Living in and around the often congested and always buzzing stretch of curvy road affectionately called the Beltway, definitely has its perks.  We live right in the middle of all the drama, both political and, as it turns out, kid’s drama–theatrical that is–with some of the best productions for families anywhere. Read on for a sneak peek at this year’s season for the junior theater patron in all of us, from familiar venues like Imagination Stage to the U.S. Botanical Garden.

imagination-stage-dcPhoto by: Imagination Stage

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Imagination Stage
Based on a book by the same name, this treasured- toy-come-to -life story may seem trite but sounds as if it will take young audience members on the adventure of a lifetime as central character Edward, a china doll rabbit, learns about the value of goodness and humility for all.  Then, throughout Winter and Spring, Imagination Stage brings three fairytale heroines to life with productions of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on a holiday run,  plus The Freshest Snow Whyte, and Wonderland:  Alice’s Rock and Roll Adventure, modern twists on enduring classic stories that help earn this theater exclusively for children, its innovative reputation.

Imagination Stage
4908 Auburn Ave. (Bethesda, Md)
Online: imaginationstage.org

Mary Poppins by Olney Theater Center
With a scheduled holiday run,  Olney Theater Center hopes to welcome a big family crowd for its production of Mary Poppins, the iconic story that nudges us all to suspend rational thought just a bit and believe in what a spoonful sugar and the power of love can do. Join Olney also for three shows on just two weekends each, catering to young audiences first in January with Rainbow Fish based on the beloved picture book, followed by The House on Pooh Corner and Anne of Green Gables in April and May. Next summer, Olney entices young and old theatergoers alike with the TONY Award-winning romantic musical, My Fair Lady.

Olney Theater Center
2001 Olney-Sandy Spring Rd. (Olney, Md)
Online: olneytheater.org

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Adventure Theater
Sure to charm the pull ups off just about any young theater afficionado and their adult seatmates, this holiday time show at Adventure is recommended for all ages, and billed a World Premiere Musical. Cutie pie audiences will also look forward to this Fall’s Knufflebunny: A Cautionary Musical based on Mo Willems’ book, and a host of other all ages recommended shows including a new production of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp.

Adventure Theater
7300 MacArthur Blvd. (Glen Echo, Md)
Online: adventuretheatre-mtc.org

Flowers Stink by the Kennedy Center at U.S. Botanic Garden
Bouyed by a nomination for two Helen Hayes awards following its world premiere last year, Flowers Stink returns to a unique and colorful stage at the U.S. Botanic Garden where it is presented in collaboration with the Kennedy Center’s Performances for Young Audiences. The show features a young lady struggling with a school assignment who gets a little help from her friends, but not to worry, Audrey II, the carnivorous plant friend from Little Shop of Horrors is not a member of the cast.

U.S. Botanic Garden
100 Maryland Ave., SW (Federal Center)
Online: kennedy-center.org

Adventures with Mr. Bear by Arts on the Horizon at The Lab of Convergence
Arts on the Horizon, one of the first and only companies dedicated to children ages zero to six, takes even the youngest of audiences seriously opening its season just in time for the holidays with a “World Premiere” show Adventures With Mr. Bear, about a little girl and her favorite stuffie.  Then look to Spring and the return of area munchkin-sized audience favorite, Point A to Point B, a show described as inspired by the National Museum of American History exhibit, America on the Move. Finally, hold on ’til next summer for By the Seashore, a sensory-filled experience especially for babies and toddlers, or grab seats now for an October 6-8 sneak peek.

The Lab of Convergence
1801 N. Quaker Ln. (Alexandria, Va)
Online: artsonthehorizon.org

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

–Carolyn Ross