Category Archives: Teens

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, 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 powerfully evocative 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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Filed under 2019, Date Night, DC, Fall, Live Entertainment, Teens, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend

Visit the Washington Waldorf School for a Tour or Open House!


This post is sponsored by the Washington Waldorf School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2019, Educational, Gradeschoolers, High Schoolers, Maryland, Middle Schoolers, Schools, Teens, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

A Unique Educational Experience at Sandy Spring Friends School

[Note: This is a Sponsored Guest Post contributed by the staff at Sandy Spring Friends School in Sandy Spring, MD.]

Are you searching for the perfect school for your child? If you are seeking a unique educational experience that provides small classes and personalized learning; an inquiry-based approach to academics where our hands-on (project-based) curriculum takes place inside the classroom and across our beautiful 140-acre campus; and a character-based education that fosters critical thinking and empowers students to make the world a better place, then you should check out Sandy Spring Friends School.

A Personalized Approach
Founded in 1961, Sandy Spring Friends School (SSFS) enrolls just over 600 students from age 3 to 12th grade, a “just-right” size that allows students to be part of a diverse community of learners (including a robust international student population in the Upper School), while also allowing for an intimate classroom setting. With class sizes maxing out at 16 students, our first-rate teachers can offer personalized attention and cultivate each student’s talents and interests.

Teachers at SSFS know their students well and along with guiding them toward success in the classroom, they can help direct students and families towards in-house support they need to help them thrive. From a Student Resource Team to our Learning Resource Collaborative, support staff help students achieve academic success as well as improve their skills in self-awareness, self-advocacy, and independence.

Hands-On and Experiential Learning
At SSFS, the curriculum is informed by the latest scientific research on how the brain works and learns best. With continual professional development on mind-brain education, our teachers learn to effectively apply these best practices into their classrooms. When the mind-brain approach to teaching is combined with the benefits of learning in nature, you experience the magic that is Sandy Spring Friends School.

The 140-acre campus provides many unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. Wide-open spaces and a natural playground are used daily for exploration and play. Additionally, the campus includes a farm, a pond, an old-growth forest, a stream that feeds into the Anacostia Watershed, six miles of cross-country trails, and an aerial adventure park adjacent to the School.

The Lower School program takes advantage of these assets through a variety of learning activities. Students tap maple trees and re-enact the Oregon Trail experience in the fall, and make regular visits to the pond throughout the spring to see for themselves how tadpoles develop into frogs. A Farming Program engages students in inquiry-based learning as they reflect on their explorations, record their experiences, and formulate their own conclusions.

Classes in all divisions use the campus environs not only to expand students’ scientific thinking but also to further develop their understanding of stewardship and continual care of the earth. Seventh graders spend time studying sustainable agriculture methods on our campus’s organic farm. Upper School students use the farm and school land for scientific field study in Biology, Geology, and AP Environmental Science courses. Upper School students even utilize the farm for athletic conditioning (not many other DC-area school athletic departments can boast a “Farming for Fitness” class!).

A Values-Based Education
Strong academic, arts, and athletics programs are vital components of a college preparatory school—and indeed, SSFS seniors are accepted at selective colleges and universities across the country and around the world. However, for Sandy Spring Friends School, our education extends beyond what our students know and focuses on who our students become.  

The School’s values are rooted in Quakerism, which has a long history of commitment to social justice, equality, integrity, and peaceful resolution of conflict. SSFS focuses on instilling the Quaker SPICES— Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality, and Stewardship— into each child, from preschool (age 3) all the way to senior year.   SSFS offers distinctive programming that integrates the SPICES throughout the school year:

  • Each division participates weekly in Meeting For Worship, a meditative practice which offers time for quiet reflection for students.
  • Students participate in social-emotional education that teaches students from an early age how to navigate conflict peacefully and respectfully.
  • Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools have a student body government, where students using consensus to select leadership.
  • A Senior-Buddy Program pairs up 12th graders with Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st-grade students. The groups get together several times throughout the year for lunches and playdates, forming special bonds of friendship between the oldest and youngest students on campus.
  • A “Community Day” in the fall and an “Our People, Our Planet Day” in the spring bring the entire preschool–12th-grade community together for environmental stewardship projects, reflection, team-building games, and opportunities to learn more about the various cultures represented by the School’s diverse student body.


  • Come and See Us In Action!

    Fall Open House | Sunday, October 20, 2019, 1-3:30pm
    Preschool-12th grade families are invited to come and meet our community of scholars, performers, thinkers, and doers. During our Open House, you will have the opportunity to tour our amazing 140 acre campus, meet our dynamic faculty, students, and parents, and visit our classrooms and facilities. Can’t make it to the open house? Schedule a private tour by emailing us at [email protected]

    Snapshot Days | November 12 & November 19, 2019 • 9-10am
    Preschool and Kindergarten families are invited to join us for a Snapshot Day on our beautiful campus! Snapshot Days allow a first-hand peek into our Preschool and Kindergarten classrooms for you and your child. Your little learner will spend one hour exploring our classrooms while you have an opportunity to speak briefly with teachers, administrators, and other parents; ask questions; and see our program in action. You may also sign up for an optional campus tour.


    This post is sponsored by Sandy Spring Friends School, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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    Filed under 2019, DC, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Guest Post, Maryland, Middle Schoolers, School Event, Schools, Teens, Tweens, Weekdays

    T(w)een Scene: First Show at the 9:30 Club — with Mom!


    Taking kids to concerts might not be a new thing for many parents. Plenty of moms and dads have indulged young fans of Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Imagine Dragons, and other popular artists and acts that perform at large venues like Verizon Center, Merriweather, and Nationals Park.

    But a concert at the 9:30 Club wasn’t something I’d ever really considered for a kid. In all the years I’d gone to shows there (a long time, even at the original 930 F Street location…and, oof, now I’m totally dating myself), I just didn’t think of it as a bring-your-kids-along kind of place.

    Until last spring, that is. I had just snagged a couple of tickets to see Kishi Bashi, whose music I have loved for years, and who would be playing the 9:30 in June. His new album Omoiyari had just been released, and I was listening to it pretty obsessively, playing it a lot in the house. I knew Owen enjoyed Kishi Bashi before that, but he really dug the new album, often asking me to turn it up or play again.

    Dad joins on sax for a song

    Then, I had a perfect idea: I should bring Owen to the concert. Sometimes when there’s going to be a show I really want to see, I just go ahead and get a couple of tickets without making plans with anyone to join me, figuring someone — Levi or a friend — will want to go. That was the case with the Kishi Bashi tickets. I had the extra ticket, with no claim to it by anyone else, so it would be Owen’s.

    I checked the 9:30 Club website to make sure he could attend a show, and the FAQ section says that “Unless otherwise posted our club is all-ages, all the time.” They didn’t otherwise post for the Kishi Bashi concert, so we were good to go. I kept it a surprise until school was done a couple of weeks before the concert date. It would make for a cool end-of-7th-grade gift that he would be super psyched about.

    And boy was he, both when he found out he was going and at the concert. It turned out the show was seated (a first of the all the times I’ve been to the 9:30 Club), which was nice for a first show there and kind of perfect for this particular concert. We got there pretty early and lined up outside before doors opened. When we went in, I think they gave Owen a special underage double stamp, then we grabbed a couple of seats in the second row once inside. While Owen saved them, I ordered sandwiches for us, so we could have a little dinner before the music started. It was all quite orderly and civilized — amazing what seating can do!

    Encore within the audience

    As for the concert, it was phenomenal, one of the best I’ve ever been to at the 9:30 Club. That’s partly because Kishi Bashi is so damn talented, partly the seats in the second row, partly the touching song he performed with his father on saxophone, and partly that he came into the audience for the encore and played a little acoustic set with all of us surrounding him making it feel intimate and like we were all in the best place to be at that time. But, mostly, what made the experience so special was sharing it with Owen and seeing how much he enjoyed and appreciated it. He wasn’t even embarrassed by my dancing.

    So, I’m not saying everyone should get their kids to the 9:30 Club stat (could you imagine the wrath of all the single millennials?!). But if a particular band or artist your kid (or you) likes is going to be playing there, and you want to enjoy some live music together, know that you most likely can. And while I think 13 was a good age to be there, shows are all-ages (unless otherwise posted) — parents are the best judges of what’s appropriate for their children.

    The 9:30 Club is located at 815 V Street NW. See what concerts are coming up soon!

    PS: Since I’ve gushed about the show so much, here’s a quick clip from the encore that still gives me goosebumps when I watch…


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    Filed under DC, Live Entertainment, Music, Teens, Tweens, Weekdays, Weekend