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Performances for Young Audiences: 2008-2009 Season

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Past Events

Oct. 10 - 26, 2008 - Mermaids, Monsters, and the World Painted Purple

[<i>Mermaids, Monsters, and the World Painted Purple</i>.]

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A WORLD PREMIERE KENNEDY CENTER COMMISSION
 
Written by Marco Ramirez  
Directed by Gregg Henry  
 
A girl with fins answers the plea of a starving town. A video-game whiz faces off against a creature on the subway. A boy wields a paintbrush to stop his grandfather from losing his sight. Inspired by characters from Hispanic folklore and culture, this magical and heartfelt series of stories uses color and imagination to capture the vibrant spirit of the Latino community. Up-and-comer Miami native Marco Ramirez--a two-time Latino Playwriting Award winner at the Kennedy Center's American College Theater Festival--weaves together this rich tapestry of fantastical tales, ranging from a daughter who duels with the Devil to bring her father back, to a young superhero moving to the beats of the street. Age 9 and up.  

Performance Running Time:  80 minutes, no intermission.

Sun., Oct. 12, 2008 - NSO Family Concert: Orchestra from Planet X

[NSO Family Concert: <i>Orchestra from Planet X</i>.]

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Emil de Cou, conductor
Magic Circle Mime Company  
Look out--there are aliens in the Concert Hall! During the course of this fun-filled program, two devious but somewhat bumbling space creatures try to take over an NSO performance--and then, the world! As the concert begins, Associate Conductor Emil de Cou leads the Orchestra through an exploration of America's greatest music. Suddenly, the aliens charge in, rhythmically patting their odd metallic costumes to communicate and using mind control on our unsuspecting conductor! Before anyone can stop them, the NSO is playing Leroy Anderson's classic The Typewriter, with the space creatures as star soloists. What's going on? And can anyone foil the aliens' master plan? Before this quirky mayhem is over, youngsters will enjoy performances of Don Gillis's Symphony X, "Hoe-Down" from Aaron Copland's Rodeo, "A Night in the Tropics" from L.M. Gottschalk's Fiesta Criolla, Scott Joplin's The Entertainer (famous from the movie The Sting), John Williams's "Flying Theme" from E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial, and much more. Get ready for music that's out of this world!

Come Early for the Musical Instrument "Petting Zoo," a project of the Women's Committee for the National Symphony Orchestra. An hour before each NSO Family Concert, young concertgoers can get up close and hands-on with the instruments they'll see played on the stage--from violins, trumpets, and oboes to trombones and percussion--in the Kennedy Center Atrium.

Kids' Chats--Following the 3 p.m. concert, young audience members can ask questions and hear engaging stories in an up-close-and-personal talk with the concert artists.
 

Sun., Nov. 2, 2008 - NSO Children's Concert with Iván Fischer

[NSO Children's Concert with Iván Fischer.]

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Iván Fischer, host
Bringing all the fun and insight from his popular children's concerts in Europe, the NSO's new Principal Conductor leads this charming 50-minute journey through the art of listening, applause, and great music! As NSO musicians perform engaging selections of kid-friendly works, Fischer moves around the stage and among the audience, asking such questions as "when do we clap when we like what we hear?" and "how does the music make you feel?" The Washington Post calls these concerts "a well-conceived program of music-making and conversation…the children listened in delight as the flowing melodies formed a colorful weave." No wonder they've quickly sold out for the past two seasons!

Nov. 22 - 23, 2008 - Native Pride Dancers

[Native Pride Dancers.]

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Rainbow-colored headdresses… pulsating drumming… fancy footwork… experience the excitement of a Native American powwow! World Champion Fancy Dancer Larry Yazzie of the Meskwaki Nation, his young son Jessup, and the Native Pride Dancers perform music and movement passed down by their ancestors for centuries. Enjoy the beauty, skill, and majesty of the flamboyant Fancy Dance, featuring free-style movement with lots of energy, spectacular costumes, and sacred songs from the Northern Plains. Enhanced by indigenous vocal and flute music, other dances like the Buffalo, Eagle, and Round Dance celebrate various animals, crops, the sun, and the wind. You won't want to miss this special event--Yazzie has performed everywhere, from the Atlanta Olympics and Goodwill Games in Russia to Macy's Thanksgiving Parade! Age 5 and up.

Dec. 4 - 6, 2008 - The Trumpet of the Swan: A Novel Symphony

[<i>The Trumpet of the Swan: A Novel Symphony</i>.]

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A WORLD PREMIERE KENNEDY CENTER COMMISSION 

THE CATHERINE B. REYNOLDS FOUNDATION SERIES FOR ARTISTIC EXCELLENCE
The Trumpet of the Swan: A Novel Symphony
Based on the book by E.B. White  
Adapted for the stage by Marsha Norman  
Music by Jason Robert Brown  
Directed by Gary Griffin
With Academy Award winner Kathy Bates, Zayd Dohrn, Edward Gero, Lauren Kennedy, Peggity Price, Richard Thomas, Christopher Venditti, and Fred Willard

Though Louis is a trumpeter swan, he can't communicate like the rest of his family because he was born without a voice. To overcome this obstacle, he learns to play a real brass trumpet he got from his father. Through the friendship of a young boy, Sam, and a determination to pay back his father's debt on the trumpet, Louis overcomes adversity to attain freedom, fame, fortune, and love. In this uniquely entertaining, world-premiere theatrical adaptation of the famous book, actors come together with an on-stage orchestra and a trumpet soloist to tell E.B. White's classic story. The production features music by Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown (Parade) and a script adapted by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Marsha Norman (The Secret Garden). Age 7 and up.  

Dec. 12 - 14, 2008 - Jason and the Argonauts

[<i>Jason and the Argonauts</i>.]

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Visible Fictions of Scotland
 
Experience all the spills, thrills, and monsters from the classic Greek myth as brought to life by… plastic action figures?! Two actors from Scotland's acclaimed theater company Visible Fictions roll their big wooden cart onto the stage and suddenly it transforms into a replica of that legendary ship, the Argo. Climbing aboard is our valiant hero Jason and his misfit crew the Argonauts, who must sail the perilous seas to find the Golden Fleece and unite their kingdom. Can they sail between the Clashing Rocks without getting crushed? How will they distract the Sleepless Dragon and grab that shiny winged ram? The Glasgow Herald and The Evening News (Edinburgh) gave this inventive adaptation of the epic journey "Four stars!" Age 9 and up.  

Dec. 27, 2008 - Jan. 4, 2009 - Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny

[<i>Goodnight Moon</i> and <i>The Runaway Bunny</i>.]

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Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia
Based on the books written by Margaret Wise Brown  
and illustrated by Clement Hurd  
 
Two beloved bedtime stories featuring cute, cuddly rabbits come to life on stage! In Goodnight Moon, a young bunny bids goodnight to everything around him, from his toys and telephone to paintings of fairy-tale characters on the wall. In The Runaway Bunny, a little rabbit imagines all the different ways he could leave home, while his mother reassures she'll find him, no matter where he pretends to go. Praised for its productions of storybook favorites by Eric Carle and Leo Lionni, Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia brings its whimsical puppetry, dreamlike imagery, original music, and soothing rhythms of "bunny banter" to two childhood classics--infusing young audiences with a wonderful sense of security and peace. For age 3 and up.  

Sat., Jan. 10, 2009 - NSO Kinderkonzert: Strings and Stories

[NSO Kinderkonzert: <i>Strings and Stories</i>.]

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Back by popular demand! If you love animals and silly slapstick (and who doesn't!), then don't miss four NSO musicians in this zany program! The Kennedy String Quartet (Holly Hamilton and Jane Bowyer Stewart, violins; James Deighan, viola; and David Teie, cello) inspires everyone to listen, laugh, and learn through vivid music from the classic repertoire. Then they jump right into antic storytelling with The Donkey, the Goat, and the Little Dog by acclaimed composer and playwright Susan Kander. The Washington Post called last season's concert "a friendly and often hilarious introduction to the string quartet… as big on theatrics as it was on playing. Hugely enjoyable!" For age 4 and up.

Sun., Jan. 11, 2009 - NSO Ensemble Concert: Connections: More History and Music

[Kennedy Center Logo.]

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Yvonne Caruthers, cello and host
While nearly everyone is taught that the Star Spangled Banner was written during the War of 1812, and that the Battle Hymn of the Republic was a favorite song during the Civil War, how many people know there's a link between the Erie Canal and Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"? How about the connection between Jingle Bells, a famous slave's fight for freedom, and steel-making? Or what Joy to the World has to do with the John Deere plow? Don't miss this new multimedia program from Yvonne Caruthers, the creator of our popular Science and Music and Math and Music series. She'll be joined by several of her NSO colleagues to integrate many of today's most recognizable music works with landmarks from 19th-century American history. Age 9 and up.

Jan. 17 - 18, 2009 - NSO Teddy Bear Concert: More Tunes 'n' (Pig) Tales!

[NSO Teddy Bear Concert: <i>More Tunes 'n' (Pig) Tales!</i>.]

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Back by popular demand! Enjoy stories with music with NSO principals Marissa Regni on violin and Dotian Levalier on harp, with Marissa's father Albert Regni on four different saxophones. The program features musical selections about animals including The Three Pigs, Teddy Bear Rag, The Swan, and Baby Elephant Walk. Along with full-sized instruments, the musicians will perform on their miniature counterparts. For ages 3 to 5.

Kids can bring their favorite stuffed animal to these interactive programs and have their teddy bear friend join in all the fun! Lasting approximately 45 minutes, they're perfect for even the youngest music lovers in your family. Last season's concerts quickly sold out.

NOTE: Due to Inaugural events scheduled throughout the city between Jan. 17-20, patrons attending performances at the Kennedy Center should allow extra time for transportation.  Please visit:  

http://uspppressroom.blogspot.com/2009/01/united-states-park-police-road-closures.html

Jan. 30 - Feb. 22, 2009 - Unleashed! The Secret Lives of White House Pets

[<i>Unleashed! The Secret Lives of White House Pets</i>.]

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A WORLD PREMIERE KENNEDY CENTER CO-COMMISSION AND
CO-PRODUCTION WITH THE WHITE HOUSE HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION  

"Delightfully winsome…a merry walk in the park!" 3½ Stars
--The Washington Times

Written by Allyson Currin  
Directed by Nick Olcott  
 
Young Alastair's father has just been elected President, so she and her jittery chihuahua Tipp are moving into the White House. When their new celebrity status begins to overwhelm them, wise old usher Max takes them on a hilarious journey back in time to meet other First Kids and their pets! Pretty soon, they're rubbing elbows with a couple of Texas hounds, a grandmotherly spaniel, and more White House mutts. But some unexpected personalities pop up too, including a voracious Cajun alligator, some country-bumpkin goats, a stuffy mocking bird, a well-mannered bovine, and even a garter snake! Gathering advice from them all, Alastair learns the power of friendship, courage, and responsibility in this third installment from our popular co-commissions with the White House Historical Association. Age 7 and up.

Mar. 12 - 15, 2009 - Debbie Allen's OMAN…O Man!

[Debbie Allen's <i>OMAN…O Man!</i>.]

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Created and choreographed by Debbie Allen
 
A WORLD PREMIERE KENNEDY CENTER COMMISSION 
Produced by the DEBBIE ALLEN DANCE ACADEMY and presented in association with
SULTAN QABOOS CULTURAL CENTER OF OMAN   

Emmy winner and Kennedy Center favorite Debbie Allen is back with OMAN…O Man!, a world premiere Kennedy Center commission presented in association with the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center of Oman. Created and choreographed by Allen, this ground-breaking, dance-driven extravaganza explores the culture of Oman. It features young Omani performers collaborating with their peers from Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. to original music composed by Grammy-winning trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.

At the center of the work are two young men--one Omani, another American--who meet at a military academy with cadets from all over the world. Though similar in age, these roommates don't really understand each other. However, through music, movement, song, and dance, they take a magical journey together and discover the similarities and the differences between their two cultures, and learn much about each other.  OMAN…O Man! will transport you from where the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea meet to where the desert dunes mystify, from the ancient past to the immediate present.

From Pepito's Story, Brothers of the Knight, and Pearl to Dancing in the Wings, Dreams, and Alex in Wonderland, Allen's imaginative productions for the Kennedy Center are always sold-out hits.
Age 9 and up.  
Performance timing:  76 minutes, without intermission

Part of ARABESQUE: Arts of the Arab World

Sun., Mar. 15, 2009 - NSO Family Concert: Go, Team, Go!

[NSO Family Concert: <i>Go, Team, Go!</i>.]

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Emil de Cou, conductor
Wear your favorite team's jersey for the NSO's thrilling music program inspired by teamwork and all things baseball. Just like a day at the stadium, the program will include our national anthem, here played by a group of young Suzuki violinists. The highlight of the concert will be Steven Reineke's Casey at the Bat. Don't miss an exciting day of baseball-themed music, jersey-wearing conductors, and appearances by local sports and music stars.
 
Come Early for the Musical Instrument "Petting Zoo," a project of the Women's Committee for the National Symphony Orchestra. An hour before each NSO Family Concert, young concertgoers can get up close and hands-on with the instruments they'll see played on the stage--from violins, trumpets, and oboes to trombones and percussion--in the Kennedy Center Atrium.

Kids' Chats--Following the 3 p.m. concert, young audience members can ask questions and hear engaging stories in an up-close-and-personal talk with the concert artists.

Mar. 27 - 29, 2009 - Circus INcognitus

[<i>Circus INcognitus</i>.]

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Written and performed by Jamie Adkins
 
He's a clown with something to say--but can't quite get it out! Beginning with an empty stage and a single microphone, shy clown Jamie Adkins musters the courage to face what he fears most: speaking in public. Over the next hour, he uses everyday objects, discarded props, and acrobatic feats to create his very own one-man vaudeville act, with hilarious results! Whether on the ground, on a ladder, or on a high wire, new challenges face Jamie every step of the way, but for every problem there's always a solution. The New York Times says "this dexterous clown walks a daffy line"--showing why you should never give up when all goes wrong. Because you'll never know what you can do until you try! Age 5 and up.  

Sat., Apr. 4, 2009 - NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Tunes 'n' Tales

[NSO Teddy Bear Concert: <i>Tunes 'n' Tales</i>.]

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Back by popular demand! Join NSO principals violinist Marissa Regni and harpist Dotian Levalier as they show how different sounds, melodies, rhythms, and instruments can be used to bring a story to life. Through such favorites as "The Waltzing Cat," Ferdinand the Bull," "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," and more, you'll use your imagination to see, hear, and feel the music. For ages 3 to 5.
 
Kids can bring their favorite stuffed animal to these interactive programs and have their teddy bear friend join in all the fun! Lasting approximately 45 minutes, they're perfect for even the youngest music lovers in your family. Last season's concerts quickly sold out.

Sun., Apr. 5, 2009 - NSO Kinderkonzert: Got Rhythm?

[NSO Kinderkonzert: <i>Got Rhythm?</i>.]

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Take a journey around the world and discover the exciting pulse of music! From Africa to America, nature to noise, classical to Cuba, explore where rhythm comes from, how it flavors our lives and lives within the music of the orchestra. This delightful, high-energy program features Glenn Donnellan, violin; Richard Barber, bass; Edward Cabarga, clarinet; Adel Sanchez, trumpet; and Joseph Connell, percussion. Repertoire will include the "Habanera" from Bizet's Carmen, excerpts from Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony, Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony, and Rossini's William Tell Overture. For age 4 and up.

May 2 - 9, 2009 - NSO Teddy Bear Concert: The Tale of Teddy and the Ten Hats!

[NSO Teddy Bear Concert: <i>The Tale of Teddy and the Ten Hats!</i>.]

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Little kids love dress-up, as do the playful musicians spinning this story about a teddy bear whose zany collection of hats represents a wide variety of music, from Haydn to Sousa and beyond. Presented by NSO musicians William Wielgus, oboe; Aaron Goldman, flute; and Janet Frank, cello; children will be actively engaged as listeners in an atmosphere of fun. For ages 3 to 5.

Kids can bring their favorite stuffed animal to these interactive programs and have their teddy bear friend join in all the fun! Lasting approximately 45 minutes, they're perfect for even the youngest music lovers in your family. Last season's concerts quickly sold out.

May 16 - 17, 2009 - Parachutists (or On the Art of Falling)

[<i>Parachutists (or On the Art of Falling)</i>.]

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Theatre Mala Scena of Croatia
 
What goes up must come down, right? In this charming, wordless performance driven by original music and rhythms, two actors from Croatia's Theatre Mala Scena playfully explore how gravity impacts our everyday lives. Dressed in sky-diving fatigues, this energetic duo combines lively dance and circus acrobatics with plenty of humor and audience interaction to show that gravity means much more than just the pull of the earth. It represents overcoming obstacles to achieve your dreams, meeting someone new but also saying farewell, knowing how to land on your feet if you fall, and always being there when a friend is in need. Age 4 and up.  

Sun., May 31, 2009 - NSO Family Concert: Maestro Mouse Is in the House

[NSO Family Concert: <i>Maestro Mouse Is in the House</i>.]

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Sarah Hatsuko Hicks, conductor
With a twitch of his whiskers and a shake of his tail, D.C.'s favorite baton-wielding mouse, the lively star of Peter and Cheryl Barnes's popular children's book, has kept the paparazzi on their toes with sightings all around our nation's capital, from the Instrument "Petting Zoo" to the White House Easter Egg Roll. Now, Maestro Mouse returns to his home for a whole new family program, which will feature the world premiere of a new Kennedy Center commission, "Miranda and Maestro Mouse: Miranda's Waltz", a symphonic adventure for full orchestra and actor. Composed by Susan Kander with a story by Mary Hall Surface, the new work shows us how a maestro of a mouse opens up a whole new world to a little girl through music.

Come Early for the Musical Instrument "Petting Zoo," a project of the Women's Committee for the National Symphony Orchestra. An hour before each NSO Family Concert, young concertgoers can get up close and hands-on with the instruments they'll see played on the stage--from violins, trumpets, and oboes to trombones and percussion--in the Kennedy Center Atrium.

Kids' Chats--Following the 3 p.m. concert, young audience members can ask questions and hear engaging stories in an up-close-and-personal talk with the concert artists.