Tag Archives: Kids Activities Northern Virginia

Get Your Fill of Live Entertainment this Fall

Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, a nature-inspired spectacle of acrobatics and athleticism for all ages

Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, a nature-inspired spectacle of acrobatics and athleticism for all ages

Don’t let the temps outside fool you! Autumn is on its way, and it’s bringing a whole new season of live entertainment, too. Here’s the round-up of what you can catch on stages around the area, listed in order of opening date. And if there’s anything I’ve missed — from elaborate productions to simple shows — feel free to add them in the comments.

Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage
Where: National Theatre
When: Through September 14
Tickets: $48-93 (find discounted seats here)

Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance, and sensational dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Featuring the hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Don’t miss your chance to see this live theatre sensation. You’ll have the time of your life!

Boogie Babes
Where: Union Market, Eastern Market, & The Atlas
When: Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays, 10:30am
Tickets: $5/child, free for sibling 6 months and under

Little ones can boogie along with their favorite local musicians at Union Market on Wednesdays, in Eastern Market’s North Hall every Thursday, AND at The Atlas Performing Arts Center on Fridays. Go for the show, then grab lunch in the Markets or hit one of the many eateries on the H Street Corridor. Check the schedule to find out who’s playing when.

Marvel Universe LIVE!
Where: Verizon Center & Patriot Center
When: September 4-7, 12-14, 19-21
Tickets: $20-130 (find discounted seats here)

Marvel Universe LIVE! promises to captivate audiences with an authentic and original story that brings more than 25 Marvel characters together on one epic quest. The story is framed around the battle over the Cosmic Cube, the source of ultimate power and one of the most feared and coveted treasures in the Marvel Universe, that has been shattered into pieces by the Mighty Thor in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. With the pieces scattered across the globe, Thor’s villainous brother Loki devises a scheme to clone its powers, inciting a threat that could not only decimate Earth but also obliterate the Universe. To defeat Loki, Marvel’s biggest Super Heroes must band together and trek across the globe to retrieve the Cosmic Cube fragments and unite them. As the Super Heroes track the Cube, they will encounter some of their biggest adversaries on a quest for the very same fragments. These foes have no problem teaming up if it gets them closer to their ultimate goal of world domination.

Cirque Dream – Jungle Fantasy
Where: Wolf Trap
When: September 5-6
Tickets: $25-100 (find discounted seats here)

This wild encounter is inspired by nature’s unpredictable creations that are brought to life by an international cast of soaring aerialists, spine-bending contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians. The astounding feats performed in this action packed Cirque Dream are enhanced with spectacular costumes that come to life in a fantastical jungle setting ignited by striking visual effects. From the breathtaking soaring aerial butterflies to the balancing giraffes, gigantic flowers, trees and kings of the jungle, this world-class explosion of athleticism, theatre and imagination will exhilarate and entertain audiences of all ages anywhere in the world.

Millennium Stage
Where: Kennedy Center
When: Ongoing daily, 6pm
Admission: 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.

Tot Rock
Where: Jammin’ Java
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.

Alice in Wonderland
Where: Workhouse Arts Theatre
When: September 6-28
Tickets: $13/adult, $10/ages 10 and under

An original musical adaptation inspired by the classic Lewis Carroll stories. Poor Alice has found herself lost in strange land filled with wondrous inhabitants! Featuring songs based on the poetry from the original text, the Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen, the White Rabbit and the rest of the zany cast will be on hand as Alice adventures through Wonderland. Will she ever find her way home again, or was it all just a dream..?! Recommended for all ages.

Big Apple Circus: Metamorphosis
Where: Big Top, Dulles Town Center
When: September 18 – October 5
Tickets: $25-80 (find discounted seats here)

Fly away to the magical ring of the Big Apple Circus, where an their all-new show, METAMORPHOSIS, thrills with astonishing acts and startling transformations that will transport you to a realm of enchantment under the Big Top! See flyers of the trapeze, an aerial space-age acrobatic adventure, cadenzas of camels and horses, the exuberance of playful pooches, the incredible flexible limbs of the contortionist, the merriment and gentle humor of Francesco the Clown, the glorious Big Apple Circus, the magnificent Ringmaster, and so much more. Read about our past Big Apple Circus experience here.

Stuart Little
Where: Adventure Theatre
When: September 19 – October 26
Tickets: $19

Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Shy and thoughtful, Stuart’s greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend? Recommended for all ages.

Where: The Puppet Co.
When: September 19 – October 12
Tickets: $10

A “bewitching” tale by Duane T. Bowers, of the Grimm’s fairytale, featuring the music of Jacques Ibert. Witch Wartsmith wants a baby, and after bargaining for little Rapunzel, must go to great lengths to keep her out of the hands of a handsome prince. The Puppet Co. uses “coloring-book” charm and the simplicity of hand puppets in a production designed to delight its younger audiences. Recommended for preK – grade 4.

The Night Fairy
Where: Imagination Stage
When: September 24 – October 26
Tickets: $12-25

Flory is a Night Fairy who is attacked by a bat. When her wings are damaged in the struggle, she is forced to learn how to survive in the daylight among the other birds and animals in a typical backyard. During her adventures, Flory makes new friends, and eventually reconciles with her foe. By the time her wings begin to sprout back, Flory has discovered a renewed sense of creativity, diplomacy, and resilience that she never knew she had. Recommended for Ages 4–10.

Under the Canopy
Where: The Antheum
When: September 25 – October 5
Tickets: $5

Imagine a theatrical world designed especially for babies and young toddlers to explore – a world inspired by the wonders of the rainforest! That’s what’s in store when the innovative style of Arts on the Horizon targets our very youngest fans and their caregivers. Using colorful objects and playful sounds, our performers will discover and build a rainforest setting around, within and above the audience. Whistling flowers, a clacking caterpillar, and brightly-colored umbrella birds await! After each performance, children are invited to explore the different props and objects used to create the playscape. Geared toward children ages 0-2.

Driving Miss Daisy
Where: Ford’s Theatre
When: September 26 – October 26
Tickets: $20-54

Acclaimed Washington stage actors Nancy Robinette and Craig Wallace return to Ford’s to perform in this beloved classic. When Daisy Werthan causes a car wreck, her son hires hard-working chauffeur Hoke Colburn to look after her. What begins as a hostile clashing of wills between a stubborn Jewish matriarch and a proud black man evolves into a decades-long friendship as the two navigate Civil Rights-era Atlanta. With humor and heartfelt emotion, Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play poignantly explores the transformative power of true friendship. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Saturday Morning at the National
Where: National Theatre
When: September 27 – December 13
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.

Tiny Tots
Where: The Puppet Co.
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.

Uno, dos, tres…con ANDRES!
Where: Discovery Theater
When: October 1-3
Tickets: $3-8

Counting has never been more fun in English and Spanish. Local kids’ music star Andrés Salguero offers sing-alongs to songs familiar and new, including great music from his debut CD, ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés!, creating plenty of bilingual fun. Get set to bailar y aprender (dance and learn) with Andrés!

Doktor Kaboom: LIVE WIRE! The Electricity Tour
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 4
Tickets: $20

Grab your lab coats and safety goggles, because this one-man show can be explosive! Doktor Kaboom is bringing an all-new interactive science comedy show focused on the amazing power of electricity. The stand-up scientist with the thick German accent will keep crowds transfixed and rolling on the floor with his increasingly spectacular (and usually successful) experiments. With his hilarious improvisational style, no two shows will be exactly the same–you may even be called on stage to help with one of his zany demonstrations! If you’re ready to get psyched about science, just say “ja!” to Doktor Kaboom. Recommended for ages 7 and up.

The Spencers’ Theatre of Illusion
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: October 5
Tickets: $15-22

The Spencers’ Theatre of Illusion – Not your run-of-the-mill magic show, Spencers’ Theatre of Illusion is a unique fusion of magic and illusion, humor and mystery, and persona and personality that’s presented with theatrical elements of a Broadway-style production and the high energy of a rock concert. The performers have been described as “Modern Day Houdinis” by the critics, have the skills of master showmen, and create a world for audiences of all ages where nothing is impossible and anything can happen. You won’t believe your eyes!

Fabulas Fairytales
Where: Discovery Theater
When: October 15-16
Tickets: $3-8

Start with three bears, three pigs, and three billy goats gruff. Add two languages, and what do you get? The perfect combination for a fresh and fun introduction to Spanish words—and a fabulas new take on a trio of familiar stories in this interactive Discovery Theater original. Kids will find the “found” costumes and set pieces crafted from recycled materials pretty fabulous, too.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Where: The Puppet Co.
When: October 16 – November 20
Tickets: $10

In this marionette romp, three brothers get the goat of a hen-pecked troll in their attempts to trip-trap-tromp to where the grass is greener. Three variety numbers precede the performance, demonstrating the making of a simple hand puppet, and manipulation of rod puppets and marionettes, as an introduction to the Art of Puppetry.

Disney on Ice: Frozen
Where: Patriot Center
When: October 22 – 27
Tickets: $15-105

Enter a fantastical winter wonderland beyond all imagination at Disney On Ice presents Frozen! The heartwarming, Academy Award-winning tale you love is now LIVE and skating into your town. You’ll be magically whisked away into the wintery world of Arendelle, where you will be dazzled by amazing special effects and astonishing skating. Sing and dance along to inspiring songs, including “Let It Go.” Join royal sisters Elsa and Anna, the hilarious snowman Olaf, Kristoff, his loyal reindeer Sven and the mystical trolls as they journey to discover that true love is ultimately the most magical power of all!

Starry, Starry Night
Where: Air & Space Museum
When: October 23-24
Tickets: Free with reservation

Blast into space with wacky Professor Van Gogo for an incredible celestial voyage! This imaginative introduction to stargazing includes star stories brought to life by StoneLion Puppet Theatre’s hand and rod puppets. After the show, we invite you to visit the Explore the Universe Gallery. You can reserve tickets online, and do so soon because shows are filling up fast! Recommended for ages 3-8

NSO Family Concert: Halloween Whodunit
Where: Kennedy Center
When: October 26
Tickets: $15-18

There’s a mystery in the Concert Hall on All Hallows’ Eve! For this frightfully fun third chapter in the NSO’s popular Spooktacular concert series, don your freaky-deakiest costumes and join all the ghoulishly attired musicians for a wickedly wacky, music-filled whodunit. When the NSO’s Stephen Dumaine alerts the orchestra that his tuba has been stolen, NSO Assistant Conductor Ankush Kumar Bahl asks the audience to help them rewind time, follow the clues, lure out the “thief,” and crack the case! Get there early for trick-or-treating and a special Haunted Hall Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Then take your seats for spine-tingling classics–including Adam Glaser’s March of the Little Goblins, the “Infernal Dance” from Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird, and Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique–plus new favorites like “Let It Go” from the smash animated movie Frozen, and plenty of Halloween surprises!

Fiddler on the Roof
Where: Arena Stage
When: October 31 – January 4
Tickets: $50-99 (find discounted seats here)

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of an American classic! More than just a poor milkman, Tevye is a humble Jewish father who finds his devotion to God severely tested by his headstrong daughters, who want to be their own matchmakers, and the increasingly ruthless government forcing him from his land. With a jubilant and masterful score including “If I Were a Rich Man;” “Sunrise, Sunset;” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “Tradition,” Tony nominee Jonathan Hadary makes his Arena debut as Tevye in this celebration of family, community and life’s unexpected miracles, large and small.

Fancy Nancy The Musical
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: November 1-2
Tickets: $15

Fancy Nancy and her friends Bree, Rhonda, Wanda, and Lionel are going to be performing in their very first show, “Deep Sea Dances.” Nancy is positive (that’s fancy for 100 percent sure) that she and Bree will be picked to be mermaids. When another girl wins the coveted role of the mermaid, Nancy is stuck playing a dreary, dull tree. Can Nancy bring fancy flair to her role, even though it isn’t the one she wanted? This 50-minute show manages to entertain both adults and children in a masterful way. A special Fancy Nancy Tea Party will take place the hour before the November 1 show – tickets are available here.

NSO Kinderclassics: Musical Opposites
Where: Kennedy Center
When: November 1
Tickets: $20

Sometimes you’re left with two puzzle pieces that just don’t seem to fit. But then with a little squinting and a lot of imagination, you find that they go together perfectly! The Kennedy String Quartet demonstrates many types of musical contrasts that work together, from the technical to the emotional. The four NSO musicians engage the audience as they explore such simple musical building blocks as high and low, loud and soft, fast and slow, arco and pizzicato. Then, playing excerpts by string quartet masters Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich, the quartet shows how composers use opposites to express a stunning variety of musical moods and emotions. Get there early for the Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo.” Starting one hour before each Kinderkonzert, this hands-on activity in the Kennedy Center Hall of States gives children a chance to get up close with the instruments they’ll see played on stage. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

Coyote Mischief Tales
Where: Discovery Theater
When: November 5-6 & 13-20
Tickets: $3-8

Trickster Coyote is a crafty, funny, and fearless fellow and a little too smart for his own good. In this play by Philip Blue Owl Hooser, audiences laugh along with his adventures with his wife Mole, and his spirit guide Hashtali as they learn about making choices, sharing, and giving gifts from the heart. Recommended for ages 5-10.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Where: Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre
When: November 7-16
Tickets: $12/adult, $10/child

Encore Stage & Studio, theatre by kids for kids, presents their version of a classic. Sleepy Hollow is a little town with more than its fair share of spooky ghost stories. The citizens of Sleepy Hollow know the legend of the Headless Horseman is just make-believe…until the new schoolteacher, Ichabod Crane, arrives. Suddenly, strange things begin to happen and he comes face to face with the famous ghost. Will Ichabod triumph over the mysterious Horseman? Join Encore as the legend unfolds, and see for yourself. Some sequences may be frightening for young children. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

Wake Up, Brother Bear
Where: Imagination Stage
When: November 11-30
Tickets: $12

This audience-favorite show is back from hibernation! Watch as Brother and Sister Bear experience a full year of glorious seasons. Together we see a waterfall melt, meet a butterfly, chase an elusive fish, and skate on an icy pond. Children are invited to join the action with a small bag of props that help create magical moments. Recommended for ages 1-5

Parallel Exit
Where: BlackRock Center for the Arts
When: November 15
Tickets: $15-22

Physical comedy: the newest oldest art form! Physical comedy troupe and two-time Drama Desk nominee Parallel Exit offers a very special presentation of Exit Stage Left – a rollicking speed-of-light comedy. Harkening back to the days of vaudeville, Exit Stage Left packs more entertainment in a single show than a three-ring circus. An ensemble of five presents a wide range of old-fashioned family entertainment, from tap dance to live music to slapstick comedy.

Jammin’ at the Smithsonian: Alastair Moock
Where: Discovery Theater
When: November 21
Tickets: $3-8

Meet one of Boston’s premier folk artists, a 2014 Grammy nominee for best children’s album and a Parents’ Choice Gold Medal winner. Time Out New York calls Alastair Moock ”a musical descendant of Woody Guthrie with a zany sense of humor.” His shows, described as “half Appalachian hootenanny, half honky-tonk jam session” are rowdy, rootsy, singin’ and dancin’ fun! Recommended for ages 2-6.

The Gift of Nothing
Where: Kennedy Center
When: November 22
Tickets: $20

Today is a very, very merry special day! Mooch, a charming and curious cat, wants to get the purr-fect holiday gift for his best friend Earl, a loveable pup. But Earl already seems to have all he needs: a bowl, a bed, and a squeaky chew toy. So what do you get someone who has everything? Well, nothing, of course! Based on characters in the beloved internationally syndicated comic strip MUTTS, this world premiere musical adaptation of Patrick McDonnell’s The Gift of Nothing follows Mooch’s frantic and hilarious search to find Earl absolutely nothing–which always turns out to be something! Join the delightful duo, along with their owners Millie and Ozzie, cantankerous Frank, adorable Doozy, and an onstage pianist for this festive and heartwarming adventure. Recommended for ages 4 and up.


Filed under All ages, DC, Fall, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Museums, Music, Outdoor, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend

Minimal Play at The Art League’s New Exhibit

Playing with one of the few interactive pieces at the "Play" exhibit.


Penning a blog that includes recommendations for upcoming events can be tricky.  Obviously, if they are upcoming, I haven’t actually been to them. So, I have to base my suggestions on how they sound based on the information available to me. Most events and adventures that sound promising actually meet or even exceed expectations.  But every now and then, something doesn’t hit the mark.

Unfortunately, this was the case with The Art League’s new Play exhibit currently on display at The Torpedo Factory.  I posted about it twice last week, both in weekday recommendations and in the round-up of weekend activities.  The promo materials said it was a “juried exhibit exploring whimsical, playful works, the activity or idea of fun and play, or actual interactive works which encourage visitors to become involved in artwork on an entirely new level.”  The call for submissions encouraged interactive works that could be handled, added to, moved around. And it’s being presented with the art initiative Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Children and the Arts.

All of these things combined made it sound like art nirvana for kids. I pictured a gallery filled with cool, interactive art installations, my children happily playing with them and creating some of their own artwork.

So, we headed to Old Town yesterday afternoon, excited for something new.  When we first walked into the gallery, we saw a couple of pieces on a pedestal with a little “Touch Me” tag on the side, and the kids immediately headed over to play with a small, pretty diorama adorned with cut-out pictures and natural materials like twigs, feathers, and grass as well as a box of colorful blocks. It held their interest for about two minutes.  There were a few more interactive pieces hanging on walls (designated with the “Touch Me” tag), but they were too high for the kids to reach and didn’t offer much for them to do anyway. Needless to say, we were disappointed.

When I asked the woman working there about it, she explained that they don’t actually know what the exhibit will include until the last minute when the jury selects the works from the pool of entries submitted. And looking back at the press materials, I realize they didn’t really promise what I pictured… but it just sounded like it could have been all that and more.  All was not lost though. We enjoyed a stroll by the water and the gorgeous day, and the kids got an ice cream treat before heading back home.

In short: I won’t say that you shouldn’t see “Play” — there are some whimsical works to see, just not much to touch — but I wouldn’t make a trip to The Torpedo Factory just for the exhibit.  If you’re in Old Town and have time to spare, pop in for a look. But plan for some other fun activities, too.

“Play” is on exhibit in The Art League Gallery at the Torpedo Factory through April 2. Admission is free.



Filed under All ages, Art, Free, Virginia, Weekdays, Weekend