The Front Row Blog

Walk on the Wild Side: 3 Easy Ways to Dress for the Jungle

Get excited, Encore family! We can’t wait for our upcoming production of The Jungle Book! As you prepare to join us at the theatre June 2-11, we want to give you a few simple ideas on how to express your inner animal through your fierce outfits! You’ve joined us for Princess Balls and Pirate Parties, so why not show off your jungle style too?

1. Wear your favorite prints or clothing with animals on them. It’s so simple to get in touch with your jungle style, using items already in your closet!

(Photo by Aileen Pangan)

2. Create some simple animal accessories, such as these adorable animal ears from Paging Supermom.

3. Looking for a more subtle approach? Find color and accessory inspiration from your favorite animal characters! The folks over at Disneybound are pros, so feel free to check it out.

No matter how you decide to show your animal spirit, we’re excited to see it! Be sure to get your tickets for The Jungle Book and get ready to show off your style.

Performance Dates and Showtimes:
Friday, June 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 11 am and 3 pm
Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 3 pm
Friday, June 9, 20176 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 11 am and 3 pm
Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 3 pm

Blog contributor: Shannon McCarthy, 2016-17 Arts Apprentice

A Jumble of Fun with Actor/Director Rachel Hynes

Greetings, everyone! We are thrilled to share an interview with one of the A Sidewalk Stroll actors who also directed this production. In addition to her wonderful work in our Theatre for the Very Young program, she also serves as one of Encore’s fantastic teaching artists, as well as being an Encore alum herself. Please welcome Rachel Hynes!

Encore: Welcome to Encore’s Front Row blog! We’re so excited to learn more about A Sidewalk Stroll. What was your primary inspiration for the creation of this play?

Rachel: My two-year old nephew, Leon! When he visits, we go to the park; I noticed that we spend just as much time looking at things on the way as we do playing at the park.

Encore: Could you briefly walk us through the process of devising a new piece for the theatre?

Rachel: The point of departure could be anything—a word, an image, an event, a character. Then, you have fun exploring! A Sidewalk Stroll started with an idea about a baby bear who would get frustrated all of the time. As I began to explore what situations Baby Bear might find herself in, I discovered that I was actually interested in was identifying emotions, and acknowledging that lots of different emotions happen over the course of a day—even on a walk to the park! The cast and I improvised different ways to get to the park, things that Arlington kids might see on the way and emotional reactions they might have. From these improvisations, we created the journey that our kids would go on. It’s a little bit like cooking—you have all the ingredients, it’s just a question of how you put them together to make the best play possible.

Encore: Are there any considerations you take into account, given that the target audience includes preschoolers and their families?

Rachel: Absolutely. You always have to think about the world from their perspective, how they experience things; so the size of objects may seem huge to adults, but that may be how a preschooler experiences the object. I also think a lot about time—what’s too long for a preschooler? What is too short? Mostly, I think about whether or not it’s fun. If I’m not having fun, neither will our audiences.

Encore: What’s been the best part of the rehearsal process?

Rachel: Working with Adrian and Ruthie and the staff at Encore! We’ve all laughed a lot.

Encore: What do you enjoy most about performing for young people?

Rachel: They are the best audiences. Young people get involved in the performance and are really invested in the outcome. I also love the post-show time when our audiences get to come on stage and explore the props in the show. It’s amazing to watch them play and explore the colorful pool noodles or work up the bravery to touch the spider puppet, or even make the spider puppet crawl on the web.

Encore: Could you describe A Sidewalk Stroll in five words or short phrases.
1. A colorful jumble of fun
2. Emotions abound
3. Hopping, running, stomping
4. Imagination carries you everywhere
5. Curiosity is the best toy

Encore: Any advice for the parents of first-time theatre-goers?

Rachel: Come and enjoy!

Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us, Rachel! If you’ve got little ones in your life, be sure to catch A Sidewalk Stroll at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church before it strolls away for good this weekend! To purchase your tickets, please click here.

Performance Dates and Showtimes:
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Friday, May 26, 2017 at 10:30 & 11:45 am

Photos by Aileen Pangan and Shannon McCarthy

Blog contributor: Shannon McCarthy, 2016-17 Arts Apprentice

Congratulations to Jim Clancy, Allstate’s National Volunteer of the Year!

Encore is thrilled and proud to announce that our Board of Directors’ very own Jim Clancy has been named Allstate’s National Volunteer of the Year! A technology manager for 30 years with Allstate, Jim bested more than 350 nominees to win the accolade. The volunteer award is part of the company’s annual Helping Hands volunteer recognition program, celebrating employees who go above and beyond in donating their time to the causes they care about – and creating positive social change in their communities.

We were lucky enough to chat with Jim about this honor, as well as his wonderful work volunteering for Encore, in all of his various positions.

Jim Clancy 2

Encore: Congratulations on being named Allstate’s National Volunteer of the Year! What were your first thoughts when you found out you’d received this award?

JC: My Vice President said I was chosen as the National volunteer of the year and my first thought was, “They have one of those?” My second thought was, “Does Encore get more money?” Apparently, the answer to both questions is “Yes!” Allstate donated $5,000 to Encore Stage & Studio because I volunteer.

Jim Clancy - Combat1
Encore: What was your first involvement with Encore? What is it like to work alongside your children at the theatre?

JC: I first worked with the kids in the scene shop, and then was asked to join the Board of Directors to represent the technical side of the operations. After driving the boys to and from many rehearsals and getting to know Susan, she asked me to share my stage combat experience by choreographing the fights in Treasure Island. All of it is fun for me because I get to see the kids learn and implement their new skills and develop truly amazing productions.

Treasure Island Sword Combat 2
Encore: Can you share a favorite moment or memory at Encore?

JC: I don’t have favorites. I enjoy every moment!

Encore: You have been fight director for Treasure Island and for this season’s Night at the Wax Museum; can you share what that position entails and if you have any important lessons/tips?

JC: Important tip: don’t get blood on the costumes. Blood stains are nearly impossible to get out. Just kidding. But more seriously, safety is number one. Making it look real is what makes it fun, but it takes concentration and dedication to the craft.

Encore: On the topic of safety, could you describe what it was like to fly actors in Mary Poppins?

JC: Landing Mary Poppins perfectly center stage, or landing Bert on the chimney, is much more difficult than you’d think. But the most fun was zooming the nasty nanny off stage while she screamed at Mary Poppins to “Put me down!” My flight crew was the best, of course, so really all credit goes to Paddy, Josh, Sarah, and Fred.



Encore: What do you enjoy most about being on the Board?

JC: The staff at Encore energize everyone around them. You simply cannot interact with anyone at Encore and not smile. It’s a special place.

Encore: What have you learned or gained through your involvement with Encore?

JC: I’ve met many wonderful staff, equally wonderful parents, and especially wonderful kids. And I’ve seen some amazing live theatre.

Jim Clancy - Combat2
Encore: Anything else you’d like to share?

JC: My recommendation to anyone reading this blog? Purchase a season subscription: you’ll enjoy every minute of every show!

Many thanks to Jim for sitting down with us to be interviewed and, of course, for all of the tremendous work he’s done for Encore, in the shop, on the Board, and in our community! We wanted to wrap up this post by including some words about Jim from our Artistic Director, Susan Keady:

Jim Clancy began volunteering one summer in the technical shop, building and painting a set with his sons. Through the years, he has remained working alongside the crew but he expanded his influence to include the casts, the parents and our board of directors. His infallible work ethic and steady attention to detail is remarkable. Jim remains consistently even-handed as he teaches the crew about building a set, safely works with the cast conducting stage combat, or while he shares advice on how to craft an authentic character role. He is knowledgeable and he shares his knowledge. He is reliably wonderful as a pragmatic infinitely creative force on the Encore team.

Click here to read the full press release.


To witness the thrilling combination of Jim’s fantastic fight choreography and Susan’s directing expertise, be sure to get your tickets for our upcoming production of Night at the Wax Museum! Click here to buy your tickets today.

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A special thank you to Allstate for their support of community non-profits and their generous donation.

Photos by: Larry McClemons, Aileen Pangan, and Caitlyn Barron for Allstate Insurance Company
Graphic by: Aimee Pangan

Blog contribution: Shannon McCarthy, 2016-17 Arts Apprentice

The Jungle Book | June 2 – 11

Mowgli is taught the ways of the jungle by a bear named Baloo and Bagheera, a panther, and Kaa the snake. When father wolf becomes too old to rule his animal kingdom, an angry Tiger named Shere Khan who has been out to get Mowgli since he was a young boy, tries to name himself the new king. Mowgli, with the help of the nearby villagers and a treasure given to him from ancient ruins, must stop the tiger from becoming the new king, and help restore order in the jungle again.

We recommend this production for ages 4 and older.

Performance Dates and Showtimes:
Friday, June 2, 2017 at 7:30pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 11am and 3pm
Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 3pm
Friday, June 9, 20176 at 7:30pm
Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 11am and 3pm
Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 3pm

All performances are held at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre (125 S. Old Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22204).

Tickets: $15 for Adults. $10 for Children, Students, Military and Seniors with a valid ID. Includes all box office fees. Includes all box office fees.

5 Easy Steps to the Wax Figure Challenge!

Greetings from tech week here at Encore! Our cast and crew are currently putting in the hours it requires to take a production from great to polished and performance-ready. What better way to congratulate and support them on all of their hard work than to ensure that lots of large audiences come and see their show? Sharing your love of our Encore students and their show is super easy – and fun!

You may recall the Mannequin Challenge, a trend sweeping across the internet a few months ago in all sorts of unique and interesting ways, ranging from the set of Hairspray Live!, athletic teams, and even the cast of our very own A Fairytale Christmas Carol. Given the similarities between a mannequin and a wax figure, we think it would be fantastic to perform your very own Wax Figure Challenge as a way to celebrate Encore’s upcoming production of Night at the Wax Museum.

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How to Perform a Wax Figure Challenge:

1. Download and print this sign to attract people’s attention – or even create your own!

2. Make your way to a busy area with lots of people and families! Some suggestions include: your school, the mall, community centers, libraries, etc. Be sure to stay safe and bring a parent or guardian along if you’re a younger member of our Encore family!
"Step in time" with Mary Poppins, presented by Encore Stage & Studio. Photo by Larry McClemons.

3. Channel your inner Cleopatra or King Henry VIII and strike a pose! The wackier, the better because you’ll catch people’s attention. Hold up your sign to share your love of “Theatre by kids, for kids!”
Photo by Larry McClemons

4. Paparazzi! Get a friend or family member to snap a photo of your pose “out in the wild.” Capture the wax museum vibe even better with a moving Boomerang photo of people walking past your amazing pose!
Photo by Haley Olivenbaum

5. Hit the web! Share your awesome wax figurine poses on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #EncoreWaxMuseum. Be sure to tag us (@EncoreArlington) so we can see your fabulous photo skills. Who knows, we might even share a few of our favorite poses… #BraggingRights

Stumped on what else to say on your posts? Feel free to copy and paste this blurb to share with your friends and followers (emoji use at your discretion):
Can’t wait to see Encore Stage & Studio’s Night at the Wax Museum March 10-19 at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre! Between a hilarious love triangle involving Cleopatra and Henry VIII and a widespread hunt for buried treasure with Blackbeard and Butch Cassidy, it will be a trip for the history books! For tickets and more info, check out!

The cast and crew of Wax Museum will be thrilled to see you at the show! Click here to buy your tickets online or call (703)548-1154. we can’t wait to see Wax Figure Challenge posts from all of you, backstage and off!

Photos by: Larry McClemons, Hayley Olivenbaum
Blog contribution: Shannon McCarthy, 2016-17 Arts Apprentice

7 Ways to Fill Your Heart with “Theatre By Kids, For Kids!”

While the Virginian weather may have you dreaming of springtime picnics or adventures in the jungle, it is, in fact, still February! One thing that never wavers, however is L-O-V-E…of theatre, that is!

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we want to showcase a few ways to fill your heart with love of “Theatre by kids, for kids!”

1. Dreaming of warmer days? Set your imagination off and running as you prepare for Spring classes like “Fairytale Fun” for grades 2-3 and “Animal Adventures” for grades K-1. Click here for our full listing for grades K-12 and class descriptions. Enroll online today!

2. Do winter winds have you running for a blanket fort on your days off school? Come play the day away at our wonderful Holiday Mini-Camps! Students in grades K-2 spend the day exploring their creativity through theatre games, dance and movement, as well as arts and crafts. Young artists in grades 3-5 participate in our Play-in-a-Day program, in which they work as a team to create a whole new work in just the length of camp. Each camp day centers around a unique theme, which influences all the activities for the day. Upcoming Mini-Camp/Play-in-a-Day themes include Night at the Wax Museum (February 20 – Presidents’ Day) and The Jungle Book (March 3 – Parent/Teacher Conferences), both inspired by upcoming shows in Encore’s 2016-17 season! Already enrolled? Sign up for Spring Break Camp! Enrollment is a la carte–choose to sign up for one day, or the entire week! Click here to enroll online.


3. Come in from the cold and make it a family date at Encore’s upcoming production of Night at the Wax Museum! This show has everything you could hope for in a wild adventure: pirates, cowboys, and a mummy, oh my! Creativity and history meet when we meet some of the most notorious characters on the books, including Cleopatra, Henry VIII, and Blackbeard himself. From the same author that brought us this season’s very popular The Best Haunted House Ever, Night at the Wax Museum is sure to be a crowd favorite, so get your tickets now!

whatsnext nightwax

4. Feeling inspired? There’s no better way to demonstrate your love for theatre than by auditioning for cast or crew! Join Encore for an adventure of magic and verse on the high seas with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Click here to learn more about auditions and access the necessary forms ahead of time.


5. During this season of love, we couldn’t be more excited about our upcoming production of Godspell. Presented through our Musical Theatre Intensive (MTI) program, a small group of people help Jesus tell different parables by using a wide variety of games, storytelling techniques and a hefty dose of comic timing. An eclectic blend of songs, ranging in style from pop to vaudeville, is employed as the story of Jesus’ life dances across the stage. Dissolving hauntingly into the Last Supper and the Crucifixion, Jesus’ message of kindness, tolerance and love comes vibrantly to life. Click here to buy your tickets today.



6. Want to use your theatre experience and spread your love of Encore with the next generation of young artists? Apply to be an Encore Camp Aide this summer! Each day, Aides have the opportunity to lead or assist teaching artists with classroom activities including theatre games, warm-ups, and craft projects. This fun position is available for high school students, ages 14 and older. Click here for more details about this job, as well as other available Encore opportunities! Download your application today.


7. Feeling the love? Click here to donate to Encore’s “Theatre By Kids, For Kids!”

Here’s the quick recap:

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Photos by Larry McClemons and Aileen Pangan
Blog contribution: Shannon McCarthy, 2016-17 Arts Apprentice

Kitchen Adventures | Feb. 9 – 25, 2017

Encore Stage & Studio Present: Kitchen Adventures
Theatre for The Very Young

February 9-25, 2017

Something’s sizzling at Encore! In its newest play series, Theatre for the Very Young, Encore Stage & Studio presents “Kitchen Adventures”— starring professional artists who bring colorful foods to life, all the while teaching your little one about healthy choices. With more than a tablespoon of fun, Encore has the recipe for an exciting theatre-going experience for you and your child!

We recommend this production for ages 1 and older.

Performance Dates and Showtimes:
Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 10:30 am
Friday, February 10, 2017 at 10:30 am
Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 10:30 am & 11:45 am
Friday, February 17, 2017 at 10:30 am & 11:45am
Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 10:30 am
Friday, February 24, 2017 at 10:30 am
Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 10:30 am & 11:45 am

All performances and rehearsals are held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (4000 Lorcom Ln Arlington, VA 22207)

Tickets: $10 General Admission. Includes all box office fees.

Cue the Applause! 2016-17 Encore Honors

While recent award show broadcasts may have had you in La La Land and bringing out your Hidden Figures, Encore certainly emerged as a huge “People’s Choice” this season.

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(Image courtesy of DC Metro TheaterArts)

Several of our Encore actors were honored for their performances in 2016. As the Vixen in Snow White, Belle Perkins was included in DC Metro Theater Arts’ compilation of the “Best Performances in Musicals in Professional Theaters in DC/MD/VA,” as well as Kristen Jepperson and Erich Izdepski as Winnifred and George Banks in Mary Poppins, respectively.

The accolades were not limited to those onstage, however. Encore Stage & Studio was included as part of the list of “Best Direction in Musicals in Professional Theatres in DC/MD/VA” for Snow White. Artistic Director Susan Alison Keady was similarly honored for Mary Poppins. Both productions were also featured on “Best Musicals in Professional Theaters in DC/MD/VA.

We are honored and thrilled to begin the new year as the top Enrichment Program in Arlington Magazine’s Best of 2017. Many thanks to Lisa Rabasca Roepe for her positive write-up about our programming! To read more of her kind words and to hear about our Executive Director Sara Duke’s humorous Encore journey, click here.

Congratulations to all of Encore’s honorees, and we look forward to a wonderful 2017!

Photos by Larry McClemons.

Blog contribution by Shannon McCarthy, 2016-2017 Arts Apprentice.