Theater aficionados heading to the Kennedy Center's month-long Festival of China will no doubt make a beeline for the China National Peking Opera Company. (The remaining dates, Friday and Saturday, are sold out.) This is as it should be, for the world-renowned troupe, performing "Female Generals of the Yang Family," is destined to come to town just once a quarter-century, it seems. But there's other rare fare in our midst, offerings from Beijing and Shaanxi that devotees of adventurous stagecraft dare not miss.

Shadow puppetry has come a long way from its roots in the central Chinese city of Xian, but not so far that the Washington area gets much chance to see the Shaanxi Folk Art Theater, which presents "Cathay: Three Tales of China" on Oct. 21-23, as well as a family-friendly performance on Oct. 29 that's a great way to introduce children 4 and older to a world beyond making rabbit ears.

Then there's "Teahouse," which marks the American debut of the Beijing People's Art Theatre (Oct. 27-29) and should satisfy those with a curiosity for mid-century Chinese theater. The show travels to Washington in a production directed by Lin Zhaohua featuring a "restored version" of the original 1957 set. All events are at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. NW. For more information, call 202-467-4600 or visit

-- Scott Vogel

The China National Peking Opera Company performs "Female Generals of the Yang Family" as part of the Kennedy Center's month of performances by Chinese artists.