Live Entertainment Around DC this Summer

You can follow the yellow brick road to Synetic Theatre this summer

New season, whole new line-up of live entertainment! And there is something to indulge all ages and interests, from musicals to puppet shows to dance performances to concerts to comedy acts, and even more in between. Here’s where to catch it all this summer (listed in order of opening date). Now go save your seats!

Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through September 16
Tickets: $99-625

Lin Manuel-Miranda’s musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton is the hot ticket in DC this summer! Initial sales sold out, but tickets are being released daily for upcoming performances. Recommended for ages 10+.

Sleeping Beauty
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo,MD
When: Through June 24
Tickets: $12

Yet another elegant production created by the Puppet Co., “Sleeping Beauty” combines romance and adventure in a story of fairies, frogs, kings and queens, and of course, a sleeping princess and the gallant prince destined to find her. Told with rod puppets and wonderful special effects, the show is a real treat for princesses and princes, big and small!

Where: Sidney Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through July 8
Tickets: $44-110(look for a ticket discount)

Amid mystical forests and grand castles, Camelot tells a beloved tale of a leader’s integrity, courage and empathy—a chronicle of the struggle for civilization and goodness in a world accustomed to violence and hate. With the legendary story of King Arthur’s Round Table, doomed romance and a stunning score, Camelot has won the hearts of generations of musical theatre lovers. Recommended for teens and up.

The Second City’s Generation Gap
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: June 16 – August 12
Tickets: $49-69 (look for a ticket discount

Chicago comedy institution The Second City will present a new show created for Kennedy Center audiences. From the Greatest Generation to the latest generation, The Second City’s twelve-week summer run of Generation Gap…Or, How Many Millennials Does It Take to Teach a Baby Boomer to Text Generation X? takes you on a satirical crash course spanning miscommunications, careers, dating, and more in this two-act, interactive new spin on the age-old battle of the ages. Recommended for teens and up.

Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna Virginia
When: June 19 – August 4
Tickets: $8-12

From late June through early August, Wolf Trap presents Children’s Theater-in-the-Woods, over 70 family-friendly performances at 10:30am Tuesday through Saturday. Amidst 117 rolling wooded acres and nestled in a shady grove, the stage is set for lively adventures in music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and theater. The productions welcome all ages, though most are geared toward younger children. The full schedule of shows is available on the Wolf Trap website. And you can read a KFDC review of the series from a previous summer here.

UniverSoul Circus
Where: National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD
When: June 21 – July 22
Tickets: $13+ (look for a ticket deal)

The world-class, live entertainment attraction that has captured the hearts and imaginations of a new generation of families is celebrating its 23rd year of FUN. UniverSoul connects with progressive, upwardly mobile, urban pop cultures from around the world, embracing and celebrating the unique and familiar aspects of global cultures and ethnicities into a stellar production that blends circus arts, theater and music. A fresh, cool, and hip approach to live family entertainment!

Outdoor Summer Concert Series
Where: Throughout the DMV
When: Various day and times
Tickets: Almost always FREE

Free music in the fresh air has become a staple of the season, and there are opportunities to enjoy just about every genre regularly at outdoor venues all around the DC-Metro. From Jazz on the National Mall to riverside entertainment to music amid the nature of local parks to shows in local shopping centers, the 2018 KFDC Summer Guide has a round-up of where and when you can enjoy the sounds of summer.

Tinker Bell
Where: Adventure Theatre | Glen Echo,MD
When: June 22 – August 19
Tickets: $19.50 (loo for a ticket discount)

Everyone knows the story of Peter Pan. Or, at least, everyone thinks they do. But unless you have heard it from Tinker Bell’s point of view, you really have not heard it at all. A new twinkling light shines on all the characters you love including, Wendy, the Lost Boys, Peter Pan, Smee, and the nefarious Hook from a feisty fairy’s point of view. Recommended for all ages.

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: June 23 – August 12
Tickets: $20-30 (look for a ticket discount)

Don’t miss your chance to see the comic strip characters of the lovable “Peanuts” gang comic brought to life in Summer 2018! This hit Off-Broadway musical is directed by acclaimed playwright and director Aaron Posner (Ford’s Theatre, Arena Stage, Folger Theatre, Signature Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and many more!). Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Sally, and Schroeder as they sing and dance their way through the timeless struggles of childhood. This show features catchy songs, including “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,”and is the perfect family outing for the young and young at heart! Recommended for ages 5+.

Paper Dreams
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: June 23 – August 12
Tickets: 12

In a brand-new collaboration with Mons Dansa Dance Company Barcelona, Spain, Imagination Stage brings to life their first DANCE performance based show, perfect for ages 1-5 that explores the many facets of creativity. A fun, interactive production that tells the story of two delightful creatures who live inside a wastepaper basket. Can our greatest mistake actually turn out to be the next greatest innovative idea?

Tim Kubart and the Space Cadets
Where: McLean Central Park | McLean, VA
When: June 24
Tickets: Free

Tim Kubart and the Space Cadets are helping welcome summer back to McLean! Their Grammy Award-Winning album, Home, weaves together childhood memories with textured pop tunes which is sure to turn the gazebo into a dance party. When he’s not touring, you can catch Tim every weekday morning on NBC Universal’s Sprout Channel in the only live morning show for preschoolers or as the “tambourine guy” with Postmodern Jukebox! Recommended for ages 3+.

Around the World with Yosi
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: June 27-30
Tickets: $3-8

Award-winning children’s songwriter & recording artist, Yosi, brings songs, dances & instruments from around the world to you! Don’t miss this multicultural, interactive, and educational concert. Children will learn to say “hello” and count in various languages. They’ll participate in two dances from other cultures and most importantly, learn about tolerance and acceptance of people from different parts of the world. REcommended for ages 3-8.

Snow White and the 7 Dwarves
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo,MD
When: June 29 – August 5
Tickets: $12

When Snow White meets seven vertically challenged bachelors, she discovers that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and that friendship and teamwork make any challenge smaller. Based on the Grimm fairytale, this production takes the Puppet Co.’s usual sideways view of the popular story, giving it timeliness and humor for adults as well as kids.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java | Vienna, VA
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: Eastern Market | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Thursdays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at Eastern Market’s North Hall on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Even better, proceeds from all shows benefit DC Diaper Bank! Go for the entertainment, then grab lunch in the market or at one of many nearby eateries after.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
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 | Foggy Bottom, DC
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 | Downtown DC
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.

Backyard Theater for Children
Where: Strathmore | Bethesda, MD
When: Thursdays, July 5-26
Tickets: $8-10, free/under 2

Enrich your little ones’ summer mornings with sunshine, music, and laughter at Strathmore’s Backyard Theater for Kids. This eclectic program is the perfect summer escape for busy families. Pack a picnic and enjoy live performances by highly esteemed and innovative family-friendly entertainers. From folk and jazz to the amazing sounds of the steelpan, Backyard Theater makes it easy to engage kids at every stage. They promise to keep both kids and parents entertained, so bring your family for a morning of inspiration and celebration!

Red, White, and Blue Reptiles Alive!
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 5-6
Tickets: $3-8

Red scales, white tails, and blue tongues – a variety of colorful live reptiles from the USA and all over the world will be featured during this wildly exciting show! An engaging, kid-friendly Wildlife Educator will educate and entertain with exciting animal stories and fun animal facts.

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azakban – In Concert
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: July 6-7
Tickets: $40-60

Relive the magic of your favorite wizard in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™ – In Concert. Based on the third installment of J.K. Rowling’s classic saga, fans of all ages can now experience the thrilling tale accompanied by live music from the National Symphony Orchestra as Harry soars across the big screen.

Capital Fringe Festival
Where: Various venues in DC
When: July 7-29
Tickets: Varies by show

Filling the city with non-stop theater, dance, music, visual art, and everything in-between, the annual Fringe Festival presents an eclectic mix of performances — from all genres, for all ages. Family-friendly shows are always among the lineup; other acts would make for a great date night or adult evening out. Check out the calendar to plan your Fringe experience.

Culture Shock DC Celebrates Hip Hop
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 10-13
Tickets: $3-8

Culture Shock DC shares the power, beauty, and energy of hip-hop in an interactive performance guaranteed to get you up on your feet. Find out what makes hip-hop such a unique and vibrant form, and cheer these amazing dance artist-educators in action. Get into the act as you learn some of the group’s choreography, and take the stage to show off your best freestyle moves! Recommended for Ages 5 to 16.

The Future is Now! with the Science Guys of Baltimore
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 10-13
Tickets: $3-8

Discover the engineering marvels, new and old, that make our world great and explore new technologies that will make it even stronger! We will ride on a futuristic hover board and fire projectiles using one of the most basic engineering defenses: a catapult! We will learn about renewable solar and wind technologies and try to demolish a building to better understand earthquake construction and natural disaster protection! Recommended for ages 5-12.

Damned If You Do (KidFree Suggestion!)
Where: Woolly Mammoth | Penn Quarter, DC
When: July 10-29
Tickets: $30-48

What if you finally try moonlight rock climbing? What if you call your Uncle Ted out on his godawful toupee? What if you call in drunk—sorry, sick—to work on Friday? What if you get up the courage to tell your mom you actually hate her meatloaf? How different could your life be because of one seemingly innocuous choice? Before you decide, let The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre—the world’s most audacious improv troupe that launched the careers of Amy Poehler, Kate McKinnon, Ellie Kemper, and Bobby Moynihan—play out your potential futures in front of your eyes… just to be sure it won’t make your life a complete and total disaster.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Where: Synetic Theatre | Crystal City, VA
When: July 11 – August 12
Tickets: $15-30

A wizard stuck in a land far away from home-A Scarecrow tied to a pole-A Tinman rusted in a forest-A Lion afraid of his own shadow…their world as they know it is turned upside down and inside out when Dorothy arrives in Oz. Join Synetic Theater’s brand new adaptation of one of the most important cultural texts of the twentieth century, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The production is an environmental and spectacular adventure where verbal and nonverbal communication embrace each other in this innovative and heartfelt story of community, perseverance, and magic. The journey down the Yellow Brick Road to brings to life L. Frank Baum’s characters in a way only Synetic can do and you won’t see anywhere else.

The Pirates of Penzance & HMS Pinafore
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: July 11 – August 13
Tickets: $30-54

Chicago’s most innovative theatre company, The Hypocrites, returns with an encore engagement of their critically-acclaimed, immersive and family-friendly version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. To complete the repertory, they will also be introducing Olney Theatre audiences to their zany take on H.M.S. Pinafore. Enjoy either show from the promenade, where you sit onstage and move around the set as the action dictates. And don’t forget to bring the kids! They can hang out in the ball pit and experience these Gilbert and Sullivan classics in a way they’re sure to love and never forget.

Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: July 13 – August 19
Tickets: $76-140 (look for a ticket discount

From a Tony and Pulitzer Prize award-winning creative team, comes the world-premiere musical comedy Dave, adapted from the Oscar-nominated film. Dave tells the story of high school teacher (and presidential lookalike) Dave Kovic, who is hired by the Secret Service as a stand-in for the Commander-in-Chief. When the President falls ill under less than “presidential” circumstances, Dave is thrust into the Oval Office to avoid a national scandal, and must find a way to gain the trust and love of the American people.. and the First Lady.

Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 24-27
Tickets: $3-8

You can’t spell funk without “fun”—and that’s what guaranteed when SWAGFUNK takes over the stage. The D.C. band’s musical mix of funk, jazz, rock, pop, R&B, and reggae celebrates the joy of classic styles, and their high-energy grooves will have you singing and dancing along at a summer party you won’t want to miss! Recommended for Ages 5 to 16.

Arts on the Horizon: To the Clouds
Where: Strathmore | North Bethesda, MD
When: July 28, 9:30am & 11:30am
Tickets: $8-10

A magical, interactive adventure of a day in the life of a raindrop! Kids will love a close-up look at the amazing things along the raindrop’s journey: colorful flowers, the warm sun, perhaps even a whale! Through movement, puppetry, and found object animation, this interactive world-premiere for babies and toddlers is driven by a soundtrack of classical music and creates a captivating world of transformation. Perfect for kids 0-3.

Soul in Motion
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: July 31 – August 3
Tickets: $3-8

This explosive company from Montgomery County shares the richness of African American culture by dancing the heritage of the African homelands. In a spectacular performance that blends chest-pounding drumming and foot-stomping leaps and steps, these performers create an infectious joy that captures hearts and sprits. Recommended for Ages 5 to 16.

Peter and the Wolf
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo,MD
When: August 9 – September 30
Tickets: $12

Staged with half life-size marionettes, Peter and the Wolf is one of the Puppet Co.’s best-loved stories. Over a million children and adults have seen this one-man show, based on Prokofiev’s popular tale of good versus evil, performed by Puppet Master Christopher Piper. An introduction to the instruments in the orchestra precedes this story of Peter and his animal friends, and their attempts to capture wily “Old Lupus.”

Disney’s Broadway Hits
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: August 9
Tickets: $25-65

In celebration of 20 years on Broadway, audiences can experience the magic of Disney’s Broadway Hits with an unforgettable night of music. Performed by a live symphony orchestra, this major concert event features beloved songs from nine Tony and Academy Award-winning scores by some of the greatest composers and lyricists in the world performed by Disney’s own world-class Broadway singers, bring the sounds of Disney’s Broadway Hits to life, as you’ve never heard them before.

Music of Gustafer Yellowgold
Where: McLean Central Park Gazebo |McLean, VA
When: August 12
Tickets: Free

Two-time Grammy® Nominee, Morgan Taylor and his band will play perennial favorites and dig deep into the wild and hip back catalogue for this rare, non-video version of his nationally heralded Gustafer Yellowgold show. Tasteful, smart and FUN songs for everyone! This is part of the free Sunday Summer concerts in the Park series.

Free For All: Romeo and Juliet
Where: Sidney Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: August 21 – September 5
Tickets: FREE!

Shakespeare Theatre’s Company’s annual program that brings free performances to the public is featuring a favorite this summer: The most famous love story in the world and one of Shakespeare’s early poetic masterworks, Romeo & Juliet follows two star-crossed lovers from love at first sight to eternal life hereafter. Caught tragically between two feuding families, alike in dignity and in enmity, Shakespeare’s immortal young lovers try to fashion a new world amid the violence of the old, but cataclysmic choices and tragic twists propel them toward a final confrontation with fate.

KIDZ Bop Live 2018
Where: Wolf Trap | Vienna, VA
When: August 25
Tickets: $30-70

KIDZ BOP Live 2018 is the ultimate family concert experience, “sung by kids for kids.” The KIDZ BOP Kids headline this new show, performing some of today’s biggest hit songs that have also kept them at the top of the US Kids charts for over 15 years.

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