Following this Friday and Saturday's "Afro-American Story Telling" by Rosie Lee Hooks, the Kennedy Center's Children's Art Series will turn to "That's the Spirit," which also will be presented during its annual Holiday Festival.

Presented by Gary Young's Archaesus players and under Susan Swarthout's direction, this Yule theme is by Sharon Doyle and will be performed Dec. 8, 9 and 10 at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the Center's rooftop Musical Theater Lab. Dec. 26 through 30 there will be performances at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Free admissions may be arranged by calling 362-7032.

The Folger Shakespeare Library will be bristling with special events. Previews for "Two Gentlemen of Verona" began last night under Louis Scheeder's direction. On Monday, Dec. 12 at p.m. Giles E. Dawson, of Catholic University, will lecture on Elizabeth Marriage in Fiction and Fact." On Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. Eugenia Rawls will perform Lillian Smith's "Memory of a Large Christmas," a different hour for the Library's concert series.

The Puppet Theater of the American Puppetry Association will present Allan Sevens' rod puppet version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" starting Saturday night at 8:15 at 1/2 King St., Alexandria. Saturday's opening will find the entire block decked out to suggest Dickens' 19th-century London. Subsequent performances through the month will be Wednesdays through Fridays at 10 and 11:30 a.m. with added shows Friday afternoon at 4. Saturday performances will be at 11 a.m., 2 and 3:30 p.m. Sundays at 2 and 3:30. Details at 549-0787.

Roy Radin's "Vaudeville '77" pays its anual visit Monday night at Constitution Hall. Donald O'Connor headlines this year's line-up with Sheila MacRae, Dick Haymes, Stanley Myron Handelman, Jackie Vernon, Billy Barty and the Drifters.

The Moscow Circus, which lets you concentrate on one ring, arrives at the Capital Centre Dec. 14 for a run through the following Sunday. Nellie and Rustam Kaseyev will be back with their dancing bears and a few clown aiming to top popov, Yuri Kuklachov, will be among the 13 acts. There'll be two performances on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17 and 18.

James Taylor, the superstar singer and songwriter, has joined Stephen Schwartz's team for "Working," which Schwartz has drawn from the Studs Terkel book. Arena Stage and Chicago's Goodman Theater are the coproducers, will the Kreeger set to see it March 10-April 23.

Baltimore's Center Stage opens Sheridan's classic comedy. "The Rivals," Tuesday night to run through Jan. 8. Robert Pastene, Edmond Genest, Paddy Croft and Paul Thomas head director Stan Wojewodski's cast in settings by Eldon Elder and with original music by Fred Sanders.

Performances are Tuesday through Sundays, with reservations at (301) 332-0033.

"Celebration," by Howard University's Children's Theater, will end its tour of local high schools with performances at 8 tonight and Friday in Ira Aldridge Theater: its under the direction of Geoffrey Newman. After touring elementary schools for four years, this was the group's first production mounted for the high-school audience.

The North Star Drama Department of Northern Virginia Community College will present an original play, "Lincoln Killed Kennedy!" Saturday night on the Alexandria campus: there will be a buffet dinner at 6 and a performance at 8 . . . "Dames at Sea" is the attraction through Saturday at the University of Maryland Theater, College Park, under the direction of Mark Jolin . . . Ted Shine's "Morning, Noon and Night" will open a two-weekend run tonight at 7:30 at 916 G St., NW, presented by the new Universityof the District of Columbia theater department; details at 727-2168 . . . "My Three Angles," the Sam and Bella Spewack comedy, will open at the Edwin Booth Theater, Bel Air, Md., on Dec. 7 for a two-week run under the direction of Michele Nelson . . . Les Bateleur will present Jean-Michel Ribes' "Par Dela Les Marronniers" in French Friday and Saturday nights at 8 in Georgetown's Stage Three, 37th and P Streets NW.