Summer is chock full of shows for kids

June 1, 2012

Kids, you have our full permission to act out this summer.

For all of the little drama kings and queens out there, this summer’s arts offerings are designed to get kids up out of their seats and dancing in the aisles. Rhythm is not required for most of the performances, and we hear that some of the acts may encourage parents to join in.

Peter McCory, the one-man band, is hauling his arsenal of kazoos, harmonicas, drums and guitars and a toy box of other musical hand instruments with him June 30 to the Little Tots summer series at Fairfax Corner. He’ll ask a dozen boys and girls to grab an instrument and join him onstage.

“Everybody dances, wiggles and moves,” says McCory, “cause it’s not a sit-down show.” And halfway through, he might ask you parents to jiggle and act like popcorn. His takeaway: Moms are more willing to do the Hokey Pokey than dads.

If the thought of jiggling has you giggling, you can be a part of Beowulf T. Wonderbunny’s magic act at the Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg on June 6 or at Downtown Silver Spring on June 13. Tom Lilly, former high school teacher turned magic man, will readily hand over his top hat and become your assistant during the grand finale. Can you pull a rabbit from his hat?

The Strathmore Backyard Theater’s summer lineup includes the popular kids rock band Recess Monkey and D.C.’s own African dance ensemble, Farafina Kan.

“I really wanted the series to focus on music that would encourage kids and their parents to get up and dance,” says Georgina Javor, Strathmore’s director of programming. “Music has not only a powerful influence on the developing brain, but also on the physical health and well-being of the children.”

She also booked Snowday, a local a cappella group that makes beatboxing a part of their curriculum. One of the group’s founding members, Amanda Aldag, says she can’t wait to see the kids beatbox, a skill not lost on the coolest among us. The group’s vocal percussionist will demonstrate first, then you’re expected to return the favor.

But, if by chance you’re a kid with an old soul with a penchant for the ways of townsfolk in Elizabethan England, then on the morning of Saturday, July 21, the National Theatre is where you want to be. The Renaissance Man, Chris Davis, will summon kids onstage to reenact events from everyday life during that period, playing animals, peasants, courtiers and even the queen.

“I think that gives them ownership over the show, than just yelling from their seats,” Davis says. There’s a death scene, too, but relax, he’ll make it funny.

The summer’s chock full of interactivity for kids and parents. Come fall, you may find you’ve created a monster.

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