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Performing Arts

By John Kelly and Craig Stoltz
From the book "Kid-O-Rama"
Copyright 1998


Theater | Music | Getting In on the Act | Dinner Theaters

Children spend an inordinate amount of time pretending and hamming it up. So do some adults. Do your children a favor and expose them to those who do it best — actors, musicians, puppeteers and others. Our area has all manner of performing companies catering to youngsters. For live plays, places like the Kennedy Center Theater Lab and the Smithsonian Discovery Theatre generally get national companies cut from relatively professional cloth. Local troupes sometimes have more enthusiasm than polish, but this isn't always the case, and so what if Cinderella can't quite hit all the high notes? Kids still will be entranced, just as they will be by the mimes and magicians and dancers and other performers in our area. Some advice before the show begins:

  • Don't overestimate a child's attention span. Most kids' shows are in the 30- to 40-minute range. Even that may be too long for a squirmy 3-year-old. Take toddlers to shows for preschoolers or with audience participation. Puppet shows are especially good introductions to theater.
  • Describe what's going to happen — not just the plot of a play (though if it's a familiar story you can go over it beforehand), but what happens at a theater: that others will be in the audience, that it often gets dark.
  • Little ones sometimes get frightened. While they should learn not to talk at shows, let your child know ahead of time that it's okay to tell you if he or she is scared. If the child gets really upset, you should leave.
  • If you can, sit on the aisle, especially with a first-timer.

Theater | Music | Getting In on the Act | Dinner Theaters


The District Maryland Virginia
Discovery Theatre Adventure Theatre The Children's Theatre
National Theatre Puppet Company Playhouse Classika Theater For Youth
Kennedy Center: Performances For Young People and Families Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts Wolf Trap: Children's Theatre-In-The-Woods and International Children's Festival
  Now This!  


Kennedy Center Washington Chamber
Millennium Stage Concerts For Young People
NSO Family Concerts  

Getting In on the Act

SuperStar Studios

Dinner Theaters

Not long ago, local dinner theaters cottoned to the idea of using their stages on normally dark Saturday mornings or early afternoons. The plays they present tend to be the child equivalent of their grown-up fare: familiar workhorses. Food isn't included in the ticket price, which may be just as well. (If you've ever eaten at a dinner theater, you know why.)

Maryland Virginia
Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre West End Dinner Theatre

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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