles Town Center
When: September 22 – October 10
Tickets: $15-49
See the world’s greatest circus artists presented under an intimate big top, where no seat is more than 50 feet from the ring. Let your imagination soar and summon the most amazing acts – a juggler with a suit to fit his sweet feats of fancy handiwork; a mechanical doll who comes alive in a sinuous balancing act; spirited horses, frolicsome dogs, and a capybara and porcupine to perk up the sawdust party; audacious acrobats who astound with athletic grace; comical conjurors with magical moments of grand illusion; the aerial daring of the trapeze flyers; a singing ringmistress and the Big Apple Circus Band, creating the ringing melodies of memories to last. And Grandma, apogee of comical aspiration and mirthful joy! Your dreams will inspire a Big Apple Circus of living thrills and marvelous delight — a celebration of the imagination — an astonishing circus world of wonder.

Lilly’s Plastic Purse
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: September 23 – October 31
Tickets: $17
Lilly loves all sorts of things. She loves school, she loves dressing up, and she even grows to love her “stinky baby brother,” Julius. In fact, Lilly loves everything! At least, she loves everything most of the time. Even Lilly has some bad days, but when you have movie star sunglasses and a purple plastic purse, how bad can it be? Recommended for all ages.

Alladin’s Luck
Where: Imagination Stage
When: September 23 – October 30
Tickets: $10-22
A clever street urchin called Aladdin falls madly for the Princess Leilah when they meet by chance at the bazaar. Determined to impress the Princess, he embarks on a search for fortune and instead finds a dingy oil lamp. But this is no ordinary lamp; it houses a magical genie who helps Aladdin masquerade as a grand emir to win Leilah’s hand. Leilah, however, fell for the street urchin, not the grand emir. Frustrated that Aladdin won’t admit who he really is, Leilah gives the lamp to an unscrupulous magician and ends up his prisoner. Now Aladdin must travel across the desert to rescue Leilah by doing the thing that scares him the most…being himself. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Yo Gabba Gabba Live!
Where: Patriot Center
When: September 30
Tickets: $25-52
Yo Gabba Gabba Live! is going on the road again! The “It’s Time To Dance!” Tour is traveling to more than 50 cities with an all-new show. See all your favorites, like DJ Lance Rock, Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Plex, and Toodee, with special guests Hip Hop Legend Biz Markie and Razzle Dazzle Superstar Leslie Hall. You won’t want to miss it!

Snow White
Where: Alden Theatre
When: October 1
Tickets: $10/McLean residents, $15/non-residents
This musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale features both live actors and wonderful puppets. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Taste of DC Family Stage
Where: Pennsylvania Avenue NW
When: October 8-9
Tickets: FREE!
Rocknoceros, The Great Zucchini, and Hope Harris and the Cousins Jamboree will be part of the entertainment at this year’s Taste of DC, the annual festival celebrating food, wine, and culture in the city. See the schedule to find out when your favorite acts are playing during the multi-day event.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co. Playhouse
When: October 13 – November 18
Tickets: $10
“The 3 Billy Goats Gruff” is a marionette romp in which three brothers get the goat af a hen-pecked troll, in their attempts to trip-trop-tromp to where the grass is greener. Performed on a unique round stage, the goats literally travel in three-dimensional space in a way that is unprecedented on the Playhouse or any other stage. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry.

The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 15-29
Tickets: $18
There are no puzzles in space, right? Wrong! Space is one giant puzzle waiting to be put together by physicists, astronomers, and a brainy girl who goes by the name Dr. Wonderful. Fly through the solar system with Dr. Wonderful and her amazing adventure team of Newton (the dog) and Ben (the human) in this all-new musical! Saving a super star from disappearing is no small task, especially when the star is 1.3 million times the size of Earth and 93 million miles away. But when Dr. Wonderful receives the call, her team leaps into action from their laboratory/bedroom into outer space. With a couple of butterscotch candies and a rock song from Mom in the mix, the mystery solvers are amazed by their final discovery. Girl-detective-noir meets science-geek-chic in this super cool astronomical event! Recommended for ages 6 and up.

NSO Family Concert: Peter and the Wolf Live
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 16
Tickets: $15-18
Here’s a puzzle: which instrument sounds most like a wolf and which can play the part of a little boy? Find out when the NSO fuses a fantastic film with magical music in the fun multimedia event Peter and the Wolf Live! Audiences will be introduced to the story’s characters and the instruments that play them in Prokofiev’s beloved score. Then they will delight in hearing the work performed live while watching the action play out on the big screen in Suzie Templeton’s Oscar(r)-winning stop-motion animated film that The Times of London praises for being “beautifully made and very funny.” Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Robin Hood
Where: Artisphere’s Spectrum Theatre
When: November 4-13
Tickets: $12/adults, $10/children
Encore Stage & Studio’s fall production presents the dashing outlaw Robin Hood and his Merry Men dwelling happily in Sherwood Forest, defending the people of England from the wicked Prince John. Until one day, when Robin uncovers an evil plot — it’s up to him to save the kingdom from the devious Lady Merle and rescue the fair Maid Marian! Don’t miss this rousing tale! Recommended for ages 4 and up.

NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Tunes ‘n’ (Pig) Tales
Where: Kennedy Center
When: November 5
Tickets: $18
Music and stories go together like pieces of a puzzle – together they help create a better picture. Enjoy stories and music all about animals in this Teddy Bear Concert featuring The Three Pigs, Teddy Bear Rag, The Swan, and Baby Elephant Walk. Performed with a very unusual combination of instruments, NSO principal musicians Marissa Regni on violin and Dotian Levalier on harp join with Marissa’s father Albert Regni on four different saxophones to give each animal its own unique voice. And as a “little” surprise, along with full-sized instruments, the musicians perform on their miniature counterparts–a toy piano, a sopranino saxophone, and a tiny violin! Recommended for ages 3 to 5.

The Rough-Faced Girl
Where: Synetic Family Theatre
When: November 11 – December 28
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 at the door
This tale, well known among the multicultural versions of the Cinderella story, skillfully invites the audience to look past the surface and into the soul. Cast aside by her family and tribe, the Rough Face Girl survives scorns and scars to follow her heart past vision and belief. Through a blend of music, dance, acrobatics, and Native American storytelling traditions, Synetic Family Theater actors help young theater goers celebrate Native American History Month and understand that beauty lies within.

Dangerous Encounters
Where: National Geographic Live
When: November 12
Tickets: $16/adults, $12/children 12 and under, $40/family 4-pack
Take a thrilling ride through the world of wildlife with Brady Barr, reptile expert and host of the National Geographic Channel series “Dangerous Encounters”. The first person to capture all 23 species of wild crocodiles, Brady has risked his life to preserve some of the world’s most amazing animals. Go behind the scenes with Brady, meet some live animals, and hear about his most exciting adventures.

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Still Time to See The Magic Paintbrush at Synetic Family Theater

Synetic Family Theater’s production of The Magic Paintbrush has experienced such great success, the theater is extending its run for an additional two weeks.  The play, based on the the classic Chinese folktale of the same name, has been selling out shows all season and recently received the Helen 
Hayes
 Awards 
Recommended© honor.

I just included my take on the show in the latest weekend round-up, so here is a repost:  The Magic Paintbrush takes the audience on a dramatic adventure through China. Owen and I saw the play a couple of weeks ago, and we were both enchanted.  Performed completely through pantomime (or physical storytelling, as the theater calls it) I was unsure how Owen would respond.  But while he couldn’t quite follow the story, he was nonetheless captivated by the expressive actors performing along with beautiful Chinese music and action-packed scenes, including Cirque de Soleil-like choreography, as actors whirled mid-air on suspended curtains. I’d recommend reading the story with your kids prior to the show, so they have a better understanding of the plot, but even if you don’t have an opportunity, they’ll likely be mesmerized all the same.

You can read another, more thorough review here.

Tickets for The Magic Paintbrush are $12 and available for purchase through the Synetic Theater website.  Click the following links to buy tickets for specific dates:

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Filed under Gradeschoolers, Live Entertainment, Preschoolers, Preteens, Spring, Theatre, Toddlers, Weekend

A Weather-Dependent Weekend

Right now I’ve got a line from the Stone Temple Pilots song “Plush” playing on repeat in my head:  “And I feel so much depends on the weather.”  Those lyrics could be the theme for this post. Some of this weekend’s best activities take place outdoors, but with rain in the forecast for tomorrow they may not live up to their potential.  Luckily, there’s plenty going on for a great time indoors, too.  (And we’ve learned by now that the forecast isn’t always reliable, anyway.)  Here’s what’s happening around town, indoor and out, rain or shine.  Happy Weekend!

The Tidal Basin was lovely and crowd-free on a chilly weekday evening

A Peek at the Peak – It’s one of the most wonderful times of the year when the cherry trees are in bloom, and they are at their best right now.  The National Mall and Tidal Basin are sure to be teeming with blossom oglers if the weather cooperates, but braving the crowds is worth it.  Our family went for a sunset stroll by the Jefferson Memorial a few evenings ago and found the scene as spectacular as ever.  If you’re planning to partake in the blossom experience this weekend, check out these tips before you go.

Family Fun Day at the Yards ParkAs noted above and below, there two things to get excited about as spring begins in DC: Cherry blossoms and baseball.  On Saturday, you can celebrate both at the Yards Park, the centerpiece of the new Capitol Riverfront area that just opened last year. The Family Fun Day will include kids activities such as boat making and moonbouncing, lantern making for all ages, demos by the Trapeze School, Japanese performers and music, a variety of Japanese cuisine from Nooshi Sushi, and Sake tasting and a Japanese beer garden (for adults, of course) from Mie N Yu.  The event is free and open to the public from 11am – 4pm.

Nano Days – Celebrate nanotechnology at the National Museum of American History’s Spark!Lab with a day full of activities that teach all ages about nano science and invention and the role it plays in our lives. Staff will help visitors conducts experiments that include constructing a giant model of a carbon nanotube entirely from balloons, measuring height in nanometers, and creating a liquid crystal display that changes color.  The free event runs from 10am – 4pm Friday through Sunday.

Owen runs the bases after a Nats game last season

Nationals vs. BravesBaseball season is officially underway, and we can root for the hometeam this weekend as the Nats host the Braves for two more afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets are still available for both, and you can get a discount on select seats if you buy through Goldstar.  And don’t forget about Kids Run the Bases on Sunday after the game—children ages 4-12 can round the plates for an extra ballpark thrill.  For more about baseball games at Nationals Park, see this write up from last year.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks FestivalThe National Cherry Blossom Festival’s annual event at the Southwest Waterfront is an all-day affair with live music and family festivities galore al kicking off at 1pm. Enjoy a variety of musical performances on three stages aong with face painting, balloon artists, strolling entertainment, mini-sailboat races,T-shirt screenings, fire boat water shows, and more. The grand finale will begin at 8:30pm when the fireworks show illuminates the evening sky and water.

Tots Rock! At Air & SpaceThe National Air & Space Museum is hosting one of its Tots Rock! Shows on Saturday from 10am – 3pm. Kids ages 3-8 can enjoy a mix of entertainment at one of their favorite museums. They can explore a Planetarium show starring Big Bird and Elmo, listen to a flight-themed story, craft shadow puppets or  build a rocket, and…drum roll…rock out at a Ryan Buckle and Friends concert as they perform their hit show Science You Can Sing To. Visit the website for a schedule of events, and note that tickets are required and seating is limited for planetarium shows.

House of Sweden Family Fun – Join the Swedish Embassy for a family day with activities for all ages. Enjoy the Space for Children interactive play room, craft your favorite animal out of fusible beads, take an interactive quiz walk where you will learn some Swedish, get a Swedish treat from the fishing pond (little red gummies, anyone?), and create a work of art in the painting corner.  The free event runs from 11am – 2pm on Saturday.

Shabbatots Passover Prep – The Sixth & I Historic Synagogue is hosting the first installment of Shabbatots, a new monthly Shabbat program for families with young children. Explore the intersection of Judaism and flexibility with Torah yoga, enjoy a light lunch, and learn fun ways to make a Passover seder family friendly. Each family will take home a “seder in a sack” and tools to create a personalized seder. Torah Yoga is free and runs from 10 – 10:30am. The lunch and activity portion runs from 10:30am – 12pm, and cost is $36 per family. The activity is appropriate for children ages 2-6, but siblings of different ages are welcome.

A Preschool Celebrates 50 YearsThe Learning Center for Young Children (LCYC) is celebrating its 50th year of serving the Kensington area with an Open House & Children’s Fair on Sunday from 2 – 5pm. Families can enjoy activity stations set up around the school including arts & crafts, storytelling, hands-on science projects, music, and dance.  LCYC’s ‘Young Music Makers’ will perform under the direction of John Horman.  There will also be door prizes, face painting, and snacks available.  Visit the website for more details, including location and directions.

The Magic Paintbrush – You have two more weekends to catch the Synetic Family Theater’s current production that takes the audience on a dramatic adventure through China. Owen and I saw the play a couple of weeks ago, and we were both enchanted.  Performed completely through pantomime (or phyiscal storytelling, as the theater calls it) I was unsure how Owen would respond.  But while he couldn’t quite follow the story, he was nonetheless captivated by the expressive actors performing along with beautiful Chinese music and action-packed scenes, including Cirque de Soleil-like choreography, as actors whirled mid-air on suspended curtains. I’d recommend reading the story with your kids prior to the show, so they have a better understanding of the plot, but even if you don’t have an opportunity, they’ll likely be mesmerized all the same.  Tickets for The Magic Paintbrush are $12 and available for purchase through the Synetic Theater website.

Show TimeSeveral more productions will be on stages this weekend, including Dr. Kaboom at the Kennedy Center and Cinderella at Alden Theatre. For more current performances, see this post on spring shows in the area.

Tiny Tots –Two puppet shows for the littlest ones will be performed at The Puppet Co. this weekend: Animal Crackers on Saturday and Dragon Bandwagon on Sunday.  Both start at 10am.  Tickets are $5 and available online or at the box office.   Tiny Tots shows are recommended for ages 0-4.

Portrait Story Days: Duke EllingtonDrop in at the National Portrait Gallery on Sunday from 1 – 4pm to listen to a story about a person who has influenced American history and culture and to create a special piece of art. This week, learn about jazz composer, pianist, and big band leader Duke Ellington (1899-1974).

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Win Tickets to See The Magic Paintbrush at Synetic Family Theater!

In honor of Punxsutawney Phil’s glorious prediction for an early spring, I am giving away tickets to see The Magic Paintbrush at the Synetic Family Theater.  All you have to do is leave a comment, telling me what springtime activities you can’t wait to enjoy, and you will be entered into a random drawing to win four tickets to a performance of the play.

Conceived and Directed by Elena Velasco, The Magic Paintbrush inspires the audience to use their imaginations, taking them on an adventure to ancient China, following the footsteps of an orphan and a dream.  Despite prejudices and position, the orphan aspires to become an artist.  That wish is answered when a mysterious old man presents a unique gift – a magic paintbrush.  The brush begins an enchanting journey that test the boundaries of humility and humanity.  What will become of the orphan, and how will this gift be used?  Through a blend of music, dance, gymnastics, Chinese theater traditions, and physical storytelling, Synetic Family Theater actors help young theater-goers understand that with power comes responsibility and wisdom.

The Magic Paintbrush opens on February 19 and will run through April 3, with performances on Saturdays and Sundays at 11am, plus two 4pm shows on Saturday, February 26, and Saturday, March 12.  Tickets are $12 in advance/$15 at the door and can be purchased through the Synetic Family Theater website or by calling 800.494.8497.

Of course, if you go leave your comment, your tickets might be free.  Good luck!

 

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