Castaways Presents: Oliver Twist

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Published: 06/13/2016
Oliver Twist
adapted from Charles Dickens’ novel

See the show!
Murderers. Pickpockets. Beggars. Schemers. Loners. We are still fascinated with the criminal element nearly 180 years after this story was published. This faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens' second novel is an exciting melodrama about the adventures of an orphan born into a life of poverty and misfortune but redeemed by an act of unselfish courage from an unexpected source. Filled with an atmosphere of mystery, its major characters are from the delectably dark underworld: Fagin, Bill Sikes, Nancy, and the Artful Dodger.

Performance DatesJune 17 @ 7:30pm
June 18 @ 2:00pm
June 24 @ 7:30pm
June 25 @ 2:00pm

General Admission available at the door before each show:  $12.00 each; Children 12 and under: $8; Ages 3 and under are free.
Advance prices and online sales are available here: Advance sale prices end June 16.

The Dr. A. J. Ferlazzo Auditorium, 15941 Donald Curtis Drive in Woodbridge, Virginia.

More information about Castaways Youth Theatre can be found at:

Partial funding has been provided to Castaways Repertory Theatre by Prince William County.

Giveaway: Peter and the Wolf and Laquita

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Published: 05/10/2016

NVYB is pleased to present its production of the Sergei Prokofiev classic, Peter and the Wolf. Featuring Australian guest soloist Victor Leo Smith as Peter, our version is augmented by beautiful scenery, and exquisite costuming. The talented and award winning members of NVYB round out the cast of characters.

Paquita, one of Marius Petipa's Imperial masterpieces, features Colorado Ballet dancer Melissa Zoebisch and Alexandru Glusacov in the principal roles.

Tickets are $30.00 for adults, $20.00 for seniors and military, and $15.00 for children. Don't miss out on this wonderful performance! NVYB is the only local performing company dedicated to staging and producing professional level productions for talented and aspiring young dancers.

Want to win tickets? Use the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway provided by Academy of Russian Ballet.  By entering, you agree to all Giveaway Rules.

Summer Programs at the Academy of Russian Ballet 2016

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Published: 05/03/2016

Review: Kwik Stix

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Published: 05/03/2016
One of the things that keeps us from doing art is the cleanup- but with Kwik Stix 12 pk from The Pencil Grip, Inc. there's no mess to clean! We were given a 12 pack of Kwik Stix to try, along with a Single Grip, which we haven't tried yet.  What did we do with our Kwik Stix? Well let me show you!

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
Normally I'm not a big fan of art, so I make sure we get in our hours with camps, classes, and during December.  Our coop goes on break and so I use the extra time to fit in lots of art projects, but my kids really love art, so I was happy to give them an unexpected "Art Morning".  We listened to some classical music and did two projects, which were both a lot of fun, although neither one was specifically a "tempera" project when I found it.  Kwik Stix are fast-drying, so they're paint (Tempera paint, specifically), but they're dry in 90 seconds or less, which means you're not sitting around waiting for paint to dry!

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
First we did some bubble paintings.  We used black paper and the white Kwik Stix to trace around circles we made using different objects in our house.
 Next we used the various other colors included in our 12 pack to add the rainbow effects you see when you blow bubbles, leaving lots of black space so they still looked transparent.  My daughter really liked this project (age 8) and made two.

 Some of us even got creative and added some popped bubbles.  The original of this project called for oil pastels, but I wanted to see how the coverage was on black paper, and I think that the Kwik Stix did a fantastic job! I was really impressed with the white paint on black paper.
 Next we decided to go for something a little more classically inspired.  We read a little about Monet and decided to make some Monet-inspired dot art to go in my husband's new office.  He has a new 6-cabinet filing system, and so he was in the market for some new kid-art anyway!   We used canvases from a craft store, and the kids marked lightly with pencil to show where their water would be and where their flora would go.  I think these turned out really beautifully!! Again, we didn't follow the original directions I found, which had you use painters tape to mark off the bridge- instead we just let our background dry (it's only 90 seconds!) and then used the white to draw on our bridges, and it did a great job! The Kwik Stix are round, so they lent themselves nicely to impressionism, although they also did a great job drawing lines on our bubbles!
 The 8 year old's painting (and the 8 year old)
 The 12 year old's painting (He really likes art and enjoyed this very much.  He was also happy with how the colors blended- he was dubious about how this would work out with "quick drying paint" since he likes to blend his shades- but he was quite pleased with his final product).
And the 10 year old's painting.  He does not like art, was not thrilled that we were doing two projects, but I think that his turned out lovely, as well.  I'm not sure you can really see them, but I like his lily pads with pink flowers :)

We really enjoyed making art with our Kwik Stix, and I especially like having the option for the kids to grab them and paint without me having to worry about spills or messes.  They really make painting no more difficult or messy than using markers or crayons.  These would be a great buy for summer fun, and we hope that you'll try them out, too!

Kwik Stix The Pencil Grip, Inc. Review
Crew Disclaimer

Check out Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at CCA

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Published: 04/08/2016
Update: We were able to attend the show last night (April 15th) and it was just a ton of fun.  On Facebook I said that it was a lot like having your friends put on a show and including a bunch of their favorite inside jokes- except that in this case your friends were quite talented and their jokes were all actually funny.  The narrator is incredibly talented (this play is ENTIRELY song- there's not dialogue at all) and so are her assistants.  What my kids liked most, however, was the humor.  They've already decided they would be a fantastic 3-person camel for Halloween, and I thought my boys were going to fall out of their seats laughing when some of the brothers started beat boxing and singing "Bad Boys, Bad Boys" from Cops.  
The students definitely took a few liberties with historical accuracy, but we really enjoyed the fun, easy-going atmosphere of the play and the extent to which the characters interacted with the audience, whether they were playing up a joke or running laps around the audience.  Also popular with my kids were Pharaoh Elvis and the fact that Jacob was in a wheelchair, which they thought added a lot of credibility to him being old.  Unfortunately, Jacob was also in an air cast, so I think this was more necessity than creative costume decision, but the kids liked it anyway.  

The set was beautifully done and very well used, and overall we thought the show was great! We had a lot of fun.  If there was a downside, I would say it was some microphone issues, but the crew was displaying the lyrics to each song on large screens that flank the stage, so even if you couldn't hear perfectly, you could still follow the whole story.  We went opening night, though, so I'd imagine they'll have those kinks worked out tonight!! This was definitely the most fun high school performance I've ever been to, and I loved how they utilized the whole school in some way- from the Elementary schoolers up through high school.  Just a heads up, they did open with a prayer and end with an altar call (just so you know it's coming).  It's a story based on the Bible, though, so I don't think that was a shocker for most of the crowd.  

On April 15th and 16th , Christ Chapel Academy’s (CCA) Performing Fine Arts Department will put on their rendition of a famous biblical story:  Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.  The student led play will begin at 7pm each night. 

The biblical story of Joseph is a familiar one to many.  Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musicalize the Biblical story of the young man whose brothers are jealous of their father's favoritism toward him and the beautiful coat he receives as a gift. They sell him into slavery in Egypt, telling their father he has been murdered, but he ultimately becomes important to the Pharaoh through his ability to interpret dreams. This bible story is put to 24 catchy songs complete with choreographed dance and song.

The play is produced and directed by CCA Performing Fine Arts Instructor, Harmony Barbour and student directed by CCA Students Michael Carpenter and Bria Alston. 

Tickets are on sale in the main school office and will be sold at the door.  Prices are as follows:

$3 Children |  $5 Adults  | $15 Family (3 students or more)

About Christ Chapel Academy

Christ Chapel Academy is dedicated to unleashing the leadership potential within each student.  Academically rigorous programs, a vibrant christ-centered community, and a unique multicultural learning environment make CCA a great option for parents who want a smaller school but don’t want to sacrifice big opportunities for their student(s). 

To learn more about Christ Chapel Academy, visit

Music Lessons in Prince William County with Musically Creative

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Published: 01/18/2016
Music consumes our lives.   We get in the car, turn on the radio, come home to music, watch American Idol and jog with our favorite tunes.  Did you ever stop to think that at one time these artists had no experience on their instruments or voices.   What an odd concept!   That’s where we come in…

We train beginners thru intermediate students how to play instruments!   You don’t have to wait until middle school to start!  We offer young guitar (ages 7-10), concert bands (ages 10 – adult), worship guitar (ages 10 – adult) and if there is enough interest, we will offer beginning strings or beginning recorders.   All of our classes are taught by trained and experienced music educators that love working with all ages!   We value music and want to make it affordable to all and therefore we offer classes for around $50 month.  We have multi-family member discounts as well since many siblings or parents like to take with their kids.  For this semester only we are offering a BOGO FREE BAND  (that would be around $25 month each!!) for two band members (must be siblings or parents).  

Classes are in Manassas and Gainesville and start in February, so there isn’t much time left to register.  Some classes will fill up!   For more details, visit today!

Stage Door Dance Studio Meetup

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Published: 11/25/2015
My daughter, who I thought hated anything traditionally "girlie" (see also: failed experiment at ballet) loved the reader meet up at Stage Door Dance Studio so much that she and her little BFF signed up for class!

With bedazzled leotards!! (I am so excited!)


So excited.

Anyhow, our reader meet up was fantastic.  The kids got to try several different types of dance, and I think everyone had a really fun time.  Kelly, the director and Dance Teacher of the Year according to 2015 Best of Prince William, was so fun and excited to get everyone dancing, tumbling, and having a great morning!

Stage Door offers classes for ages 2.5 and up in various classes including:
Hip Hop
As well as specialty classes in leaps and turns

The studio is large, well maintained, and inviting, and they even offer birthday parties! Also, they apparently win a lot, too...

Right now, when you register by December 1st, you can get your Dance Shoes on them! Classes are offered on both weekdays and weekends, and there's a little bit of something for every age and every level of dancer.

Thanks again to Stage Door Dance Studio for hosting our November Reader Meetup!

Cinderella at the National Theatre

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Published: 11/20/2015
I was so fortunate to be able to attend a media preview of Cinderella at the National Theatre in DC on Wednesday.  The show was absolutely amazing.  My friend and I were in awe of the magical quick changes, the beautiful singing, and the incredibly real chemistry between Cinderella and Prince Topher (we think they may be an actual thing).

I don't want to give away too much about the twists that they put on this classic tale because I really want you to go see it.  If you've never taken your children to see a live show and you've been considering it, this is the show you've been waiting for.  The storyline is marvelous, the cast is incredible (the evil step sisters are hilarious!) and you'll have a magical time enjoying the performance together!
Tickets for the show start at $48 and you can order them online.  You can also enter the ticket lottery for select seats at $25 (see details on this process here).  Whether you enter the ticket lottery or not, you'll want to plan to arrive 30-40 minutes before showtime as there is some additional security screening going on right now, and bags are not allowed inside the theater.  The show runs about 2 hours and 10 minutes and there is one intermission where drinks and snacks are available for purchase.  If your child can sit that long, I would say they will love the show!

This is a two-week only limited engagement, so clear a night on your calendar and take your children out to enjoy a magical night with Cinderella at the National Theatre. I think you'll love everything about it!

Disclosure: I was provided with 2 tickets to review Cinderella at the National Theatre.  All opinions are my own.

Giveaway: Peter Rabbit Tales at HPAC

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Published: 10/21/2015
This week's giveaway is for a family four pack of tickets to the Hylton Family Series presentation of Peter Rabbit Tales taking place November 1st at 2pm or 4pm.  To enter, find the matching image of Peter Rabbit Tales on our Facebook fan page and leave a message identifying whether you like Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton Tail, or Peter the best :) Good luck! 

Peter Rabbit™ Tales

Based on The Orginial Peter Rabbit Books® by Beatrix Potter

  • November 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm
  • November 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm
Merchant Hall
The magical and marvelous world of Beatrix Potter comes alive at the Hylton Center when Peter Rabbit and his cousin, Benjamin Bunny, go on one final escapade in Mr. McGregor’s garden. All of Potter’s popular characters are along for the ride, from Squirrel Nutkin to Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, and Jemima Puddleduck to Thomasina Tittlemouse. With this delightful performance, Peter Rabbit and friends celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of this beloved British children’s author. The adventures and misadventures of these cherished characters have enchanted young readers for well over a century, when the precocious young rabbit first hopped out of the pages of a storybook and into children’s hearts. The Enchantment Theatre Company brings this captivating performance for children filled with fantastic masks, whimsical puppets, gorgeous scenery, and original music.

As always, when you enter one of our giveaways you agree to be bound by our giveaway rules


Permalink to Theaterpalooza
Published: 08/25/2015
We're super excited to share Theaterpalooza with you- especially since one of my kids is going to be participating in their winter show!! Sign ups are still available and since it's a developmental program, there's no audition experience necessary! 
Is Coming to Manassas

Manassas, Virginia - July 20, 2015 - Theaterpalooza is excited to be moving in to the Manassas neighborhood this fall, 2015.  Starting Tuesday, September 8, classes in acting, singing, dance and productions will begin at The Ben Lomond Community Center 10501 Copeland Dr, Manassas, VA 20109.

Our first production is the musical,
The Snow Queen.  If you like
Frozen, you'll love The Snow Queen, the classic fairy tale in which Frozen is based.

About Theaterpalooza
Theaterpalooza is an arts education organization for children of all ages which seeks to elevate arts education in the form of classes, workshops, productions, theatre in the schools and tours.

Since 1997, Theaterpalooza has been offering classes, workshops and productions from New York to Florida.

Theaterpalooza has performed twice at Carnegie Hall; the first being "From Sea To Shining Sea" March of 2014 and the second performance in 2015, the debut of the children's opera "Billy Bewitched".  Theaterpalooza has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall for a third time on February 12, 2016.

Theaterpalooza's performing troupe, Broadway Bound has recorded cd's, and performed all over the east coast from New York to Walt Disney World in Florida.

Theaterpalooza seeks to instill a love of the arts in every life we touch and takes pride in creating the dreamers and doers of tomorrow!

Review: Peter Pan 360 @Tysons Corner

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Published: 08/02/2015
Note: My sweet, sweet friend Heidi agreed to go check out Peter Pan 360 for me while I was on vacation.  (There has to be some kind of an upside to being my friend! Free tickets are it!) She and her daughter checked out the experience at Tysons Corner, and shared their thoughts below!

Honored to be asked to attend and review Peter Pan 360 for PWCMoms, I actually had no idea what it was. Somehow I had missed all the facebook and tv commercials. So I zipped to the website to figure out what “360” meant:
“Escape to Neverland in a whole new way with this spectacular, innovative live stage production of PETER PAN that combines intimate theater-in-the-round and overhead surround CGI projection; with actors in dazzling flying sequences forty feet in the air and whimsical puppets that bring J.M. Barrie’s classic tale to fantastical life, creating a truly unique environmental theatrical experience!”

The videos and descriptions were enthralling. I was excited and full of anticipation about a special evening out with my daughter. (I thought my 11-year-old might be a little old to fully enjoy and appreciate this experience.)

When I told my 8-year-old daughter we were going to see the play “Peter Pan” she started reminiscing about the various other Peter Pan experiences we have had: seeing the musical at a university theater, watching three different movies, as well as seeing “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” live at Disney World when she was four. I explained this would be different from all of those experiences, but I didn’t give her any details. (I just hoped I was right!!)

Good news….I was right! It was fabulous. Take your favorite aspects of various theater experiences (part Imax, part circus, part theater, part puppetry) put them together under a modern big top, and you will enjoy the story of Peter Pan with lots of laughter and gasps of amazement. We didn’t stop smiling the entire time.

The temporary theater is under a tent near Tysons Mall in McLean. You have to park at the mall’s free garage (there are plenty of signs to direct you) and walk a long city block to the theater. (Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. I was over-dressed.) There are plenty of photo ops before you enter the theater and around the lobby, including a backdrop for a “photo booth” to capture a fun instagram photo (#nevergrowup). Sit in your seats early for the pre-show entertainment…very talented musicians singing pirate song classics.

The theater-in-the-round was a lot smaller than I expected, but that is part of what makes this a more unique experience. I had the impression there are no bad seats: we sat about half-way up and it was perfect. You get to actually see the actors’ facial expressions! The stage is raised and much of the action is in the air, so even if an adult is sitting in front of your child, her view will not be blocked. The overhead projection appears to be perfectly viewable from any seat as well.
I loved hearing the belly laughs from my daughter, especially when Tinkerbell threw fabulous temper tantrums face down on the stage. I enjoyed watching my daughter gasp when the actors flew through London. And I was impressed with the gymnastic and acrobatic choreography that added to an already fabulous, classic story.

My 8-year-old’s review: “My favorite part was everything! It was also really funny because Michael, the little boy, hit Captain Hook in the head with the Teddy Bear. I liked the scenery and how they flew. I felt like I was in there with them. Tinkerbell was really funny. She was my favorite character because she had tantrums when Peter Pan said they had to go save Wendy.”
It was a great production and I highly recommend it to your family!

Just the facts:
Recommended for ages 5 and up, although younger children will enjoy it, too. Older children may not fully enjoy the whimsy of this experience.
Pros: Even if you have seen Peter Pan “umpteen” times, this will be a unique experience, small theater, engaging actors, visually entertaining, photo op with a couple of actors after the show
Cons: Hard to understand the British accents, loud noises and lights may be uncomfortable for children with sensory sensitivities
(Note: The crocodile “Tick -Tock” got very close to the audience, growled loudly, and made a few little ones cry. Capt. Hook slices Tiger Lily’s neck to kill her, not graphic, though. But (yay!) she was one of the first out for applause.)
The show is in DC for four weeks with an all new cast (from the previous run). It lasts approx. 87 minutes with a 20 minute intermission. Tickets start at $30.  There is a concession stand and merchandise shop at typical theater prices ($20 t-shirt, $15 foam sward, $5 soft pretzel, $7 popcorn.)

Disclaimer: PwcMoms was provided with free tickets to this event, but all opinions are our own.  You can tell because Heidi is entirely too nice to lie.  She'd tell you. 

Cheers Art Studio Summer Camp

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Published: 07/19/2015
 This past week, my youngest (7) was able to go to art camp at Cheers Art Studio.  Their camps are 1/2 day mornings (9am-12pm).  You pack your child a snack, but everything else is provided in terms of art supplies.  Ages 6-12 will enjoy these camps, with everyone able to have fun at their own artistic level.  Camp is $125/week and there are still 3 weeks available for your creative fun (well, your child's creative fun, and your 3 hours of "me time").
This is the class with their final projects :) 

Savannah's week was "Drawing People and Animals" which included:
Monday- Trace ourselves full figure/ Full Skeleton (pencil and crayons)/ Shapes and Shading
Tuesday- Skull/ Shading techniques to create texture (pencil and charcoal)
Wednesday- Portraits- finishing half the page (charcoal)/ How to Draw Animals from shapes (pencil)
Thursday- Self-portraits/ How to Draw Animals (charcoal)
Friday- Animals- paint your pet or endangered animal (paint)

And finally, since you guys enjoyed our video Newsies Review, here's what Savannah thought of art camp at Cheers:
I don't know why I keep shooting these sitting in my bed.  I have so many pretty places in my time I will try to be a little more creative :) 

Disclosure: Thanks to Cheers for having Savannah out for a week of camp!! We were gifted a week of camp in order to do our review, but all opinions are honest and our own.  Have you ever tried to script a 7 year old? Can't be done, even if I wanted to. 

Newsies at the National Theatre

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Published: 06/10/2015
I apologize for a new low in my blogging- totally unedited, unscripted videos because I don't have time to ask him, organize, and type.

#NoFilter #NoMakeup #JustGetItCheckedOff

But seriously, Newsies was great! They'll be playing the National from June 9-21 if you can go we both recommend it!

Newsies at the National!

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Published: 05/26/2015

I am so excited that Newsies is coming to the National Theatre in DC! (June 9-21!)

This could be because when I was in High School, Newsies indicated that we had a substitute teacher in Choir, and I was going to be able to start on my 4-6 hours of homework a little early.

It could also be because now is the time to seize the day.  Your choice.

They delivered the papers, until they made the headlines…Direct from Broadway comes NEWSIES, the smash-hit, crowd-pleasing new musical from Disney. Winner of the 2012 Tony Awards® for Best Score and Best Choreography, NEWSIES has audiences and critics alike calling it “A MUSICAL WORTH SINGING ABOUT!” (The New York Times). Filled with one heart-pounding number after another, it’s a high-energy explosion of song and dance you just don’t want to miss.
Based on true events, NEWSIES tells the captivating story of a band of underdogs who become unlikely heroes when they stand up to the most powerful men in New York. It’s a rousing tale about fighting for what’s right…and staying true to who you are.
NEWSIES was brought to the stage by an award-winning creative team. It features a score by Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast) and Jack Feldman (The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride) and a book by Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), with choreography by Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific) and direction by Jeff Calhoun (Big River).

Whether you think it's a Fine Life, or you'd like to be King of New York- Newsies is a great musical with a fantastic message!

Want to go? I've got a pair of tickets to give away to the June 10th show! Visit my facebook page for details on how to win!

As with all of our giveaways, prize is provided by the sponsoring organization, and our giveaway rules apply.

Sleeping Beauty 2015 at the Hylton Center

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Published: 04/14/2015
The Northern Virginia Youth Ballet & Academy of

 Russian Ballet presents "The Sleeping Beauty" on

 Friday, May 1 at 8pm.

Featuring Colorado Ballet dancer Melissa Zoebisch as Princess Aurora and International Guest Artist Alexandru Glusacov as Prince Desire, the production is sure to delight all ages! Based on the classic Charles Perrault fairy tale, the NYVB/ARB production features sets from Russia, costumes from Russia or designed by the in-house design team, as well as the award winning dancers of NVYB/ARB. Additional guest Russian dancers round out the cast of fairy tale characters. 
Want a discount on tickets? Use code PwcMoms online or in person to get 25% off (NOT valid on phone orders).

Giveaway: Peter Yarrow at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

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Published: 04/01/2015
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss Peter Yarrow!! 

Peter Yarrow
April 12, 2015 at 2 pm
Folk musician, songwriter, and children’s author Peter Yarrow returns to the Hylton Center for a fun and interactive musical performance that combines beloved folk tunes with inspiring lessons for children of all ages. This American music legend and Grammy Award winner is perhaps best known for his career with the beloved folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary; yet he is also a spirited activist who now uses his music to educate children about the effects of bullying. In this family-oriented concert, Yarrow performs “Don’t Laugh at Me” and other songs that encourage children to treat each other with compassion, kindness, and respect, as well as some of iconic folk songs from throughout his career, including “If I Had a Hammer,”  “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children

Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Giveaway: Pushcart Players: Alice in Wonderland at the Hylton Center

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Published: 02/18/2015
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss Alice in Wonderland!! 

Pushcart Players: Alice in Wonderland
February 28, 2015 at 11 am and 2 pm
Lewis Carroll’s zany and fantastical tale comes to life when this Emmy-nominated troupe returns to the Hylton Center with Alice in Wonderland. Filled with pure nonsense and madcap characters that everyone knows and loves – from the White Rabbit and the Mad Hatter to the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts – this intriguing tale about a curious and imaginative young girl has enchanted readers for many generations. Pushcart Players now brings young Alice’s adventure to the stage in this delightful adaptation, complemented by whimsical music, vibrant costumes, and spectacular scenic elements. “A polished and knowing theater company and a felicitous event for children.” (The New York Times)
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children

Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Messiah Sing A Long at the Kennedy Center

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Published: 12/01/2014
(This is a recap of the 2013 Messiah Sing Along.  For information on this year's event, please refer to the Kennedy Center website)

Each year, the Kennedy Center in DC hosts a free Messiah sing a long on December 23rd.  I'd never been before, and my friend had mentioned going early on in the month.  Little did I realize the draw that Handel has on people!  According to employees at the Kennedy Center, folks start lining up when the center opens at 10am to get their free tickets for an 8pm show! People play board games, picnic, and hang out all day.  We were a little later, arriving at 4pm.  We parked in the Kennedy Center parking garage, which was around $20, and got in line, which at this point, wrapped 4 times around the Hall of Nations and was wrapped around the outside of the building.
 People brought camping chairs, if they were smart, or just hung out and "chilled" (Ha! It's funny because it was cold outside!) They started handing out tickets around 6pm, and it took us about 40 minutes to get inside and get our tickets.  The staff is really great about keeping the line moving quickly.  Each person in line is able to get 2 tickets, so if you come in a very large group you might not all be in the same row.  After we got our tickets, we headed upstairs to a cafeteria and had dinner.  The options were varied, soups, sandwiches, a salad bar, or hot entrees.  I spent about $15 on my dinner, not horrible for DC :)
Finally, it was time for the 8pm start.  There's a choir, orchestra, four soloists, and the audience, which is part of the choir.  You can bring your own score, or they were selling them inside the Hall of Nations while people got their tickets.  Luckily for me, my friend not only came with serious pipes, but her own copy!  The entire audience, despite some of them having been at the Kennedy Center for over 10 hours at this point, are all in very high spirits and the atmosphere is truly festive.  When it's your "turn" to sing, the director will turn to face the audience and direct you.  It was a lot of fun.  We left after the Hallelujah Chorus, but the whole experience is probably about 2 hours long from start to finish, with some time for introductions, 50 minutes for the first section, a 15 minute intermission, and 50 minutes for the second section.  This was a lot of fun, and I'd definitely do it again!  We saw lots of kids in the audience, but I think if it were me and there were enough adults to make it work, I'd have the adults wait in line and one adult bring the kids a little closer to show time (remember, each person in line can get 2 tickets, so you only need 1/2 of your group in line for tickets at any point in time).

Giveaway: Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters: The Musical @The Hylton Center

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Published: 11/12/2014
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss the Berenstain Bears!!! 

Berenstain Bears LIVE! in Family Matters: The Musical
November 22, 2014 at 11 am and 2 pm
Come on down to Bear Country for this enchanting adaptation of Stan and Jan Berenstain’s beloved children’s series. Fresh from its sold-out off-Broadway run this heartwarming musical based on three of the Berenstain Bears most popular books. Brother Bear’s grades are slipping, Sister Bear still has a few things to learn about making new friends, and Papa Bear can’t stop eating junk food – but thankfully, they – and we – can always depend on Mama Bear and her loving patience to set things right. Filled with original songs, fun dancing, and important life lessons, this humorous and heartfelt theatrical experience gives parents the opportunity to share these treasured tales they enjoyed as children with their own young cubs! “Like honey for little kids!” (Mommy Poppins)
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children

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Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Giveaway: John Tartaglia: Imagine Ocean @The Hylton Center

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Published: 10/15/2014
Next week at the Hylton, don't miss ImaginOcean!! 

John Tartaglia: ImaginOcean 
October 26, 2014 at 2 pm and 4 pm
Tony Award nominee John Tartaglia takes young audiences on a magical under-the-sea adventure in this one-of-a-kind live glow-in-the-dark musical! Fishy friends Tank, Bubbles, and Dorsel discover a treasure map, thus beginning their remarkable journey of underwater discovery. Jam-packed with music ranging from swing to R&B to big band, this charming story appeals to audiences of all ages and is a blast from the first big splash to the last wave goodbye! Celebrated puppeteer, actor, and singer John Tartaglia got his start working on Sesame Streetas a teenager, and later starred in Broadway’s Avenue Q, Shrek the Musical, and Beauty and the Beast, and created and performed in Disney’s television hit Johnny and the Sprites. “A whimsical trip to the depths of the sea.” (Back Stage)
Tickets: $15 Adults, $5 Children

Want to win tickets? Use the Rafflecopter Below! Winner will be announced on SUNDAY! 
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Reminder/Disclaimers: PwcMoms giveaways are sponsored and provided by the institution named.  PwcMoms facilitates the giveaways, but is not responsible for prizes or facilities. Please refer to our giveaway rules for full details.  If you enter, you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

Date Night: Cheers Art Studio

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Published: 10/06/2014
Gina from Cheers has been inviting me out for some time to check out their studio- but to be honest, I've been avoiding it because I have zero artistic talent.

Maybe negative zero.  Can you have that?

Anyhow, we were near each other at the Bumps, Babies, and Beyond Expo and she invited me to come for their first "Date Night" this past Friday, and since there was nothing on the calendar, I said yes.  I figured worst case scenario, my husband and I could make fun of each other's total lack of talent in the painting department.  Don't get me wrong- if you need a room painted in one solid color, my husband is a boss- but painting anything else? Probably no.

But then, the strangest thing happened.  We had a ton of fun, and it turns out we don't suck nearly as much as we thought we did!

Let's back up.  Cheers is a "fun evening out" venue in Woodbridge off Minnieville Road.  You can bring your own libations and snacks, and an art teacher takes you through a prepared project.  I found individual Tiramisu and Wine Juice Boxes.  I am not really a drinker- and these were gross.  I don't recommend them.  (Or maybe that's just me not being a wine drinker) The tiramisu was good.

On the night we went, we were making two love birds sitting on a branch.  The sample project was daytime, but the teacher went on to demo an evening scene for those of us who needed different colors for our houses- which is what we went with. The people sitting near us were really nice, and incidentally, our friends showed up (totally unplanned!) so that was fun, too! First we did some swirly colors.  I was really good at this part.  Light in the center, dark on the outside.  The good news is, if you accidentally get some red or some green in your brush, people think you were being artsy! Just go with it! Don't tell them you're, in fact, a giant klutz!
Next we made birds.  There was a trick! We made ovals, filled them in, and then put the brush flat on the canvas and swirled it around itself to make the head.  #EvenICanDoThat
So here's where it started to get a little dicey.  I happen to like following directions.  My husband, however, wanted to be all innovative and do squares instead of circles.  I wanted to get an attitude about the fact that our finished product wasn't going to look like the teacher's (and therefore was not going to be winning), so I just sat back and let him go with the squares.  If I'd been making my own, I would have copied EXACTLY because that's how you DO it. 
 I drag this poor man out to more weird stuff than is fair, so the least I could do was let him do the squares.  Then he abandoned me to take a work call, so I added some color to each square and decided it was okay since everyone else was like "Wow, squares!!" I assume they were doing that to be nice, but I am pretending it's because it looks good.
In the end, we totally had fun.  We were even both impressed with our ability to make swirly colors and birds.  I'm not saying we're going to quit our day jobs, but it turned out pretty good considering the source (namely, two un-talented people!). I think we'd actually both really like to do it again- which is really surprising because this is not our thing.  I'd get my own canvas, though, so that I can copy the teacher exactly, because that's the kind of kid I am.  If you like to work cooperatively, that's perfect for date night...but if you're a little more independent, there's lots of individual options, too!    There was lots of laughing going on, and everyone seemed to have a good time. 
Ultimately, everyone's seemed pretty happy in the end :) A lovely way to spend a Friday night with my favorite guy in the world. 

For more information about Cheers, and to see their upcoming projects, visit their website or their Facebook page.  

Thanks to Cheers for having us come out! While our session was gifted to us, all opinions, including those about wine in a juice box, are my own.  As always when I'm talking about date night, make sure you use a designated driver. 

Dirty Dancing Live in DC!

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Published: 08/14/2014
Okay, okay, okay.  I know "Dirty Dancing" isn't necessarily little-kid-friendly, but it's my moms favorite favorite favorite (I'm going to repeat everything 3 times like the goose from Charlotte's Web today, apparently) and I'm really excited to have it playing live in DC!

Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage
National Theatre, August 26-September 14
DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance, and sensational dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Featuring the hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” London’s Sunday Express says “This crowd-pleasing stage adaptation hits the jackpot!” Don’t miss your chance to see this record-breaking live theatre sensation. You’ll have the time of your life!

Use code MELON for discounts on select performances and prices. Offer valid at all points of purchase, limit 8 tickets per order. For discounts, click HERE 
For more information on Dirty Dancing on Tour, click HERE

Giveaway: The Music Box

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Published: 08/01/2014
As part of their ongoing Hylton Family Series, the Hylton Performing Arts Center will be hosting  The Music Box:

Synetic Theater presents The Music Box

  • August 6, 2014 at 11:00 am
Merchant Hall
Embrace your inner eccentric! The Music Box is a magnificent collection of comedic short stories set to music and brought to life in Synetic Theater’s unique movement theater style. Audience members journey into the wonderful world of storytelling through pantomime, imagination, illusions and physical comedy. Where an average day becomes extraordinary when a surly janitor and an uptight businessman discover a magical mask that tricks or teases whoever discovers it, two cowboys in the wild west tame a bull on the loose, two road workers try to catch a butterfly in an attempt to capture the heart of a girl, and—not to be missed—the classic invisible wall. Synetic Theater is D.C.’s premiere physical theater company producing world-class performing arts for more than a decade and winning 24 Helen Hayes Awards.
These performances are appropriate for children ages 5 to 12 years old.
$15: Adults
$5: Children

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Youth Chorus Program Beginning in the 2014-2015 Season

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Published: 04/15/2014

Youth Orchestras of Prince William Announces Addition of Youth Chorus Program Beginning in the 2014-2015 Season

Woodbridge, VA (April 11, 2014) – The Youth Orchestras of Prince William(YOPW) is delighted to announce the addition of a Youth Chorus for the 2014-2015 season.  This treble voice choir will be open to both male and female students in grades 3 through 8.  The chorus will perform a variety of repertoire including classical, folk, and world music and collaborate with YOPW’s orchestras.
John Devlin, Music Director said, “YOPW’s mission is to serve the area’s youth by providing them with high-level musical opportunities. We saw a need for an excellent choral program that will bring together talented youth from around the region. Our unique position within the county allows YOPW to do this and will give the chorus the chance to perform with our instrumental ensembles.”
YOPW began incorporating choral collaborations into their performances in the 2012-2013 season.  These have proven to be successful learning opportunities for all of the students – orchestra members and singers – and YOPW is excited to expand these offerings. 
“Integrating a youth choir into our own offerings is an ideal channel for younger students that are interested in the choral arts. With us, they will grow into excellent ensemble members and enjoy the experience in the way that our instrumental students are currently able,” said Devlin.
Students interested in joining the new Youth Chorus will be required to complete a voice check.  Voice checks will give students the opportunity to meet with Chorus staff one-on-one and will last 5-7 minutes per student. 
Voice Checks will be held:
·      Monday, May 12th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm at Gar-Field High School
·      Monday, May 19th from 5:00 - 9:00 pm at Patriot High School
·      Saturday, September 6th from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at Gar-Field High School
Appointments can be made by contacting the YOPW Office at (703) 590-7083 or

For more than 30 years, the Youth Orchestras of Prince William has provided exceptional instrumental education for the youth of the region. We offer opportunities for a wide spectrum of students, ranging from beginning string players and intermediate wind players to advanced students performing professional symphonic repertoire. YOPW enrolls approximately 275 students in three string orchestras, two symphony orchestras, a wind symphony, and a variety of chamber music ensembles. Our students are primarily from Prince William County, Virginia, but YOPW members come from all over Northern Virginia and North Central Virginia. For more information about the Youth Orchestras of Prince William visit our website: 

Summer Intensives at Academy of Russian Ballet

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Published: 04/01/2014

Our friends at the Academy of Russian Ballet are offering several summer intensives, master classes, and maintenance classes for your dancer!  The Academy of Russian Ballet appears on our "Readers Recommend: Dance Studios for Children in Prince William County" list, as well. 

The Academy of Russian Ballet is a sponsor of  All opinions expressed are those of, however. 

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