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Mary Poppins – Encore Stage & Studio

 Encore Stage & Studio
125 S Old Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22204

We have been to many Encore Stage & Studio shows in the past but Mary Poppins was the first show we saw that incorporated professional adult performers. This show had a different feel since the adults were played by actual adults! It is definitely at the top of my list as one of my favorites by Encore. Everything about it was Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!


Mary Poppins is a practically perfect, spoonful of sugar nanny that unexpectedly arrives in the Banks household one blustery day. Using lessons disguised as games, she helps to teach the Banks children how to be their best selves. But, is Mary Poppins’ magic enough to save this family from drifting apart? Enjoy your favorite Disney melodies and watch Mary Poppins soar across the stage in this Broadway adaptation that won seven TONY awards, including Best Musical.

SupercaliPhoto by Larry McClemons.

One thing my daughter and I loved about this performance is that Mary (played by 23-year-old Kaely Clapper) actually flew across the stage several times using cables. And Bert even did a few flips mid-air during “Step in Time”. There were a lot of talented actors with great vocals. The set in Mary Poppins was also quite impressive compared to their other shows.

MaryPoppinsMary Poppins (Kaely Clapper) soars over London. Photo by Larry McClemons.

Encore Stage & Studio should be super proud of this performance! And it turns out this was their highest attended summer production since 2007 (with High School Musical!) at over 3400 patrons! Bravo Encore!

Mary Poppins has ended but make sure to catch the next show at Encore this fall – The Best Haunted House Ever, October 14-23.

Good to Know:

•The show is recommended for ages 6 and older. However, my  5 year old absolutely loved the show.
•Ticket prices: $15 adults, $10 children, students, seniors, and military.
•The show lasts approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.
•Concessions can be purchased and enjoyed in the lobby before the show and during intermission.
•There is free and ample parking at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre, where all Encore productions are located.
•Encore offers a birthday party package.
•Encore also offers a variety of classes and camps.










Treasure Island – Encore Stage & Studio

Encore Stage & Studio
125 S Old Glebe Road
Arlington, VA 22204

 If you have been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that we attend several Encore shows each year. They never disappoint and there is something so special about children watching other children perform on stage. My daughter seems to really connect with the characters and she stay’s engaged throughout the show. It’s very unique from most other children’s theaters in the area where the actors are all adults.

We were very excited to see Encore Stage & Studio’s World Premiere of Treasure Island on Saturday:

What starts as a mystery turns into an adventure in a brand new Encore adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel. Young Jemma Hawkins escapes a dull life to search for where “X” marks the spot on a mysterious treasure map left behind by an old sea captain. Jemma meets a slew of thrill seeking sea farers as she races to find the treasure before any pirates do.

 The show was really entertaining and I especially enjoyed the pop culture references that had me laughing out loud. The set was impressive and included a mock ship. The young actors all did an amazing job and I especially loved their catchy sea shanties.

McClemons 102“The crew of pirates hoist sail. Photo by Larry McClemons”
McClemons 100“From left to right: Anne Dieulevent (Miranda Tonsetic), Christina Anne Skyette (Colleen Jackson), Elizabeth Killigrew (Abi Burkholder), Annie Bonney (Cecelia Haislmaier), Grace O’Malley (Isabella Russo), and Jeanne de Clisson (Holly Durham). Photo by Larry McClemons” 
McClemons 101“From left to right: Captain Smollett (Annie Wood), Dr. Livesey (Liam Clancy) and Squire Trelawney (Brian Metcalf) board the ship to Treasure Island. Photo by Larry McClemons”

After the performance, we attended the Pirate’s Party and enjoyed food, games, and crafts. The cast of the show mingled with the party guests and posed for photos.

EncoreTI_boat (1 of 1)

At the “Arggs & Crafts” station, the kids made their own pirate hooks out of cups and foil. They also decorated swords and bandannas.

EncoreTI_crafts (1 of 1)

At the Combat Class, Clara learned all about stage fighting and practiced sword fighting using socks with some of the Treasure Island cast.

EncoreTI_combatclass (1 of 1)

The fun continued when a group of pirates taught Clara a sea shanty.

EncoreTI_seachanty (1 of 1)

We both really enjoyed the show and Pirate’s Party. Clara has been pretending to be a pirate at home ever since!

Good to Know:

•The show is recommended for ages 6 and older. However, my almost 5 year old absolutely loved the show.
•Ticket prices: $15 adults, $10 children, students, seniors, and military.
•The shows last approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.
•Concessions can be purchased and enjoyed in the lobby before the show and during intermission.
•There is free and ample parking at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre, where all Encore productions are located.
•Encore offers a birthday party package.
•Encore also offers a variety of classes and camps.

Annie is Coming to The National Theatre + Giveaway!


Annie is playing at the National Theatre March 15-20th.

I am thrilled to announce that I am giving away a set of 2 tickets for the opening night show on Tuesday, March 15th at 7:30pm. Leave a comment below to enter. Winner will be chosen by random on 3/1/16. Must be 18 or older to enter.

Official show blurb:

WASHINGTON, DC (January 12, 2016) Leapin’ lizards! With more than 400 performances under her belt, the new U.S. National Tour of Annie will play the National Theatre for one week only, March 15 – 20, 2016. Directed by original lyricist and director Martin Charnin for the 19th time, this production of Annie is a brand new physical incarnation of the iconic 1977 Tony Award®-winning original.

Tickets are on sale now and start at $48 plus applicable service charges. Tickets are available at the National Theatre box office, online at, or by calling (800) 514-3849. A day-of-performance lottery for a limited number of best available tickets at $25 each – cash only – will be held at the theater two hours before each performance. Orders for groups of 10 or more may be placed by calling (202) 628-6161 ext. 227. For more information, call (202) 628-6161 or visit

After touring the production to 41 cities across the nation, Troika Entertainment, LLC is pleased to announce select new lead cast members for the 2016 leg of the tour.

The new production features a 25-member company: newly cast in the title role of Annie is Heidi Gray, an 11-year-old actress from the Augusta, GA area, making her tour debut. Also new to the Orphanage are Sage Bentley as Tessie, Bridget Carly Marsh as July, Annabelle Wachtel as Molly, and Casey Watkins as Duffy. They join Molly Rose Meredith as Pepper, and Emily Moreland as Kate. Chloe Tiso joins the company as Grace Farrell.

Continuing to star in the company are Gilgamesh Taggett as Oliver Warbucks, Lynn Andrews as Miss Hannigan, Garrett Deagon as Rooster, Lucy Werner as Lily, and Jeffrey B. Duncan as FDR. Sunny and Macy, rescue terrier mixes, star as Sandy.
The featured ensemble includes Chelsey Lynn Alfredo, Jonathan Cobrda, Ruby Day, Todd Fenstermaker, Madisen Johnson, Brianne Kennedy, Tyler Lenhart, Brendan Malafronte, Theresa Rowley, Kelsey Shaw, Connor Simpson, and Daniel Forest Sullivan.

Annie has a book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Martin Charnin. All three authors received 1977 Tony Awards® for their work. Choreography is by Liza Gennaro, who incorporates selections from her father Peter Gennaro’s 1977 Tony Award®-winning choreography.

The original production of Annie opened April 21, 1977 at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Cast Show Album, and seven Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin). The first national touring company of Annie played National Theatre for 18 weeks in 1978. The show remains one of the biggest Broadway musical hits ever. It ran for 2,377 performances after it first opened, has been performed in 28 languages, and has been running somewhere around the world for 38 years.

The beloved score for Annie includes “Maybe,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” and the eternal anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

The celebrated design team includes scenic design by Tony Award® winner Beowulf Boritt (Act One, The Scottsboro Boys, Rock of Ages), costume design by Costume Designer’s Guild Award winner Suzy Benzinger (Blue Jasmine, Movin’ Out, Miss Saigon), lighting design by Tony Award® winner Ken Billington (Chicago, Annie, White Christmas), and sound design by Tony Award® nominee Peter Hylenski (Rocky, Bullets Over Broadway, Motown). The lovable mutt “Sandy” is once again trained by Tony Award® Honoree William Berloni (Annie, A Christmas Story, Legally Blonde). Musical supervision and additional orchestrations are by Keith Levenson (Annie, She Loves Me, Dreamgirls). Casting is by Joy Dewing CSA and Holly Buczek CSA, Joy Dewing Casting (Soul Doctor, Wonderland, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). The tour is produced by TROIKA Entertainment, LLC.


Alice in Wonderland – Encore Stage & Studio

Encore Stage & Studio
125 S Old Glebe Rd
Arlington, VA 22204

We attended our third Encore Stage & Studio show on Sunday and like the previous two performances, we were thoroughly entertained. But before the performance of Alice in Wonderland began, we first attended the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. This was a special event held only before the final performance.


To enter the party, we had to go through the rabbit hole, just like how the story begins. This was such a cute idea and Clara got a kick out of crawling through the tunnel.


Then we had the chance to meet Alice along with other characters and join them at the table for tea.


The hat making station was Clara’s favorite part. There were various types of hats to decorate with stickers, feathers, jewels, pom-poms, and ribbon.


There was a curious version of croquet being played by the children, with flamingo mallets and hedgehogs as the balls. We also enjoyed tea treats and drinks appropriately labeled “Eat Me” and “Drink Me”. The tea party was a really fun event and got us in the spirit of wonder before the show started.

We took our seats in the theater and before the show started I read the storyline to Clara:

When curious Alice falls down, down, down the rabbit hole, she discovers the magical world of Wonderland where cats can talk and cards play croquet. But, Alice is sure to miss her birthday party if she can’t convince the Queen of Hearts to let her go! With the help of the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and a whole cast of wacky companions, Alice must unleash the full power of her imagination to find her way home.

The stage was transformed into a bright and fanciful wonderland with cut-outs of flowers, stuffed toadstools, and a house of cards. of Encore by Larry McClemons

The cast included over thirty young actors and there was so much talent in this group! You can tell they have a passion for acting. My daughter especially loves watching other children perform. She has really enjoyed the act-it-out classes at her preschool and watching Encore’s performances is inspiring her to want to perform on stage.

AliceinWonderland2(1)courtesy of Encore by Larry McClemons
AliceinWonderland6(1)courtesy of Encore by Larry McClemons

Encore’s performance of Alice in Wonderland has come to an end but I highly recommend attending one of their upcoming shows; you will not be disappointed! Up next is Shrek, showing July 17-26.

Good to Know:

•Ticket prices: $12 adults ($15 for Shrek), $10 children, students, seniors, and military ($12 for Shrek).
•The shows last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.
•Concessions can be purchased and enjoyed in the lobby before the show and during intermission.
•There is free and ample parking at the Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre, where all Encore productions are located.
•Encore offers a birthday party package.
•Encore also offers a variety of classes and camps.

Fancy Nancy the Musical – BlackRock Center for the Arts

BlackRock Center for the Arts
12901 Town Commons Drive
Germantown, MD 20874

My 3 year old daughter Clara is a huge fan of the Fancy Nancy book series so when I saw this performance advertised, I immediately bought tickets. I knew it was a show that she would adore (that’s fancy for like very much;). I was also interested in checking out the BlackRock Center since I had never been there before.

Prior to the show, the BlackRock center offered a tea party, so I bought tickets to that as well ($10/person). The invitation said to come in your best ruffles, bows, and flair so Clara and I put together a posh outfit for the occasion. Ooo-la-la!


As we walked into the tea party room, Clara was thrilled to be handed a pink feather boa. The tables were perfectly decorated, complete with pink table cloths, balloons, and doilies.



On the tables were various masks and crowns for the children to decorate with stickers and markers. The tea party fare included mini cupcakes, brownies, cookies, fruit, and drinks. We of course ate with our pinkies up and called each other “darling”.


Fancy Nancy and Bree even made an appearance at the tea party!


It was then time to see the show! We made our way into the intimate, 209-seat theater with proscenium style stage. We sat in the front row and were only about 4 feet from the stage. There really isn’t a bad seat in the theater. It’s such a nice size for little theater-goers.


The plot comes straight out the the book Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet. The set and costumes were true to the book; fancy, frilly, & exquisite. The songs were all wonderfully entertaining. Our favorite was the hip-hop number delivered by Lionel as a rapping shark. He even jumped off the stage and came over to Clara’s seat to rap a couple lines!

After the 50 minute show, the cast members came out to the lobby to give autographs and pose for pictures with the kids. I highly recommend catching this performance the next time it is showing (hopefully again next year)! We were so impressed with this show and venue that we will definitely be going to the next children’s performance in March: The Very Hungry Caterpillar (March 28-30).

Good to Know:

•Tickets $15/person for the musical and $10/person for the tea party.
•Best for ages 3-10 and adults too!
•A gift stand had Fancy Nancy wands, t-shirts, feather boas, and books available to purchase.
•Ample parking available behind the building.
•Bathrooms located just outside the theater.