D.C. metro area kids and family arts venues are set to inspire this season with shows about girl wonders like a little sister named Lizzie, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Sara Crewe (A Little Princess), and little orphan Annie. Look out too for spiders that write, celebrity penguins, and a little bit of pirate fare from Glen Echo to McClean. Discover kiddo’s greatest heroine in a story about Jane Goodall’s young life, or just a little something to tickle the funny bone from this list of the season’s dazzlers.

Photo by: Here Comes Trouble

September

Here Comes Trouble
That’s Trouble with a Capital T, according to this talented D.C. area family band’s theme song, debuting on Jammin Java’s weekend morning kids show line-up. Based on stories from their own family lives, HCT guarantees you and your resident mischief makers will identify with their fun, acapella-infused, and original music. All ages; Sep. 23.

Online: jamminjava.com

Photo: Arts on the Horizon

October

Drumming with Dishes
Dedicated to audiences aged zero to six Arts on the Horizon takes entertaining babies and pre-schoolers seriously and that includes banging on pots and pans— in an artistic and well-meaning way. Inviting a new friend to play, a young girl learns about working together to make the music happen. Ages 2 – 5; Oct. 6-21 at Lab Theatre at Convergence (Alexandria). Oct. 25-29 at Atlas Performing Arts Center (H Street).

Online: artsonthehorizon.org

Night Train57: A SensoryFriendly Folk Opera
Recommended for children as young as three, this show promises a family-friendly and sensory-friendly musical and space adventure led by the Grammy-winning Dan Zanes and vocalist Claudia Eliaza, who invite singing along, and dancing to their original folk music. Ages 3 and up; Oct. 6-8.

Online: kennedy-center.org

How I Became A Pirate
Young Jeremy is invited aboard a pirate ship to become a swashbuckling hero, but and finds his shipmates really just want to learn to play soccer. All ages; Sep. 22-Oct. 22.

Online: adventuretheatre-mtc.org

The Smartest Girl in the World
Imagination Stage gives voice to Lizzie, a little sister with big aspirations to win a spot on a quiz show so she can help her family, and hopefully convince her brother to see her in a good light. Ages 6 and up; Oct. 7-29.

Online: imaginationstage.org

Photo: Eva Rinaldi via Flickr

November

Annie
Everybody’s favorite redhead and her dog Sandy are unleashed for a blockbuster performance at Olney Theater Center playing through the holiday season. Now celebrating this show’s 40th anniversary, this production will star Patricia Hurley fresh off her run as Mary Poppins at Olney last year.

Online: olneytheatre.org

Me Jane…The Dreams and Adventures of Young Jane Goodall
Don’t miss this debut musical about a girl and her chimpanzee stuffie, Jubliee, as it sets the stage for the woman who became world renowned scientist and conservationist, Jane Goodall. Ages 6 and up; Nov. 18-Dec. 10.

Online: kennedy-center.org

Peggy the Pint-Sized Pirate
What kid isn’t inspired to bravery by a sea monster capturing her friends? All the stuff of a great pirate adventure is presented in this free debut run of The Alden’s fall production for youth. All ages; Nov. 18-19.

Online: mcleancenter.org

A Little Princess
Grab one of a limited number of $50 family four packs at each performance for this literary classic-turned-musical staged by Creative Cauldron in Falls Church. According to the website this show inspired more than one film version, including the 1939 original starring Shirley Temple. All ages; Nov. 3-19.

Online:  creativecauldron.org

Photo: The Kennedy Center

December

Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Suitable for children age three and older, this musical adaptation is based on the enduring 1938, husband and wife authored, tale of an ordinary man who develops more than just an extraordinary interest in penguins. Ages 3 and up; Dec. 19-31.

Online: kennedy-center.org

Charlottes Web
Wilbur the pig, his prolific spider friend Charlotte, and the rest of the barn will visit Imagination Stage this holiday season for a musical adaptation of the E.B. White story appealing to generations of kiddos big and small. Ages 5 and up; Nov. 18-Jan. 7.

Online: imaginationstage.org

Snow Day
Live music and an adventurous elf accompany a young girl on her first snow day experience. As with many Arts on the Horizon’s shows this non-verbal production makes even the littlest of patrons feel a part of the show. Ages 2-6; Dec. 1-16 at Lab Theatre of Convergence (Alexandria), Dec. 17 – 19 and 27 – 30 at Atlas Performing Arts Center (H Street Corridor).

Online: artsonthehorizon.org 

Saturday Mornings at the National
Three shows of interest to holiday theater-goers are featured on the Saturday Mornings at the National line-up this season: Nutcracker highlights by Virginia Ballet Theater, a family adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and holiday music from around the world. Reserve free tickets one week advance on the web site. All ages; Dec. 2, 9, and 16.

Online: thenationaldc.org

Which theater performance are you most looking forward to attending with your kids? Tell us in the comments below. 

–Carolyn Ross