Category Archives: Live Entertainment

Review: A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre

 

A classic holiday tale and a historic DC theatre is a fantastic combo for holiday season entertainment in this city. And A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre is as delightful and engaging as it is a quintessential holiday activity.

The kids and I recently caught a performance, our first time seeing it in all these years.  Why we hadn’t been sooner, I’m not sure.  Ford’s has been presenting the holiday production for nearly 40 years, and it always gets great reviews.  So, when we received an invitation to see the show, I was excited for the opportunity to find out what the raves were all about.

Just like Charles Dickens’ tale, the show follows the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, starting on Christmas Eve, as he journeys with the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, and finally waking up a changed, more optimistic and likable, man on Christmas Day.  While the story is well known, it’s the execution of it — the stellar acting, lively musical numbers, period costumes, transportive set– that makes this show so appealing.

The cast, fantastically led by Craig Wallace as Scrooge, brings the characters to life with sincerity and charm — or in Scrooge’s case, bah humbug-ness, but perfectly so.  Several children are in the show, all of them very talented (and I think kids in the audience enjoy seeing their peers in this context).  The set evokes an industrial London — juxtaposed with the coziness of Scrooge’s home — and the transitions between scenes are seamless. The scenes with the ghosts are particularly riveting,  the Ghost of Christmas Present especially outstanding in her role.  The song and dance rounds everything out perfectly, bringing  extra merriment and holiday magic to it all.

I also have to note that seeing the show in the storied theatre is fascinating in itself.  While I’ve been to performances there, it was the kids’ first time (though they toured the theatre when we visited the museum and Petersen House across the street, a venture I highly recommend), so that was a treat, too.

If you’re looking for holiday show for the family to see together, A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre is one that everyone will enjoy! It’s recommended for ages 5 and older, and I’d agree with that.  It’s two hours long with one intermission.  And if you’re planning to go, pair it with a stroll (and shop) around the Downtown Holiday Market, just a couple of blocks away, like we did.

A Christmas Carol
Where: Ford’s Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through December 31
Tickets: $25-104

 

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

 

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Filed under 2022, DC, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Winter

Fall into Winter with this Live Entertainment Lineup

See the Broadway classic, Cats, this winter! (Photo courtesy of National Theatre)

 

As cooler weather sets in, local stages are heating up with all kinds of shows for everyone in the family. Here’s the lineup to help you stay warm and entertained the rest of fall and through winter.  Shows are listed in order of start date with most descriptions coming straight from from their sources.  Keep in mind that tickets make for great holiday gifts.  Happy Viewing!

Holidays on the Stage
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the holiday season
Tickets: Vary by show

If you’re looking for holiday-inspired shows to celebrate the season, you can find them all listed here. There are several productions of The Nutcracker, plays especially for children, shows about Chanukah, festive concerts and singalongs, dance performances, and more!

The Day You Begin
Where: The Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through December 18
Tickets: $20-25

This musical is based on the bestselling children’s book by author Jacqueline Woodson. The plot: the first day at a new school with diverse new people; the setting: a familiar, yet more vividly modern elementary school classroom. The message? The day you truly “begin” is when you discover what makes you unique, but also the same as people who may seem so different.

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: Through January 8
Tickets:$12-39
It’s a new, high-energy musical to rock the holiday season! When clothing suddenly falls from the sky, Wilbur J. Mole Rat stuns the colony with his decision to get dressed! In a community where baring is caring and skin is in, can Wilbur find the courage to rock to the rhythm of his own electric guitar? Based on Mo Willem’s beloved picture book, the show explores what can happen when we have the courage to be ourselves. Recommended for ages 4-10.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co. | Glen Echo, MD
When: Most Wednesdays & Saturdays at 10am
Tickets: $8

The series presents puppet shows designed for the youngest theater patrons (ages 0-4). Run times 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.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Where: Olney Theatre | Olney, MD
When: Through January 1
Tickets: $37-74 (find discount)

Last winter, Olney’s internationally acclaimed production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast won hearts and attracted the admiration of audiences from around the country. This year, be Olney’s guest along with several returning cast members 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.

Into the Woods
Where: Signature Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: Through January 29
Tickets: $40-109 (find discount)

Escape into a fantastical fairytale adventure where dreams come true, but not free. A trove of storybook characters’ paths intertwine as they chase their deepest desires through an enchanted forest. However, once they receive their happily ever after, the unintended consequences of granted wishes unravel their worlds. Weaving a euphoric score with a darkly humorous book, Into the Woods is a sophisticated musical twist on beloved childhood fables. Running time is approximately 2 hours 45 minutes, including one intermission. Parents should use discretion about what is age appropriate for their children.

Much Ado About Nothing
Where: Sydney Harman Hall | Penn Quarter, DC
When: Through December 11
Tickets: $35-125 (find discount)

The course of true love never did run smooth, especially when the ON AIR sign is lit. Shakespeare’s cherished romantic comedy lands in a cable newsroom, where sparring co-anchors Benedick and Beatrice trade barbs behind the news desk. This version of Much Ado About Nothing is promised to be the perfect blend of sparkling screwball comedy and revelatory romance. Recommended for teens and older.

Squeakers & Mr. Gumdrop
Where: Theatre on the Run | Arlington, VA
Alexandria Country Day School | Alexandria, VA
When: Dec 2-4, 14-18 (Arlington) | Dec 10-11 (Alexandria)
Tickets: $10

Arts on the Horizon presents this holiday show for little ones… One snowy winter morning, Mr. Gumdrop prepares for his annual holiday party! When an unexpected and curious mouse appears, Mr. Gumdrop’s routine is thrown for a loop. Can these two wildly different characters work together to get the holiday preparations done in time? This nonverbal, imaginative production captures the magic of making new friends and sharing ideas to accomplish big goals. Recommended for children ages 2-5 and their families.

Wicked
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: December 8 – January 22
Tickets: $59-349 (find discount)

The Broadway sensation looks at what happened in the Land of Oz…from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin—smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships… until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.” Recommended for ages 8+.

Bat Boy: The Musical
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: December 9-11
Tickets: $12

Inspired by a series of tabloid headlines published in 1992 by The Weekly World News, the award winning show Bat Boy: The Musical is a musical comedy/horror show about a half boy/half bat creature who is discovered in a cave near Hope Falls, West Virginia. For lack of a better solution, the local sheriff brings Bat Boy to the home of the town veterinarian, Dr. Parker, where he is eventually accepted as a member of the family and taught to act like a “normal” boy by the veterinarian’s wife, Meredith, and teenage daughter, Shelley. Bat Boy is happy with his new life, but when he naively tries to fit in with the narrow-minded people of Hope Falls, they turn on him, prodded by the schemes of Dr. Parker, who secretly despises Bat Boy. Shelley and Bat Boy, who have fallen in love, run away together from the ignorant town folk, but their happiness is shattered when Meredith arrives and reveals a secret. Soon the entire town arrives and hears the shocking story of Bat Boy’s origin. Funny, quirky, but also touching and poignant, Bat Boy’s story spans an incredible score encompassing the styles of rock, gospel, and musical theatre. Recommended for ages 11+.

A Soldier’s Play
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: December 13 – January 8
Tickets: $45–135 (find discount)

The Pulitzer Prize-winning thriller has rocketed back into the spotlight thanks to this 2020 Tony-winning Best Revival. In 1944, on a Louisiana Army base, two shots ring out. A sergeant is murdered, triggering a gripping barrage of questions about sacrifice, service, and identity in America. Broadway’s leading man Norm Lewis stars in the show Variety calls “a knock-your-socks-off-drama.” Recommended for ages 13+.

No Excuses, No Limits
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: January 13-15
Tickets: $20

Be inspired by ILL-ABILITIES™—the international all-star breakdance crew of seven of the world’s best differently-abled dancers. No Excuses, No Limits takes audiences on a journey of each dancer’s story through dance, music, audience interaction, and a gained understanding of the limitless possibilities that any person can hold. Recommended for ages 7+.

Ride the Cyclone
Where: Arena Stage | Southwest DC
When: January 13 – February 19
Tickets: $66-115

Part comedy, part tragedy and wholly unexpected, this wildly imaginative story delivers surprises at every turn. The lives of six teenagers from a Canadian chamber choir are cut short in a freak accident aboard a roller coaster. A mechanical fortuneteller invites each to tell their story of a life interrupted, offering the chance to come to terms with their fates. At once quirky and smart, edgy and beautiful, Ride the Cyclone ultimately reveals the resilience of the human spirit in spite of senseless tragedy. Recommended for teens and older.

Beauty and the Beast Jr.
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre | Arlington, VA
When: January 13-22
Tickets: $15/adult, $13/child

Encore Stage & Studio presents this “by kids for kids” show… The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, meeting a Beast, who is the young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end, and he will be transformed to his former self. If the Beast does not learn his lesson before the last rose petal falls, he and his household including Mrs. Pots, Lumiere and Mr. Cogsworth will be cursed forever. Join us for a tale as old as time in Encore’s production of Beauty and the Beast Jr!

Aquarium
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: January 14 – February 12
Tickets: $16.50

Enter a fantastical island world where fish soar through the air, lemons light up the sky, and sheep go parading by. With gentle music, puppets, and props, actors lead children and caregivers in an interactive exploration of a magical place of play. Recommended for ages 1-5.

Cats
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: January 17 – 22
Tickets: $55-105 (find discount)

Tony Awards winning musical CATS tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn.

Monster Jam
Where: Capitol One Arena | Downtown DC
When: January 28-29
Tickets: $25+
The world’s largest and most famous monster truck tour featuring the biggest names in monster trucks will thunder its way into DC.  Gravedigger, Magolodon,  Dragon, Just Get-Er-Done, Terminal Velocity, and Wild Side are among the vehicular beasts that will be tearing up the indoor terrain this year.

NSO Music for Young Audiences: Beauty and the Beat
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: February 4-5
Tickets: $20

See NSO principal second violinist Marissa Regni and NSO assistant principal timpanist/percussionist Scott Christian in an exciting program exploring the magic created when the violin and percussion join forces. This melodic and rhythmic ride proves that no matter how different the instruments are, they can come together to make some beautiful music. Recommended for ages 3+.

123 Andrés
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: February 11, 11am & 1pm
Tickets: $20

The Latin Grammy®-winning music duo is back by popular demand! Join Andrés and Christina on an exciting cultural exploration of Latin America through an introduction of language, music, and dance. The 11am show is a sensory-friendly performance. Recommended for ages 3+.

Sunset Boulevard
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: February 4-5
Tickets: $59-299

Alone in her Hollywood mansion with little more than celluloid memories, former silent-screen goddess Norma Desmond remains what she has always been: the greatest star of all. For Broadway Center Stage, Tony-winning powerhouse Stephanie J. Block takes on the iconic role. Based on the 1950 film noir, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece—winner of the Tony Award for Best Musical on its release—weaves a compelling tale of romance, obsession, and faded glory. Recommended for ages 12+.

How Old is a Hero?
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: February 7-10
Tickets: $3-9

Everyone can make a difference! This Discovery Theater original play infused with archival music of the Civil Rights era celebrates three young people who helped change the nation by their heroic actions. Meet Ernest Green of the Little Rock Nine, the first black student to graduate from an integrated high school; Claudette Colvin, who months before Rosa Parks, also refused to give up her seat on a bus; and Ruby Bridges, who was only six in 1960 when she stepped into first grade—and into history—as the first student to desegregate an all-white school in New Orleans. Their inspiring stories demonstrate that hope begins with the courage of young people. Recommended for ages 6-12.

Girlhood
Where: Roundhouse Theatre | Bethesda, MD
When: February 17-19
Tickets: $25

A show from the Round House Theatre Teen Performance Company… A patch of land beneath an abandoned overpass serves as a common, yet sacred, ground for a group of teenage girls as they navigate adolescence. Identity, sexuality, and their unique upbringings all play a part in how they transition from childhood to young adulthood and figure out what comes next. Girlhood explores the dreams, fears, humor, and heartache of coming of age in an intimate series of vignettes. Recommended for teens and older. Students age 13+ can request free tickets through their Free Play program.

Golden Girls: The Laughs Continue
Where: Warner Theatre | Downtown DC
When: February 23-26
Tickets: $24-103 (find discount)

Description from Hippodrome website… Miami’s sassiest seniors have returned for one more hurrah. 2022 finds Sophia out on bail, having been busted by the DEA for running a drug ring for retirees. Blanche and Rose have founded CreakN, a thriving sex app for seniors of Miami. And Dorothy is trying to hold it all together, with help from a new young lover. Relive the heartfelt hilarity of four ladies who never stopped being your friends! (This may be more of a mom’s night out show, but all ages are welcome!)

King Lear
Where: Klein Theatre | Penn Quarter, DC
When: February 23 – March 26
Tickets: $35-110

Shakespeare Theatre Company presents this production… Caught in a carousel of memory, the head of a dysfunctional royal family grapples with power-hungry children and the threat of losing the empire he created. Real and imagined worlds coalesce, creating a political and personal horror that threatens to swallow the mind of the monarch. The incomparable Patrick Page returns to STC as the once-revered king caught in an emotional hurricane ravaging his home, head, and heart. Recommended for teens and older.

The Hula Hoopin’ Queen
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: February 25 – April 8
Tickets:

Kameeka is confident that today she will finally beat her rival, Jamara, and become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street in Harlem. But she has to prepare for Miz Adeline’s birthday party, and almost ruins the day. Until Miz Adeline confesses that she’s also got the itch–the hula-hoopin’ itch! Her fingers start snappin’. Her hips start swingin’. Soon everyone’s hips are swinging as the party spills out onto the street.

INTERSECTIONS Festival
Where: Atlas Center for Performing Arts | H Street NE, DC
When: February 25 – March 12
Tickets: TBA, vary by show

The Atlas’ signature event, this performing arts festival presents work that impacts our society, culture, and world by informing, inspiring, educating, and entertaining. INTERSECTIONS is about presenting excellent art that inspires a connected community, engages artists and audiences alike, and creates a vibrant neighborhood, city, and world. More details about the festival to come!

Kofi’s African Village
Where: Discovery Theater | National Mall, DC
When: February 28 – March
Tickets: $3-9

Drummer Kofi Dennis brings the vibrant life of a West African village to the Discovery Theater stage though music, storytelling, and dance. Using authentic instruments, the Ghanaian native leads lively call-and-response songs, games, and movement that gets audiences on their feet in a high-energy exploration of African cultural traditions. Recommended for ages 3-6.

War of the Worlds
Where: Synetic Theater | Crystal City, VA
When: March 3 – April 8
Tickets: $20-60 (find discount)

In a world premiere, Synetic Theater brings its stunning and immersive style to H.G. Wells’ renowned novel of devastation and faith in the midst of catastrophe. This multimedia fusion of acrobatics, music, and movement makes us question who we are and what is truly worth fighting for.

The Mortification of Fovea Munson
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom
When: March 4-19
Tickets: $20

Mary Winn Heider brings her uproarious book to musical life in this world premiere Kennedy Center commission. Fovea Munson is stuck working at her parents’ cadaver lab, but she is by no means Dr. Frankenstein’s snuffling assistant, Igor! That is, until three disembodied heads start talking. To her. Out loud. And they need a favor. March 18 at 11am is a sensory-friendly performance. Recommended for ages 10+.

Fitting In
Where: Theatre on the Run | Alexandria, VA
When: March 10-26
Tickets: $10

Arts on the Horizon presents this show for littles… Three siblings find themselves in a room full of possibilities and one not so simple task- to put things in their proper place. However, they soon discover that throwing this and that into a box is not the same as finding where it fits in. Through clowning, movement, and original music, three performers will transform everyday objects into something extraordinary. Is a blanket a blanket? Or is it the sail of a boat setting off on an epic voyage? Together, we can find the magic buried in the bottom of every box, and hidden inside the world around us! Recommended for ages 2-5.

Wake Up, Brother Bear
Where: Imagination Stage | Bethesda, MD
When: March 11 – April 8
Tickets:

Sister Bear and Brother Bear are back from hibernation to take little ones on an interactive journey through the seasons. Meet a curious butterfly, play in a rushing waterfall, and catch lightning bugs as the bears frolic through the forest in an unforgettable theatre experience. REcommended for ages 1-5.

Jagged Little Pill
Where: National Theatre | Downtown DC
When: March 14-26
Tickets: $55-105

Joy, love, heartache, strength, wisdom, catharsis, LIFE — everything we’ve been waiting to see in a Broadway show — is here in the exhilarating, fearless new musical based on Alanis Morissette’s world-changing music. Recommended for ages 14+.

Harlem Globetrotters
Where: Capitol One Arena | Downtown DC
When: March 18
Tickets: $25+
The Harlem Globetrotters 2023 World Tour is coming with game like never before! Your favorite Globetrotter stars are bringing out their amazing basketball skill, outrageous athleticism, and a non-stop LOL good time. Join the Globetrotters as they go head-to-head against the Washington Generals who will stop at nothing to try and defeat the world’s winningest team!

 

Are there any great shows coming up this winter that we missed?  If so, let us know in the comments!

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Filed under 2022, 2023, DC, Fall, Live Entertainment, Winter

Review: The Day You Begin at the Kennedy Center

[Note:  This review was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of two young children.  She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ activities around the DC area. See some of them here, here, and here.]

It was a timely treat taking my kindergartner to the Kennedy Center to see The Day You Begin, a musical based on the bestselling children’s book by author Jacqueline Woodson. The plot: the first day at a new school with diverse new people; the setting: a familiar, yet more vividly modern elementary school classroom. The message? The day you truly “begin” is when you discover what makes you unique, but also the same as people who may seem so different.

The show, an age-appropriate 55 minutes in length, is immediately engaging and interactive. The teacher, Ms. Veve, asks the audience self-identifying questions: “Who wants to be a writer? Who wants to be a teacher? A basketball star?” It’s such a distinguishing topic of conversation for a kid. One student, Rigoberto, clearly wants to be a soccer star, running passionately down the aisle with his cardboard soccer ball and speaking his native Spanish.

The class is comprised of four students who are unlikely friends, but by the end, meant to be. For much of America, the diversity depicted in the book and musical is the new norm and something your child may already be navigating in school. Multi-cultural, multi-lingual, disabled, and more; very few are exactly alike. How fortunate that our kids are figuring out what makes them special yet what connects them at such young ages.

My daughter’s favorite part of the show is the lengthy lunch scene. Some days, there’s nothing more interesting to a kid than what everyone had (or bought) for lunch. Food is a big deal in a little kid’s world. The plot thickens when one student, Min, opens a canister of kimchi for lunch. It could not be more jarring to the others but Min stands proud. The kids figure out how to be kindly curious about what’s different, and also agree on what favorite fruit they share – a “beginning” moment to their friendship.

Ms. Veve leaves us with the following lesson: “go tell your stories.” Finding your place in the world and with others can begin with you opening up and being proud of what makes you you. Because “every new friend has something a little like you – and something else so fabulously not quite like you at all.” During the car ride home, my daughter just kept begging me for kimchi for dinner…

The Day You Begin
Where: Kennedy Center | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Through December 18
Tickets: $20-25

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Filed under 2022, DC, Fall, Live Entertainment, Weekend, Winter

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: A Mo Willems Musical at Imagination Stage!

 

FLASH SALE!

Join Imagination Stage Thanksgiving Week for Mo Willems’ Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience. Get a 40% discount for tickets on November 23, 25, 26 or 27 with promo code FLASH40. Offer expires tonight at 11:59pm! Discount may not be combined with other offers or used on previously purchased tickets.  Not available on balcony seats. Limit 6.

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This post is paid for by Imagination Stage, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

 

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Filed under 2022, Fall, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Winter

Two New Shows Coming to Imagination Stage this Month!

 

This post is paid for by Imagination Stage, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2022, Fall, Live Entertainment, Maryland