Tag Archives: Ford’s Theatre

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 a 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.  Note that the December 11  at 2pm performance is sensory-friendly.  And if you’re planning to see the show, 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 A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre, but all views expressed here are entirely my own.


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

Ford’s Theatre Puts the Spotlight on the Death (& Life) of Abraham Lincoln

The box where Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth as he watch a performance of ‘My American Cousin’

Most of us parents — and many of our kids, for that matter — know the basic story of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre. On April 14, 1865, the 16th President of the United States was shot by John Wilkes Booth as he was watching a play at what would become a National Historic Site as a result of the tragedy that took place there that evening.

It’s all of the fascinating details of that fateful night, the circumstances leading up to it, and the course of events to follow, that aren’t as well known by the masses. Unless, perhaps, you have a keen interest in presidential assassinations, have seen the film Lincoln, watched the (hilarious) Drunk History episode about it, or have read Sarah Vowel’s Assassination Vacation. I can claim the latter two, most recently having finally read the book, which was what inspired an outing with the kids and friends a few weeks ago to Ford’s Theatre.

I had actually been there several times before to see shows, but had never taken a proper tour or visited the museum portion. That probably worked out well, since Owen (11) and Sasha (8) are now at good ages to take it all in. Younger children certainly could go, but I think older kids would understand and get more out of the experience.

We visited this past Columbus Day when both kids were off from school. Timed entry tickets are free at the Box Office, or you can reserve them in advance online for $3. This gets you admission to: the museum, the theatre for a walk-through and presentation, Petersen House across the street where Lincoln died, and exhibits about the aftermath of the assassination.

I checked online in the morning and saw that tickets were still available throughout the day, so we opted to get them at the Box Office, figuring we’d get the next available time slot and hang out around the area if there was a wait. It turned out our entry time was just 15 minutes after picking up tickets, so we lined up with other guests, then began our self-guided tour almost right away.

Learning about Lincoln’s cabinet in a cabinet (so clever!)

The Museum
This is where the visit begins. The Museum essentially is one large room divided into many sections. It’s filled with a variety of displays, videos, and interactive installations that provide background on Abraham Lincoln’s political career and presidency, describe the social and political climate during that time, offer a profile of John Wilkes Booth, and illustrate the story of the assassination.

It was pretty crowded and a bit chaotic when we were there — I’m guessing the holiday brought more people than usual on a Monday — so it was difficult to spend a lot of time reading everything. The kids enjoyed viewing the larger installations, such as a sculpture of political figures, one about Lincoln’s cabinet (which was an actual cabinet), and real items associated with the assassination on view in glass cases. The most intriguing was the Deringer pistol Booth used to shoot Lincoln. Oddly, it’s practically hidden in the museum, located in small corner area, where we had to wait to get a good look; I would have thought it would be more prominently displayed. Nearby, there is a replica of the gun that you can touch to get a feel for what it would be like to hold. And more of Booth’s possessions, like his journal and medical kit, are also on view.

The Theatre
Walk-throughs of the theatre and a presentation by a reenactor playing a man who was there on the night of President Lincoln’s death are often part of the self-guided tour. (Be sure to check that it is happening if you want to see it, which I do recommend, as the theatre portion is occasionally unavailable.) You can see the Presidential Box where Lincoln sat with his wife, Mary, as they watched An American Cousin, and Park Rangers are on hand to answer questions. The performance is great, as the reenactor talks about the fateful evening from his point of view, describing events of that day, the Lincolns’ late arrival to the theatre, the production on stage, and John Wilkes Booth’s movements as he executed his assassination plan. All of us, kids and adults, found this part of the tour very interesting and entertaining.

Chatting with a park ranger about the history of the theatre

Petersen House
Also a National Historic Site, the House Where Lincoln Died is located right across the street from Ford’s Theatre, and is included in the tour (hold on to your ticket!). After he was shot, Lincoln was carried across the street to what was then a boarding house, and he passed away the next morning. Now visitors can walk through and see the house recreated to look just as it did in 1865 and even view the bedroom where Lincoln spent his final hours. The bed is a replica — the real one is on display at the Chicago History Museum — but the pillow and pillow cases stained with blood are the real deal.

Aftermath Exhibits
Just beyond the site of Lincoln’s death is an elevator that takes you to another exhibit area, designed to look like an old street in Washington, DC, that illustrates the course of events after the assassination. You can learn about Lincoln’s multi-stop funeral journey back to Springfield, IL; find out what happened to John Wilkes Booth after he fled as a fugitive; and discover the outcomes of the trials of the co-conspirators. There is a lot of reading here, but also some photos and items on display to keep it visually interesting for younger kids. It all culminates with a three-story tower of books, every single one of them about Abraham Lincoln. It’s seriously impressive, kind of like a second memorial to Abe.

Our entire visit to Ford’s Theatre and Petersen House lasted almost two hours. It easily could be longer if your kids (and/or you) wanted to spend more time reading all of the displays and watching all of the videos. There are also guided tours on select Sundays at 5pm — go here for upcoming dates.

Keep in mind, too, that the actual theatre is still in operation with several productions a year, including One Destiny, a 35-minute play about Lincoln’s assassination that is performed in spring and summer. Next up is the annual holiday show, A Christmas Carol, that will run November 16 – December 31, 2017.

Counting stars on a flag from 1865

Ford’s Theatre is open for self-guided tours of the historic site daily from 9am – 4:30pm. As mentioned, tickets can be reserved online in advance for $3, or they are available for free at the Box Office, which is open 8:30am – 5pm (8pm for performances). It’s located at 511 10th Street NW.

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Filed under DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Live Entertainment, Museums, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend

Come Fourth this Weekend

Owen and friends celebrate July 4th last year

Washington, DC, is one of the most exciting places to be this time of year, as people from all over the world come to our capital city to celebrate America’s birthday.  Whether or not you think that’s a good thing is another story.  Some relish the crowds and the big celebrations, while others prefer to keep the holiday low-key. The great thing about our little section of the Land of the Free is that, no matter what your preference, there are plenty of options for fun and recreation all weekend long.  Here are events happening around town where you can embrace the spirit of the 4th, have a mellow holiday, or fall somewhere in between.  Happy Weekend!  And have a happy and safe Independence Day!

Smithsonian Folklife FestivalThe annual celebration of living cultural heritage and community traditions around the globe will be happening on the Mall through July 4 (then again from July 7-11). This year’s festival spotlights the nature of Colombia, 50 years of the Peace Corps, and Rhythm & Blues music in the United States. Special exhibits and programs will offer guests all kinds of opportunities — workshops, performances, exhibits, demos, and more — to discover and explore all three genres, including plenty of activities especially children.

Tales of the Lincoln – Storyteller Jon Spelman takes to the Ford’s Theatre stage for a reprise of his popular one-man show. Explore the varied legends of Abraham Lincoln the man, parent, and president in a series of anecdotes. Tales of the Lincoln will be performed on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30am and 11:30am, and is recommended for ages 6 and older. The show is being offered as part of the Ford’s Theatre daytime programming schedule, so tickets can be obtained free of charge on the day of performance at the theatre box office. Advance reservations are also available through Ticketmaster, though a small service fee will be applied.

Have a Ball (Game)The Nationals are playing at home all weekend, hosting the Pirates on Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday afternoons. You can also celebrate the 4th at Nationals Park as they begin a four-game series against the Cubs.  Tickets are available for all of the games – purchase in advance online or at the box office.  And you can currently get half-price tickets for Sunday’s game with a special offer from Certifkid.

Fruits of Your LaborPick-your-own on the farm is recommended for yet another week, as many berries and even peaches are ready for harvest. This post lists local farms that offer opportunities to pick ‘em yourself.

Star-Spangled SpectacularIf you want to get out of dodge (ie, take a break from DC) for a bit, head north to Oregon Ridge Park in Cockeysville, MD, on Saturday or Sunday. There, you can spread out a blanket or set up chairs on the sloping green lawn amidst lovely scenery as the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs their Star-Spangled Spectacular, culminating with a magnificent fireworks dispay. The starbursts in the sky as live classical musical plays is truly magical. The park opens at 5pm, and the show begins at 8pm both days.  Tickets are $18/adult, $9/kids 12 and under.

National Independence Day Parade – Every good holiday has a parade in DC, and July 4th is no exception. Scores of spectators are expected to line the Constitution Avenue sidewalks to watch the procession celebrating Independence Day make its way from 7th to 17th Streets. Marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian groups, drill teams, and military units will be among the pageantry. The festivities begin at 11:45am, but with the masses coming to watch, it’s best to get there early to get a good view. Free to the public.

Independence Day Celebration on National Mall – After the parade (even earlier for some), the National Mall will begin filling up for a day of July 4th festivities—picnics, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, concerts, and the spectacular fireworks display as the grand finale. The music begins at 6pm when the U.S. Navy band kicks off the concert at the Washington Monument grounds, followed by a performance by special guest artist Jo Dee Messina . Down at the opposite end of the Mall on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, A Capitol Fourth Concert, which airs live on PBS, will feature Josh Groban, Steve Martin, Jordin Sparks, Matthew Morrison, the National Symphony Orchestra, and more exciting performers. Gates open at 3pm for the 8pm show, and the public is invited to enjoy it for free. Finally, the sky over the Washington Monument will explode with color when the amazing fireworks show begins at 9:15pm.

Reading of the Declaration of IndependenceCelebrate July 4th at the National Archives Building with a reading of the Declaration of Independence.  There will also be historical guests and family activities starting at 8:30am. The full schedule of events is available on the National Archive’s website.

An American Celebration at Mount VernonThe home of George Washington salutes the first commander-in-chief  on Monday with a dazzling display of made-for-daytime fireworks during its annual Independence Day event. Visitors will be treated to spectacular smoke fireworks in patriotic colors fired over the Potomac River. The event also includes an inspirational naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens, military reenactments, a special wreathlaying ceremony, and a visit from the “first” first couple, “General and Mrs. Washington.” See the full schedule of events on the Mount Vernon wesbite.  Admission is $15/adults, $7/ages 6-11, free for ages 5 and under.

Posts to check out any time:

­ Joys of SummerOutdoor concert series, pools and spray grounds, movie under the stars, and more fun happening over the hot months.

The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids  – Need I say more?

Rainy Day Recreation (ie, Indoor Fun) – For when the weather doesn’t cooperate, or you want to get out of the sun.

Family Entertainment – See what’s on stages this season.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Holidays, Live Entertainment, Monuments & Memorials, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Parade, Park, Seasonal, Sports, Summer, Virginia, Weekend

Rapt up in the Weekend

Happy Bike to Work Day!


World cultures, strawberries, community celebrations, and two-wheelin’ recreation all factor into this family fun round-up. However, if one man’s prediction proves correct tomorrow, consider it all moot. But if life goes on as usual, here’s where you and the kids can revel in it.  Happy Weekend!

Strawberry Fields this WeekendThe pick-your-own season has officially begun!  Several local farms have already opened their fields to the public and a few more will join them this weekend. You can also celebrate strawberry season at your pick of festivals. See this post for a list of area farms where you can gather your own strawberries and enjoy festivities.

International Children’s FestivalTake the kids on a fun and educational tour of the world without even leaving the city on Saturday from 11am – 3pm. Part of Passport DC, this 5th annual festival hosted by the Meridian International Center will feature exhibits, performances, food, crafts, and activities from across the globe as local embassies share their countries’ culture with the public. Admission is $10/adults, free for kids 12 and under.

Fiesta AsiaCelebrate Pacific Asian Heritage Month at this street fair in Penn Quarter on Saturday from 10am – 7pm. This showcase of Asian art and culture will include music and dance performances, martial arts demos, food, hands-on activities and more. Especially for kids is the Kiddiz Cool Lounge, a no-shoe zone with costumed characters and creative craft stations. Flash mob dancing and a parade featuring lion dances are sure to thrill all ages. Admission is free, but be prepared to spend on food and marketplace finds.

Boogie for the Cure – The Boogie Babes and Mr. Skip are hosting a special Saturday session of musical fun to help support Race for the Cure. Join them at Eastern Market’s North Hall at 10:30am to boogie the morning away. Admission is $10/family and all proceeds will be donated to Susan G. Komen – Race for the Cure.

Chic Child on the RowThe family-friendly portion of The Front Row, Bethesda’s three-day exhibition of fashion, welcomes kids to play and parents to shop. Budding fashionistas can recreate world capitals from plastic pieces at Legos on the Lane. Little ones can listen to story time at Barnes & Noble. And everyone can enjoy a concert from Kidville’s Little Maestros and a special appearance by Groovy Nate at Lebanese Taverna. This all takes place on Saturday throughout the day. For a schedule of events, see The Front Row website.

McClean DaySpend Saturday at Lewinsville Park with the McLean Community, including nonprofit groups, crafters, and local businesses. Enjoy carnival rides, live entertainment, delicious food, and more. The Alden Theatre will provide live entertainment on the McLean Day Stage starting at 11am. The kids will love the carnival rides throughout the park, as well as games and free pony.  The free event runs from 11am – 5pm.  See the Alden Theatre website for a schedule of festivities.

Celebrate Hawai’iSay ‘aloha’ to the National Museum of the American Indian on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am – 4:30pm. The annual celebration of Hawaiian arts and culture will include special food, music, storytelling, and hula performances, as well as a new exhibition, This IS Hawai‘i.  While you’re there, be sure check out activities that the museum is testing out for the imagiNATIONS Family Activity Center opening in September.

Air Show at Andrews – See thrilling action in the sky and on the ground at the 2011 Joint Service Open House and Air Show on Saturday and Sunday from 8am – 5pm.  Thunderbirds, Golden Knights, and the Warrior Flight Team are among the featured performers. A full schedule and more info is available on the Air Show website. Unauthorized vehicles are not permitted on Andrews Air Force Base, but shuttle buses from the Fed Ex Field parking lot and Branch Avenue Metro will provide free transportation.  Admission is to the show is free.

Bike DCOn the heels (or is that wheels?) of Bike to Work Day, this event celebrates the cycling community in the nation’s capital with a 20-mile bike ride through Washington and Arlington on Sunday. Kids on their own bicycles, on tag-along bikes, and in trailers are very welcome, though training wheels are not recommended. Registration is $35/adult, $20/ages 13-19, free for kids 12 and under. Visit the Bike DC website to register and view route details. The ride will take place rain or shine.

Show TimeThis is the last weekend to see Snow White and the 7 Dwarves at The Puppet Co. and Liberty Smith at Ford’s Theatre. And a  variety of other performances will also be on local stages this weekend. For details on all of them, see this post about live entertainment in the DC area this season.

Fun in the SunThe weather forecast is looking good for at least part of the weekend.  Go seize a beautiful day with the help of this list of great places to spend time outdoors with the kids.

Rainy Day RecsHere’s hoping you don’t have to refer to them, but if  it turns out to be a wet weekend these ideas for activities on a rainy day will help keep you and the kids busy—and dry.

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Filed under All ages, Annual, DC, Educational, Farm, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Seasonal, Spring, Virginia, Weekend

Spring into Summer with a New Selection of Family Entertainment

There’s a whole new crop of live entertainment for kids coming to area performing arts venues this spring and summer. Catch some of these performances as soon as this week or save your seats for shows opening at later dates. Here are details on all of them, with most descriptions straight from the websites.

Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights
Where: Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
When: May 7 at 6pm
Tickets: FREE!
Join the artist of the 2010 Parents’ Choice® Gold Award-winning album, I’m a Rock Star, as she celebrate the releae of her new album, What a Zoo!, with a performance on the Kennedy Center’s Milliennum Stage. Joanie Leeds and her band, The Nightlights, will make their Washington, DC, debut with a FREE rocking family show. If you haven’t heard Joanie’s music, go take a listen on her website—it’s easy to see why her poppy sound and fun lyrics strike a chord with kids. The concert is part of The Kennedy Center’s daily Free Performance series.

Various Performances for Children
Where: Discovery Theater
When: Ongoing
Tickets: $3 – $6
From plays based on ancient fables to unique dance performances to magic shows to animal encounters, Discovery Theater entertains audiences with a variety of productions for all ages. Most performances take place at the Smithsonian’s Ripley Center. See the complete schedule of shows on the theater’s website.

NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Bears, Bears Everywhere
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 7-8
Tickets: $18
It’s a big bear world out there, and every sort of bear has its own look and growl. This Teddy Bear Concert takes a peek at these adorable creatures and the sounds of their homelands–music that is as unique as they are. NSO musicians on violin, bassoon, and, percussion assemble a wild combination of instruments in order to create music from around the world. Children will also be introduced to an out-of-this-world instrument, the Theremin, which is used to create the crazy sounds in a lot of classic films. Recommended for ages 3-5. Ge there early for “musical playtime”—starting a half-hour before each Teddy Bear Concert, there are music and movement activities designed especially for small children.

George and Martha – Tons of Fun
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through May 29
Tickets: $11 – $22
The two endearing hippos from the James Marshall picture books stomp onto stage in this warm and funny musical adaptation. George and Martha are best friends. They play music together and share meals, presents, picnics, and exciting adventures like flying a balloon. Sometimes they have differences as all friends do. But it cannot last. Like all good friends George and Martha just can’t stay angry for long! This simple story says much about our relationships at any age. Geared for our youngest theatre-goers but enjoyable for all, this new musical by Joan Cushing sparkles with clever lyrics and laughter. Enjoyed by ages 3 and up.

Liberty Smith
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: Through May 21
Tickets: $39 – $55
Ford’s Theatre presents the world premiere of Liberty Smith, a madcap musical romp through Revolutionary America. A childhood friend of George Washington, apprentice to Benjamin Franklin and linked to Paul Revere’s remarkable ride, the elusive Liberty Smith weaves his way through familiar tales of a young nation. Rife with melody and blazing with adventure, Liberty Smith recalls the lush heyday of the American musical. Experience the birth of America through the eyes of our forgotten founding father: Liberty Smith.

The Day John Henry Came to School
Where: Imagination Stage
When: Through May 29
Tickets: $11 – $22
Johnny is way into video games and not especially motivated at school. Imagine his surprise one night when there’s a loud knock at the door and his ancestor John Henry bursts into his bedroom, wielding a 12 lb hammer and insisting that he will visit Johnny’s class the next day for “Show & Tell.” At first unimpressed by John Henry’s tragic tale about his race with the steam engine, the kids in Johnny’s class come to appreciate the importance of his ultimate sacrifice. Recommended for ages 7 and up.

A Year with Frog and Toad
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: May 10 – June 5
Tickets: $15
Arnold Lobel’s well-loved characters hop from the page to the stage in Robert and Willie Reale’s musical. It follows two great friends, the cheerful and popular Frog and the rather grumpy Toad through four fun-filled seasons. Waking from hibernation in the spring, they proceed to plant gardens, swim, rake leaves and go sledding, learning life lessons along the way, including a most important one about friendship and rejoicing in the attributes that make each of us different and special. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Imagination Movers
Where: Lisner Auditorium
When: May 12
Tickets: $32 or $112 for the Mini-movers package (Groupon has a deal thru 5/1 – see below)
Disney’s Emmy Award-winning Imagination Movers come to Lisner as part of their “In a Big Warehouse” concert tour. The wildly popular New Orleans-based rock band for kids of all ages will play their most popular songs and bring the magic of the Imagination Movers television series’ Idea Warehouse to life. Concertgoers can expect special appearances from Nina, Warehouse Mouse and other characters from the TV series. Get 50% off tickets through Groupon, but buy them soon, as the deal only lasts through May 1.

Peter and the Wolf
Where: Alden Theatre
When: May 14
Tickets: $12, $8/McLean residents

This is an adaptation of the traditional Russian folktale set to music by Sergei Prokofiev. While providing a charming introduction to the world of music and musical instruments, this enchanting tale is all about the adventure of growing up. Danger becomes reality and creative innovation becomes essential as young Peter meets the challenge of survival in the outside world.  Recommended for ages 5 and up.

NSO Family Concert: Beethoven Lives Upstairs
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 15
Tickets: $15-18
What to do about the loud neighbor upstairs? When Ludwig van Beethoven moves into his family’s Vienna boarding house, young Christoph begins writing letters to his uncle about the “madman” living above him. Through a touching correspondence dramatically underscored with more than twenty-five excerpts from the composer’s most beautiful works, Christoph comes to understand the genius of Beethoven, the beauty of his music, and the torment of his deafness. Part history, part drama, all fun, this is an excellent introduction to the master’s music, including the Moonlight Sonata, Für Elise, and the great Fifth and Ninth Symphonies. Recommended for age 5 and up. Get to the show an hour early for the Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo,” where young concertgoers can get up close and hands-on with the instruments they’ll see played on the stage—from violins, trumpets, and oboes to trombones and percussion—in the Kennedy Center Atrium.

Drumming with Dishes
Where: Art on the Horizon at Landmark Mall
When: May 18 – June 5
Tickets: $8 or $25 for a Family 4-Pack
Join an adventurous toddler as she introduces her imaginary friend to a very special kitchen, where instead of food, they’ll cook up beautiful music. This gentle, whimsical adventure celebrates turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, as you never know just what will become a musical instrument next. Pasta box shakers and dishes drumming away with spoons are just some of the friendly surprises that encourage a child’s sense of play. And as our heroine empowers her timid friend to create music, we discover just what wonders can be accomplished when we all work together. This world-premiere production is a 30-minute interactive, non-verbal show, which features two adult actors and a musician. Geared towards children ages 2-5.

NSO Kinderkonzert: Got Rhythm?
Where: Kennedy Center
When: May 15
Tickets: $18
Rhythm is everywhere: it flavors our lives and lives within music. Join Glenn Donnellan, Richard Barber, Edward Cabarga, Adel Sanchez, and Joe Connell for vivid selections by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Rossini, and more. Recommended for ages 4 and up. Free musical instrument “Petting Zoo” one hour prior to each performance. Get to the show an hour early for the Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo,” where young concertgoers can get up close and hands-on with the instruments they’ll see played on the stage in the Kennedy Center Atrium.

Jack & the Bean-Stalk
Where:  1st Stage Theater
When:    May 15-June 19
Tickets: $15
Enjoy a hilarious, laugh-out-loud, brand-new adaptation of the classic fairy tale, “Jack and the Bean-Stalk.” This play is a fun-for-the-whole-family, comic rollercoaster ride of quirky characters, including an irreverent Cow, a crafty, bean-peddling Stranger, and a saucy Hen What Lays the Golden Eggs. Aimed at younger audiences, but with lots of laughs built in for adults, it’s a perfect fit for families who want to share the joy of live-performance theater. Special “Family Night Out” performances on Saturdays, June 4 and 18 at 6pm.

Click, Clack, Moo
Where:  Alden Theatre
When:    June 5
Tickets: $12, $8/McLean residents
“Cows that type? Hens on strike! Whoever heard of such a thing?!” Farmer Brown cries. When his grandaughter Jenny comes to visit, Farmer Brown declares a “tech-free zone”. This hilariously “mooooo-ving” new musical is about negotiation and compromise. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

The Great Dinosaur Mystery
Where: The Puppet Co. Playhouse
When: June 9 – July 17
Tickets: $10
DinoRock Productions returns to the Puppet Co. Playhouse with this story is set in the basement of the Natural History Museum. Dr. Vander Plastercaster is about to give the audience a behind-the-scenes tour of a new dinosaur exhibit when she finds a mysterious box. Enter Detective Joe Kafootsie, Special Forces: Strange Phenomena Detail. He’s found a giant shoe and thinks it might belong to a dinosaur! Suddenly dinosaurs begin appearing with messages from a mysterious character named Tootsie. Who is Tootsie? What do the messages mean? What’s going on? It’s all part of the great, great, great, great Great Dinosaur Mystery! Recommended for ages 4 and up.

The Wind in the Willows
Where: Imagination Stage
When: June 22 – August 15
Tickets: $10 – $22
Go on a wild ride with Mr. Toad! It’s early in the twentieth century, and Mr. Toad embraces the motor car with reckless abandon. When it is clear that he is on a road to disaster, Toad’s friends Mole, Ratty and Mr. Badger decide to intervene. Can they save Toad from himself? In an adventure with police chases, prison breaks and bandits, Mr. Toad learns the true meaning of friendship. This musical event is faithful to the classic, enchanting novel. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Children’s Theater in the Woods
Where: Wolf Trap
When: June 28 – August 13
Tickets: $8 for a day pass – two shows in one
With 70 performances from late June through early August, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods presents family-friendly shows at 10am and 11:15am on Tuesdays through Saturdays. 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. All performances are recommended for children between Kindergarten and 6th grade. The full schedule of shows in available of the Wolf Trap website.

PLAY! A Video Game Symphony
Where: Wolf Trap
When: July 8, 8:30pm
Tickets: $20 – $52
Award-winning music from Super Mario Brothers, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, the Legend of Zelda, Halo, Battlefield 1942, and many more. Outstanding visuals on huge screens in-house and on the lawn highlight memorable moments from these blockbuster video games.


Filed under All ages, DC, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Music, Theatre