This 2019 family friendly theatre and live music guide is sponsored by Encore Stage & Studio. Encore Stage & Studio’s mission is to build a lifelong appreciation for live theatre by involving young people in all aspects of theatre arts — onstage, backstage, in the classroom, and in the audience. “Theatre by Kids, for Kids!” Encore strives to educate and entertain by offering productions each season that are by and for young people, and through enriching classes and workshops with qualified, enthusiastic teaching artists. Encore Stage & Studio is committed to promoting inclusion and equitable access to all of its programs. Encore believes that an artistic community is enhanced through diversity. Encore Stage & Studio believes that participating in live theatre builds problem-solving skills, teamwork, creativity, literacy, and self-confidence.
Disney’s Frozen, Jr at Encore Stage & Studio: October 11-20, 2019
A story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Frozen Jr. takes us on a journey with Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with obstacles, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen Jr. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart! Recommended for ages 4 and older. *Join a Princess Ball on Saturday, October 19, following the 11am performance. Give your family the royal treatment at the Princess Ball! Dress up in your royal best and make your theatre experience a lasting family memory! Join for sweets and treats, fun arts and crafts, and a chance to interact with the cast of Frozen Jr.
CSI: Christmas Scene Investigators at Encore Stage & Studio: December 6-15, 2019
Santa Claus is missing! During the last rehearsal for the annual Christmas Show, the action comes to a screeching halt when the cast discovers that the Santa Claus statue has been stolen! Mrs. Dickens calls in the Clue Club — a group of ambitious and eccentric students who take mystery and detection into the realm of science. Full of more surprises than a fruitcake, the Clue Club finds they have successfully fulfilled their duty as “Christmas Scene Investigators” when they discover the true meaning of Christmas. Recommended for ages 4 and older.
Narnia at Encore Stage & Studio: January 10-19, 2020
When the four Pevensie children stumble upon an old wardrobe, little do they know they will discover the magical world of Narnia. Full of mystical creatures, talking animals, and great escapes, this action-packed story by C.S. Lewis depicts the triumph of Aslan, ruler of Narnia, over the White Witch. Join the adventure as four brave kids, one great lion, and an entire kingdom fight for what is right. We recommend this musical for ages 4 and older.
The Three Musketeers at Encore Stage & Studio: February 28-March 8, 2020
This story is set in 17th-century France, a poor young nobleman named D’Artagnan leaves home to join the famous Musketeers of the Guard – defenders of the King and masters of the rapier! On his journey, D’Artagnan befriends three famous Musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. As the foursome roams the countryside, they encounter a dastardly plot to kidnap the King’s favorite dog…and realize they’ll need the help of three swashbuckling ladies to save the day. Recommended for ages 6 and older.
The Frog Prince of Spamalot at Encore Stage & Studio: May 29-June 7, 2020
Hyronomous A. Frog doesn’t quite fit in among the other frogs in the bog. He’s incredibly large compared to the others and hates the taste of flies! When he meets Gloria the Good Witch, he learns he must be kissed by a maiden to break the curse that turned him from a prince into a frog. Our frog-legged friend sets off for Spamalot, where he finds the spoiled and petulant Princess Gladiola and her sisters. Gladiola and her painfully pompous fiancé, Sir Lancelot Pancelot, will stop at nothing to get rid of him. Find out if the beloved frog finally gets his ribbiting…er, riveting…heart-warming finale! Recommended for ages 4 and older.
West Side Story at Encore Stage & Studio: July 17-26, 2020
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is transported to 20th century New York City as two young, idealistic lovers find themselves caught between warring street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. Their struggle to survive in a world of hate, violence, and prejudice is one of the most innovative, heart-wrenching, and relevant musical dramas of our time. Dance and sing to favorite numbers including “Maria,” “America,” and more! Recommended for ages 10 and older.
Elephant & Piggie’s “We are in a play” at Adventure Theatre: September 20–October 27, 2019
The award-winning, best-selling children’s books jumps from page to stage as a musical experience you won’t forget! Gerald and Piggie are “bestus” friends, with Gerald taking care of all the worrying and Piggie living her best life. Piggie’s even happier and more excited than usual. They’re going to a party hosted by the Squirrelles! And so begins a day when anything is possible. Recommended for all ages.
The Velveteen Rabbit at Adventure Theatre: November 15, 2019–January 1, 2020
Margery Williams’s classic toy story gets a vibrant retelling in this brand new adaptation. When the Child gets the Rabbit for Christmas, she is at first disappointed in her gift. But as the two quest and adventure through her storybooks, both Rabbit and Child grow and care for each other. And they discover that love is the greatest force in the Universe and can make impossible things Real. Recommended for all ages.
The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats at Adventure Theatre: February 14–April 5, 2020
This beautiful show follows the character of Peter and his friend Archie around the neighborhood in four of Ezra Jack Keats’ beloved tales, The Snowy Day, Whistle for Willie, Goggles!, and A Letter to Amy. Renowned for his tender personality, the character of Peter faces relatable everyday challenges to which children of all ages will find delightfully entertaining. Recommended for all ages.
Lyle the Crocodile at Adventure Theatre: April 24–May 31, 2020
Alert the press! A crocodile has turned up in a bathtub in an apartment in New York City’s Upper East Side! Not to worry. Lyle the Crocodile becomes good friends with the folks in the building, except for Mr. Grumps, who hates well… everything except his cat. Will Lyle be able to prove his worth to Mr. Grumps and show that our differences actually make us beautiful? Recommended for all ages.
Madagascar – A Musical Adventure at Adventure Theatre: June 26–August 23, 2020
We like to move it, move it! Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip hip Hippo and, of course, those hilarious, plotting penguins as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien’s Madagascar. Recommended for all ages.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show at Imagination Stage: September 28-October 27, 2019
Beloved by children for generations, Eric Carle’s children’s books come off the page and onto the stage in an unforgettable theatrical experience. With more than seventy larger-than-life puppets and original music, this special event follows all your favorite characters from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, The Very Lonely Firefly, 10 Little Rubber Ducks, and – of course – The Very Hungry Caterpillar. From a lumbering brown bear, to a curious caterpillar, to a fleet of rubber ducks, to countless other critters, Carle’s beautiful illustrations come to life through theatre magic. Stick around in the theatre after the show for a chance to meet the puppets and puppeteers on stage!Best for ages 3+. Runtime: 45 minutes, no intermission.
The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe at Imagination Stage: November 23, 2019-January 5, 2020
Leap through the wardrobe and into a winter wonderland in this dance-based adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s treasured novel from the Chronicles of Narnia. A remount of Imagination Stage’s Helen Hayes award-winning 2012 production, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tells the story of four siblings who journey from war-torn England to a magical land frozen in eternal winter, where the powerful lion Aslan leads them on a journey to discover their destiny. Music, modern dance, and breathtaking puppetry tell a story of love, sacrifice, and redemption. Best for ages 5+.
Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth at Imagination Stage: February 8-March 22, 2020
Zomo- one hip-hoppity rabbit- is taking on Washington, DC. When Zomo is dissed and dismissed by the other tricksters in town, he turns to the Sky God for more power. The Sky God sends him on an impossible quest taking him from the breakdancing fish on the DC Waterfront, to the graffiti artist cow at the National Zoo, and finally to the DJ Leopard in Adams Morgan. Will Zomo find the power he’s seeking? Or will he wise up? This high-energy hip-hop adaptation of a Nigerian folktale, originally commissioned by Imagination Stage in 2009 (Helen Hayes-Nominated Outstanding Production- Theatre for Young Audiences), puts a local spin and lots of silly humor on the global tradition of trickster tales. A hip-hop musical in repertory with Thumbelina. Best for ages 4+.
Thumbelina at Imagination Stage: February 15-April 5, 2020
What happens when a girl no bigger than a thumb finds herself lost in a great big world? She takes control of the story, of course! In this plucky retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, Thumbelina sets off to find her place in a world where she does not seem to “fit,” meeting a bashful toad, a bullying band of maybugs, a helpful field mouse, and many more friends along the way. But is her story written for her? OR can she control her destiny? Inspired by Kamishibai – a form of Japanese street theatre that uses illustrated boards to create the story-this production features live video projections, puppetry, dioramas, and other theatre magic. Thumbelina will dazzle audiences with an eye-catching celebration of individuality and friendship. A multimedia play in repertory with Zomo the Rabbit: A Hip-Hop Creation Myth. Best for ages 4+.
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience at Imagination Stage: June 24-August 9, 2020
When clothing suddenly falls from the sky, Wilbur J. Mole Rat rocks 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 march to the beat of his own drum? Or better yet, rock to the rhythm of his own electric guitar? This rollicking adaptation of Mo Willems’ beloved picture book explores what can happen when we have the courage to be ourselves. Best for ages 4+.
The following four shows are part of the My First Imagination Stage theatre series which offers intimate, interactive theatre performances designed for the very young in the Reeve Studio Theatre. Learn more below about early childhood classes and weekend workshops for ages 1-5 at Imagination Stage.
Inside Out at Imagination Stage: November 2-24, 2019
It’s bedtime! But instead of getting ready, two children use their imaginations to turn their room into a wonderland of mess! While playing dress-up, a glove becomes a dancing fish, a shirt becomes a fantastic creature, and a sock dance rocks the closet. In this interactive show, discover the joy of turning things inside out! *ASL-Interpreted performance November 24, 2019 at 11:15 a.m. * For purchasers of the Sunday, November 3, 2019, 10:00 a.m. performance of Inside Out , please join us for a free post-show workshop. Information on how to register for this free event can be found in the confirmation email of your November 3, 10:00 a.m. purchase. Best for ages 1-5.
Mouse on the Move at Imagination Stage: January 11-February 16, 2020
Nellie and Amelia are two adventurous mice ready to explore the world beyond their little mouse-hole. They decide to go to the moon, since it is cat-free and made entirely of delicious, mouth-watering cheese (so they have heard). In this interactive play, the audience becomes part of the story through multi-sensory activities. Join us as we all try to reach beyond the stars. *ASL-Interpreted performance February 16, 2020 at 11:15 a.m. For purchasers of the Saturday, January 11, 2020, 10:00 a.m. performance of Mouse on the Move, please join us for a free post-show workshop. Information on how to register for this free event can be found in the confirmation email of your January 11, 10:00 a.m. purchase. Best for Ages 1-5.
Paper Dreams at Imagination Stage: March 21-April 12, 2020
In a collaboration with Mons Dansa Dance Company from Barcelona, Spain, we bring to life a dance-based play that explores the many facets of creativity. A fun, interactive performance that tells the story of two delightful creatures who live inside a wastepaper basket, Paper Dreams asks if our greatest mistakes can turn out to be our greatest ideas. *ASL-Interpreted performance, April 12, 2020 at 11:15 a.m. For purchasers of the Saturday, April 11, 2020, 10:00 a.m. performance of Paper Dreams, please join us for a free post-show workshop. Information on how to register for this free event can be found in the confirmation email of your April 11, 10:00 a.m. purchase. Best for Ages 1-5.
Wake Up, Brother Bear at Imagination Stage: June 27-July 26, 2020
Sister Bear and Brother Bear are back from hibernation to take your 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 this unforgettable live theatre experience. *ASL-Interpreted performance July 26, 2020 at 11:15 a.m. For purchasers of the Sunday, June 28, 2020, 10:00 a.m. performance of Wake Up, Brother Bear, please join us for a free post-show workshop. Information on how to register for this free event can be found in the confirmation email of your June 28, 10:00 a.m. purchase. Best for Ages 1-5.
Squeakers & Mr. Gumdrop at Arts on the Horizon: October 11-20, 2019
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. Best for children ages 2 – 5 and their families.
Drumming with Dishes at Arts on the Horizon: February 17-March 7, 2020
What happens when you invite someone very different from you to come over to play? Such an adventure awaits an energetic child when she introduces her shy imaginary friend to a very special kitchen. But instead of food, they’ll cook up beautiful music! This gentle, whimsical adventure celebrates friendship and turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. Join us and discover what wonders can be accomplished through friendship! Best for children ages 2 – 5.
By the Seashore at Arts on the Horizon: March 20-April 4, 2020
By the Seashore takes us on a magical journey to a place children love to visit – the beach! Young audience members are invited to explore all the amazing things we find on the shore, in the ocean, and in the sky; from birds and fish, to sand and water, and everything in-between! Using an imaginative mix of puppetry, movement, and sound, this sensory-filled production is specifically designed for babies and young toddlers. Best for children ages 0 – 2 and their families.
Off the Page at Arts on the Horizon: May 7-23, 2020
The magic of books can transport us to new worlds. Music, illustrations, and entire adventures can lift right off the page. When an imaginative young child falls asleep after reading a book, the stories come to life in their dreams. Using dance and music, this world premiere production will unfold around the audience. Watch a new world come to life right before your eyes! Best for children ages 3 – 6 and their families.
The Snow Queen at Synetic Theater: December 4-29, 2019
Up next in the critically acclaimed Family Theater Series is The Snow Queen.
Just in time for the holidays, Synetic presents a whimsical, family-friendly adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved fairy tale, Snow Queen. Join Gerda, a little girl with gumption, a magic mirror, and a quest to save her best friend, as she sets out on a life-changing journey that takes her over mountains and across distant lands to the Snow Kingdom. Synetic Theater’s striking visuals and embodied storytelling turn this chilling tale into a heartwarming adventure.
The Servant of Two Masters at Synetic Theater: June 17-July 12, 2020
When Beatrice and Florindo’s love is thwarted by fate, they are separated. Disguised as her dead brother, Beatrice travels to Venice to collect the dowry promised to him by his fiance, as Florindo searches for Beatrice through the city. Complications arise when the servant Truffaldino greedily seeks employment with both the disguised Beatrice and Florindo, trying to line his pockets by serving both at once while keeping the two unaware of the other’s presence. Take a break from life’s stresses with this summertime madcap farce!
The Jungle Book: November 8-24, 2019
A musical adaptation of one of the most well-loved books in the English language in 2015. Danger lurks everywhere for young Mowgli as he learns the “laws of the jungle” from his friends Akela, the wolf, Baloo, the bear, and Bagheera, the panther, who warn him that Shere Khan, the tiger, wants to eat him. But when Mowgli is forced to leave his friends and return to the village from which he came, he soon learns that man is the most dangerous creature of all. With sensitive themes about loyalty, honor, courage, and persistence, the Jungle Book stories have irresistible appeal for audiences of every generation.
Madeline’s Christmas: December 6-23, 2019
In what has become a holiday tradition at the cauldron, we couldn’t resist one more visit from everyone’s favorite precocious little Parisian. “In an old house in Paris, covered in vines, lived 12 little girls in two straight lines.” And with that familiar phrase, author and illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans sets in motion the adventures of the brave and resourceful Madeline! In this musical adaptation, Madeline’s schoolmates and tutor are all sick in bed on Christmas Eve, unable to go home for Christmas. Madeline comes to the rescue with the help of a magical rug merchant and takes her friends on a Christmas journey they will never forget.
Cinderella’s Dream: March 20-April 5, 2019
One of the most well-known fairytales ever written, Cinderella will get a 21st century twist from our Learning Theater Ensemble. All your favorite characters are there—the Evil Stepmother and her daughters, the Handsome Prince, the Fairy Godmother, the mice helpers, but in our story, Cinderella has a thing or two to say about her destiny. Told with original music, this production is sure to bring enchantment.
Even more productions:
BSO Music Box at AMP Strathmore is back by popular demand! The BSO Music Box concert series is the perfect program for budding little music lovers. Maria Broom hosts these 30-minute highly engaging and interactive concerts featuring an ensemble of BSO musicians performing light-hearted classical and children’s songs to develop your child’s musicality, creativity, coordination, and literacy. Half an hour prior to each concert, the room fills with a range of musical, creative, and fun activities for children and families, presented by Levine First Music. Ideal for ages 6 months–3 years.
Discovery Theater is part of the Smithsonian for Young Audiences. Shows are generally on a weekday at 10:15 and 11:30 however there are some shows that will have weekend performances. August and September they do not have shows.
In addition to on going shows at The Puppet Co Main Stage in Glen Echo, they also feature a series called Tiny Tot shows. These are geared towards the younger audience (0-4 years old) with a shorter show. Show titles vary each week.
Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center presents free performances everyday, no tickets required! Shows typically begin at 6:00pm.
Add to your calendar:
Disney on Ice at EagleBank Arena: October 2-6, 2019
Culture Queen’s Dance Party at Atlas Performing Arts: October 11-12, 2019
Gustafer Yellowgold Kids Pajama Jam Party at AMP Strathmore: October 20, 2019
Matilda: October 25-November 9, 2019
Kids Euro Festival: October 26-November 10, 2019
Paw Patrol Live: October 26-27, 2019
Dragons Love Tacos at Olney Theatre Center: October 26-27, 2019
Kidz Bop World Tour: November 10, 2019
Baby Beats with Max & Root at Atlas Performing Arts Center: November 15-16, 2019
Disney Junior Holiday Party at Warner Theatre: November 17, 2019
Lucy Kalantari & The Jazz Cats Pajama Jam Party at AMP Strathmore: December 1, 2019
Frosty the Snowman: December 7-28, 2019
Pete the Cat at Olney Theatre Center: January 11-12, 2020
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live: January 19, 2020
Judy Moody & Stink at Olney Theatre Center: April 25-26, 2020
Wild Kratts Live 2.0: April 26, 2020
Atlas Performing Arts CenterArts for Young Audiences
Black Rock Center for the Arts
Jammin Java: Tot rock shows
Boogie Babes: Thursday mornings
Rise & Rhyme at Busboys + Poets
The National Theatre Saturday Morning Live!