Tag Archives: 2013 White House Spring Garden and Grounds Tours

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

Enjoy Spring at the White House this Weekend

A view of the White House on the fall garden tour

A view of the White House on the fall garden tour

Was your attempt at scoring tickets for the Easter Egg Roll “unsuccessful,” too? Well, here’s a chance to enjoy spring at the White House — and you don’t have to win a lottery to do it. There may not be egg rolls and festivities for kids, but it’s a great opportunity to tour White House grounds that normally are not accessible to the public. And it’s a perfect activity on a nice spring day, which (cross fingers) it looks like we’ll get this weekend.


The annual White House Spring Garden and Grounds Tours is a tradition that dates back to 1972 when Pat Nixon first opened the gardens to the public. Gaining admission to the event is as easy as picking up tickets the day of.


The White House will be opening its gardens and grounds to visitors this Saturday, April 13 from 9am to 4pm, and Sunday, April 14 from 9am to 3pm. Guests will be able to see the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, and South Lawn of the White House. And the White House Kitchen Garden — the first vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden — will also be on view.


I went on the tour this past fall and found it to be not just lovely, but also quite interesting. Along with being able to see the gardens, there are also visual displays offering background information, photos, and neat tidbits about the different areas and the presidencies that have used them.


While Garden Tours are free and open to the public, a ticket is required for all attendees, including small children. The National Park Service will distribute free, timed tickets at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion located at 15th and E Streets on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 8:00 AM. Tickets will be distributed, one per person, on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s not that difficult to get tickets as long as you’re flexible on times.

Oh, and don’t let these photos fool ya. They were taken on the media tour before the garden opened to ticketed visitors, which is why you don’t see other people roaming around. Do expect it to be busy if you go.

Strollers and cameras are permitted, however, be aware that certain items, including a few not-so-obvious no-nos, are prohibited at the event. Here’s the full list:

Aerosols of any kind
Animals (except guide dogs)
Backpacks (oversized)
Food or beverages of any kind
Duffle bags/suitcases
Any pointed object
Electric stun guns
Insulated metal containers
Knives of any kind

In the event of inclement weather, the event may be cancelled. You can call the 24-hour information line at 202.456.7041 to check on the status.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Free, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Weekend