The Front Row Blog


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

Cue the Applause! 2016-17 Encore Honors

From left to right: George Banks (Erich Izdepski) and Northbrook (James Brady)  Photo by Hayley Olivenbaum

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.

DC METRO logo work3

(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.

Princess Ball Tickets On Sale Now



Saturday, January 14, 2017

Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre (125 S. Old Glebe Rd. Arlington, VA 22204)
Dress up in your prince/princess best and make your theatre experience a lasting family memory! Join us for royalty sweets and treats, fun activities, creative crafts, and a chance to interact with the cast of A Little Princess!

Tickets: $20 | Ticket admits one. 11 am performance of A Little Princess is sold separately. Click here to purchase your tickets today!

Check out our Princess/Winter Ball and Special Events photos from past seasons:

Snow White’s Winter Ball 2016:
Snow White Winter Ball

Pirate Party 2016:
Pirate Party 2016

Cinderella’s Ball 2015:
Cinderella Ball 2015

Alice in Wonderland Mad Hatter’s Tea Party 2015:
Alice in Wonderland Tea Party


Baby/Toddler Classes: Begins October 4 | St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church


Join us for our open house on Tuesday, September 27th from 11 am – 1 pm. Meet our Teaching Artists!

Share, grow and learn with your child during this special time in their life! Encore’s new parent/caregiver classes will promote your child’s development and provide
exciting enrichment. Through creative play, movement and music your child will sharpen critical social and physical skills in a fun and imaginative environment.

Location: St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (4000 Lorcom Ln Arlington, VA 22207)

Classes are Tuesday mornings, beginning October 4, 2016
10:30-11:15am – 6 months – 2 years old
11:15am – 12pm – 3 – 5 years

Monthly registration preferred: $10 per class
Walk in rate: $12

Give Your 2017 New Year’s Resolutions an Encore!


It’s that time of year again! The Thanksgiving turkey has been stuffed, the holiday gifts unwrapped, and the New Year’s ball is getting ready to drop. As we begin this brand new year, our minds turn to our resolutions for 2017. How do you hope to grow over the course of the next twelve months? What new experiences will you have? Here are five Encore resolutions to get you started!

1. Step out of your comfort zone by auditioning for a show.
If you’ve always been fascinated by our actors up on stage, now’s your chance to join them! Audition for Night at the Wax Museum to grow your confidence and join the fun. More interested in what’s happening behind the scenes? Creators age 12 and up are able to interview for crew positions during auditions as well. Channel your creativity and strengthen your teamwork as a member of our team. Auditions and crew interviews will be held on January 23 and 24.

2. Keep the creativity coming all year long!
The fun doesn’t end just because school’s out! Join our fantastic Encore teaching artists for theatrical adventures during our Holiday Mini-Camp and Play-in-a-Day program. Students will spend the day exploring their creativity through crafts, theatre games, and acting exercises centering around a central theme. Our first mini-camps of the new year will take place on January 16 (MLK Day) and 20 (Inauguration Day).

Looking for even more in-depth artistic enrichment? Come spend your spring break with us, or even part of your summer vacation! Summer registration opens January 9th, so be sure to mark your calendars to prepare for the sunny celebration.

3. Make healthier choices by listening to Enrique and Mona from the Healthy Play Initiative.
Eat Healthy Enrique and Get Moving Mona sure have the right idea when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. A decision to add more color to your plate and active play to your day is a commitment that will last the whole year through!

4. Stay on top of all the latest Encore news!
As some of you may know, 2017 is a big year for the Encore family, as it marks 50 years of creating “Theatre by kids, for kids” here in Arlington. We are so excited for the coming events and celebrations, and we want you to know everything about them too! Be sure to connect with Encore on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as right here on the Front Row blog. Are you an Encore alum? Check out our amazing archive of seasons past!

We can’t wait to see all of your love for Encore online as well, so be sure to tag your posts! #TheatreByKids4Kids #RepYourEncore

5. Share your love of theatre with everyone in your life!
Hoover High students bring school spirit as they bring chaos to the haunted house. Photo Credit: Larry McClemons
With a mission of “Theatre by kids, for kids,” it’s no surprise that Encore wants to include all the members of your community. Invite friends and family to join you in the audience by escorting them to our upcoming Princess Ball or by giving them the gift of a season subscription. Welcome your youngest theatre lovers into the world of the arts through our new Theatre for the Very Young programming.

We hope that these ideas helped to get your wheels turning as you consider your own New Year’s resolutions. We look forward to seeing you, be it in auditions, in class, or in the audience!

Photo credits: Larry McClemmons, Sara Duke, Aileen Pangan
Graphic Design: Aimee Pangan
Blog contribution: Shannon McCarthy, 2016 Arts Apprentice

Keeping Healthy in the New Year with HPI


Holidays greetings from Encore! If you’re anything like us, the holidays have been full of wonderful meetings with family or friends, festive fun, and, of course, more than a yummy treat or two. While it can be lovely to indulge during a celebration, we wanted to chat with the ambassadors for our Healthy Play Initiative (HPI) to ask for some tips as we look toward the New Year and our resolutions.

Encore: Hello! Please introduce yourselves.

Enrique: Hello! My name is Eat Healthy Enrique.
Mona: And I’m Get Moving Mona!

Encore: What are your favorite things to do?

Mona: I love to dance and exercise. I also have a beautiful voice. I sing like the birds. My voice soars high above the trees.
Enrique: I enjoy trying new foods. I also love to sing songs of joy and happiness with my friends.

What about your favorite things to eat and drink?

Enrique: When you look into my refrigerator, you will see all kinds of foods from the five food groups. But my favorite food is fish! And, of course, you need water. What fish doesn’t need water?

Mona: What?
Enrique: What? It makes sense!

Mona: I like to keep it natural. I’m happy with chicken, brown rice, carrot, apples, and milk. Not necessarily in that order.

Encore: What do you like most about coming to visit at HPI?

Enrique: I love seeing the children every week; they make me laugh and we have a lot of fun. They share their favorite foods each week. It helps me create new recipes.

Mona: I too love hearing the sounds of laughter and encouraging them to keep moving. At the end of class, it is so wonderful to ask the kids about which activities they participated in. They tell me everything, from jumping, hopping, hula hooping, singing, dancing, all kinds of fun and games!

Encore: How can our readers join in on the fun?

Enrique: Join us at the Gates of Balston, every Friday from 1pm-3pm.
Mona: But come prepared to move and have FUN!

Encore: What are you most looking forward to over the holidays?

Enrique: I can’t wait to try out some new healthy recipes! I hope the children will share some of their favorite foods with me in the New Year.

Mona: I can’t wait to spend time with friends and family. And to work on some new dance routines!

Encore: What are some of your top New Year’s resolutions to share with our readers?

Mona: Life is beautiful! Treat your body right. Get plenty of exercise and rest.
Enrique: Know that change is possible. Eat to live. And, of course, stay healthy!

Thank you so much for sharing about HPI and your tips for living healthily in the new year, Mona and Enrique! To learn more about the Healthy Play Initiative, please click here. If you and your young ones would like to learn more about making positive food choices, be sure to mark your calendars for Encore’s very first Theatre for the Very Young production, Kitchen Adventures, premiering February 9, 2017!


Photo credits: Aileen Pangan, Shannon McCarthy, Sara Duke
Graphic Design: Aileen Pangan
Blog contributor: Shannon McCarthy, 2016-17 Arts Apprentice

What a Tale to Tell! Congrats to A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol Cast and Crew!

A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol - 2016

A Fairytale Christmas Carol - 2016

As we get back in the swing of things after a busy tech week, we want to offer huge Encore congratulations to the fantastic cast and crew of A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol! Audiences were thrilled by humorous, heart-warming, and enthusiastic performances all weekend long. But that’s not all!

A Fairytale Christmas Carol - 2016

Encore cast and crew members performed for 1,440 audience members throughout the weekend – more than double the size of last year’s production of A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol! This huge accomplishment is certainly helping us stay in the holiday mood.

Disappointed by saying goodbye to Mother Goose, the Big Bad Wolf, and the rest of our kooky Christmas characters? Fear not! Keep the holiday spirit (or three) alive with our limited-edition Encore 50th Anniversary ornaments!

Celebrate 50 years of “Theatre by kids, for kids!” with these lovely gold ornaments. Reasonably-priced at $16 each, these exclusive pieces make excellent holiday gifts, in addition to being a cheery addition to your tree. Ornaments can be purchased online, by phone at (703) 548-1154, or during one of our upcoming performances. For your convenience, orders can be picked up at Encore’s administrative offices (located at 4000 Lorcom Lane, Arlington, VA 22207) or in the lobby at our upcoming productions.

Though our next show, A Little Princess, doesn’t open until January, we hope you all have a wonderful season of holidays and to see you onstage, in the audience, or in our upcoming winter classes!

Photos: Larry McClemmons, Aileen Pangan

Blog contributor: Shannon McCarthy, 2016 Arts Apprentice

Give an #EncoreHigh5 This #GivingTuesday!


Happy #GivingTuesday, Encore family! We hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. We here at Encore Stage & Studio are so excited to kick off the holiday giving season with #GivingTuesday!

Since this is our first year participating in #GivingTuesday, we wanted to share some Q&As that may come to your mind as you consider your charitable giving options this holiday season.

What is #GivingTuesday?
#GivingTuesday is a global day of philanthropy, organized to kick off the holiday giving season. The event started five years ago and has grown in size every year since. This year, #GivingTuesday takes place today,, Tuesday, November 29th, 2016.

How will Encore benefit from my #GivingTuesday donation?
Encore uses donations to help share the magic of theatre with every child in the community. Your donation could help us provide a scholarship to summer camp for a child in need, commission a brand new play like Cul de Sac, hire ASL interpreters for an upcoming performance, create costumes for The Jungle Book, and more. Generous donors like you make Encore’s programs possible!

Why should I support Encore?
Encore has had a presence in the Arlington community for nearly 50 years. Throughout that time, we’ve remained committed to our mission of “theatre by kids, for kids,” introducing children and families to the performing arts and helping students to build self-confidence, develop leadership skills, practice empathy and teamwork, and much more. Encore isn’t only a theatre company; we’re also a fun, supportive space for children to be themselves and for families to connect with each other and the community.

I don’t have a lot to give. Is my donation still worthwhile?
All donations make a difference! To extend the impact of your donation, consider encouraging friends and family to give through our #EncoreHigh5 campaign. After you give, tag five friends on social media to encourage them to join you in giving back to the community this season. On #GivingTuesday, Encore will have a chance to win $5,000 from the Catalogue for Philanthropy for receiving the largest number of gifts from individual donors!

I’m not able to donate at this time, but how else can I help?
We’d love it if you could help us spread the word about Encore and all our great programs, including classes, camps, productions, and community partnerships like the AFAC Healthy Play Initiative. Encourage a friend to take a class with you or try out for a show, post about Encore on social media, or give the gift of theatre by buying a season subscription as a holiday gift for a neighbor, friend, or family member.

Awesome! I’m ready to give! How do I contribute?
Head on over to our campaign page to do your part to cultivate “Theatre by kids, for kids” this holiday season!

Save the Date for #GivingTuesday: November 29th, 2016


The seven dwarves welcomes Snow White! Photo by Aileen Pangan
With the successful conclusion of our first-ever Costume Caper 5K this past weekend, the holiday giving season already has us kicking up our heels here at Encore. While you won’t find us wearing Santa hats or decking the halls quite yet, we do want you to mark your calendars for Tuesday, November 29th, 2016. This is a very exciting day for Encore, as it will be the first time that we have participated in the nationwide event Giving Tuesday.
Entering its fifth year, this event serves to focus consumers back to the generous nature of the holiday season, especially in light of the chaotic swirl of markdowns and deals often brought about by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Over 700,000 donors contributed to Giving Tuesday campaigns in 2015 alone!

The holiday season isn’t the only thing creating a buzz around the Encore offices. We are already full of plans and anticipation as we prepare to enter our 50th anniversary season! Inspired by the spirit and the success of Giving Tuesday, we felt that this would be a fantastic way to kick off and celebrate Encore’s 50th year of making “Theatre by kids, for kids!”

If you are interested in becoming an author of Encore’s next chapter, please keep Giving Tuesday in mind as you consider your plan for holiday giving. To honor Encore’s 50th anniversary, it is our goal to have 50 donors give $50 over the course of the Giving Tuesday campaign. Our homepage for the event will be found here – be sure to bookmark it! Be a holiday hero and support the growth of young artists!
Encore Stage & Studio's Cul de Sac opens through June 12 at Thomas Jefferson Community Theatre.
As with any of our shows and events, our Encore family is our biggest asset when it comes to sharing the news. In the days leading up to the campaign, we encourage you to help us “friend-raise” by sharing our donation page with five friends, using the tags #GivingTuesday and #EncoreHigh5. Stay tuned on this blog for more tips and resources that will help you share your love for “Theatre by kids, for kids!”

Photo credits: Larry McClemons, Encore Stage staff

Blog contributor: Shannon McCarthy, 2016 Arts Apprentice

Top 5 Reasons We Are Thankful for “Theatre By Kids, For Kids” This #GivingTuesday

Healthy Play Initiative

We just can’t believe that Thanksgiving is a week away! As they say, time flies when you’re having fun, and it’s been quite the exciting season for Encore so far. From The Best Haunted House Ever to our first-ever Costume Caper 5K, we’ve been having a blast – it’s no wonder the time has taken off on us!

We couldn’t be more thrilled for the holiday season to begin, because that means that #GivingTuesday is right around the corner! As this day of philanthropy approaches, we want to take a moment to consider why we are so thankful to have Encore Stage & Studio in our lives.

#1: Encore provides an artistic home for theatre-makers of all ages.
Our philosophy is that it is never too early to start developing a love for theatre. We’ve recently begun to offer a new series of Baby and Toddler classes to cater to the youngest artists among us. Encore offers camps and classes for students of all ages up to 18. The fun, however, does not stop there! Encore alumni are always encouraged to stay involved through the annual summer musical, and some have even remained a part of the Encore family as teaching artists!

#2: Encore is a part of the Arlington community.
Healthy Play Initiative
Our goals extend beyond connecting with people as audience members to have a broader impact within our community. This desire to make connections leads us to partnering with other stellar institutions to create programs that will have a positive impact on our neighbors. We are certainly thankful for our collaboration with the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) to create a Healthy Play Initiative for the children of the Buckingham neighborhood at the Gates of Ballston, encouraging nutritious eating habits and an active lifestyle.

#3: Young leaders emerge through the Encore experience.
Here at Encore, our students lead the way. Overseen by an adult director, our high school stage managers tackle the enormous responsibility of organizing and running a full-scale production. In recent seasons, we’ve been lucky to have several students step up to tackle design roles on our shows. The dedication, focus, organization, and presence required for these positions are just a few of the innumerable skills young artists acquire by taking on leadership roles in Encore productions.

#4: Innovation drives us forward!
Artwork by Richard Thompson
Resting on laurels, wonderful though they may be, just doesn’t cut it for us here at Encore. We are constantly finding ways to expand and grow as an organization. We achieve this through new classes and camps, new events (like our Costume Caper 5K), and even the commissioning of new plays for the children’s theatre canon.

#5: Celebrating 50 years of “Theatre by Kids, for Kids!”
Beauty and the Beast, Photo by Rosemarie O'Connor
What an amazing thing to be thankful for! Encore has been serving the Arlington community since 1967 and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share our upcoming 50th season with all of you and your families.

Please join us in raising the curtain on 50 more years of “Theatre by kids, for kids” by supporting Encore during this year’s #GivingTuesday event on November 29th, 2016.

Photo credits: Aileen Pangan, Rosemarie O’Connor
Cul de Sac graphic by: Richard Thompson

Blog contributor: Shannon McCarthy, 2016 Arts Apprentice